Pirates 3, Braves 1 (by Adam M.)

ESPN Box Score

Paul Maholm was bound to give up some runs, the holes on offense were bound to rear their heads, and the Braves were bound to come back down to earth. Tonight, unfortunately, all three happened.

Maholm was his usual self, save for one ugly inning. He was brilliant the first time through the order, and effective, if less-than dominant, the second time. It would be the third time through the Pirates order that Maholm finally stumbled. After leading off the 6th inning with a walk to Starling Marte — a guy who almost never walks, by the way — the soft-tossing lefty gave up a double to Andrew McCutchen and a homer to Gaby Sanchez. Three runs, just like that.

And that would be all the Pirates pitchers needed. The Braves got their lone run of the night in the second inning, when James McDonald hit Gattis, gave up a double to Chris Johnson, walked Uggla, and then walked in a run on four pitches to Simmons. Otherwise, McDonald dominated a lineup that suddenly looks more patchwork than robust. He struck out nine, walked two more, and surrendered only one other hit. Three Pirates relievers were meanwhile just as impressive: they scattered two hits over the last three frames, striking out four. All told, Braves batters struck out 13 times, and there were no home runs to belie their futility.

B.J. Upton and Jason Heyward continue to make outs at a prodigious pace at the top of the order. Simmons looks no better at the back of it. And Dan Uggla, already struggling, left the game with an apparent leg injury. There’s no telling how long Justin Upton, Evan Gattis, and Chris Johnson can carry this offense, but rest assured that at some point they all will cool off. Gattis, in fact, might already be regressing.

Hopefully, when that happens, Heyward and B.J. Upton — and a healthy Freddie Freeman and Brian McCann — will be there to pick up the slack. If not, there will be more nights like tonight.

196 thoughts on “Pirates 3, Braves 1 (by Adam M.)”

  1. Ugg. Watching the replay, that looked like a ton of strikeouts. The side K-ing to bookend the game in the 1st and 9th was brutal.

    Weirdly, the thing I was bothered the most by was the HR to Gaby Sanchez. The pitch was a meatball, and it’s frickin Gaby Sanchez. Common. Gaby Sanchez? Yeesh.

  2. You didn’t ask for it, but here it is anyway — a complete (I think) list of players who batted eight times in a nine-inning game:

    Taylor Douthit, STL, 7/6/29 (at the Baker Bowl)
    Clyde Vollmer, BOS, 6/8/50
    Darryl Hamilton, MIL, 8/28/92
    Mike Cameron, CIN, 5/19/99 (at Coors)
    Frank Catalanotto, TEX, 8/22/07
    Ian Kinsler, TEX, 8/22/07

    Special dispensation goes to Vollmer, who did it in a 29-4 home game blowout against the hapless St. Louis Browns (pitchers that day included Cuddles Marshall and Sid Schacht). Eight innings, eight PAs.

  3. @ajcbraves

    There are 23 NL players batting .185 or lower in 25 or more PAs, and four are #Braves lineup regulars (Heyward, Uggla, B.J., Simmons)

  4. I’ve learned my lesson, so I’m not putting up a separate game thread for today’s game.

    However, I will exhort you all to download the Game Theory albums. Scott Miller, singer and guitarist of the ’80s jangle-paisley band Game Theory, died a week ago, and his site put up all the old out-of-print Game Theory albums for download on Dropbox. Give ’em a listen.

  5. The ump is really squeezing Jonathan Sanchez today. I can understand why the ump wouldn’t give him the benefit of the doubt — Sanchez has notoriously poor control — but we’ll have to see if he similarly squeezes Medlen.

    I don’t like the call to hit and run with Pena there. Sanchez is struggling to get strikes called. Why force the issue?

  6. @12 – agreed, no reason to run there.

    Hoping for the bats to return to career averages…sooner rather than later.

  7. Medlens pitches are all tailing towards the right handers batters box; he’s not as sharp as last time, not yet.

    @18- I wonder how much more ATL would have had to include to get him instead of McLouth. That would’ve been nice…

  8. @12 Fredi said in the pre-game show he wasn’t going to be doing much managing today.

    He also said something to the effect of, “Yeah, Uggla’s not in the lineup today, he’s got a calf thing. He came up to me and said he’s gotta come out of the game. But it’s just day-to-day, we’ll wait to see if it’s something more serious. But you know Uggla, he’d have to have a bone sticking out of him to want to come out of the lineup.”

    ….

  9. Fun fact: Jonathan Sanchez was acquired last summer from the Kansas City Royals, who we faced earlier in the week, for Jeremy Guthrie, who we faced earlier in the week.

    Fun fact: We just got two hits in a row. Let’s start doing that again.

  10. I turned it on in the middle of this, and I can’t have the sound on right now. What happened that they had to rechalk the batter’s box?

  11. So sue me and call me Joe Simpson, but I love seeing Andrelton hitting the other way.

  12. Fredi needs to let Medlen swing away here. He’s only hitting .114, sure, but that’s in line with half of our regulars. Plus, he’s got 4 RBI on the year, which obviously means he knows how to put the ball in play when it really matters.

  13. Wait, so you get a point if a player touches home base when the ball is hit in the field of play?

  14. Now if only BJ would start hitting the ball in fair territory. And Heyward. And Uggla. And Andrelton (today’s a good start.) And wow, this is depressing.

  15. So everytime this season someone goes in a slump, get ready to hear Chip and Joe whine about them striking out too much.

  16. Did Chip Carey just say straightaway left field was the deepest part of the ballpark? Does he even understand how baseball fields work?

  17. Maybe one day I’ll get to see a game where Justin Upton hits with a runner on base.

  18. Great catch, Andrelton! Too bad it wasn’t called an infield fly, would have saved him a lot of exertion.

  19. Didn’t realize El Oso Blanco was down to a .240 BA.

    UPDATE: Didn’t realize El Oso Blanco was down to a .235 BA.

  20. According to the Fox ticker Cincinnati has called up Hamster after putting Hanigan on the DL. I’m pretty surprised to hear that Corky is still playing.

  21. “Justin Upton does not like to play baseball. Let’s get rid of him”

    – Some freakin idiot

  22. @112 – of course, my mistake, but that only makes Wren seem more idiotic for extending him without him haven’t played a game for ATL.

  23. Anyone else find that little hand signal the pirates make, every time they get a hit, to be the height of douchery?

  24. Clint freaking Barmes. Who wouldn’t even have a job in baseball unless he had pictures of Clint Hurdle.

  25. Seven baserunners after the second. Exceptional fucking incompetence keeps a single one of them from crossing.

  26. Those who forget history are doomed to repeat it- Don’t tell me Fredi can’t remember the second goddamned inning!

    And of course Evan delivers the game-tying hit, but for Fredi’s dain bramage.

  27. Given the guy in the dugout and multiple key players in deep slumps, a 13-4 record is one of the more amazing accomplishments in recent MLB history.

  28. Don’t worry, it’s not Fredi’s fault. I’m sure he’ll calmly explain how later.

  29. And the red-hot Rockies next. It was fun thinking this was the best team in NL for fifteen games, though.

  30. Freeman is joining the team tomorrow so there’s at least a little good news to brighten up this crap game.

  31. This team’s play is bad enough, and to pile on, that AT&T commercial with some kids talking about an island made out of candy just will not stop playing. Every commercial break…

  32. End well, this will not.

    EDIT: Glad to be wrong, at least regarding McCutchen’s AB.

  33. @151 At least you don’t have to watch the commercial for the local mattress store that brags about “Italian Latex.”

  34. How many almost-home-runs by the Pirates today to left field? Feels like a lot.

    And again.

  35. @22 I thought Fredi said he wasn’t gonna do much managing today.
    Now we know he’s a liar as well.

  36. Good execution on that. Too many times, even in the bigs, I see rundowns like that go sour for the defense.

  37. @158

    It just seems that way, since Thursday feels like it happened last year.

  38. The best thing about this weekend has been my growing realization that the Natspos may not be last year’s dominant team. The worst thing has been every Braves game.

  39. I think the appeal was just that he had been with the Tigers who’d been to two World Series, and that he was there. If anyone had paid attention to El Oso Blanco before he went to Venezuela this fall, Laird wouldn’t be here.

  40. 171- Why? I thought it was obvious that Ross would leave if anyone offered him a starting job.

  41. @172 He’s not starting in Boston. And I honestly have no answer as to why anyone in their right mind would ever sign Gerald Laird, so it’s the best I can come up with.

  42. Reed Johnson looks completely done. Unfortunately, Jordan Schafer, who can neither hit nor field, is the other OF option off the bench.

  43. Saltalamacchia is the Boston starting catcher. Ross stated that he didn’t want to start, that he was perfectly happy as a backup —he’s 36 years old. He went to Boston because they paid him a boatload of money, way more than the Braves were willing to offer.

  44. Ah, default. The two sweetest words in the English language. At least if you’re as “skilled” as Success.

  45. Thanks, Cory. I figure someone should tell you that you did well, even though the game’s been pretty thoroughly sabotaged.

  46. Piling on Gerald Laird is like a trust-fund kid spitting on a homeless person because he’s offended by his wardrobe.

  47. Success for Success. So how to we waste it this time?

    I’ll be disappointed if B.J. Upton doesn’t strike out with Success being thrown out trying to steal second.

  48. Radio announcers have been bashing Martin all weekend. Braves homer-ism goes a little too far, in my opinion, but I guess that’s how Braves fans like it.

    Also, Ramiro Pena will be back to his career norms before June is over.

  49. I really don’t think Pena is a good hitter, and hearing Simpson talk about his “power” is crazy.

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