Braves 5, Pirates 0

Pittsburgh Pirates vs. Atlanta Braves – Box Score – June 05, 2013 – ESPN

The Braves had five runs on seven hits — with Evan Gattis doing that thing again whereby he launches a long line-drive on a poorly-conceived, inside, two-strike pitch — but the story of this game was the brilliance of Julio Teheran, who seems to be turning into something quite special right here in front of us.

Teheran threw 107 pitches across eight one-hit innings. 79 of those pitches were strikes. Of the 28 hitters he faced, 23 of them were greeted with a strike. He struck out 11, walked two, and hit two (one of whom he immediately picked off). Every K was of the swinging variety, and that included five on fastballs, five on sliders, and one on a changeup. And, at least early on, he was getting squeezed! That fastball sat at 92-94, he worked both sides of the plate with his full repertoire, and he generally looked calm and confident throughout the game. Oh, and that one hit he surrendered? It didn’t come until there were two outs in the eighth, on his 102nd pitch. He was simply electric, and Pittsburgh just had no chance today. A joy to watch.

As for the team, it just swept the Pirates, has now won five in a row again, enjoys a 7.5-game lead in the division, and possesses the second best record (and third-best run differential) in the NL. Not too shabby. They’ll start a series in Chavez Ravine tomorrow night, with Huddy on the mound, looking to prove that his gem against the Nationals was the start of a new trend.

Author: Stu

Jesus Christ is my Lord and Savior. I've been married since July 17, 2004 to my beautiful wife, who also doubles as my best friend. We have an almost-three-years-old Boston Terrier named Lucy who's also pretty awesome. My wife and I both graduated from Vanderbilt University in May of 2004. I graduated from Law School at the University of Georgia in May of 2007 and am now practicing in Nashville, Tennessee. I really, really love the Atlanta Braves.

90 thoughts on “Braves 5, Pirates 0”

  1. Really tough series for Pirates relievers. Phils are doing well against the Fish. Is it wrong to suggest that Gio decline this year it that he is low on juice?

  2. I think Gio just hasn’t been able to replicate the control he had last year. I was surprised in 2012 when he suddenly morphed into an ace, and am less surprised to see him regress into a solid #3 starter.

  3. I’d love to see Huddy have a good outing on the road tomorrow. He’s pitched well at home this year, but his road stats have been atrocious. Hopefully facing a Dodger team who have almost as much money on the DL as the Yankees do will help him get over his road woes.

  4. There’s a good chance we’ll face Peter Moylan in L.A.. He’s pitched yesterday and today. Good for him.

  5. I imagine the answer to this will just be “Small Sample Size- No” but I thought I’d ask anyway. Is it possible for there to be a one-game performance so extraordinary that, barring injury, it could generate a meaningful prediction about (as one hypothetical), say, the lower limit of what a player might accomplish? I’m probably not framing this question very well and I don’t mean to imply I think Julio’s performance today would qualify even if such a thing could exist. I was lucky enough to be at Kerry Wood’s 20k performance when I was in b-school and the thought occurred to me then, and it popped back up again today. Curious to know what the really smart people here (everyone but me it often seems!) think.

  6. I have decided that this team is only as good as the starting pitching.

    We had had that dip a few weeks ago when the starters were getting shelled. Now they are pitching better and we look pretty good.

  7. Really odd but the Yankees and Red Sox attendance are WAY down, like 5,000 less per game down. The Yankees are 5th in the majors and the Sox are 10th. Anyone in Boston or NY that knows the scoop?

  8. 11—When Minor struck out 13 Cubs in one of his first starts, I remember Mac citing to something Bill James (I think) wrote about extraordinary performances like that indicating true talent level — that guys who can have a dominant performance like that at a young age are capable of doing it again and again. Or something like that.

  9. @11, it’s not a ridiculous question. A few years ago, Rany Jazayerli mused about what he called “signature significance,” an event on the field so extraordinary that it basically signalled that the person who did it was a really good ballplayer. He believed that a 15-strikeout game had signature significance:

    The point is, if you told me that a young, previously unheralded pitcher is going to strike out 15 batters tonight, I’ll tell you without even knowing his identity that he’s going to be a star. There’s always a possibility things go wrong – he hurts his arm or develops Steve Blass Disease or whatnot – but the odds are exceedingly high that he’s going to become a star. Shutouts can be a fluke; 15-strikeout performances almost never are. A 15-strikeout performance has signature significance.

    Time will tell whether last night’s game was more of the fluke variety or a coming-out party for a bona fide star. But I think that there’s a decent chance that it’s the later.

  10. @14 Bethany is in Columbia? Lower season ticket sales are likely. It is now possible to get single game tickets. Weather has been cold in Atlanta, worse in Northeast.

  11. @17, you’re absolutely right — I remember the same thing after Minor’s 13-K performance. And, in retrospect, though it took him a little while to put it all together, it was absolutely true. He doesn’t strike out 13 men every game, but he really is a dominant starter.

  12. Last year when Teheran was having issues at AAA, lot of people said he was working on some issues and the FO wasn’t worried.

    I guess they were telling the truth.

    I’m starting to think it is going to be Paul Maholm going to the pen in a few weeks.

  13. @11: From a statistical standpoint, it is indeed impossible to draw inferences about averages from extremes, though the inferences are usually somewhat weaker, simply because it’s more likely to have a single extreme event. A performance which is say, 5 standard deviations above your true norm is so much more unlikely than a performance two standard deviations above that you adjust the average up to explain it.

    That said, there are often particular factors which make it tricky to apply in practice, but it’s a reasonable principle. Another example: 16 guys have hit four home runs in a game: 5 of them are in the Hall of Fame, and another four are close to that level, but one of them is Mike Cameron. That said, you’d be hard-pressed to find another single game batting feat that more closely correlates with being an elite hitter.

  14. @14, 19

    Yeah, I can’t take credit for that anymore. In theory, since I left Boston, they should be doing great because as soon as I left Baltimore they became an above average team.

  15. I think Beachy should probably get an extra start or two in the Minors to tune up. With an 8 game lead, I see no reason to rush him back.

    I get the feeling Beachy gets the Medlen treatment. Of the six, I think the stuff of Beachy or Tehran works best in a relief role, but I don’t think you want to jerk Tehran around. Come August, the organization will have Beachy back in the rotation, and special things could happen for this team.

    Tehran doesn’t quite have the top end Pedro Martinez in his prime fastball, but he has enough gas that it makes his already high end off speed offerings even better. When Julio is aggressive with his four seamer, like he was today, he looks like a Pedro clone.

    Tehran is the type pitcher you can “dream on”. Great day to be a Braves fan.

  16. Actually, Mike Cameron is a no-doubt Hall of Very Gooder, and he had a career that was better than many who are in the Hall. I would say that Shawn Green and Mark Whiten are better counterexamples. (Even though “Hittin’ Mark Whiten” was a superb nickname.)

  17. @22: Ach! My edit time ran out. “impossible” in the first line of course should read “possible.”

    Actually, Pat “never heard of him” Seerey is a better example, but I left off Mark Whiten because anyone who ever played for the Braves is by definition a potential superstar.

  18. You have to account for competition level when looking at one game performance, but yesterday’s outing was against a reasonably good Pirates squad. It’s always good to see that sort of dominant form from a young guy who was supposed to be great.

  19. #14
    Pre-season expectations were at an all-time low for both clubs. In the case of NYY, the star-power factor was reduced dramatically–no Jeter, no A-Rod, no Teixeira, no Granderson. That affected season-ticket sales & single-game sales.

    As a longtime NYY season-ticket holder–now doing a 20-game plan with 2 other guys–this was the first time my group was allowed to move to a new location and actually pick the seats. In the past, if you wanted to move your seats within the same priced section, it was difficult. And if the opportunity arose, you’d get a hustled take-it-or-leave-it phone call from a salesperson. Things were very different this year.

    For the Yanks, there’s another factor at work. They no longer deal with StubHub, so they’ve made it more difficult for fans to buy super-cheap tickets. (The club has opened its own online ticket exchange, which has a baseline on prices.) I’ve heard some complaining about that this year. Ever since ’09, when the Yanks moved to the new mega-stadium, the fans dealt with the preposterous ticket prices by purchasing at reasonable prices (and often dirt-cheap) from StubHub. (Generally, only top-tier games like NYM & Boston were available at a premium.)

    No more. Like the Angels, the Yankees no longer cooperate with them.

    The announced attendance is down about 4,000 per game. Those tickets are sold–the average is about 39,000 each night–but it seems that there are about 10,000 fewer fans per game this year. I’ve been to 6 or 7 games so far & the vibe is rather muted so far. Even when they were in 1st place, it just seemed like nobody was excited about Vernon Wells & Lyle Overbay.

  20. Not sure why Boston’s attendance is down. Maybe they had low attendance early on due to weather and poor expectations coming in.

    The Yankees attendance is down because the 2013 Yankees are not a very good baseball team.

  21. How much credit does Roger deserve? I know a lot of folks always talk about Leo and the job he did. Roger hasn’t had the trio of Smoltz, Maddux, and Glavine. However, it’s apparent that he’s done some excellent work with minor and Teheran getting them to make adjustments. Seems like he’s always turning some scrub reliever into a solid one. Oflaherty wasn’t pitching well when the Braves brought him in I don’t believe.

  22. #32 – When you go from a lineup featuring Arod Jeter Granderson and Teixeira to some Lyle Overbay type hitters it could keep some people from showing up.

  23. Lyle Overbay and Vernon Wells. They’re lucky to have won as many as they have.

  24. #32
    Until the Mets debacle, the Yankees were in 1st place. It wasn’t the club’s performance that kept folks away, it was the collection of overachieving re-treads they were putting on the field.

    But even with the Chris Stewarts & Lyle Overbays, the pitching has remained good.

  25. @28: 141 pitchers since 2000 have achieved 10 or more strikeouts in a game with no walks. And there are some pretty pedestrian pitchers who have managed to do it once or even twice. But the guys who have done it 10 or more times is a pretty elite list: Lee, Johnson, Vazquez, Schilling, Martinez and Santana.

  26. I think the Braves have done a good job with the way the market their tickets.

    They understand most Braves fans live outside of the 285 loop. I live outside of Chattanooga, so buying season tickets is not in the cards, but I may buy a package for 5 games.

  27. 32- I’d say weather is probably the major reason for the bad attendance. Eight teams have seen their attendance fall by 100,000 or more from last season at this time per B-R. (The Yankees have lost about 80,000.) Most of them are Northern teams- Boston, the Cubs, Milwaukee, Minnesota, Philly. (All are either bad teams or teams with low expectations.) The others are Miami and Houston, for obvious reasons, and Texas, another year removed from the World Series and which did little to generate buzz around what is still a fine team.

  28. @37 – Thanks for that. 10 K’s in this era may not be a good measure any more. Alternately, I could be a complete idiot. I guess we’ll never know. :)

  29. I’m not as worried about the Phils as Washington still.

    As #1 mentioned, the Phils have been beating up on the Marlins (played them 13 times already) whereas Was and Atl have only played them 6 each.

    Phi Opp W% .487
    Was Opp W% .468
    Atl Opp W% .452

    Granted Phi still has 16 games left with us so they’ll have their chances.

    Other relevant teams:

    Stl Opp W% .488
    Cin Opp W% .506
    Pit Opp W% .499
    Arz Opp W% .491
    Col Opp W% .491
    SF Opp W% .495
    LAD Opp W% .520

    Edit: Those W% are for the rest of the season.

  30. @40: C’mon Rusty… it’s an interesting question. I raised it to 14 or more strikeouts and added the rest of the games in the Retrosheet database going back to the ’60s. Here’s the list:
    First Last Count
    Randy Johnson 9
    Roger Clemens 5
    Pedro Martinez 2
    Fergie Jenkins 2
    Johan Santana 2
    Dwight Gooden 2
    Chuck Finley 1
    Javier Vazquez 1
    James Shields 1
    Erik Bedard 1
    Jeremy Bonderman 1
    Curt Schilling 1
    Bud Norris 1
    Brad Penny 1
    Bobby Witt 1
    Dan Haren 1
    Bert Blyleven 1
    Jose DeLeon 1
    Sid Fernandez 1
    Kerry Wood 1
    Larry Dierker 1
    Luis Tiant 1
    Mario Soto 1
    Mark Langston 1
    Mark Prior 1
    Mike Scott 1
    Sam McDowell 1
    Shane Reynolds 1
    John Smoltz 1

  31. 42: My goodness, you had me worried there for a minute. But no, I rechecked, and the Braves have actually played The Worst Team in Baseball a paltry three times. And yet here they are. This season could be some kind of something.

  32. 44: You are correct we have only played them three times.

    Atl vs Mia 3-0
    Was vs Mia 5-1
    Phi vs Mia 9-4

  33. Just looked at the Marlins ‘win’ LOSS record. Man the taxpayers in Dade should start a class action lawsuit.

  34. “This season could be some kind of something.”

    Statements like this make me feel like the baseball gods are going to knock us back down a peg during this West Coast trip.

  35. @47 – “MLB and Selig” and “owners” are the same thing, functionally, so: only if they want to, and they won’t want to.

    In other sports a salary floor has been collectively bargained for, but only in the context of a corresponding salary cap. MLBPA has been the most successful union in American sports in terms of fighting things like salary caps and individual salary restrictions, and I do not think they’d be keen to trade those things for a salary floor in the next round of labor negotiations.

    So it wouldn’t make sense from the perspective of ownership to impose a floor, because they’d basically just be unilaterally hiking the players’ percentage of baseball-related income. (The Marlins would be spending more, the Yankees and Dodgers would be spending the same, ownership as an aggregate keeps less of the pie.)

    And it wouldn’t make sense from the perspective of the players because to make that trade would be a step down the road toward caps, guaranteed BRI% splits, and individual salary restrictions that their NFL and NBA brethren have conceded and they haven’t.

    tl;dr: no.

    Source: my only A+ in law school was a class in sports law; graduated with a B- overall average

  36. We sat next to each other in that class! I have no recollection of what I made, but I know it wasn’t an A+.

  37. @50, our smarter classmates have things like “law review” and “top quarter of the class” on their resumes; I’ve got “booked the Sports Law exam.” I’m just glad I hit the job market back before the crash years.

  38. I guess, but it’s embarrassments like the Marlins that make taxpayers reluctant to support new stadia.

    In fact, I bet if each was decided by legal plebiscite, every one of them would fail.
    ———-

    Speaking of stadia, who’s with me on bringing in the fence (at least a little bit) in right field? Especially if we re-sign McCann.

  39. Yeah. It’s sad and disappointing. I do think the Yankees are a good fit for him, and it’ll be good that he gets paid. But it just doesn’t make financial sense for Atlanta to plunk down the kind of money he’ll command (assuming he keeps rocking it this year) when they’ve got Gattis looking like he’ll at least hold his own every day. It’s a shame. Wish they’d just shut him down last year instead of letting him play hurt. It didn’t help the team much (at all?) and he’s just soooo good when he’s healthy that it sucks having to remember him be anything less than that.

  40. @49 et al, you would think there would be significant support among ownership for a salary floor, as otherwise it just amounts to Jeffery Loria taking their money and pocketing it. They were forced to spend more in 2010, and much has been made of a similar attempt to do so this season. The Astros and Marlins are the only teams with sub-40M payrolls, and given the bare faced swindle going on in Miami, I can’t believe it will be allowed to continue.

  41. Stu, you’re probably right, but I sure like this McCann / Gattis / Laird combo we’ve stumbled into. Gives us great flexibility and Fredi really seems to be using it pretty well.

    And, as Sam often says, relievers are fungible and half an hour away in Gwinnett, so keeping a six-man bullpen might be manageable.

    And I keep thinking the DH is coming soon, which would make McCann a wise investment indeed.

  42. @56 The Yanks are trying to get under the salary cap in 2014. If they do their tax rate will reset at lower rate when they over in 2015. Someone link that article a while back.

  43. On first looking into Evan’s Homer

    ……
    oft’ of one open stance had we been told
    that bearded Gattis ruled as his demesne
    yet never did we grasp what this could mean
    ’till we saw Evan strike out loud and bold.
    then felt we like some watcher of the skies
    when a new slugger swings into his ken
    or like stout Fredi with his many tries
    to draw debate if he would bunt and when.
    opponents now should best avert their eyes
    silent, this not his peak, we’ll know it then.

  44. @64, thanks… one for yesterday’s star…a long career ahead!

    the boy becomes a man – excites
    the confidence, the break that bites
    the rhythm he’s new found
    the hitters’ wilting sound
    sweet prospect of a thousand nights.

  45. @ justhank

    First of all, I absolutely hate it when teams move their outfield fences in to try and normalize their ballparks. There is nothing wrong with our stadium, just like there was nothing wrong with Citi Field or Petco Park or any of the others. The gap in right-center is deep for the other team, too. Moving it in is silly. Players who complain about it should stop worrying about that and start worrying about playing baseball. Why teams waste money on that is beyond me.

    Secondly, signing McCann and not signing McCann is pretty much the difference between having financial flexibility to continue putting a solid all-around team together and not having that money. Given that, we have to let him walk, especially when we clearly have a replacement lined up for him. Also, it won’t be that long before he starts declining, and given how bad he is when he’s playing with injuries, I’m thinking that decline might be rather sharp.

    And thirdly, I’m not convinced the DH is coming to the NL nearly as soon as all the giddy pro-DH zealots would have you believe. There’s really no reason why the current situation has to ever change, frankly. The leagues have played with separate rules this long without changing it, and I’m really not seeing the huge difference between year-long interleague play and interleague play only in June that everyone else is seeing. I don’t think Selig really cares that AL pitchers have to take batting practice more than one month a year now. Baseball knows it needs to be very careful here, because if they switch the NL to the DH, their fanbase shrinks overnight, at least to a certain extent. There are definitely people around who will never watch baseball again if that happens, and I don’t think it’s gonna cause any new fans to be added. And it’s not gonna make the owners any extra money, really, so they have to ask themselves why they’d be doing it. The current situation is quirky, but it’s not unfair. There’s really no pressing need to make a move, which is something all the “more offense automatically makes anything more entertaining” people have failed to realize because they’re so borderline aroused by the thought of the “stuffy old NL fans” having to eat it.

  46. Hope you guys are right about the DH, but I fear it’s inevitable.

    For whatever it’s worth, the drumbeat on MLB Channel is turning into a chorus.

    Does that signify the Universal DH is imminent? Don’t know, but it sure seems that way.

  47. For whatever it’s worth, the drumbeat on MLB Channel is turning into a chorus.

    Yes, and isn’t the premise pretty stupid? “Oh, there’s interleague year-round, we need it now!” Reality is, the Braves (and one would assume, other teams) are playing all of one more interleague game this season than last.

    It seems weird to claim the DH is needed now because the Braves are playing AL teams 19 times this regular season, as opposed to 18 times in 2012.

  48. On re-signing McCann:

    The debate as to whether to sign any player must be done in the context of opportunity cost.

    Re-signing McCann obviously limits the Braves’ ability to spend those dollars elsewhere and, yes, there does seem to be a ready replacement in Gattis (with another year of Laird, I believe, should the bubble burst).

    Now, if Wren were magically able to unload the contracts of Uggla and/or BJ, McCann looks far more doable.

    I know, I know, getting someone to take either of those contracts seems impossible. But the Berlin Wall fell and someone took Joe Johnson’s contract, so I guess anything is possible.

    Quick question: Let’s say the Braves made it to the World Series – roughly how many games would be played in a season that included the DH (assuming the rules stayed as they are)? That number won’t be a determining factor, but it’s a part of the decision (because there’s never been a better C / DH combo than McCann and Gattis).

    If the Braves are trying to be a team “Built for October”, that’s certainly a way to go.

    Too early to be rosterbating about next year (maybe), but my heart is working overtime on ways to keep Brian McCann.

    *Edit: looks like the number of DH games would be somewhere around twelve. Not enough to impact the decision, after all.

  49. The money for McCann is there right now. There is no way the current team payroll is anything but artificially low. Whether or not it makes sense to sign him is another matter.

    Funny you should mention the “built for october” notion – one of the more common criticisms I’ve heard is the the high team k rate will make the Braves more vulnerable to the higher quality of pitching in the playoffs.

  50. I don’t understand how you think magically unburdening ourselves of BJ’s contract will remove our need for a competent center fielder. Schafer is absolutely terrible in the field, and he’s not going to maintain a .400 babip. There’s nobody in the farm system who’s better so we’d still have to go out into free agency and find a center fielder. Our best hope is that 3 months of small sample baseball will be outweighed by a return to closer to his career line, which is the most reasonable thing to actually happen.

  51. It could be that the “built for October = a low-K offense” is simply the result of the fact that the Giants, a team built on contact hitting, pitching and defense, won the World Series in ’10 and ’12. As a general notion, I don’t think there’s any good formula for playoff success aside from “have a lot of good players + team is hot during playoffs”. The Braves offense is stocked with a ton of talented, high-ceiling hitters. The mere fact that they tend to strike out a lot is not predictive of playoff success.

  52. The leaders in K’s and in not making K’s (braves and cards, respectively) are also tied for second in OPS+ at 102.

    I am not sure I buy the “k’s are extra bad in the playoffs” argument either, just passing along the cw regarding the team’s construction.

  53. @76

    I have thought about this a lot too. I was worried before the season that we would be a streaky team. All the hitters would be hot or cold all at once. So far it hasn’t really been that way.

  54. Schafer may not be Willie Mays, but I’ll take Success! in CF with McCann on the team all day every day rather than BJ in CF and McCann in pinstripes.

  55. @43 – So, if you’re on that list, you’re either Bud Norris or pretty damn good.

  56. Apparently, the Denver Nuggets have fired recently-named Coach of the Year George Karl. (Not sure they’ve had time to hold the awarding ceremony yet.)

  57. @76 I think there’s an assumption that you need to “scratch out” more runs in the playoffs because of the caliber of pitching you’re up against. Strikeouts go against that line of thinking.

  58. JonathanF will be much better than I am in explaining this thought, but my view of the 2013 Braves is that they have a fairly wide gap between their highest highs and their lowest lows — in other words, because they are a team built around homers and strikeouts, the Braves have a bigger gap than some teams do between how they perform at their best (blowouts) versus how they perform at their worst (shutouts). This variability in performance is why we have seen so many winning streaks and losing streaks already, and over the course of a long season, it will stabilize and the Braves will wind up winning a bunch of games.

    So, in a short series, the Braves are more likely to be victimized by their inherent variability, and rattle off a losing streak, than they would if they had more consistent performance. So they’re more likely to lose in a short playoff series than they would be if they had the same average talent but less variation from day to day.

    I don’t know if that’s actually true — JonathanF will know — but it certainly feels right to me.

  59. @83 – I get that. So do we know if we lose consistently to front line pitching while feasting on #4/5 starters?

  60. There were 39 post season games played in 2013. Here are the aggregate runs scored from those 39 games, broken down into quartiles.

    16,16,11,11,11,10,10,10,9,9,
    9,9,9,9,8,8,7,7,7,7,
    6,6,5,5,5,4,4,4,4,
    5*,3,3,3,3,3*,2,2,2

    EDIT: the asterisk scores in the final quartile denote extra inning games

    Runs are not at a notable premium in the post-season.

  61. The easiest way to look at that, AAR, is to look at the variance of runs scored. Do the Braves in fact have a feast or famine offense relative to others? I have no idea, but I’ll take a look.

  62. The Cardinals strike out the least and are tied with ATL in OPS+ at 102, and are the leaders at 4.8 R/G (non Colorado div) mostly on the strength of RISP – .339/.410/.454 (.398!!!! BaBip).

    The Braves strike out the most and get 4.5 R/G mostly from leading in HR, and are decidedly held back by .236/.337/.340 with RISP (BaBip .299).

  63. I don’t follow the MLB draft very closely. Can anyone take a guess at who the Braves will draft tonight?

  64. I don’t see much, Alex, at least on a quick look (it’s kind of a pain to get this data). So far this year, NL teams are averaging 4.07 runs per game with a standard deviation of 2.84 runs. The Braves are averaging 4.52 with a standard deviation of 2.95. A difference this small is insignificant based on 59 games. There could be something happening in the tails which a simple standard deviation analysis doesn’t show, but you won’t be able to tell with this sample size. There’s no evidence at the moment that the Braves should be any streakier than other teams.

    The current average streak length for all teams is 2.07. the Braves have somewhat longer streaks (2.77), but teams with good (or bad) records almost have to have longer average streak lengths. The Marlins, who certainly don’t seem streaky, just bad, have an average streak length of 2.66.

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