Braves 4 Mets 3

ESPN Box Score

The Atlanta Braves starting pitching and defense have been incredible this season. Ervin Santana, making his Atlanta debut, treated us to yet another scoreless performance by an Atlanta starter, and he did it in dominant fashion.

His seven-pitch first inning set the pace, and he remained a strike throwing machine all night. He not only completed eight shutout innings, he did so on 88 pitches, 65 of which were strikes. Incredibly enough, he began the game with 20 straight strikes, and he only threw 10 pitches all night where he was behind in the count.

Santana’s final line was 8 IP, 3 H, 0BB, 6K. He even added an RBI single to the mix in his first game as an NL pitcher. To say his debut was successful is an understatement.

The Braves even remembered to bring their bats to the stadium for him, a move that proved to be especially fortuitous after the bullpen decided to make things interesting in the 9th.

Jason Heyward busted out of his slump in a big way. He led off the 1st with an 11 pitch at-bat off of Atlanta-native Zack Wheeler that ended with a home run to deep right-center. He ended the night 3-for-4 with 2 RBIs and 2 runs scored. He also made a beautiful diving catch on the warning track to end the 6th inning and keep Santana’s shutout alive.

Heyward’s catch

Heyward’s catch was not the only web gem of the night. In the bottom of the first, Juan Lagares robbed Freddie Freeman of a double that would have scored Andrelton Simmons from first. Simmons added his own gem to end the top of the 2nd, when he fielded a ground ball deep in the hole, slipped, and threw the runner out at first from a sitting position. It looked as ridiculously awesome as it sounds.

Simmons’s throw

Simmons finished the night 2-for-4 at the plate, and may well have Wally Pipped BJ Upton (sitting so Jordan Schafer could get some at-bats) from his spot in the batting order.

In the 5th inning the Braves scored three runs off of five hits, which was a nice change of pace from what the offense has done for the first week of the season. An Evan Gattis double, Santana bloop single, Heyward single, Simmons single, and Freddie Freeman single gave the Braves a 4-0 lead.

Jordan Walden and Craig Kimbrel gave us a scare in the 9th, but there was just enough wiggle room for them to get away with it. Walden walked his first man and left the game with one out and two men on. Kimbrel also walked his first man, struck out Lucas Duda, and then allowed back-to-back hits that scored three runs. Fortunately, he struck out Ruben Tejada with men on the corners to end it.

The Braves ended up with 9 hits, and several of their outs were hit quite hard. They could have easily added a few more hits with a little luck. Freeman went 2-for-4 even after he was robbed in the 1st, and he continued his Mets-killing ways with 2 RBIs. He really is the new Chipper.

39 thoughts on “Braves 4 Mets 3”

  1. re: last thread

    If Jordan Walden can’t handle the 9th inning, then how the hell was he a closer that saved 30+ games in his first full season?

  2. @2 Honestly, can you all remember last year? And why did the Angels end up giving the job to someone else?

    Anyway, never mind. Eventually the truth will prevail if Fredi keeps using Walden to protect a four-run lead in the ninth.

    Tonight is supposed to be about the wonderful performance of Santana.

  3. I thought he got hurt the following season and the angels tried to trade him because they thought he was injury prone…but I’m not from LA so I dunno how true that is.

    But absolutely, tonight is about the masterpiece from Ervin Santana

  4. Welcome to the NL, Ervin Santana. I’m guessing that you’re not missing that stupid DH.

    Let’s hope that Erv is sufficiently motivated by all that money he left on the table in the off-season. That was about as efficient an outing as you’ll see.

    Um, so far, so good with our new starters. Really tough to do much better than the first 3 starts from Harang & Santana.

  5. That was Andrelton’s best butt throw yet. I dig that he’s developing a signature move à la Jeter’s jump throw or Visquel’s pop-slide throw. I bet it’s extra humiliating to get thrown out by a guy sitting on his ass.

  6. As I recall, Walden lost the job in Anaheim because of injury – that’s why they were willing to trade him for Hanson. And what I saw when I watched Walden last year was a guy who wasn’t as reliable as Carpenter but was basically the fourth-most-trusted reliever behind Kimbrel, Carpenter, and Avilan – it wasn’t so much that he couldn’t handle the arbitrary pressure of the 9th as that he just wasn’t as good as those guys. But I think last night was an anomaly. Fortunately we got out of it, and next time I think he’ll probably be just fine. No ultimate harm done.

  7. Great recap, ‘Rissa. Thank you.

    Justin isn’t doing much right now, and his defense is less than stellar; but he hit the heck out of that line drive out to centerfield.

  8. coop…

    it may prove to be less than stella in more ways than one!

    wouldn’t it be great if we got the sort of committment out of those two in the outfield that we saw from Jason and Lagares last night?

    bet they did it as kids, can’t be bothered now, you get the impression..

  9. Kimbrel fails to pull off the double Grybo by letting in one of his own. Other than that, a good night.

  10. I, of course, get home from choir practice in time to see Uggla strike out in the bottom of the 8th and watch the bullpen flirt with disaster in the 9th.

    Could be worse I suppose, Kimbrel could have coughed it ALL up.

  11. Early to draw conclusions, but Braves lead baseball with 12 runs saved so far. Next best is the Cubbies at 6. Worst in the NL is the Phillies at -8. The Tigers and White Sox are at -12.

    Heyward is tied with AJ Pollock and Curtis Granderson for the MLB lead with 5 runs saved.

    Edit: Damn, Ryan, get your hustle on.

    If we take “runs saved” literally (potentially stupid idea)then fielding has been an enormous component of our run prevention so far. We’ve “saved” 12 as a team. We’ve allowed 16. We’ve scored 19.


    Some obnoxious violinist stuck his bow up just before the picture was taken.

  12. @12

    The table at the bottom really tells you who the complete and incomplete players are in the 500 club. Hank, what a player.

  13. Posnanski made a point that Mac made over and over. Henry Aaron is often shortchanged as a guy who was “very good” for a very long time. That actually undersells him. He actually was great every single season for 19 straight years. Henry Aaron basically put up the same season every single year for two decades, and you can pretty much extrapolate that by taking his career stats (755 homers, 2,297 RBI, 3,771 hits, .305 average, etc.) and just dividing by 20: he hit .300 with 40 homers and 110 RBI, very good defense and very good baserunning.

    Every. Single. Damn. Year.

  14. I certainly hope Jason Heyward saw all those replays of Josh Hamilton hurting himself by diving headlong into first base.

  15. @18-

    In the Year of Our Lord Two Thousand and Fourteen, who still dives head-first into first base? Boggles the mind.

  16. If any club ever made it a point, from spring training onward, that no one ever slides into first unless they see the first baseman get pulled off the bag with a throw (and maybe even then), and they hammered it into the heads of their players every single day, and they started fining players every time they did so (though that may have to be a players-only kangaroo court thing, as I’m not sure what the CBA would have to say about the teams doing it), it would stop. The problem is there’s still too many people who secretly kind of like it because they think it shows hussle or grittiness or whatever the hell.

  17. Hamilton is in my home run pool. I’m planning a class action suit if anyone wants to join in.

  18. @21-

    The economist in me really likes that explanation. Players sliding into first are “signaling” that they’re gritty/hustly/Eckstieny players. Doing it on a play at first is a good way to do it because it’s visible and obvious that you’re doing something different from most. Nice job!

  19. When guys run the 100m dash, do they dive headfirst across the finish line? No? Then CUT THAT CRAP OUT.

    I think people whose primary skill is running as fast as they can from A to B know what they are doing.

  20. Maybe my sarcasm detector isn’t working correctly.

    Actually, Rusty S. at 24, you win a 10 m dash by when your chest crosses the finish line.

    But, I agree that driving forward with your legs gets you there essentially just as fast. It is POSSIBLE that a TALENTED diver can maintain leg drive while leaning and if he DOESN’T TOUCH THE GROUND until AFTER he touches the bag, he would get there faster. But if his chest or gut drag a foot short of the base, no way.

    And, I don’t concur on the proposed exception from Nick at 21 UNLESS the ball game is definitely on the line.

  21. @ 13


    i can see some advantages in choir practice just before an Uggla strike out (lovely juxtaposition of two events in general)

    the Mozart Requiem as it builds to climax for Dan?
    switch to Handel and the Halleluiah Chorus for Jason’s first at bat last night…

    there must be 100 more pairings for those more musically conversant..

    suggestions? I walk the Line for a BJ strike out?

  22. Mozart Requiem:

    I’d go with the Dies Irae when Oso Blanco mashes a mammoth homer. Certainly fits the Day of Wrath motif.

    For a Simmons pick in the hole, use Lachrymosa. Something just perfectly sweet about both of those.

    And even though last night wasn’t a perfect example – when the Kraken makes the batter do a 180 and head back to the dugout, I could hear the Agnus Dei being played.

  23. The only time you slide into first is when the first baseman has to come off the bag. You slide to avoid the tag.

  24. There is never an ok time to slide into first. You will have a hard time convincing me with any sliding head first argument.

  25. @28 – Correct, slide or dive (if it is too late to slide). The comparisons to the 100-meter are off though – track runners cross an imaginary line, while baseball runners must touch the base. That said, I’d tell players not to slide or dive then either, unless it is for the winning run in the playoffs. Way too much risk of injury just to beat out a single.

  26. Short lived for Simmons

    @ajcbraves: Braves lineup: 1 Heyward RF 2. BUpton CF 3. Freeman 1B 4. Johnson 3B 5. JUpton LF 6. Uggla 2B 7. Doumit C 8.Simmons SS 9. Hale P

  27. That 4-3 win which was solely caused by taking Santana out too early wasn’t enough to convince Fredi. Had we won 4-0 on the other hand…

    /ridiculously over-the-top sarcasm

  28. 33: Nah, he took Santana out at the exact right time. Doesn’t matter how good a starter has been going, he is always a terrible bet to deliver better performance the fourth or subsequent trip through the batting order than a standard bullpen arm (and Walden is better than standard).

  29. BJ back in the two-hole. I would bet money he told BJ it was just an off day, so he didn’t want to replace him. Player first managers, I’ll just have to reread the Bobby Cox article on fivethirtyeight.

  30. @31 Nooo! I mean, there’s no great place in the lineup for BJ right now, but I enjoyed having runners on base in front of Freeman last night.

    Also, it’s strange that 9 games in Doumit is already getting his second start at Catcher, and Laird has only had one. I was under the impression that Laird was our primary backup.

  31. @17,

    Alex, you are right. In fact, it was New York that ultimately made Hank Aaron a household name during the 1969 playoffs. Even though the Braves lost, Hank’s performance in that series against a New York team catapulted him in the national consciousness. That was when he picked up the nickname “Bad Henry.” It never would have happened if the series had been against, say, the Reds.

    I read a book called “Bushville” about the 1957 Milwaukee Braves. I was really astonished by the attitude of the eastern writers toward places like Milwaukee, as if how dare that a cow town actually take a major league team away from Boston. How could we deal with those yokels? You can see why it was hard for Aaron to get much attention.

  32. Apparently Chipper is on the field talking to BJ about hitting right now. Can’t hurt.

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