Braves 5, Mets 4

We’ve gone from the Jones boys to the Simmons boys. Andrelton Simmons led the team with two hits and two RBI, Shae Simmons pitched 1 2/3 crucial scoreless innings to bail out a homer-happy Mike Minor, and the Braves just barely held on to beat the Mets. In all, the Braves Bullpen pitched 4 2/3 innings, 8 strikeouts, no walks, one hit, and no runs. Jordan Walden and the Kraken finished the game out by striking out the side in back to back innings. That’ll get it done every time.

If Mike Minor would just stop giving up homers all of the time, he might be an effective pitcher — it’s hard to dislike five strikeouts against just one walk in 4 1/3 innings, but it’s really easy to dislike the fact that he gave up two two-run homers in less than half a ballgame.

But the Braves are in first place by a half-game, they’ve won six in a row, and their offense is starting to resemble a major league offense, sort of. In May, the Braves scored 3.4 runs a game; in June, they scored 4.0 runs a game. I’m not saying that Tommy La Stella is the only reason for that, but when you take Dan Uggla out of your lineup, good things happen. Losing Evan Gattis for two weeks will hurt, but last night, Christian Bethancourt got his first major league RBI. So that’s nice for the kid.

74 thoughts on “Braves 5, Mets 4”

  1. This game kind of points out how good an NL team could be if it allocated all its starting pitcher payroll to really good relievers and pinch hitters and every game was a bullpen game. You could almost totally avoid pitchers hitting, you’d have max-effort pitchers for the entire game, and you could work it to get a platoon advantage on the other team’s best hitters much more frequently. A team that’s really good at developing relievers (like the Braves) could mop the floor with the league for a few years until everyone else caught on.

  2. A few random observations from the last couple nights at Turner Field:

    Road trip success didn’t translate to significantly larger crowd, but the fans seemed more engaged, vocal in their expectation of good things happening imminently, which was often justified. Even during the 13-inning games against the Angels and Phils, the crowds’ enthusiasm was, as a soccer commentator would say, “sadly lacking.”

    Heyward did not reach safely. For crying out loud, that’s 5 games out of the last 50!

    Spent time thinking about where Gattis would have batted had he not been on the DL, and I reached a conclusion.

    Monday night, sat next to a dad and his son (77 and 43 years old) who were attending their first game Turner Field, the 19th ballpark in their quest to eventually tag them all. They said Turner Field had the nicest staff and fans of any of the 19 ballparks they’ve been to. They also couldn’t that Turner Field will be demolished. From our vantage point (front row, upper box, sunset on a rare cool(er) summer evening), hard to explain why. As for the nicest fans comment, I responded by tossing my lemonade in the old man’s face.

    Teams don’t turn corners. They round curves. It was fun watching this one enter a curve and more fun watching them continue to navigate it at home.

    Get to Turner Field tonight if you can. You’ll never regret seeing too many baseball games (unless you are also married to my wife, in which case we should talk).

    Props when props are due:to Fredi, to B.J., to Cro-Jo (that’s what they call Chris Johnson), Shae, Luis, and one more time, Fredi. Skipper has been setting the clubhouse thermostat at just the right temperature (and I loved seeing Shae (” The Pormstar”) Simmons come in to work out of the 5th.

    Go Braves. Go.

  3. Why would they complain? The only comment you could possibly make about his delivery is, “That’s weird, and probably not good for your body. He’s going to get injured and not be effective for our rival.”

    My wife actually really likes watching him pitch. She says he looks like a ninja.

  4. Alex,

    One name I didn’t see on your US to Japan back to the US list was Bob Horner. He spent 1987 with the Yakult Swallows before returning to play with St. Louis in 1988.

    Of course, his situation was unusual in that 1987 was The Year Of Collusion and that’s why he went to Japan.

  5. 5: You can set a stopwatch to opposing announcers’ whines about Jordan Walden’s delivery when he first appears in a series. Within 10 seconds, every time.

  6. Basically they were running with the “that’s a balk” argument. Ignoring the “if it’s part of his ‘natural delivery’ it’s never a balk” part of that rule. Basically Mets being Mets.

  7. It’s certainly possible to view Walden’s motion as something which shouldn’t be allowed. In a “normal” pitching motion, the back foot only comes off the rubber (or the ditch in front of it — which is another matter) once the front foot is planted, thus limiting the distance a pitcher can subtract from 60’6″ to the length of his stride. Thanks to the Walden hop, in which his back foot appears to land forward on the mound before his front leg lands, he may be able to subtract a greater distance.

    That said, nobody has stopped him from doing it, so their complaint should be with the umpires, not Walden.

  8. It is technically not a legal pitching motion. Every pitch he throws should either be a balk or an automatic ball, depending on whether or not there are any runners on base. Umpires, however, have adopted the ruling that if it’s part of a pitcher’s “natural motion”, it’s OK, and Walden is not the only pitcher they’ve done this for, so complaining about it is kind of pointless, as sansho stated. I’m sure the Mets at some point have had a relief pitcher that balked every time but it was allowed because it was part of his “natural motion”, and I’m sure they didn’t complain too loudly then.

  9. If you look at every pitcher’s motion you’ll see that the ball is released well after the back foot has come off the rubber. I guess the debate would be about whether his little hop/skip gets him closer to home plate than otherwise would be possible, thus giving him an unfair advantage over guys that don’t do it. I can definitely see that argument.

  10. There is no rule that the pitcher’s foot is required to keep contact with the rubber once he has begun his “natural” delivery. Walden’s motion indeed gives him an advantage in closeness, but sacrifices balance and leverage, or it would in any ordinary person.

  11. I love Bobby Bo. Hit 160/277/303 for the Mets in ’99, gets released with all the strings attached, then hits 255/356/397 for the Braves. Dude was the ultimate troll.

  12. I noticed a guy who pitched for Vandy in the CWS had a little Walden hop. I like funky deliveries/ batting stances. They flavor the game.

    Jordan Walden:Hunter Pence::Hideo Nomo:Craig Counsel

  13. @15, I like the Terry Collins quote in that piece.

    “Jason Heyward? He does everything,” Mets manager Terry Collins said on Tuesday. “He can run. He’s got great range in the outfield. Since I’ve watched him play, he’s made plays that beat us. How about the diving catch he made last year — the diving catch on Justin Turner against [Craig] Kimbrel? Tremendous play. Saved the game.

    “Then he makes the play last night in foul territory down the line. I mean, he can throw, he can run. I’ve always liked the way he plays. He plays the game right. I wish he’d have a day off once in a while.”

  14. @19

    There is no explicit rule, no. I view Walden’s motion as belonging to the rich baseball tradition of finding and exploiting a loophole. But that doesn’t mean the loophole can’t be closed, and it wouldn’t even require a new rule, just a clarifying interpretation of an existing one. Repeated mention is made of the pitcher’s back foot as his “pivot foot”. If there was sufficient agreement that a hop violated the spirit or intent of the “pivot foot” wording, they could disallow it.

  15. @23

    I have always liked Collins. I think the is the best manager in the division.

  16. Sure. But just as they grandfathered the spitball, I suspect they’d grandfather Walden. The union would pitch a fit otherwise.

  17. Plus, if they interpreted a pivot foot like they do in the NBA, Walden could just hand the ball to the catcher.

  18. Probably so. I imagine it has been discussed already anyway. Still, I could see a pitcher out there take a look at Walden and come up with something even more extreme, like what Dominique did with the jump-step.

  19. @15 – So Heyward is the Tim Howard of RF? Best tweet – paraphrasing Tim Howard is like Jesus except Jesus had 11 guys he could depend on.

  20. I doubt they would interpret the rule in a way that might really harm Walden’s career. He’s a good pitcher but it’s not like his motion makes him impossible to hit and making him change might really ruin him.

  21. @30

    ha ha ha!

    I like the pictures of Tim Howard saving differnt things. The girl from the Jaws poster, the Titanic, Simba, the dinosaurs, Blockbuster Video.

  22. The US v Belgium match = Aaron Harang scattering 25 hits but giving up only 2 runs then having BJ Upton, of all people, tie the game up by hitting the right field foul pole with the Brave’s second hit of the night, then having Bryce Harper win the game with a walk off HR in 18 innings.

  23. Great AB by Simmons there. A guy with his contact skills should be putting up those kind of at-bats.

  24. Please tell me nobody is surprised that they get no runs out of bases loaded and nobody out

    Edit- wow, I am surprised by that. Good job CJ

  25. Only the Mets would give us all three on that after we were one strike away from completely screwing it up.

    EDIT: Also, the difference between those games you guys are mentioning and the soccer game last night is that there was never a point where I thought we were going to win the soccer game.

  26. CJ’s overall numbers aren’t so good & he still doesn’t walk at all (8 BB in 327 PA), but he had a decent June: 327/345/409.

    That soccer game reminded me of a million NHL games, where one squad gets dramatically outplayed & spends most of the game in their end, but the goalie stands on his head & keeps them alive. Unfortunately, the US couldn’t cash in at all during regulation.

  27. Good evening from the tarmac in Newark Airport. 4 hours on the plane with nice tstorms around us. At least the Braves keep playing well.

  28. I didn’t see it on the radio, but at first glance not a bad idea. Stay out of the dp, move the runner at worst, keep the defense honest and maybe get a hit.

  29. Yeah I really don’t see it. First, it doesn’t keep you out of the double play, as it’s entirely possible to bunt in to a double play. Second, it’s the pitcher running, so even after you sacrifice the second out, a base hit wouldn’t be guaranteed to score him. It was BJ doing it, who’s not exactly a doubleplay candidate. And on that same tack, BJ’s a speedy guy, exactly the type who’d bunt for a hit.

    Virtual guarantee that it was a hit attempt, and if he was mad, it was because he bunted back to the pitcher.

  30. Odds of BJ grounding into a dp are vastly higher than him bunting into one, or getting a clean hit for that matter, but as I said, I didn’t see it

  31. @54, it’s finally clearing up in New Jersey. Left the plane and are re-boarding right now, so there is hope.

  32. @46

    We had our opportunity to steal it with that Wondolowski chance at the end of regulation, but he tried to take out the blimp with it, unfortunately.

  33. @46

    I had to laugh a little. I think you might be the first person other than me to say something even remotely positive about Chris Johnson on this blog.

  34. The Braves seem to be playing so much differently. They are stealing basis, using the hit and run, and actually making an effort to move runners over. It is amazing how a team can turnaround once they actually start playing baseball the right way. I love the HRs, but this is the type baseball that is really fun to watch.

  35. Between his collision with Hudson and the feeling that if he gets on base leading off, it’s a guaranteed run, I’ve come to detest Eric Young, Jr.

    And 30 seconds later, picked off. There’s something to that reverse jinx.

  36. @62…

    Young was class itself dealing with the Hudson incident…and he hugged FF on first base tonight, Freddie was nonplussed…


    there are a few of us…necessary to offset the Regression men and their anger who viewed his extension as the work of the Devil

  37. “The devil made Wren do it” is the best explanation for the extension I’ve heard yet.

  38. It is plays like that that make me wonder why La Stella was getting the late game defensive replacement treatment early on. Great job La Stella.

  39. It’s probably going to be Walden in the 9th since Kimbrel has pitched 3 consecutive games.

  40. Mets announcers now reduced to complaining about how the Braves run out to their positions at the beginning of half innings. They’re pretty broken up about this whole “getting swept” thing.

  41. Guess the Rockies were too stoned off legal Colorado marijuana to bother winning a game against the Nationals.

  42. @63

    EY Jr. did all he could do to show remorse. But every time he gets on base, steals second, gets advanced to third and scores on a sac fly, it drives just a bit mad. No rational reason for it.

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