Dodgers 2, Braves 1 (By Kyle B.)

I wish Vin Scully would narrate my life. During Wednesday’s broadcast he effortlessly told the tale of the 1914 “Miracle Braves” without interrupting the flow of the play-by-play, reminding me for the thousandth time why he is the greatest of all time. Due to the unbalanced schedule, our encounters with Mr. Scully are few and far between, but they are easily the best part of any West Coast road trip. I’m glad he’ll be back for year number sixty-six next season.

After blowing a lead in game one and losing in extra frames on Wednesday, the Braves found themselves attempting to salvage the series with the Dodgers against Clayton Kershaw. For those of you unfamiliar with the sport, Clayton Kershaw is good at baseball. The Braves countered with their own ace, Julio Teheran. Atlanta found themselves entering play 1.5 games back of the Nationals in the NL East, while the Dodgers held a three game lead over the Giants in the West.

The Dodgers got on the board in the bottom of a first when Adrian Gonzales followed up a Yasiel Puig walk with a booming double. Puig made the score 2-0 Dodgers with a solo shot in the bottom of the third.

The Braves were able to scatter hits against Kershaw, but never managed to threaten in the early innings. Atlanta wasted a scoring opportunity in the top of the fourth when B.J. Upton was thrown out trying to steal second after he overslid the bag. Freddie Freeman, of course, follow up with a single with no ducks on the pond. In the fifth, leadoff singles by Evan Gattis and Ryan Doumit were also wasted thanks to a 5-4 double play by Andrelton Simmons. The Braves collected five hits through the first five innings, but none were for extra bases.

Atlanta managed to plate a single run in the top of the ninth on a Justin Upton single, but the final score saw the Dodgers on top 2-1. Kershaw went the distance, striking out nine without a walk, and giving up nine hits.

Ignore the final score for a moment, and appreciate that Teheran was exceptional. Over an eight inning complete game performance, he struck out 9 and walked 3, while allowing only five hits. His off-speed pitches were devastating. Thanks to his offense and a few mistakes, he was hung with the loss.

I’ll leave the Trade Deadline analysis to our esteemed commenters. Since the Braves weren’t going to make a splash, I wasn’t too invested in the trade talk this year. The Braves landed lefty James Russell and Emilio Bonifacio from the Cubs to gear up for a post-season run, and our friend Martin Prado is now in pinstripes. From my understanding, Oakland and Detroit acquired all of the pitchers. All of them.

Up next are trips to San Diego and a two game series (?) in Seattle, before a weekend showdown at home against Washington on August 8-10. Show a little faith, there’s magic in the night.

174 thoughts on “Dodgers 2, Braves 1 (By Kyle B.)”

  1. Teheran turned the Dodgers’ aggressiveness at the plate to his advantage, especially with hitters like Ramirez and Gonzalez. That’s the Dodgers’ Achilles heel: their egos make them too aggressive.

  2. From previous thread:

    The tie does not go to the runner. That is a myth. The runner has to beat the throw.

    @1, seems a little pointless to talk about the Dodgers’ Achilles heel when they swept the Braves. The Braves achilles heel seems to be the entire offense. I think I’d rather be the Dodgers.

  3. Marc,

    I was thinking ahead to the playoffs, regardless of whether the Braves are part of them. Teheran exposed a major weakness. And, all things considered, I don’t think the Braves played horribly. Yes, there were the double plays and the baserunning gaffes, but the Braves were in it right up to the end. They’ll do better when they play the Dodgers in Atlanta (and Heyward’s back in RF).

    Still don’t know why CJ wasn’t in the lineup last night.

  4. @4-

    I mean, Achilles was pretty bad-ass, right? Isn’t that like saying, “The only thing that can possibly stop this unbeatable team is….”

  5. This Padres series is a must-sweep in my opinion. We need to play near .500 ball until the next Nats series. Thankfully they still suck.

  6. @4, I don’t understand the point you’re making. The tie does go to the runner.

    Rule 7.08e: “[Any runner is out when] He or the next base is tagged before he touches the next base, after he has been forced to advance by reason of the batter becoming a runner.”

    He is only out if the next base is tagged before he reaches it. Therefore, it stands to reason that he is safe if it is tagged simultaneous with him reaching it.

  7. I think the Dodgers’ actual Achilles heel is their offense, too. For all of their money they have a lot of holes in the lineup. Their starting third baseman is Juan Uribe, for heaven’s sake. Their only consistent threat is Puig, and their only other two good hitters are Hanley Ramirez and Adrian Gonzalez, who are on the decline. It is possible that Matt Kemp is still good; no one really knows. Carl Crawford and Andre Ethier are not good any more, Juan Uribe is Juan Uribe, their catchers can’t hit, and Dee Gordon is a singles hitter riding a high BABIP to a high batting average. Next year he’ll probably hit 20 points lower and go straight back to sucking.

    Puig is better than anyone we got, and so is Kershaw, so it was natural we’d lose at least one. The sequencing didn’t help either — if it had been Harang-Kershaw, Teheran-Greinke, and Wood-Beckett, I’d have felt better about our chances to take a game and perhaps the series.

    Of course, losing Heyward didn’t help matters either. But the point is, despite having swept us, these Dodgers aren’t juggernauts.

  8. Scratch a Phillies fan & you’ll see Eagles colors.

    And, as a collective, Eagles fans are like the miserable & mean drunk guy at the end of the bar during happy hour.

  9. @Alex @10 – That’s interesting. I have had several umpires at various levels (everything from little league through college and some minor leagues) tell me ties do not go to the runner. I have never had one of them explain the reasoning to me but I guarantee next time one of them brings it up I will be sure to get the full story.

  10. @11, Matt Kemp is certainly on the decline but I’d take a 130 OPS+ in our lineup in a heartbeat. OF defense doesn’t matter for the Dodgers because they rarely even get balls hit to them on the fly. Last night is a great example.

  11. Kemp literally gained 40 points of OPS in the Braves series, tallying six hits (including three homers) and two walks in twelve plate appearances.

    On July 29, Buster Olney wrote a piece referring to conversations he’d had with two team officials asking them what they’d pay if Matt Kemp were a free agent. They both said the same thing: two years, between $15 and $16 million total.

    It’s possible that he doesn’t suck, but most people in baseball are not yet convinced.

  12. BJ got two hits last night. So did Doumit. And I think Gosselin had one too. The odds of that happening against Kershaw have to be about the same as winning the lottery. If we were ever going to beat him then last night seemed like a pretty good time to do it.

  13. Your real argument should’ve been that a true tie in that situation is impossible, mathematically speaking. One beat the other, and it would’ve been perceptible with a better replay (I have a sneaking suspicion that he was actually out, for what it’s worth). But yes, insofar as the umpire’s perception, a tie does go to the runner.

  14. Alex,

    I had heard that the tie goes to the runner was a myth. Apparently not. My bad.

  15. Will Schafer go Gwinning or will he go ride the pine some place else?

    Will his exit be loud and funny?

  16. @22

    I’d love to see you bring that page out on a smartphone to an umpire if you’re ever in a position to argue a call.

    You’d take the smart-ass of the year award hands-down.

    (By the way, that is a wonderful article. Thanks for the link.)

  17. Where are you seeing that? Neither DOB or Bowman have it on Twitter.

    I thought Heyward was supposed to be back in the lineup Saturday.

  18. Ahhh Braves Journal on a Friday afternoon… where one is never surprised to be directed to a page containing differential equations and relativity physics. :-)

  19. I enjoy some good trolling but I don’t know about maintaining a whole account dedicated to it.

  20. @30 Yeah I looked all over the place for the it too. I was just about to snark about Heyward’s annual trip to the DL.

  21. Heyward was not DL’d and Schafer was DFA’d. Replacing Chasen Shreve with James Russel is counterproductive.

  22. I don’t get the critique of the Dodgers offense. They look like the best offense the NL has to offer. I’d take that line up any day over the one the Braves have been trotting out (I get sick every time I realize that we are stuck with this same lineup for 2015 in all likelihood).

    IF the Braves make the playoffs I guess they could get hot at the right time. I mean, lots of Braves juggernauts in the past floundered in October so why not hold out hope that the opposite could happen.

  23. Simultaneity may be technically incoherent, but it is extraordinarily relevant to a game that is umpired by human beings judging bang-bang plays by the naked eye. As the sequence of events goes, if the ball doesn’t beat the runner to the bag, the runner is safe.

  24. @33, it’s a weak league this year. If anything, the Nats should probably have had a better-balanced offense — but Zimmerman, Harper, Ramos, and Werth have all spent a lot of time on the DL this year, so that isn’t how it worked out. As an absolute matter, the Dodger offense isn’t any great shakes, and it’s nowhere near as good as it was last year, when Hanley Ramirez was hitting everything in sight.

  25. Our solace is that often the best team doesn’t win. But if I’m a Dodger fan I like the odds. Kershaw and Grienke in a short series is gonna be tough to get past. Their offense is still near the top of the league, and they hit a lot of doubles and triples.

    Their undoing in a playoff series might be their defense, but a lot of that depends on luck (and the other team’s ability to not strike out against their pitching).

  26. @32 – For all this complaining about James Russell’s trouble with lefties this year, (they’re hitting .295 off him,) has anyone looked at Chasen Shreve? They’re hitting .556 off him. Chasen Shreve has been worse against lefthanded batters than PURE CHANCE would dictate.

    How can you possibly say with such certainty that Chasen Shreve, with 5 big league appearances, who was an 11th round pick, who took 3 shots at High-A, who was our THIRD shot at figuring out lefthanded relief internally, and who has allowed a .556 batting average to the handedness against which he is supposed to specialize, makes the team better than James Russell, who has 5 years in the league and late-inning experience? What rational reason do you have to say that?

  27. I was fine with running with Avilan. We’ve got one of the best pens in baseball. It’s not a huge need. Our offense is a dumpster fire by comparison.

    We play so many close games because we don’t score enough, and our pen is always in high leverage situations. Guys like Varvaro get blasted when they have a bad outing, but overall they’ve had pretty darn good years.

    I just don’t see why you’d want a soft-tossing lefty to come out of the pen and nibble and walk guys. You want to bring a guy in to get a key strikeout. Russell is just roster filler…I don’t see how he makes us better.

  28. Can someone explain why Luis Vasquez was DFA’d last night, if they were just going to DFA Schafer today? The 40-man roster now has 39 on it because…?

  29. We’ve got righties that can get lefties out too… I think the platoon advantage goes away when you are a slop baller – most of those guys tend to have reverse splits due to righties being too aggressive with outside changeups.

    Is Russell better than Avilan? I’m not so sure.

  30. Russell looks like the type of player that McDowell has success with. He’s had 3 straight years with ERAs in the threes, and I’d imagine McDowell can make him better. Whoever is wanting a guy with 5 big league innings over Russell is kinda crazy.

  31. They moved Floyd to the 60-day DL, DFA’d Vasquez, then DFA’d Schafer. That created three openings for two incoming players.

  32. I count 40 on the 40-man…nevermind, the list I’m looking at still has Schafer.

    Dunno. Maybe we’re leaving room for a waiver pickup.

  33. Yeah, maybe, but my question really is, Why didn’t they wait for the point at which they need to add someone else — waiver pick-up, August trade acquisition, Venters coming off the DL, etc. — to DFA Vasquez? They made the move before they had to, and that’s very curious to me.

  34. Avilan was terrible leading up to when they sent him down, and he’s got a WHIP of almost 2.00 in AAA. A competent left-handed reliever is much preferred to him at this point. I really don’t think you appreciate what a disaster our bullpen has become in the last couple weeks.

  35. Hahahahaha

    @gggiants: Uggla not on the team flight, #SFGiants left seat E4 empty in his honor.

  36. I guess I don’t see where the bullpen has been at fault besides a couple of extra innning losses where we could’ve played 27 more innings and our offense still wouldn’t have scored. Varvaro didn’t pitch well a couple of nights ago but he’s been solid if not spectacular all year. I don’t trust Carpenter much, but he’s been serviceable mostly. Kimbrel has had as many shaky outings lately as anyone. Still overall aren’t we the best bullpen in the majors?

  37. By the way, how long until we want Bonifacio and his .279/.318/.393 line in center field? Does BJ’s defense offset the production?

  38. #52
    In the NL, the Braves bullpen:

    Most saves (39)
    2nd fewest IP (294.1)
    2nd fewest HR allowed (17)
    5th best ERA (3.18)
    5th best opponent BA (.235)
    6th most Ks (315)
    6th fewest BBs (115)

  39. @34Sure Alex. But if Billy Hamilton were coming down the line at 90% of the speed of light and Simmons used his 98% of the speed of light throw to try and catch him, it’s entirely possible that the ump and the camera get different results, even if the ump hasn’t made a mistake (so it isn’t Bucknor) . By the idiotically Caray-repeated “clear and convincing” standard: safe or out?

  40. @57, “clear and convincing” only refers to the evidentiary standard required to overturn the ruling on the field in a video review, and in that case, since it is highly unlikely you could find clear and convincing evidence, it is relatively certain that the ruling on the field would stand, whatever the umpire originally called in the moment.

  41. Boner should be leading off. Though you could say that of literally anyone other than BJ.

  42. Alex, it’s clear and convincing that you think logically and write well. I guess that’s why geezers like blazon and I enjoy your recaps and posts so much. Carry on the good work.

  43. jjschiller, you always find a way to bring bad news into an interesting conversation.

    Enough with Heyward’s bad back, already. Can’t he just sit on one of those inflatable balls in the dugout instead of the pine?

  44. I am hoping against hope that Bonifacio just comes out like gangbusters tonight, plays out of his mind until Jason comes back, and gives Fredi no choice but to give him a couple shots at BJ’s job.

  45. @59, let’s consider to last night’s play as a data point in the Second String Theory.

  46. Swing away at a crap pitcher who’s all over the place. B.J.’s exactly who you want getting the most plate appearances.

  47. To hell with Mike Minor. Find an excuse to DL him and get David Hale back in the rotation, pronto.

  48. I didn’t think even Mike could throw home runs in San Diego. Medica seems to like Braves pitching.

  49. They should let Mike Minor pitch the homerun derby every year. The numbers would sore throught the roof.

  50. How many more times do we have to watch this clown? The one good thing is he allows us to get to sleep at a normal hour when the Braves are on the west coast. It is amazing how he has regressed over the last year

  51. I don’t know what to say about Mike at this point. I guess I wish he were working out his case of extreme incompetence at Gwinnett, but David Hale is a pretty crappy replacement.

  52. I’m not a big fan of David Hale, but at this point…yeah, sending Minor down is probably the right thing to do. Hale would not be this bad.

  53. This is painful. Put Hale in the starting rotation, and drop Minor to the bullpen to just mop up games that are already lost instead of starting them to lose. Seriously, this is becoming an every 5th game occurance.

    We can win close games. We are not built to win games when we start off so far behind. Minor should do what any good warrior does and fall on his own sword with this type of failure he has portrayed on a consistent basis.

  54. At this point let him finish taking the beating. The Braves won’t score 6 runs tonight so save the pen and let Minor take the beating and then DL him or whatever. The film study isn’t working

  55. No joke, our pitcher if fighting back tears on the mound. That is just sad. I thought I was just seeing things till it showed the closeup. He has all the classic signs: repetitive blinking, swelling under the eyes, and a frowny face. LOL.

  56. It hurts to watch Minor right now. The only silver lining to this game is at least I can go to bed now confident of the result.

  57. @91

    Minor’s problems have nothing to do with the fact that we can’t score.

    Yes, our offense is our biggest problem. OK, you’ve already said that the lineup is largely unfixable. So why wouldn’t we fix areas that we can? Your constant lamenting how crappy the offense is while we’re talking about fixing things that have nothing to do with the offense is somewhat pointless.

  58. Hale might not be our dream pick, but the guys numbers as a starter are quite solid. He has even done very good work out of the bullpen. We just fault him because he is the one who ends up on the losing end of a few of our extra inning games. The guys ERA is still solid. I would like a better WHIP, but he still has much better numbers than Minor.

  59. @96, the offense is fixable. Sit the worst player in baseball instead of giving him 5 ABs a game. We refuse to do that though. That bothers me. A lot.

  60. @98

    Probably some attempt at helping Minor work through his shit (since Laird is the one known for calling games/handling pitchers). If so, it has failed quite spectacularly, but that’s my guess.

  61. So in other words that trade was even a bigger bunch of nothing than we already thought if BJ continues to lead off

  62. I don’t like that at ALL. Down 4, and you risk a big inning when they try to give you an out. I don’t care that he got him. That was a fast man on first and that was way too close. That was like stealing third with none out down 4.

  63. With how mediocre both the Braves and Nats are, this stands to be one of the most meh “pennant races” of all time.

  64. @106

    He knew he could get him and he did. Also, when you’re down by four, you don’t try to prevent the big inning. You try to prevent ANY run from scoring.

  65. I think it’s going to be pretty exciting down the stretch, but not in the ways we’re used to. Honestly it’s a miracle that we’re in it at all, so I’m trying to just sit back and enjoy without having any expectations. So far I’ve found that to be difficult, but with every loss it’s getting easier.

  66. 99: You exaggerate. B.J. Upton is only the 7th-worst qualified player in baseball by wRC+, and he’s a decent baserunner.

  67. Getting one-hit by Eric Stults. Just when I think this can’t get any worse …

  68. This is the time of night when my mind begins to wonder things like whether the Braves batters could hit Mike Minor. Either way, the answer would depress me.

  69. Haven’t had a “ballgame” yet. So pathetic that I reckon it went without saying.

  70. What we need, is more minor leaguers. They always just come up and get the job done, ya know?

  71. Because of off-days, Minor’s next scheduled start is vs. Washington. If he starts that game, whoever will have made the decision that he should not be skipped during the next turn of the rotation ought to be fired immediately on competence grounds.

  72. That whole Dodgers series, and again tonight, the opponents on this trip play the game like they want to beat your brains in. Taking extra bases, rounding bases hard, stealing third base while the pitcher kicks dirt around and never even looks up and attempts a play.

    And over and over and OVER our guys are surprised by it. I’ve never seen a Braves team look as lousy as this one. Just lousy. Not “untalented.” Lousy.

  73. @128, that’s the thing. I feel like this team is really close to the horrible teams of the 70’s and 80’s. They look absolutely terrible and disinterested for long periods. There’s some cognitive dissonance here with us being in the pennant race. Most nights we run out 4 or 5 guys with .600 OPS and below .300 OBPs. How are we even remotely close to first place?

  74. I’m pretty rough on Heyward, but this stretch has convinced me that he’s the heartbeat of this team. Without him we’re worse than the Mets.

  75. Padres announcers are criticizing our fielders for standing flat foot and upright as the pitch is delivered. Just called out Simmons.

  76. It’s a lazy, lethargic team. Laird, for instance, might be timed with a sundial, but I still expect a sprint down to first, not the half-assed loaf up the line I saw tonight.

  77. Jeez, Hale. Just because you should replace Minor in the rotation doesn’t mean you need to pitch like him.

  78. Fredi’s dressing down Hale for some reason. Probably decided he didn’t like being annoyedly waved off by Hale.

    Which, yeah, he wasn’t exactly “respectful” with the way he waved you off.. But he also just got lit up by a line drive in an inning where he can’t get anyone out.

    But Hale’s not the guy you’re mad at, Fredi.

  79. There have been some desultory nights, to be certain, but this is the most piss-poor performance of the season.

  80. For ANOTHER thing, did anyone else think it was weird that David O’Brien had quotes from Jordan Schafer about how he was “aggravated” and “frustrated” that he couldn’t get any playing time, BEFORE he was DFA’d, and actually given on a day when he’d started the previous night?

    I think Fredi’s losing the team.

    Bobby had bench players. Bobby had young players who probably thought they deserved more of a shot. But nobody with as much time on the squad as Schafer had would have EVER said those things to a reporter.

  81. Frank Wren built this team through total disregard of walk rate and K rate. He just doesn’t dig it. OBP is for pussies. He likes hackers and junk ball pitchers. Face it–we have a moron pulling the strings. Every free agent signing has been an unmitigated disaster.

  82. Bobby never had to worry about his highest paid players being so bad that they don’t belong in the league. Fredi has had nothing but that for his tenure. It’s on Wren and ownership.

  83. The major Acquisitions of wren:

    Derek Lowe: 60 mil, 6.5 war
    Dan Uggla: 62 mil, 5 war
    K. Kawakami: 23 mil, 2.4 war
    BJ Upton: 75.5 m, -0.8 war (so far)

    So, we have about 220 mil spent so far on about 13 wins for this mid-market team. What an astonishing failure to shrewdly allocate resources. How is this level of incompetence tolerated. How sick that wren smugly thinks he is “doing a pretty good job”

  84. You’re sick jjschiller. You have a one-track mind.

    I’m against fredi because he sucks. It’s his apologists I think are racially motivated. Why would I be in favor of Dacenzo?

    How self righteous do you feel about painting others as racist?

  85. You’re a bigot. You came in slinging homophobia three weeks ago, now you’re back with the racist stuff. You’re a bigot and you can be a bigot any place but here.

  86. June 29th. You were slinging homophobia in here and Alex had to delete your comments.

    No one said anything to you that time, because Alex was around and he could just delete it.

    But no one is here who can delete your drivel, so I’m just going to keep telling you that you’re a bigot until you find somewhere else to be a bigot. Bigot.

  87. You’re a bigot. You have no reason to say Fredi was a “minority hire” except for the fact that he’s Cuban. You’re saying “his supporters support him for his race,” but you’re the one who brought up his race. There are plenty of reasons to complain about Fredi. Being Cuban isn’t one. Except to you. Because you’re a drooling bigot.

    I don’t have the exchange, because Alex deleted it. I tweeted to Alex to tell him JohnWDB is going on a homophobic rant, and he swooped in and deleted your post, and mine.

    It was noted that the Nationals had a day off because there was a pride parade in Chicago, and you took the opportunity to let us know your views on homosexuality.

  88. Where? Show me any evidence of it. There should at least be some other posters who made reference to it. You are making stuff up

  89. I have no views on homosexuality. To be charitable, you have me confused with someone else

    At worst, you are making stuff up out of hatred

  90. Actually John R. Asked in post 64 on June 29th “any idea why the nats were off today”

    I made zero comments in the vicinity of his. It is much more likely you are remembering him

  91. @jjshiller and @JohnWDB

    I do remember that post, and the fact that it was deleted not to long afterward. I am not sure who the poster was though, so I cannot say if it was JohnWDB or not. I just know it was up one second and deleted the next.

  92. I can’t even imagine what I would say about gays. I was following the game that day bc I made a couple of comments but there were a couple of hours where I was away. It was only when I came back that I caught up. Notice I made the last comment on the board… It had been hours since my prior comment.

  93. I’m with @salty. I remember that post but have no idea who posted it. I was just glad it was taken down. Anyways, this is a baseball site. Take the other discussions elsewhere.

    On a baseball note, will Heyward be back in the lineup tomorrow?

    If so, the lineup should be:

    Bonifacio CF
    La Stella 2B
    Freeman 1B
    J. Upton LF
    J. Heyward RF
    Gattis C
    Johnson 3B
    Simmons SS
    Santana P

  94. @139, if this team had a closed door meeting and a few fights, they would mostly swing and miss at one another.

  95. This team has no chemistry sadly. At least we’re fired up on this board . With that said those comments were unnecessary JohnWbd and hopefully said under the influence. Let’s get back to some baseball!.

  96. A dark day in Atlanta Braves history. Got squashed by San Diego and JohnWDB held a KKK meeting in our house.

  97. Well we finally got a potential leadoff hitter and Fredi bats him 8th so he doesn’t have to jerk Upton around. DOB mentioned that Bonifacio will not be an everyday player. It’s time to face it. We had a ridiculous start to the season due to great starting pitching. However, our starters aren’t great, our offense is still one of the worst in the leagues, our bullpen is ok, and the bench is awful. It’s not playoff calibur baseball.

    We could use several guys that have been DFA’d recently and we have no help in the minors.

  98. Guys, all will be good as of next week as I am leaving the US after a two week holiday with my wife. Get ready for a winning streak.

  99. After going back and reading some posts, this is where Mac would say, “play nice.”

  100. I have deleted several of JohnWDB’s comments on this thread and on a previous thread. John, this is your warning: either avoid comments about politics and avoid disparaging remarks about race or you will be banned.

    New thread is up.

  101. Alex, could you email me and tell me what comments I made on another thread? I have no recollection

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