Nats 2, Braves 1 (11 innings) by ububba

The great American humorist Mark Twain once said, “œNever argue with stupid people — they will drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience.”

Along those lines (sort of), NBA coach/announcer Jeff Van Gundy, in moments of on-court malfeasance, has been known to say, “œStupid will get you beat.”

It’s a sentiment I heard voiced from a variety of coaches throughout my sporting youth. They weren’t always nice about it, but the nice way to put it was: “œI can handle the physical errors, but the mental ones are unforgivable.”

Nonetheless, all that coach-speak essentially meant the same thing: “œGet your head out of your ass before you lose this game all by yourself.”

In one half-inning tonight at Nationals Park, the Braves and Nats tried to outdo each other on the Dum-Dum Meter. In the end, an inexplicably botched opportunity quite possibly cost Atlanta the game. For all their positive surprises throughout the season, the Braves simply aren’t good enough to get away with that, and tonight they didn’t.

The Game: Helluva pitchers’ duel tonight. While the Braves scratched only a half-dozen singles off Jordan Zimmermann, their own hurler, Shelby Miller, was a strike-throwing machine tonight, a model of mound efficiency.

In a duel like this, there’s often a late-inning moment when one side’s fans collectively say, “œUh-oh.” That came when Miller walked Denard Span, leading off the home 7th. Up ’til then, Miller had allowed only one hit, yet still facing the minimum. After Rendon chopped one over third for a single, putting runners on first and second, Escobar rapped into a force play, leaving runners on the corners with one out.

Next up, the Designated Villain Bryce Harper blooped one a few tantalizing inches over Jace Peterson’s glove, giving the Nats a 1-0 lead. With Freddie Freeman on the DL and the Nats not giving up many runs this week, it seemed like that score might certainly hold up. But… not so fast…

Cue the 9th-Inning Uprising: With Drew Storen attempting to close things out, consecutive singles from Cakes & AJP should’ve put runners on the corners with nobody out. Instead, The Designated Villain in right-field fired through to third, but badly missed the cutoff man, allowing AJP to waltz into second. As he slowed down to touch the bag, AJP very pointedly looked out to right-field. (Dick move, or instructional moment? Discuss…)

We’re suddenly in business and, when the Nats decide to intentionally walk Joey Terdoslavich, loading the bases with nobody out, it was hard not to imagine Muddy Waters exclaiming, “œWell, well, well, well…” Hey, we might just win this thing right here.

But with Harper’s head-up-his-ass moment in right-field, one idiotic instance deserved another, one assumes, because on KJ’s run-scoring sac fly to center, Joey Terds (not to be confused with this guy) tried to tag up from first & got thrown out at second, ending up in a sprawling, humiliating, head-first mess. Instead of a tie-game & runners on the corners with one out (AJP tagged & made it to third), we just have a runner on third with two down.

Andrelton Simmons then grounded out. A very winnable game quickly turned into something rather different, a contest where the extra-inning death march suddenly seemed appealing.

Now, there’s no way to know if Andrelton gets the go-ahead run in from third with one out. But we do know this: If Terdoslavich stays put, we have our best contact hitter at the plate and we have one more out with which to work. It was a boner, perhaps not Merkle-sized in context, but certainly one that impacted this contest, one that the Braves really needed.

Grilli worked through the top of Washington’s order in the bottom of the 9th. But alas, later in the home 11th, it all ended. Eveland collected an out, then surrendered a scorching Harper double. He intentionally walked Ramos, then (after getting ahead 0-2) very unintentionally walked Clint Robinson, loading the sacks. Fredi pulled him, bringing in Aardsma, who promptly gave up the game-losing sac fly to Desmond. Ballgame.

Stupid is as stupid does.

P.S. — This chocolate-syrup thing the Nats have going on is not an especially good look. I’ll leave it at that.

49 thoughts on “Nats 2, Braves 1 (11 innings) by ububba”

  1. No excuse for Joey Terds.

    This team can’t compensate for the absence of the Man.

  2. Great recap ububba. I’m gonna go ahead and say most anything AJP does is a dick move by definition.

  3. Absolutely brilliant recap, ububba. I do love some great pitching, but an occasional Braves run would be appreciated.

    AJP, well, leopards and spots, you know.

  4. One way to score more runs would be to occasionally hit the ball over the fence. With Freddie on the DL we currently do not have a single hitter slugging .450+ (min. 100 AB). The Dodgers have seven.

  5. Just imagine future rotation fixtures Manny Bananas and Touki Toussaint. Great Saturday morning entertainment for the grandkids.

  6. The Braves had soooooooooo many singles this game! And the Nats scored their regulation run off of sooooo little!

    String ’em together a bit different and the Braves win it 3-0. :-/

  7. How many here thought we had a 1% chance of winning when Eveland came in? If you did you were being overly optimistic. How much longer does he stay on the team?

  8. I hated every single intentional walk. It was stupid when the Nats did it and let us plate the tying run, and it was stupid when we did it and let them plate the winning run.

    That game was not exactly a clash of intellectual titans.

  9. @13

    Right. We have a bunch of wonderful young players and as good a shot as anyone at being a very good team again within 1-2 seasons. And we traded away a few guys who can hit pretty well to do it. So I think holding this line-up responsible for not hitting very many home runs is like holding me responsible for not being able to walk on my hands. The point of design was something else entirely, and I’ll just have to live on my feet and enjoy them for what they are, at least until they develop opposable big toes.

  10. @10

    Yeah, the intentional walks were dumb. As I started to mention last night, you should probably never intentionally walk a hitter to which your initial reaction is anything less severe than “Oh God…I really don’t wanna face this guy right now” unless the winning run is at third base with less than two outs. And even then you should think before you do it. (Is this guy likely to strike out anyway? Is the next guy likely to hit into a double play? And so forth.) Walking Espinosa (who freaking sucks and would’ve made an out anyway) and Ramos (who’s OK…but again, the winning run was at second) with the runner not even at third…well, it’s not like Fredi’s the only manager in the game who would walk an average to crappy hitter to setup a double play, but he’s certainly one of them.

    You wanna walk Bryce Harper on the road in extra innings with a runner at second and one out? Fine. Anthony Rendon, given how much he’s torched us in this series? I guess that’s acceptable. Those are the only two possible exceptions. I mean, Jesus…he walked Espinosa (who freaking sucks, as I already mentioned) to setup a double play for Denard Span. You wouldn’t be able to double up Denard Span on 50 percent of all tailor-made double play balls. The only reason we got out of that situation and not the other one was that we had Avilan pitching in that situation and Eveland/Aardsma pitching in the other one.

  11. 4:05 start today: even if Wisler goes Harvey Haddix on the Nats, we should be able to lose before bedtime.

  12. 13 runs in 6 games without Freeman. We’re lucky to be 3-3. Btw, I know we don’t care anymore, but Heyward is on fire. Both sides have to be happy with that trade so far.

  13. I’d still rather have Miller until 2018 over Heyward leaving as a FA after this season.

  14. A bit more Diamondbacks, LOL from Ken Rosenthal, h/t to mlbtraderumors.com. This is a quote from GM Dave Stewart:

    The truth is we did not know what Touki’s value would be if we shopped him. There is a lot of speculation on that. People are assuming it would have been better, but we don’t know.

    There was an opportunity to make a deal that gave us more flexibility today as well as next year. We took that opportunity. It’s tough to say we could have gotten more. He was drafted at No. 16, given ($2.7) million. In my opinion, that’s his value.

    http://www.foxsports.com/mlb/story/washington-nationals-ian-desmond-non-waiver-deadline-buyers-sellers-ken-rosenthal-notes-062415?vid=471003715773

  15. Ummmm… no… that’s not his value, but please continue to think that way. I suppose he looks at things as “actual cash value”, not “replacement cost”.

  16. @21, man. We make fun of guys in my fantasy baseball league for rushing into trades without shopping them first. It’s 2015 and there are still MLB front offices that operate this amateurishly?

    The Diamondbacks are the new — ok, they’ve been the market inefficiency for a minute now.

  17. @21

    Well, if that’s the case, we got swindled. They’d have apparently been willing to trade us most of their minor-league system for the $10 million we got Touissant for.

  18. OK, Span, we get it. Should have traded for you instead of signing Melvin. Stop slaughtering us.

  19. The Braves need to update their scouting report on the Nationals or something. Every pitch they’re throwing is getting stroked into the gap. Washington’s better than us this year, but they’re not THAT good.

  20. @42, there’s got to be a worse lineup from ’08 that included The Hamster. But some of this craptacular collection also appears to be intentionally self-destructive — KJ for Uribe at third, Gomes against a RHP.

  21. I know Gomes is supposedly a great clubhouse guy but his usefulness on an mlb club as a player is over even against left handers.

  22. Wow, limited Internet access cuts me off from the Braves for a few days, and I get back on to see you guys could only manage to get the team to score two runs in the entire series against the Natspos? (I think the Braves may need a little Hungar Games-style reminder—”when you’re in the arena, remember who the real enemy is…Natspos delenda est.”) I’ll be back to full access by the time next week’s Nats series rolls around, but in the meantime would you fellows mind stepping it up a little against Pittsburg to entice a few more runs out of the team? Just hoping for a little assurance that my next check up on this team will be less traumatizing than tonight’s was.

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