Braves 11, White Sox 8 (No that’s NOT an extra 1 in the Braves score)

The Braces’ Windy City Weirdness continued to be strong last night, as they absolutely lit up the ace
of the White Sox, Chris Sale, and took the opener of the three game series 11-8.

Freddie Freeman opened with a two out home run in the top of the first, which the Sox matched in
the bottom when fatman…err…Melky Cabrera singled home Adam Eaton. But, Matt Wisler settled
down and prevented further damage.

In the second, Tyler Flowers crushed a two run shot, driving in Adonis Garcia, who had singled for
the first of what would become his four knocks on the night.

So, given a reprieve, Wisler immediately gave it all back, and more, in the bottom of the frame,
helped out by a number of blunders by his teammates. After getting the lead off man, Carlos
Sanchez doubled to deep left. Ender Inciarte, for some reason, thought he could nail Sanchez at
second. Now, with the number of times Inciarte has caught runners, I’m willing to extend the benefit
of the doubt to him, but it was puzzling not only to us viewers, but apparently to both Erick Aybar
and Gordon Beckham, neither of whom covered second. The errant throw allowed Sanchez to take
third. Wisler then induced J.B. Shuck to pop out to right field, but Nick Markakis and Gordon
Beckham misplayed the second out, which wasn’t deep enough to score Sanchez absent a noodle
armed throw, into a double. Tim Anderson, then singled Shuck to third.The next hitter was Adam
Eaton, who dropped a bunt down the third base line, as he fell down in the batter’s box as the pitch
was up around head level. Wisler, instead of letting it roll foul, tried to swipe tag Shuck, and couldn’t
hold on to the ball. A double steal and a Jose Abreu fly ball later, and it was 4-3 Chicago.

But wait! There’s more weirdness!

In the top of the third, Chase d’Arnaud led off with a walk, and was singled to second by Beckham.
Freeman then hit a rocket up the middle right at shortstop Anderson’s feet. d’Arnaud was hung out
to dry, and he guessed (wrongly) that Anderson caught it. Anderson, had in fact, trapped the liner.
He ran over to second, tagged d’arnaud, stepped on the bag to force Beckham, and threw to first to
complete the Sox’s THIRD triple play of the season. At this point, you could be forgiven for thinking
it couldn’t get any weirder. Not so fast, my friend.

In the top of the fourth, Nick Markakis crushed the third homer off Sale, his third in two nights.
Could it get weirder? Oh yes, ye of little faith.

In the Braves’ fifth, d’Arnaud walked to lead off, and Beckham singled him to second. At this point, I
was half expecting another triple play, but Freeman popped out. Markakis beat out a grounder,
Beckham being forced. Then Jeff Francoeur doubled home both runners, followed by doubles from
both the Greek God of Third Base, and Flowers. 8-4 Braves.

Wisler had settled in after the the second, but in the fifth, he gave up a lead off homer to Eaton to
straightaway center. (Eaton’s two hits travelled about 420 feet combined – 15 on his first, and 405 on
his second, I’m guessing.) After getting Abreu and Fatty, Todd Frazier hit a no doubter. 8-6.

After relieving Sale, Chris Beck allowed a lead off double to Ender, who was then doubled home by
d’Arnaud. So, with Aybar’s strikeout to end the fifth, the Braves had 5 doubles in a span of 6 hitters.
The Braves. The 2016 Braves. Yes, them. Weird, huh? Anyway, Beckham had an infield hit, Freeman
walked, and Markakis popped out. Francoeur then hit a rocket to deep left, that Cabrera caught, but
d’Arnaud scored, and Beckham went to third. Adonis singled him home. 11-6 Braves.

Joel De La Cruz relieved Wisler, and got out of the sixth, barely, but then hit Abreu with a pitch and
allowed a Fat Melky double. Frazier hit a sac fly, and when de la Cruz walked Brett Lawrie, Snitker
brought the hook. Chris Withrow came in, and got a strike out and a fly out to end the threat. The
final run came in the ninth, when Mauricio Cabrera allowed two singles to start, but traded the run
for a Frazier DP grounder.

Ho hum, just another routine 11-8 win against a 14 game winner. Nothing to see here.

(Told you it was weird.)

43 thoughts on “Braves 11, White Sox 8 (No that’s NOT an extra 1 in the Braves score)”

  1. This team in April would have curled into a fetal position in the fourth and cried itself to sleep. This is a different team, and I think the Snit has something to do with that.

  2. Player A: .254/.345/.428

    Player B: .264/.317/.427

    They play the same position. Player B makes 8 times what player A does, yet some here clamored to sign him before this season.

  3. We’ve evidently shifted from “WAR overvalues outlier RF defensive performance” to “all RF defensive performance from player to player is equivalent.”

    I’d say that we’ve moved into “WAR is a flawed stat, but OPS of all stats is just fine and dandy” territory, but let’s face it, Braves Journal has occupied that ground as long as it has the utter myopia of “let’s let a half-season’s worth of slash stats dictate our view of who’s a better baseball player going forward.”

    Player A is hitting .258/.398/.498
    Player B is hitting .322/.370/.556

    Who would you expect to actually be better at baseball going forward?

    EDIT: To be clear, for me, this isn’t even about Heyward. It would’ve been dumb/impossible for us to re-sign him. It’s about not sounding like Joe Simpson.

  4. What stat tracks players who wear cool glasses, because Tyler Flowers should be leading the league? He should get a few WAR nuggets for that.

  5. I’m sorry, but half a season is not a slump. It’s a statistically significant sample. As of today, JHey (a player I like and admire) is the worst offensive starting RF in baseball. (Player B is second worse.) If he went on a tear, he could bring his SLG up to Felix Millans career mark of .343.

    You got to really love you some dWAR to put up with that at all, to say nothing of a salary (next year) of 28 mil.

  6. Adam, aside from WAR and OPS, what stats would you like to see used to show player performance?

  7. Re: statistically significant samples, it actually depends which stat you’re talking about.

    Heyward may be the best defensive RF, and Markakis is among the worst — probably not as bad as Jay Bruce. We’re talking about, what, 30 points of SLG? I’m not sure that’s enough to bridge the chasm on defense.

    Both players have dealt with injuries you’d expect to drain their power. But it seems likelier that Heyward would rebound from his.

  8. Maybe. He’s still very young. But he’s shown deteriorating power skills for several seasons. And moving to the bandbox that is the Friendly Confines hasn’t yet helped. I think there’s a 30-40% chance that this becomes a BJ Upton type disaster for the Cubs.

  9. His name is not BJ, bledsoe. Show some respect. Geez.

    And so help me if you start charging royalties…

  10. @12

    I’m certainly open to using stats other than WAR and OPS, especially with how misleading WAR can be sometimes, but I think using a stat like BaseRuns that no one knows might cause you to lose your audience.

  11. After the last 2 games I can’t think of too much weirder that can happen before the AS break. Maybe Aybar hitting for the cycle or Folty pitching a no hitter?

  12. Markakis led all RF in fielding % for last five years and consistently in top five for range factor. You can throw all the saber metrics you want, that guy is not “among the worst” defensive RF . That’s silly.

  13. The demand for starting pitching keeps going up as several teams w playoff aspirations need rotation help. I love Teheran but I am not opposed to moving him if a bidding war develops and some team gets desperate enough to put together a really strong package for him.

  14. My forays into A, B, C and D have been primarily in jest. Having said that, I do hope A can improve on his performance. I am a big fan of A and hope he can translate it into a long and empirically successful career, as long as A’s team never wins the WS. I hate A’s team.

  15. great job, seat painter.

    What a team! Well, not that good, but at least they show effort and are capable of competing.

  16. A lot of the RFers who are worse than Markakis are in the AL. Matt Kemp is also certainly closer to the bottom, though.

    Someone else is going to have to carry the torch for today, re: fielding %. It’s always easier for me to post in the offseason; I’d be interested in contributing to some advanced stats explainer posts then, but I can’t even make a good on a Motörhead Keltner I know everyone must be in agony waiting for, so who am I kidding.

  17. Just did some research on the Braves’ postseason futility at Turner Field – over the Braves’ 20 years at Turner (1997 – 2016), they will have gone 5-12 in playoff series (including Wild Card games), including losing their last 8 playoff series beginning with the 2001 NLCS.

    The Braves have not won an NLCS game at Turner Field since 1999 and were 0-2 in World Series play in Turner Field (1999 vs. Yankees).

    Before sitting down to write this post, I wasn’t a fan of the Braves’ pending move to Cobb County but on the other hand… screw Turner Field, right? Maybe the Braves need a change of venue to get back on track. Let’s do this!

  18. Last night was a tale of two Andrelton pitchers: Newcomb couldn’t get out of the first, and Ellis threw what seems to be a rain-shortened 5-inning shut out in AAA. Ellis will be in Atlanta before Newcomb. Rio Ruiz is also starting to come alive, and Albies is hitting almost .400 in AA this year. C’mon up soon, fellas.

  19. Rio is a weak hitting lefty playing 3B. I don’t see him coming to Atl and being a regular anytime soon

  20. I think there are just a handful of guys who devalue defense on here, including rob cope and krussell, and their posting frequency makes it seem like it’s some sort of consensus. There are plenty of us who value defense and worry management undervalues it.

  21. @22

    It’s bad, for sure. In elimination games, it’s even worse. We will end our time at Turner Field 0-9 in games where we can be eliminated from the playoffs. You can also count the final game of the 2011 regular season to make it an even 10, as far as I’m concerned.

    We’ve celebrated playoff series wins at Turner Field just twice: Game 6 of the 1999 NLCS vs. the Mets and Game 3 of the 2001 NLDS vs. the Astros. That ’01 Astros series is the last time we won a playoff series at all BTW.

  22. That run to first by AJ was one of the slowest I’ve ever seen by a major leaguer and that’s saying a lot. I’m 51 and I’m pretty sure I could have beaten him by 5 steps.

  23. Aybar sucks. Apparently there is trade interest in him so I’m not sure why he’s still a brave.

  24. I’m fairly certain that Markakis is one of the worst defensive RF’ers in either league. I watch every game, has seen quite a few in person, and can say that the eye test is pretty damning.

    I wouldn’t care one bit about that if he would OPS 850. Until we get guys at the corners besides Freeman that can hit, we are just going to be the same old Barves.

  25. 39 – at least we had those off days the first week of the season to help with this stretch

  26. Kyle Muller pitched 3 innings for the GCL Braves. 3 hits, no walks, 3 Ks, no runs.

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