Guadalcanal: Braves 6, Angels 3

Guadalcanal is remembered for being a vicious battle that went on and on and for the cool name. But the strategy and tactics followed last night’s adventure in Anaheim.

Guadalcanal is remembered for being a vicious battle that went on and on and for the cool name. But the strategy and tactics followed last night’s adventure in Anaheim.

Guadalcanal is a large solid rocky island (not some mere sand spit on coral) at the southwest end of the Solomon Islands. It can easily accommodate multiple airfields and land based planes can make it very difficult to get ships safely to Australia and even New Zeeland. As 1942 (the year to survive to hope to turn it around in 1943) continued, Allied efforts in the Pacific were hurt by the “Germany first” policy agreed to by Churchill and Stalin.

After Midway, Allied intelligence became aware that the Japanese were building an airfield on Guadalcanal. They also realized that there were almost no Japanese troops on the island. Mostly, it was construction workers and machines. So, the Allies hatched a plan to take the island just before the airfield was complete. So, the Japanese occupation and start to the airfield is like the one run the Angels got when Andrellton Simmons hit a solo homerun in the second. Something that could have been significant, but ended up almost meaningless for his side.

The landing was barely opposed and light fighting cleared the airfield area. Once the perimeter was extended out sufficient to protect the completion of the airfield and once it was complete, there was little chance for the other side. That was kind of like the Braves eruption on Ricky Nolasco in the 3rd. Yes, the immediate reply to the solo shot was a barrage of hits resulting in 6 runs.

However, the Japanese didn’t go away. They began to use destroyers to bring in infantry at night and attack toward the airfield. The first such counterattack occurred on the second night (I am working from memory on that, but I am pretty sure it is right) when about a company of Marines tried to hold a ridge a few 100 yards from the airfield against a battalion sized (1000) assault. It ended near day break with one Marine machine gunner holding off the last charge.

The two solo homeruns (Albert Pujols over Braves protest and Luis Valbuena) in the 4th were kind of like those night attacks and the multiple night naval attacks. The racism / ethno centrism of the U. S. Military didn’t allow them to believe that the Japanese could develop a weapon like the “long lance” torpedo” which was the longest ranged and most effective torpedo in the world at that time. The 3 solo homeruns were each big blows, but weren’t enough to overcome the basic strategy of taking the airfield.

Julio Teheran looked almost like “Good Julio.” That is 2 decent starts in a row. Not great, but good. The emerging back end of the bullpen (Jose Ramirez, Arodys Vizcaino, and Jim Johnson) shut the Angels down to end it, kind of like the Army troops that relieved the Marines and mopped up.

80 thoughts on “Guadalcanal: Braves 6, Angels 3”

  1. Now that is a deep analogy for the game last night and a very enjoyable read. Good Work!

  2. I’m not up on the finer points of WWII battle action. I didn’t realize Guadalcanal was all about snaking a nearly constructed airfield from the Japanese. Good one!

    Speaking of good one, last night’s game was a good one. Julio looked presentable, Jose Johnscaino looked formidable (as usual).

  3. cliff,

    The ridge fight actually occurred in October 42, and is a main point in one of the early episodes of HBO’s The Pacific – not as good a series as Band of Brothers in my opinion, but still quite good, and resulted in John Basilone winning the Medal of Honor for holding off all those Japanese troops. The early counterattack you are talking about happened on the Tenaru River, when Col. Ichiki decided that no ‘soft’ American division was going to stop his elite infantry and assaulted WAY too early and was wiped out.

    But, yes, I can certainly see the parallels to last night’s game in the battle.

    BTW – The miniseries The Pacific was loosely (or not so loosely) based on a couple of memoirs of fighting in the Pacific Campaign, Robert Leckie’s ‘My Helmet For A Pillow’ and Eugene Sledge’s ‘With The Old Breed.’ Both I would highly recommend if that sort of thing interests you (as it does me), but both can be tough to comprehend, esp. Sledge’s book, when he talks about how desensitized he became to the horrors of war.

  4. Man, Jome Run Julio. He’s up to 12 HR in 61 IP. By far the worst HR/9 of his career. His H/9 and BB/9 are also the worst of his career, but the HRs are really killing him. He could have easily had some runners on base and blew the game this last outing.

    In other news, Mattie Freedams, the love child of Freeman’s and Adam’s stats as a Brave, is still leading the league in HR. Great job, Mattie!

  5. Bravo Rio has been a pleasant surprise so far, and Adonis may have noticed based on his third game in Gwinnett.

    Competition is a good thing. A quasi-platoon at third helps the bench. Perhaps Emilio will soon be gone.

    Be gone, Bonifacio, be gone.

  6. Thanks, Cliff, for the post and both you and Seat Painter for the timely history lesson.

  7. Big Suxy deserved at least one run better.

    Andrelton would have had that one.

    Good night and good luck.

  8. @9

    was about to say the same thing, Peterson is no longer relevant to this club, let him go…all round mediocrity…Dansby also looked slow on the earlier single up the middle…but we’ll keep him for a bit…and now he makes a charged error.

    Shame for Colon who’s showing good stuff tonight.

  9. This might be the most embarrassing inning of the entire “rebuild,” and that’s saying a lot.

    EDIT: It no longer “might be.”

  10. I really wish Joe would stop complaining about a correct official scorer’s ruling when there are enough incorrect ones to go around. Fielder’s choice was definitely the proper ruling on that Adams disaster. He committed to going home, even though he couldn’t get it out of his glove.

  11. My goodness Colon is terrible .. Guess we have no relief pitchers in bullpen .. just let him throw 9 innings before he gets released

  12. This is the worst defensive inning I’ve ever seen from a professional baseball team. This is unbelievably godawful.

    And now Joe’s complaining about Young bunting for a base hit like he just broke up a perfect game with it or something. It’s the third inning, you putz! Maybe somebody should make a goddamned play!

  13. Colon thinks it’s funny .. he has his 12 million .. Guess all you can do is laugh after that comedy show

  14. @30

    I wouldn’t even be upset about that at this point. Might as well happen in this inning instead of like tomorrow night when we might not have just performed the baseball equivalent of leaving our wallet on the roof of our car and driving away.

  15. @27, I’d have every one of my non-sluggers up there bunting for a hit the way the Braves have been fielding. The pressure is clearly written all on their face. Every infielder but Ruiz has made an error.

  16. Colon earned about 6 outs just now. Stuff actually looked decent tonight by his standards. Just unreal

  17. 27 — Yeah, that was silly. Anyone watching that should know that Young was making the pathetic defense make a play when they couldn’t.

  18. @35

    Imagine the worst Little League defensive inning you can think of, and now imagine that it’s twice as bad as you’re thinking.

  19. Well, that’s a sure way to see that Pujols doesn’t hit his 600th home run on you. Bounce the 3-ball pitch at the 30-foot mark.

  20. Bartolo almost lowered his ERA with this outing had he gotten another out. I’m nauseous.

  21. Gotta love how Luke Jackson bounced ball four three feet in front of the plate. Of course that’s only the 156th most objectionable thing to happen this inning.

  22. Goodness gracious. Just sad, and two of the defensive screwups were Colon’s. If he isn’t making us better right now, what is the point of having him on the roster? Fairly sure Sims or Newcomb could pitch to a 7 ERA and at least there’s hope one of them could improve.

  23. I may have to reconsider that whole “we finally don’t have the worst player in baseball on our team” thing.

  24. @41

    I mean…you could argue that’s ridiculous. And he certainly didn’t do anything to help as the inning wore on. But on the other hand, I’m not sure how you expect him to pitch around that catastrophe.

  25. Every player in the infield except Ruix either made an error or a dubious choice on a fielder’s choice play that resulted in 0 outs. I would feel sorry for Colon, but he made 2 of the 6 bad plays. That was not baseball.

  26. Welp. I for one would not blame this on Colon. 9 runs, 2 earned. Just total defensive collapse

    Angels fans booing Luke Jackson for bouncing that curveball to Pujols and denying him a shot at #600 is one of the best moments of the year so far.

  27. @50

    Fair enough. Sometimes the anti-unearned run wailing gets a little over the top around here. Seemed like this was an example of what they’re useful for. Sorry I jumped all over you.

  28. I’m rewatching the inning. The play that Adams made where he just fielded the ball and had no idea where to throw the ball was hilarious.

  29. So we’ve got Kemp in the field and our DH is…Danny Santana. That Snitker. He crazy.

  30. @48 – that’s fair, but it’s not like this type of performance has been an aberration this season. Even if you give him the BABIP benefit of the doubt, he’s still pushing a 5 FIP. His walk and strikeout rates are worse compared to last year and his fastball is as slow as ever.

  31. We’re GARBIDGE

    let’s just plan on selling off Kemp, adams, Garcia, and cakes for a choice prospect or two and packing it in for next year.

  32. At least twice in that inning, an infielder had a ball hit right at him and just froze, falling to do anything after fielding the ball. That Adams play was one and Colon finally throwing the ball to the plate basically after the guy had already scored was two.

    Jace Peterson will be thanking his lucky stars that the rest of that disaster happened, because maybe somebody will forget about his error that would’ve gotten us out of the inning with a double play, which may be the worst error I’ve seen all year. He just failed to field a ground ball that took a Sunday hop, led him perfectly and hit him right in the glove.

    Also twice in that inning, Colon tried to start a double play at second when the runner was going from first on the pitch. The first resulted in the aforementioned play where he pointlessly threw home when it was too late, and the second resulted in him throwing it into center field.

    EDIT: And I almost forgot about Luke Jackson being so scared to give up Pujols’ 600th home run that he threw a pitch that literally didn’t make it to the dirt before hitting the ground.

  33. Does adams have trouble throwing to bases. Twice in the last week he’s had opportunities to throw to 2nd and home. Didn’t make either throw

  34. I hate to defend Colon but the only ball hit hard that inning was the Pujols homer.

  35. Acuna is 3-5 with two doubles. Totally dominating, shades of Andruw.

    Unfortunately Medlen was kinda shaky. Long way to go there.

  36. If last night was Guadalcanal, what is the third inning — Little Big Horn? Napoleon’s attempt to take Russia?

  37. Oh good…they left Luke Jackson in to face Pujols a second time. I wonder if he’ll unilaterally decide to intentionally walk him this time.

  38. One thing that bugged me tonight was watching Dansby play short and my perception being he was trying way too damned hard to make the highlight reel play. Pressure’s on with Andrelton watching? Who knows. I could be making too much out of it. But before the crapfest started in earnest there was a hard hit ball up the middle that Dansby made this overly engaged level of commitment to… he slid to a knee to backhand it, would have been really styling had he made it…but as the Angels announcers noted, he probably could have made the play cleanly if he’d played it more conservatively.

  39. @66

    Yeah, there was also the aforementioned Roger Dorn business on his contribution to the third-inning masterpiece.

  40. @44

    not having second thoughts are you?! Bye Bye JP. @66 is spot on.

    Keystone Cops
    an aggregate of bobbles, boots and drops
    decide ahead which base you’d rather throw to
    if only there was someone there to go to.

    Changed my mind about Dansby going down. His defense is currently worse than his hitting which is saying something. He needs 4/6 weeks and be told up front there will be no early return so relax.ROY is long, long gone. Never was, with hindsight.

    Who shall we call up? Camargo? Ozzie? Can Acuna play short? haha… Beck?

  41. I have flashbacks of Bethancourt behind the plate when I watch Dansby at shortstop. The reasons for the issues might be different, but the result is the same.

  42. Dansby isn’t going anywhere. Camargo isn’t an everyday shortstop and Albies isn’t ready.

    Something that hasn’t been commented on: Jace Peterson has been awful.

  43. Dansby will play regardless of performance, we don’t have a plan B. I would say we need to start contemplating one though.

  44. Heresy alert: Dansby ain’t all that. Maybe later, not now. Albies could not be less ready to play short in the bigs. For that matter, neither could Bonifacio. Or Big Suxy.

    At this point in time, Dansby Swanson has claimed the title from Emilio. Worst player in baseball indeed.

  45. @71

    Jace Peterson has certainly been commented on, see above ‘bye bye JP’. He is now a known mediocrity with bat and ball and denying one of our kids a chance to shine.

  46. @ 73

    heyho coop…

    my first day as a Dansby heretic eh?! His confidence is shot, that’s all. Being on the same field with Simba levelled it. Not that it was even average before. He needs a break. You’ve just got to stay up later!

  47. @72

    Plan B
    open up the files and see what you can see
    double check the date
    else be confused by names we once had hoped were great.

  48. there is a young fella named Jace
    now conscious that life moves apace
    our tolerance levels
    his fielding bedevils
    but please not a word to his face.

  49. @71

    By definition, you can’t be an everyday ‘anything’ until you do it every day. When you do that then we can all sit down and discuss if you’re any good.

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