Carl Sandburg Never Lived in Atlanta: Braves 5, Cubs 3

On Tuesday night, the Braves beat the Cubs 4-3 in a game in which they had 3 hits.  JamesD wants to know how rare that is.  As he points out there are games in which teams were no-hit and won: actually, there are five, the most recent being almost exactly 11 years ago, when the Dodgers beat the Angels without the benefit of a hit.  But teams that are no-hit have a 2.3 percent chance of winning.  I’m actually surprised it’s that high.  In any case, here are the winning percentages by number of hits:

hits games wins Pct
0 214 5 0.0234
1 885 52 0.0588
2 1953 292 0.1495
3 2977 892 0.2996
4 3762 1581 0.4203
5 4210 2020 0.4798
6 4346 2154 0.4956
7 4378 2186 0.4993
8 4380 2188 0.4995
9 4384 2192 0.5000
10 4379 2191 0.5003
11 4357 2192 0.5031
12 4256 2185 0.5134
13 4086 2179 0.5333
14 3636 2139 0.5883
15 3138 2065 0.6581
16 2590 1876 0.7243
17 1966 1579 0.8032
18 1395 1194 0.8559
19 973 869 0.8931
20 646 593 0.9180
21 372 348 0.9355
22 253 227 0.8972
23 124 120 0.9677
24 72 69 0.9583
25 41 39 0.9512
26 30 27 0.9000
27 19 18 0.9474
28 13 13 1.0000
29 5 5 1.0000
30 2 2 1.0000
31 1 1 1.0000
33 1 0 0.0000

Wait… what’s that last row?  As it happens, the major league record for hits (at least in my database – I only go back to 1920 and there are a few games missing) is 33 and that team lost!  It turns out to be this game.  What a bizarre game.  Eddie Rommel replaces Lew Krausse for some reason after the first inning (Lew gave up 3 runs on four hits), pitches the next 17 innings, gives up 29 hits and 14 runs (only 13 earned) and emerges the winning pitcher in an 18 inning game!

In any case, teams with 3 hits have won almost 30 percent of the time, which strikes me as absurdly high, but we’re going back to the deadball era here.  I repeat the exercise for games in this century:

hits games wins Pct
0 48 1 0.0208
1 236 18 0.0763
2 522 69 0.1322
3 782 231 0.2954
4 993 424 0.4270
5 1101 531 0.4823
6 1131 561 0.4960
7 1138 568 0.4991
8 1140 570 0.5000
9 1140 570 0.5000
10 1138 570 0.5009
11 1133 570 0.5031
12 1111 570 0.5131
13 1055 565 0.5355
14 944 558 0.5911
15 794 549 0.6914
16 656 489 0.7454
17 501 418 0.8343
18 373 335 0.8981
19 256 235 0.9180
20 170 157 0.9235
21 87 82 0.9425
22 64 57 0.8906
23 31 31 1.0000
24 18 18 1.0000
25 10 10 1.0000
26 8 8 1.0000
27 3 3 1.0000
28 2 2 1.0000
29 1 1 1.0000

Pretty much the same.

For completeness, the same table limited to Atlanta Braves teams:

hits Games wins Pct
0 7 0 0.0000
1 11 1 0.0909
2 58 7 0.1207
3 138 35 0.2536
4 227 65 0.2863
5 334 124 0.3713
6 414 175 0.4227
7 473 228 0.4820
8 517 266 0.5145
9 522 290 0.5556
10 487 285 0.5852
11 443 268 0.6050
12 365 243 0.6658
13 301 228 0.7575
14 228 168 0.7368
15 148 122 0.8243
16 106 88 0.8302
17 67 56 0.8358
18 41 36 0.8780
19 22 22 1.0000
20 13 12 0.9231
21 8 8 1.0000
22 4 3 0.7500
23 1 1 1.0000
24 3 3 1.0000
25 1 1 1.0000

How many runs did those three hit wonders score? (This is only the winning three hit teams.)

games runs
316 1
376 2
233 3
99 4
40 5
9 6
4 7

So winning a 3 hit game is not particularly rare, but scoring 3 or more runs and winning is pretty unusual, and the Braves on Tuesday needed every one of them.

Game 2 of the Keuchel Era found Dallas from Tulsa in Chicago, taking on Whirling Yu Darvish.  I have no Chip Caray anecdotes to relate because I chose to listen to Bob Costas and Joe Girardi on MLB Network.  Yes – that’s how much I dislike Chip, particularly when he broadcasts in the Hog Butcher to the World.  Also, there was an unfamiliar player in left: somebody named Camargo – not sure whether he’s related to the Camargo we had last year who had to go into the Witness Protection Program.    Probably related.

Following up from yesterday, the first run scored without the benefit of any hits at all.  Walk, Stolen Base, Error, Passed Ball.   

In the second inning, the Braves decided to score the traditional way – with a hit.  And it was a big hit from McCann.  Added to an infield singled from Freddie and a solid single from Keuchel, the Braves had equaled their hit output from yesterday in the first two innings.

In the third, the Braves had two hits and a walk.  The second hit was yet another big fly – this time from Nick to take the lead to 5-0.

Meanwhile, Keuchel be Keucheling.  Three innings, three double plays.  Only one nongrounder. No strikeouts.

Then came a brief rain delay.  Bears (and presumably Cubs) hibernate in winter.  Braves, apparently, hibernate after lightning delays.  The five runs would be all they’d get.  But the Cubs kept playing.  In the fourth, Keuchel gave up his first fly ball… to the left field bleachers, by their Contreras, not ours. (Ours had a day off today.)  Bryant hit one in the bottom of the fifth to make it 5-2.  Contreras scored again after a triple on a classic Heyward groundout and it was 5-3, and after another single that was all for Keuchel after 87 pitches.  Two Keuchel starts – ground balls early and rockets late.  Webb came on, threw one pitch and ended the 6th.  Unfortunately, he was then lifted for a pinch hitter.  On a day without a full bullpen (Jackson and Swarzak are probably unavailable) you’d like to avoid one-pitch pitchers.

So the bottom of the 7th brings on Newky whose inning was uneventful.  Touki gave up a walk and a hit which brought on Minter with two outs in the 8th.  He wild pitched the tying run to second, but struck out Caratini to maintain the Minter Margin for the 9th. Schwarber: noisy out to left.  Almora: 6-3.  Bryant: K.  Newky, Touki, and Minter, whose favorite Green Day album is Dookie.

One more tomorrow, at 2:20 Eastern.  Go get ‘em.

Author: JonathanF

Alive since 1956. Braves fan since 1966. The first ten years were pretty much wasted. Exiled to Yankees/Mets territory in 1974 --- bearable only with TBS followed by MLB.TV.

94 thoughts on “Carl Sandburg Never Lived in Atlanta: Braves 5, Cubs 3”

  1. Remember when Newcomb sucked? Yeah, now his ERA is at a flat 2.00. Funny how things change in this game.

  2. Thank you, JonathanF. We won, but I aged. Don’t know how many more of those I can endure. Still I can’t check out until I read the BJ recap. Today’s was a learning experience. Thanks again.

  3. Today’s game will be interesting. With Wilson starting for us I would give us a 20% win probability. This is one of those games we shouldn’t win. If we do and end up taking 3 of 4 from the 1st place Cubs in their yard, we have clearly established ourselves as the 2nd place team in the NL.

  4. What’s the difference between a “Saml Hutcheson” and a “Sam Hutcheson?”

    Inquiring people want to know.

  5. Pretty interesting how the pen usage has played out. Newcomb, Swarzak, and Jackson two games ago, then Webb, Newcomb, Touki, and Minter. Almost like you had 2 units for the 8th and 9th.

    There are no bones about it, the pen is an absolute strength for the team right now. I don’t really trust anyone in the 9th inning chair, and it was maddening to see Minter go 2-0 on the first 3 hitters he faced only to set down all 3, but it’s hard to argue with the results. fWAR doesn’t like the pen that much because of the walk rate (15th in baseball in the last 30 days), but the K rate is 5th, HR rate is 12th, and ERA is 1st by over half a run.

    They are logging the 5th-most amount of innings during that span, though, which is a problem. We’re going to lose games, and I’d almost rather just get blown out one day and let Kyle Wright pitch 3-4 innings and then give it to Tomlin or something just to give our guys an extra day of rest.

  6. AAA is extremely hitter-friendly right now, and that’s why most people have given pause to Duvall and Demeritte’s success. And that also means that Wilson’s 3.79 ERA is 4th among qualified pitchers in the International League. Allard’s 3.75 ERA is 3rd. There are only 4 qualified starters in the IL that have an ERA lower than 4. So some adjustments are definitely necessary to evaluate everyone right now.

  7. Doctor Meredith Wills
    her expertise now distills
    thicker laces
    less bulge, more incredulous faces.

    all measurements found
    by digital calipers bound
    the air stream inviolate
    her perfume, Sweet Violet.

    FG will tell you all. Allow 2 to 3 hours.

    So you dunderhead dunces really thought it was all down to us, this effusion of power, we were worthy of awe?

    Nah…but someone send me a pair of those digital calipers if you would.

  8. @14

    Interesting when you want to italicize 8 lines and the whole thing thus appears. Fun though.

  9. I know folks don’t like to use “saves” as a measure of anything, but, still, the Braves are 5th in the Majors in Saves and 4th in Save Opportunities.

    The Braves have blown 14 Saves. The Dodgers 13 and the Padres 15. Those are the two teams ahead of us in Saves. The other teams closest to us in Opportunities – The Mets have blown 19, the Pirates 16 and the gNats 15 (for reference the Cubs have blown 12).

    Especially with the lively ball these days, close games are just plain hard to win. As shaky as our closer(s) seem to be they really do seem like they’re doing as well or better than all the competition. I think the lens we’re looking through needs to be adjusted a bit. I still want to add a really good piece to the bullpen, but we do have guys who can and are doing the job right now.

  10. Roger, I agree a Will Smith or Files would be nice, but I’d love a Bauer or Greinke. I think we still need a bell cow to form up the rotation. Admittedly, we’re better so far than I thought we’d be; so …


  11. Rob makes a good point about the adjustment of looking at minor league pitching statistics. Last year a 3.7 ERA in Triple A was like “meh, whatever” but now it is one of the league leading ERAs.

  12. Wilson’s velocity is up from his first stint in April. He was sitting 91-92 then, and now he is sitting at 95 and just touched 97.

  13. Good baserunning from Donaldson. That kept it from being a 1-4-3 double play.

    Ozzie Albies owns the Cubs.

  14. I mean, yeah, you want to solidify the rotation and get off of the AAA/AAAA call up of the week merry-go-round, but then you notice the Cubs are just randomly throwing Tyler Chatwood out there so it’s not like anyone but the Dodgers have a real rotation…

  15. Don’t hit my man Ronald without expecting to pay for it. Way to go Dansby and Freddie!!

  16. We were fortunate with the pitching staff draws for the Cubs this series. We missed Hamels and Quintana both in a 4 game series somehow. (and Hendricks is on the shelf)

  17. I didn’t see the Schwarber HR but Bryse looked very impressive in the 2nd. I saw a perfectly place d curve and a nice cutter on the corner not to mention great command of the FB. Can we hope to believe that Bryse may be able join our rotation?

    With regards to the ball in AAA, I would think that using the same ball as the Majors would make AAA numbers somewhat more translatable. Further, it will help the young guys adjust to what will happen in the Majors and they can make the adjustments they need in AAA. Last year, our young guys had incredible AAA ERAs and then couldn’t get anyone out in the majors. This year, they know that they’re not gonna get guys out in AAA either until they can make the correct adjustments.

  18. You day shift guys are carrying this pretty well today. 6 to 1 and only through 3 and a half.

  19. Command is Wilson’s strength. If he can maintain the velocity the Braves have something.

  20. oh well, so much for that dream. I guess Frenchy is right and Bryse needs something that bends.

  21. Why put Camargo in LF and move Riley to third? Camargo is the better defensive 3b.

    51 — Yes, the numbers don’t show it but he pitched better this start than he did in April. He deserves another start.

    Edit: Chip announced the double switch wrong. Donaldson is still in the game and Camargo replaced Riley.

  22. As predictable as the sunrise, ex-Braves getting their kicks at our expense.

  23. @52 No, he doesn’t. Until Bryse can show something different the second time through the order, he needs to stay at AAA. Either that or he needs to be a reliever. As you can tell, he can throw pretty well one time through the order – a good reliever should be able to do that.

  24. @63 That would make Bryse a good opener to pair with Newk, right? You could get 2-3 innings out of each and go from there.

  25. 63 — Sure he does. He got a bit BABIP unlucky and he doesn’t have anything left to prove at Triple A. Maybe his future is as a reliever, but who do you suggest start in his place next time? Allard?

    And it’s not good form to give up on a guy after one start. You know that.

  26. Irritating things about Chip #4832: he comes into every game with a preconceived list of things to talk about, and everything that happens in the game is fit into this rubric either as insight or surprise. Today it’s the wind… The wind, according to Chip, has had a huge impact on this game, except on the plays where it surprisingly didn’t.

  27. Bryse’s slider worked well against RHB. It’s the lefties that gave him trouble with that pitch.

    Tighten up!

  28. He also throws a changeup about 15-20% of the time. He should showcase that more if they are timing the fastball.

  29. You have to get your body behind the ball, Tyler.

    And the wind pushes the ball into Markakis’ glove for the final out of the inning.

  30. He’s not going to get it from our WARmonger defensive backstop. Catch the ball, catcher.

  31. Meanwhile, in Philly, the Mets went into the 9th down 0 – 1 and scored 3 against Hector Neris. They then turned the ball over Edwin Diaz for the save but he failed spectacularly – 0.1 IP, 3 H, 5 ER, 2 BB, 1K. Ouch.

    Diaz had an all-time great closer season for the Mariners last year and the Mets paid a heavy price to get him (giving up highly regarded prospect Jarred Kelenic and taking back Robinson Cano’s increasingly dead-money contract). He’s now up to a 4.94 ERA on the season and has given up more earned runs this year than he did in all of 2018 (when he threw 73.1 innings). Lolmets, I guess. Yeesh.

  32. Okay, so that’s:
    one wild pitch, run scores
    One passed ball, run scores
    Dansby dropped ball
    Markakis dropped ball leading to 4 unearned runs?

    Between this showing and the shifts that are not working out, Braves defense truly is bad, even when Inciarte goes back to center.

  33. I’m just not a fan of Tyler Flowers at all. I’ve been coming to grips with that the last couple of years. It’s not that pitch framing is useless, but it seems to come at the expense of everything else at times with him. He can’t just line up straight behind the plate when our pitcher can’t find the strike zone because he’s trying to frame everything. He can’t be bothered to block a pitch or to catch the freaking ball because he’s too busy trying to frame everything. And so forth. Plus, his pitch calling sucks.

    Also, though the whole pitch framing thing isn’t useless, it bloody well should be. The computerized strike zone can’t come fast enough.

  34. This umpire’s strike zone has been borderline Eric Greggian. At least he had the good sense not to toss McCann, I guess.

  35. All told, a split on the road with a first place team is not a bad thing. Just disappointing when it could have been 3 of 4.

  36. Kimbrel today:

    0-3 strike out of McCann.
    0-2 ground out of Camargo.

    Up 1-2 on Acuna, can’t put him away. Gives up a 3-2 ground rule double.

    Mound visit.

    Walks Dansby on four straight.

    Mound visit.

    Freddie tries to ambush a first pitch fastball and tops it to 1B. 3 out.

    He was a half inch away from a 3 run bomb by Freddie.

  37. @87 I have to admit that it seemed like a Lukey inning after all was said and done. At first, it looked like a Mariano Rivera inning then Acuna did Acuna things.

  38. @66 @67 Hear what I’m saying. He does not deserve another chance until he has something new to offer. He has performed pretty much the same from the first of the year until last night. I’m not saying he doesn’t deserve any more chances just not until he has made some improvements. Further, until he makes improvements, he could easily be very effective as a 1-2 inning reliever. Not that that should be his role forever going forward but, where he is now, he can be effective in the majors once through the order. In my opinion, that puts him ahead of Wright and Allard until I see more of either of those two. Also might put him ahead of Folty, Gaus, Blevins, Tomlin, and Touki.

  39. Alex Jackson hit 2 bombs yesterday, inching his OPS close to .800. He’s still only 23, so I’d think the Braves will keep him on the 40-man almost indefinitely to see if he’s getting closer to being a major league catcher. Would it surprise anyone if it took him until 25, 26 years old but then he became a 2.5-3+ starting catcher? I know I wouldn’t.

    My answer on the poll is a top of the rotation starter.

  40. Wow, I knew the Braves had alot of prospects, but didn’t know they had 107 of the top 100! haha

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