The first four games of this season force me to bring out the old Earl Weaver chestnut: “This ain’t a football game. We play every day.”
When you are a long time baseball fan, you get a sense of how long 162 games is. Four or even six games in April means next to nothing. Even the best teams have four game losing streaks during the long season (including the 1998 Yankees). Speaking of which, here is George Will:
â€œIâ€™m not really sure that being a Yankee fan is good for the soul, because you get an entirely wrong view of life. Again, the beauty of baseball is that there is a lot of losing in it, even when youâ€™re very good. I mean, if the Chicago Bears start 0-3, the Bear fans will go to bed and not take solid food. I mean, they will just be distraught. For any baseball fan, 0-3 is just a stumble out of the gate, thatâ€™s all. Again, this is part of the experience of baseball. Football is a spectacle. Baseball is a habit. It is a habit nourished by going to the ballpark â€¦ This is the difference between NFL fans and baseball fans: if your enjoyment of the experience depends on the outcome, donâ€™t go. Even the best team in baseball is going to walk off the field beaten 60 times (a season). Thatâ€™s why, for a baseball fan, the enjoyment does not depend on the final score.â€
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On this date in 1987, Rick Mahler tossed his third opening day shutout. That tied him for the all time NL record. So, Mahler went on to win the Cy Young and the â€™87 Braves were dominant, right? As you probably know, that team finished 69-92 and Mahler went 8-13 with a 4.98 ERA.
On this date in 1979, Ken Forsch no hit the Braves. So the Braves stunk the rest of the season, right? Well, actually they did (winning only 66 games), but that Forsch no-hitter was neither predictive nor causative of the teamâ€™s dreadful season.
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Yâ€™all also know (but perhaps need reminding) that a tiny sample size of four games can be highly influenced by luck. They flashed a stat box during the TV broadcast that said the Bravesâ€™ offense is 29th in BABIP but 6th in exit velocity. Conversely, Braves pitchers have surrendered the highest BABIP in baseball, while the exit velocity surrendered is at or near the lowest in baseball. Thatâ€™s just very bad luck, folks. And while it can take a while for some things like that to even out, those numbers wonâ€™t last.
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Having said all that, it sure feels good to finally win one. I may have been distraught myself had they blown game one today. Fortunately, they didnâ€™t. Our Hammers won the opener of todayâ€™s twin bill by a 7-6 score. Not exactly pretty, but a win when they really needed one.
I watched most of game one on the TV, but then from 2:40 to 3:40, I was teaching a class.Â The Braves were going to the bottom of the
ninth seventh (thanks, JonathanF) with a two run lead as I had to shut it off. The Fresh Prince was on the moundâ€”what could go wrong?Â I see that he surrendered one run, but the insurance run our side scored in the top of the last frame was the margin of the Braves victory.
Iâ€™ll provide a more detailed recap of game one after game two, when Iâ€™ll recap both games.
Consider this a game thread for game two. Ynoa vs. Strassburg. I like our chances.
[By the way, the class I taught was Civil Procedure, in which the topic was Rule 50 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure: Judgment as a Matter of Law (aka Motion for a Directed Verdict). I tell my students itâ€™s like the Mercy Rule in Little League; if one side is sufficiently far ahead, we donâ€™t waste time taking the contest all the way to the end.]
I agree entirely, except to note (and I did this last year, so I noticed) that while he was in what computer programmers would call the logical ninth, it was in fact the seventh.
It was the metaphorical ninth. Or perhaps it was a simile: it was like the ninth.
God, this was a good read. Thanks, tfloyd.
Love the double plays today… especially when we make Soto lead off the next inning.
It’s called the Mercy Rule when you’re losing, but it’s called the Slaughter Rule when you’re winning.
Boxcar has looked solid. If Atlanta wins this one, with our number 6.5 starter against Strasburg, some of you may want to consider putting the rebuild on hold for at least 2 or 3 more days.
Ynoa is just cruisin’. 5 IP on 68 pitches. 2 H, 1 BB, 0ER, 5K.
TFloyd, that was brilliant…as brilliant as Boxcar!
Geez, what is up with the offense?
FF didn’t hit at all during spring and it has carried over. Lasik needed again?
If you’re going to pull AJ, don’t you have to pinch-hit TdA for him, since he’ll be coming in anyway in the next inning? (I realize you give up the platoon, but with only four bench players the presence of another hitter later seems much more valuable.)
[Edit: OK. I still think I was right, but I was obviously wrong.]
Panda Bomb, Pt. 2
And not to scare anyone, but Newk is warming up…
BAMBOO FOR ALL!!!!
Pablo Sandoval, Folk Hero
Wow, the ump finally decided to call a ball.
That was a totally expected outcome. Boxcar, Sliderman, and Newk combine on a 2 hit shutout with AJax behind the plate for most of it. Panda with the 2 run shot for the win!
Well, Newk certainly ate his Wheaties today…
Gotta like this 7-inning thing…
Damn Newk…nice work. He certainly has closer stuff
Alright! There’s a win that feels pretty good!
So far, we’re 3-0-1 in 7-inning doubleheaders, for a cool 7-1 record.
New folk hero! Sandoval is rapidly approaching Julio Franco levels of admiration….
Snitker just said they had to pull Soroka in his simulated start after an inning for shoulder inflammation. He’ll be reevaluated in two weeks.
For pete’s sake.
I’m happy that Newk struck out the side, but I won’t forget that he fell behind 2-0 on the first two batters.
@18 Might be one of the weirdest games of the season.
Can anyone give me a quick scouting report on Newk’s inning? I was at work and missed it, mostly just curious about velo and what the secondary offering looked like.
I’ll take a stab at it. Newk was hitting 97 and 98 on the gun, but I don’t recall him throwing any curveballs. I listened to the game on the radio, but it sounds like his plan was to just air it out and see if the batter could catch up. This strategy seemed particularly effective against Zimmerman, a PH, who struck out swinging for the third out of the seventh inning.
@28 He looked like the second coming of Randy Myers or Norm Charlton. Probably the best he’s ever looked in a Braves uni. IMO.
Straight gas. Hit this if you can…
Stuck out all 3 swinging… the first was up and in on the lefty Stevenson, the other two were crotch-high heaters right down Peachtree. Perez & Zimmerman were well tardy.
Thanks guys. Newcomb as a potential relief stud is an exciting development. I had always projected him as such in his early starting days.