Atlanta 6, Los Angeles 4

ESPN.com – MLB – Recap – Dodgers at Braves – 08/02/2003

I love watching the Dodgers struggle. I mean, I want the Braves to win, of course, but it’s extra special when you beat the Dodgers. Chipper drove in three runs in the fifth with a triple, and the bullpen managed to not blow the game. Barely.

The Braves relied almost entirely on the first four spots in the order today. Furcal, Giles, Sheffield, and Chipper combined to go 7-15 with 5 runs and six RBI. The only other hits and the only other run were by Darren Bragg. Andruw, as expected, sat the game out. I think the Braves, what with the big lead, have to consider giving Andruw a rest on the 15-day DL.

Hampton had a start similar to several he’s had this year, no-hitting the Dodgers to two out in the fourth and taking a shutout to the sixth, but then quickly tiring, allowing a run in the sixth and three (one an inherited run off Gryboski) in the seventh, leaving with two out. He wound up throwing 101 pitches; to me, it looks like he’s really good for only about 75. But with this bullpen…

Bobby inexplicably used Ray King not only to finish the seventh, but to pitch the entire eighth. He did a good job, striking out two and giving up no hits or walks. But where is Holmes? Is he hurt again? And why are the Braves continuing to use these lousy relievers in key situations rather than find someone else? There’s no question about Smoltz, who struck out the side in the ninth for save 42. He’s on pace for 60 or 61.

The Phillies are losing big to the Padres, and the Braves could be back up to 11 1/2 up in a couple of hours. The game tomorrow is a normal afternoon game and will be on TBS.

12 thoughts on “Atlanta 6, Los Angeles 4”

  1. Why did Magrane make such a big deal about the Braves hitting HRs and that hurting their playoff chances? Granted, he may be right, but in today’s game, they didn’t hit a single HR and still scored 6 runs. Ah well, I guess its not a big deal. Good to see King pitching well, although he has faced a horrible offensive team in the Los Angeles Dodgers.

  2. I am a little concerned that the Braves have trouble scoring runs when they don’t hit homers… but honestly, I don’t think that will come into play. It hasn’t even really been true the last month or so.

  3. I’m almost certain that Bill James studied this and found an advantage in the playoffs for teams that hit home runs. The thrust of it was that relatively more runs come as the result of home runs in the playoffs because more innings are concentrated in good pitchers, and good pitchers tend to strike a lot of batters out (low BAA) and walk relatively few, making it difficult to score runs by way of the rally. As I recall, he had a formula predicting playoff results based on the teams’ relative rankings in various statistical categories.

  4. for those who love Shane Reynolds,

    4 playoff games 0-4 4.18 era 28.0 innings 31 hits 13 ER 6 BB 16 SO

    now, 3 losses against the braves, but still…

  5. My rule of thumb is that whatever a TV announcer says about baseball strategy, you should assume that the opposite is true.

    The corrollary is that with Tim McCarver, this is unprovable because I always either turn off the sound or cuss and throw stuff at the TV while he talks.

  6. I thought Shane Reynolds won the last playoff game the Astros won. That was on the Aflac Trivia Question the other night. So wouldn’t he be 1-4?

  7. Shane Reynolds won the only game the Astros have ever won against the Braves in the postseason. In 1999 I think.

  8. Re Matt D. & Mccarver
    Interesting you’d bring that up, because I can still clearly (well, somewhat clearly–as clearly as a 2 yr. old memory will be) remember Mccarver’s comments in the closing moments of game 7 in the ’01 WS (D’backs & Yankees). It was the most uncanny (read: lucky) call I’ve ever heard on the TV. Mo Rivera pitching to Luis Gonzalez, and Joe Torre has the infield in. Mccarver talks about Rivera’s cut fastball, and how it bores in in LH hitters, and they often get jammed, and how a jam shot (don’t know if that’s the term he used) could fall in over the drawn-in infield. And lo and behold, that’s exactly what happened.
    Like I said above (with the ‘lucky’ comment), there’s no way to actually ‘call’ the outcome of particular pitches and at-bats (despite the Braves announcers stories about Greg Maddux calling the foul ball in the dugout–you’ve heard them talk about that one, haven’t you?), but that’s the whole nature of statistics and determining the likelihood of certain events–given a certain set of circumstances, you will expect things to happen certain percentages of the time; and sometimes, what happens makes you (based on your predictions) look like a genius.
    Hats off to Mccarver! (that is, if you can overlook the rest of his record of folly)

  9. RE: my comments above “and sometimes, what happens makes you (based on your predictions) look like a genius.”
    Of course, some predictions do not count:
    Vinny–0 – 4, 2 K (1st pitch swinging, 3/4)
    P.C.(TM)–0 – 3, 1 K, Sac
    King–1/3 IP, 3 ER, 3 BB, 2 H
    Boom-Boom–0 IP, 3 ER, 2 BB, 2 HR
    Gryboski–2/3 IP (DP, 1) {note: next day’s box score shows 3 ER in 1/3 IP)
    Smoltz–1 1/3 IP, 0 H, 0 BB (S, 47)

    Others?

  10. despite the Braves announcers stories about Greg Maddux calling the foul ball in the dugout–you’ve heard them talk about that one, haven’t you?)

    The best Maddux as Seer of the Future story: Twice in the midst of, I believe, the 2000 season, he brushed off Cox’s suggestion during a mound meeting that he intentionally walk the batter with one out and a runner on third to set up a double play by saying, “I think I can get him to pop to third.” Both times, the batter popped to third, and a disbelieving Cox regaled reporters with the story of Maddux’s brilliance after the game.

  11. I should add that, while there are things that do not lend themselves to easy quantification, they can be predicted with some level of accuracy by those who study it enough. I’m talking about people like Maddux and Tony Gwynn, who study the opposing players. Gwynn’s study of video was legendary (and, as I understand it, groundbreaking), and he often knew what pitch to expect (and its location) from opposing pitchers in practically any situation. Maddux is often referred to in the same way–he knows what pitches hitters like, and what pitches to throw that can fool them. I don’t know any way to reliably quantify this effect, but, in any event, it does not seem to be the norm in MLB today (seems like most hitters basically subscribe to the ‘see the ball, hit the ball’ theory, with pitchers not much different).
    When you have that level of preparation, you are much more likely, for instance, to be able to ‘call’ a batter’s pop-out. I just wish he were a little more effective at getting the batters to do so this year (think he ‘calls’ the HRs he gives up?).

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