Marlins 9, Braves 0

ESPN.com – MLB – Recap – Braves at Marlins

Well, that could have gone better. You would think that John Smoltz, if he was going to have problems, would have them after he’d thrown a few innings. No such luck. He gave up five runs, capped by a grand slam, in the first, and was chased after two more scored after retiring only two batters in the second. For what it’s worth, Jorge Sosa had 2 1/3 strong innings relieving him (3 K, 2 H, 2 BB) and Roman Colon a perfect inning in the eighth, Tom Martin a scoreless (but two-hit) ninth. Bernero gave up two runs in his two innings of work, though. I don’t think it’s just the flu.

The Braves were held to five hits, a double by Estrada and singles by Furcal, Andruw, Langerhans (who entered the game late) and LaRoche. Actually, all the hitters but Julio, I think, got into the game. Maybe we can get it counted as an extra spring training game.

Chipper was 0-4, but hit a warning track fly ball in the first after Furcal and Giles walked. Who knows what would have happened if it had carried a little farther? Furcal and Giles were running so couldn’t advance, and Marcus was spiked at second on Andruw’s groundout as the next batter which would have at least gotten one run home. Marcus is okay, apparently; Estrada left the game in the fifth after being hit with a foul tip.

The Marlins not only can’t get a decent stadium deal, now they have to play in “Dolphins Stadium”… Hampton vs. Leiter tomorrow. Estrada wouldn’t start that game normally anyway if Perez is indeed Hampton’s personal catcher, and against a lefty it’s not a big difference between them as hitters. The game will be on SportsSouth and on ESPN2. I have to work.

22 thoughts on “Marlins 9, Braves 0”

  1. I’m quite sure that we will hear all the naysayers chime in about Smoltz’s performance. Mainly those who don’t half the talent he does (Eckersley, for instance). Smoltz was amped up and had control problems. That will change. Like you said, Mac, a spring training game that counts. Got to see some guys pitch and hopefully it will turn out to be a valuable learning experience. One of those games where the Braves hitters couldn’t do anything right. Like I told my best friend yesterday when the Reds were dead in the water, “Just the first game, we’ve got 161 others.” The Reds came back to win in dramatic fashion but we all get the point…

  2. Well, remember the first season Smoltz became our full time closer and he gave up seven runs to the Mets in a game? I am sure he will revert back to the normal awesome Smoltz very soon.

  3. Well, flexed into work at 6:30 am to get home in time for first pitch. Ugh! Smoltzie was pitching ok but they somehow managed to foul a lot of out pitches off. Andruw’s wide stance or not still lunged at an outside pitch for the force out. LaRoche couldn’t handle the under the hands fastball. Shoot otherwise a great game. Darn, Jordan is hitting against a right hander so much for a platoon. Brave’s baseball is back! I’m so jacked for this season its ridiculous.

  4. Bernero went 1-2-3 in the fifth, then hit Pierre. Castillo’s hit would have been 4-3 without the hit and run. So he gave up hits to Delgado and Lowell. Lot of people have done that in their careers.

  5. Smoltz is nothing to worry about. Spring tells us he can handle the role, he just had a bad outing. It happens to everyone.

    Sosa was encouraging, I can see what management saw in him. He has the two unteachables velocity and movement and lacks control which is definitely teachable. His pitching style makes it clear that he needs to keep the ball low to be successful, when he did that he got results. I think he’s got potential to be decent if his control can be refined even a little bit.

  6. It could have been worse, I guess. I thought for sure that when Giles went down in the first he had blown out his ACL or something.
    It’s just one game, though, as those above said. If this was my favorite team in a college football or NFL game, I’d be miserable all week …

  7. Is control teachable? I dunno. Seems people’s control gets better, but a guy who has bad control for a 25-year-old will have bad control for a 30-year-old if he gets that far.

  8. Well, it depends on the person. It may or may not be teachable, but there’s certainly a better chance of teaching control than velocity or movement, for instance. Keep in mind though, Sosa wasn’t always a pitcher, he didn’t start pitching until 2001 so his age progress is not necessarily comparable to people who have pitched their whole career.

  9. Yeah, you would think so since they have studies for just about everything nowadays. The thing about control is it’s a function of mechanics. Mostly arm slot but also body motion through the windup, how weight is distrubited etc. The only question is whether correcting these things to increase control will have an adverse affect on either movement or velocity, as is sometimes the case. It’s definitely a balancing act and it remains to be seen whether or not Leo can give Sosa more control.

  10. Not trying to be contrarian – but seems like velocity and movement can also come along as well (whether you call it being ‘taught’ or developed or whatever term you want). Seems like every spring you hear about how so-and-so picked up a few MPH on the heater by tinkering with mechanics, or Joe Veteran (or Matt Rookie) changed his grip and it gave a tailing movement to the ball or somesuch.
    Strictly anecdotal recollections, but it does seem to be within the realm of reasonableness. And seems like I’ve used ‘seems’ a little too often (not that I changed anything…)
    Bummer of a game today, but it’s only one. I remember a couple years back getting swept by Montreal to start the season. Got hammered one game and shut out the other two – I remember thinking we were in for a weak, weak offense. If I remember right that’s the year we led the league in runs, though.
    Yep, that was 2003 – just looked it up. Lost 10-2, then 3-0 and 4-0. And still scored 907 runs that year.
    I would have thought Hudson would be the #2 starter. Any word on why it’s Hampton tomorrow? Are they wanting to have more of a R-L-R feel to the rotation?

  11. Sosa does have this wierd angle in his arm motion when he brings ball out of his glove in the middle of his wind-up. A lot like Cruz, as Skip pointed out. I’ll bet his pitching can be very effective, at times, but I would think that it would be hard to to be very precise, and consistant with that type of mechanical physical movement. But again, hey, whatever works.

  12. I also think today showed how vulnerable we are to injuries. But, WESTARTEDTHESEASON!!!!111!!1 W00T!

  13. Sure, you can tweak some things and get minor results, but that’s rare. You can add a few MPH by eliminating wasted motions in your mechanics, but the strength for that had to be there to begin with. Velocity has a stronger cap for each individual to break than control. Anyone has atleast the potential to learn control, few people have the potential to throw 100 MPH. With regard to movement I’m not talking about learning new pitches but that quality ambigiously referred to as “stuff”. Someone either has it or though don’t, very rarely is it acquired at a level as high as professional ball.

  14. From what I’ve read about Mazzone, particularly last year involving Wright, is that he convinces pitches that they don’t have to throw 100% to be successful – that it is better to use a little less than full effort because it gives you more control over where the pitch goes. So in that sense, I think you can “teach” control, but it seems more of a chage in mindset than anything else.

  15. Watching the game, I had forgotten how fricking long Brian Jordan’s at bats are. After every pitch, he walks back almost to the ondeck circle.

    I guess I’d try to stretch them out too with his skills.

  16. Not to compare the two obviously, but Sandy Koufax also had control problems early in his career and took several years to get it. So it’s not impossible if it’s a mechanical issue.

  17. Can’t learn control? John Smoltz, through 1995 3.3 BB/9 (572 BB / 1550.2 IP); John Smoltz, beginning with his Cy Young year, 2.0 BB/9 (257 / 1149). Mid career, he cut his walks in half.

  18. Dan,
    Just to clarify, I think most were agreeing that it’s easier to ‘learn’ control (whether though mechanical changes, maturity, or whatever). My earlier post was just to point out that improved/enhanced velocity & movement can sometimes arrive on the scene as well – Grst makes some good points in response to my comments too.
    It would be interesting to try to get some type of verification of how much improvement pitchers were able to make in certain areas (I know a few guys have put together ‘stuff’ metrics, but they are definitely not universally agreed upon at this point…)

  19. And, I gotta say, I never really considered myself an ‘interloper’ :-) (see Jonathan F.’s comments in an earlier thread if you don’t know what I mean) Mostly have just been a quiet observer around here until recently, though I’ve been reading this site since – well, I’m not sure when, but a long time (back when Alex R. would write his parody articles…)

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