Atlanta 3, New York 1

ESPN.com – MLB – Recap – Mets at Braves

John Thomson gave the Braves seven innings of one-run baseball, which they pretty much needed because they were leaving baserunners all over the place; 10 for the game. The Braves got two runs in the first on singles by LaRoche and Estrada, but a chance to add two more fell by the wayside when Mondesi’s long fly ball was tracked down by Cliff Floyd. (Mondesi then went back to striking out.) After that, it was one baserunner after another left on base until Julio’s pinch-hit single in the bottom of the seventh. Marcus was back in the lineup and went 2-3 with a double, plus a HBP and two runs scored.

The Mets, meanwhile, were hitting into double plays (twice) and getting caught stealing (twice, including a strikeout/throwout I didn’t count as a DP above). They got one run on a solo homer by Piazza but didn’t get another extra-base hit or draw any walks. Colon pitched the eighth and allowed a bunch of hard-hit balls but only one hit. Kolb pitched a perfect ninth with — get this! — two strikeouts. Braves pitchers had eight strikeouts on the game.

Aaron Heilman against Horacio Ramirez tomorrow. The Nats lost and the Braves are alone in first, which Skip seemed unduly excited about seeing how it’s Friday of the first week of the season.

24 thoughts on “Atlanta 3, New York 1”

  1. I know that Andruw is one of our better hitters, but does that really justify not having him bunt with runners on first and second and no one out? I’m not a big fan of “manufacturing” runs, but that is an exception. If we are going back to old-school winning through starting pitching, we don’t need to be playing Earl Weaver baseball, especially with this line-up.

  2. Our pitchers, both starting and relief, are controlling the close games right now. The best kind of energy for a more pitching heavy team is calm and controlled. So far our boys have that energy. This is my favorite kind of baseball to see Atlanta, or anyone really, play. Obviously more hitting would be nice, but if its not there, our pitchers will keep us in it. All of this excepting opening day.

  3. The goal of any team should be to score as many runs as possible. If Andruw Jones, our 2nd best hitter (maybe third now that Giles is back), bunts with two men on base, that goal is made more difficult. Smarter people than me have simulated this scenario millions of times, and the expected scoring during the game is higher in the world where there are runners on first and second and none out than the world with runners on second and third and two out. The fact that Andruw has more power than average only makes this more true.

  4. My understanding is that when Palmer ran it (this was long ago, in a lower run environment than today) run expectation is actually higher with 2nd and 3rd, one out than with 1st and 2nd, nobody out. (It was the one time when he thought a sac bunt might be a good play.) But the chance of a really big inning might be smaller, and it’s a tough play with the force in effect at third. Plus Andruw is not a bunter. He hasn’t had a successful sac bunt since 1998.

  5. I’m a first time poster so first let me just say how much I love this site. I use it as my homepage. Thanks Mac! Living in Kansas I don’t get a whole lot of Braves news and since TBS has quit broadcasting as many games this site is a Godsend.

  6. Wow. Good stat Mac. I think you’re right Eddie, in that the Braves will probably bunt to second and third with the 7,8, and 9 slots this season. But I think Mac and Kyle are correct when they point out the significance of Andruw’s power in that situation. You can’t ask Andruw to bunt because you want the three-run jack, and as Mac points out, and our coaches don’t ask him. Bobby could certainly suggest to Jordan, Mondesi, and to others that a bunt might be needed there. Although Mac might give me reasons to change that belief as well.

  7. Yeah, the only person who should be bunting in that situation is a pitcher…or maybe Eddie Perez.

  8. I thought it was a terrible move by Willie Randolph to bring in Soo to face Julio Franco. He could of stayed with Aybar and went against a slightlty struggling, and obviously less dangerous, hitter in LaRoche. I guess he thought Julio wouldn’t be able to pin down his awkward delivery. Franco hit the first pitch for a single up the middle and an insurance run. Why let Atlanta bring in Julio? He was asking for it.

  9. I was basing my claim off the Palmer data, Mac, which you may be right doesn’t apply anymore. And I recognize that Jones probably doesn’t have the skill, but that’s Bobby’s fault too. Use it or lose it.

    I just don’t think this team is going to put up enough runs to ignore situational hitting. Isn’t this one of the things Pendleton was good at?

  10. Wow, the Mets are 0-4. Could they turn out to be a National League version of the Orioles?

    For all the criticism of the relievers, they are getting the job done so far this year. Kolb has saved all 3 wins, and other than Smoltz’s Opening Day fluke, they are unhittable.

    Will all of the division games this month, it could be over for a few teams by the end of this month.

  11. I have to say that I can’t wait to see how Horacio does on Saturday! Can you imagine the grmbling and dismay that will reverberate through the league when the Baraves have 5 killer starters again?

  12. Over the the course of Andruw’s career, it would have been correct to have him bunt a miniscule amount of time. It’s even less so now because behind Andruw, there’s a pretty big dropoff with Adam.

    Andruw is such a good hitter that it’d be a waste of time and might affect other parts of his game.

  13. Mac, why are you so negative all the time?

    You always keep writing things like “The Mets were hitting into double plays and getting caught stealing”. Yeah, but why can’t you for once see the upside, like “The Braves turned two double plays and Estrada gunned down two Mets”? Same with your comment on that April 6 game, where I think Hampton was great, but according to you he was “in trouble” and the Marlins were the ones who kept hitting into double plays. Thank you for that analysis.

    Another example? Ok, let’s take yesterday’s game: “Gyboski walked two, Reitsma and Sosa allowed single hits.” Sure, but how about “Our underrated bullpen was strong again with Grybo, Reitsma and Sosa each pitching an inning of scoreless relief?”

    May I ask you a question: Are you a Braves fan after all?

  14. First: Double plays, while they require a sufficient defense and perhaps some skill from a pitcher to throw a ball that might be hit on the ground, are largely the result of chance. You’ll never hear a pitcher say, “I was really proud of that double play I got so-and-so to ground into.” It’s always, “We were pretty fortunate to have so-and-so ground into a double play.” If you are getting a bunch of double plays, you are not only fortunate, but it means you have been allowing a bunch of runners to get on base.

    Second: Mac’s description of the relief pitchers tells me exactly what happened in a consise sentence. You’re description, while dramatic and flowery, tells me nothing about what happened in the game, other than no runs scored.

  15. May I ask you a question: Are you a Braves fan after all?

    To snelvill jones’s great post, I can only add:

    What the hell is wrong with you?

  16. I totally disagree with snellville (not about Mac, who’s always great)but about how much he attributes double plays to luck. That’s like saying a guy’s a lucky pitcher, because the other team never scores any runs when he pitches.
    I thought Grbowski’s whole caeer is based around his ability to get ground balls. I just listened to three Braves-Marlins games where the talking heads raved about the Marlins DP combination. Who’s right?
    I hope somebody will weigh in with some stats. I can easily believe that there’s no correlation between good teams and/or pitchers and double plays. But we don’t keep stats on DP’s not made, and our eyes tell us how damging failure to make them can be.

  17. Read his post again…

    First: Double plays, while they require a sufficient defense and perhaps some skill from a pitcher to throw a ball that might be hit on the ground, are largely the result of chance.

    So yes, a good dp combination and a groundball pitcher helps. It’s still largely the result of getting a lucky bounce and having a runner on.

  18. Can a pitcher control whether a sharp grounder goes in the hole for a base-hit or right to the shortstop for a double play? Can a hitter control the same thing? I think a pitcher can try to get a batter to hit something in a general direction, and a batter can try to hit something in a general direction, but I don’t think either are very percise. Even a ball hit weakly can prevent a double play. A good defense can make up for some things, and maybe a better pitcher can make up for others. I think I was a little extreme when I said “largely” though there is definitely a certain element of it present. Regardless, I think Mac’s line of thinking is that it would be better not to have those baserunners to begin with.

  19. I was less trying to talk about the double plays and more about the caught stealing. More generally, the Mets ran themselves out of a couple of chances to score.

  20. I’m on board now. Looking forward to tonight’s game. Anxious to see if Bobby rests Giles tomorrow and uses one of his “interesting” Sunday lineups.
    Also, I lived in Augusta, GA for two years and would love to be there to see Tiger’s charge tomorrow.

  21. The best thing the Braves have going for them is a rookie manager in New York, a crappy manager (ho isn’t any smarter than Bowa) in Philly, and the Marlins will have at least 3 major injuries before June. If we can get off to a great start, we might be able to coastto a title.

    Think about it, if we can get a 5-6 game lead by then end of the month there will be alot of people who will say,”He we go again..”

  22. ho isn’t any smarter than Bowa

    Smitty, is this any time to resort to name calling?

    alot of people who will say,”He we go again..”

    I doubt anyone has ever said that, unless it was to Mr. Choi the first baseman.

    Sorry, couldn’t resist …

    Now that that’s out of the way, it’s funny that in 20-plus posts, no one has mentioned how lights-out Thomson was last night. Seventy-one strikes in 98 pitches. He was, dare I say, positively Maddux-esque …

  23. I meant to mention this before, but I went to the game last night. I don’t know how well those of you who watched on TV could see it, but the new HD scoreboard is incredible. Worth the price of admission by itself.

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