Washington 3, Atlanta 2

ESPN.com – MLB – Box Score – Nationals at Braves

Sosa blew a 2-0 lead, the Braves blew too many chances to score, and the game just generally blew.

The Braves got two runs in the third. Marcus singled home Estrada, and Andruw drew a bases-loaded walk. But LaRoche grounded out to end the inning. In the fourth, they loaded the bases with two out again, and Marcus struck out looking. In the fifth, Estrada struck out with two on and two out. In the seventh, Francoeur grounded out with two on and two out. In the eighth, KJ flew out, then Marcus popped up to end the inning with two on. Part of the problem is that they couldn’t do anything until two were out, of course. But that’s way too many baserunners.

Sosa looked good early, but allowed a long homer in the fourth to cut it to 2-1 and seemingly tired in the fifth, allowing four hits, including two doubles. He was fortunate to get away with only two runs scoring.

The bullpen did pretty well for itself. Boyer was great again, striking out two in a perfect sixth. Foster walked one, but that was it in the seventh. Kolb actually struck out the side, albeit with a single mixed in, in the eighth. Reitsma allowed a weak single in the ninth.

The Marlins won, and the Mets beat the Phillies, which moves Florida into a tie for second place and the wildcard lead… Double header tomorrow, not a particularly promising one with Thomson and Ramirez scheduled to start against Livan and Loaiza.

56 thoughts on “Washington 3, Atlanta 2”

  1. Couple of things;

    1) I’m now completely convinced Kelly Johnson should be our 4th outfielder and shouldn’t ever be considered for a lead off hitter again. Johnson cant hit one out of the infield. Also he just flat out missed the fly ball hit to him, I’m not saying it was an easy play, but he looked like he was afraid of the wall. Langerhans would have made that catch.

    2) Sosa, not that bad of an outing, but why did every pitcher get a single off of him. Can we throw something besides a straight fastball to them.

    3) Why all of a sudden can the Braves not win a game at home. I think I would rather watch them play in Washington. The Braves offense just lost this game for them as well.

    4) The good things about tonight: Phillies lost, bullpen looked great, LaRoche was more patient and was 1-3 w/ two walks, Hollandsworth did his job!

  2. Any game that KJ starts and hits anywhere but eighth is a game we deserve to lose on account of stupidity. At least he’s a butcher in the outfield.

    Franceour drew another walk so that’s…something.

  3. Well, just wondering, who do you think is the best leftfielder among Klesko, Chipper, and KJ?

    I still think it is KJ, but I agree with you guys, KJ is so afraid of the wall…

  4. KJ is the best left fielder among those three guys, but of course, that’s not saying MUCH.

    God what an annoying loss. Just annoying. I may live here in D.C. but the name Nats is appropriate…they win, annoyingly.

    As far as the lineup is concerned, why is Kelly Johnson and his .230 average leading off (I am starting to wonder if he will ever get hot again…I too am not so sure about him) and more importantly, why the FUCK is that piece of crap Adam LaRoche hitting FIFTH?

    I agree that last night was actually a bit of a must win…I, too, looked at the pitching match-ups today and this could be a realy ugle double header sweep for the Nats. I think we have a chance in the nightcap if Horacio (pitching at home and at night, two pluses) throws one of his really good performances but we will lose the 4:30 game (I would love to be wrong but I don’t see it).

    At least the one good thing is that maybe a few more people will finally see John Thomson for the piece of crap puitcher he is (at least right now) and todays game will further the argument for Kyle Davies over Thomson for a Playoff spot.

    Of course, if we lose the doubleheader today, perhaps we shouldn’t even be talking Playoffs.

  5. KJ has put up .284/.376/.432/.809 for the month of August, which is nearly identical to what Furcal has done over that same span (.286/.377/.439/.816). Let’s look at a few others.

    Langerhans: .250/.286/.375/.661
    Giles: .324/.383/.419/.802
    McCann: .273/.338/.424/.762
    Betemit: .318/.375/.341/.716

  6. Alex R., I think they mentioned over the air that the pitchers will be swapped tomorrow, with HR in the early game and Thomson in the nightcap. I actually think there’s a great chance the Braves split.

    In my fantasy world, Davies takes Kolb’s place on the playoff roster, not Thomson’s.

  7. The game actually turned I think with Sosa throwing the brushback pitch at Guillen. In the same at bat, Guillen just decided he was going to murder Sosa or something. He fouled the next pitch off about 365 feet down the left field line, and then just murdered the pitch after that hitting it over the 380 sign in left.

    In his next at-bat the Braves were so intimidated that they walked him and the next batter, Preston Wilson, singled to score the go-ahead run.

    Not that pitching to Guillen would have been a better option and Guillen never came around to score in that inning. Its just that the Sosa brushback seemed to have the exact opposite effect as intended with Guillen fully intimidating the Braves for the rest of the game.

    Of course Franceur struck out to end the game during the final “put men on base with two-out” effort.

  8. KJ is the best option for leading off if Furcal can’t based on his OBP and patience not his batting avg. LaRoche hits 5th to get that left right left thing that managers like to do going.

  9. I am going to scream.

    CAN SOMEONE PLEASE EXPLAIN WHY THE FUCK THEY WOULD SWAP THE PITCHERS TODAY AND PUT HORACIO IN THE DAY GAME, WHEN HE SUCKS IN DAY GAMES AND PITCH THOMSON AT NIGHT? OUR BEST FUCKING CHANCE FOR A SPLIT IS HORACIO PITCHING THE NIGHT CAP. WHY THE FUCK WOULD THE BRAVES DO THIS STUPID SHIT, AND JOEYT. WHY THE FUCK WOULD YOU BE EXCITED ABOUT THIS DECISION?

    HAS ANYONE CHOSEN TO LOOK AT HORACIO’S NOTICEABLY DIFFERENT DAY ERA VS. NIGHT ERA?

    SHIT LIKE THIS FUCKING PUTS ME OVER THE EDGE AND I AM LIVID. IF RAMIREZ GETS KILLED TODAY AND THE BRAVES INVEITABLY LOSE BOTH ENDS OF THE DOUBLE HEADER BECAUSE OF THIS, DON’T SAY I DIDN’T WARN YOU.

    RAMIREZ IS NIGHT PITCHER…WHY DO I KNOW THIS AND LEO AND OBBY DON’T KNOW THIS. WHY?????

  10. I Just want an explanation as to WHY the Braves would choose to move Horacio to the day game???? why???????????????????????????????????????????

  11. One more thing…please someone tell me the Braves won’t try and use Sosa and Smoltz on SHORT rest and finally give Davies a start this Saturday (after Hudson’s assume Friday night start).

  12. It would certainly make the most sense. I’m not sure how they could not do it that way. Unless they dump the next three games, there won’t be enough urgency to send Smoltz out there again so soon. And there wouldn’t seem to be a whole lot of point in picking Sosa (at least on short rest) over Davies.

  13. i guess one good thing came out of hurricane katrina. i finally get to see my first braves game of the year today, and i get 2 for the price of 1. does anyone have a clue how rainouts work? i had 2nd row seats behind the 3rd base dugout for monday night’s game, but from the way the email reads i might not have those seats anymore. it seems to me that i SHOULD get the same seats for the 1st game, but might have an alternate seat for the second game. i am very confused, does anyone out there know what i should expect?

    also, has anyone else heard about how long new orleans will be cut off from the public. we heard a rumor that the mayor is ordering a month mandatory evacuation. anyone else hear that.

    please keep in prayer the area of plaquemines parish. it is located in the extreme southeast of louisiana. this is where i teach school. the lower end of the parish is under 20 ft. of water, and the school where i teach is no longer existent. every single home in the south end of the parish was destroyed. they have already found 10 bodies, and 2 of them were children.

  14. I don’t know, ryan c. The only time I’ve been to a major league doubleheader was at the Vet in Philly, and that place was so vacant by the second game you could sit pretty much anywhere you wanted in your section. I totally moved down to better seats.

  15. RyanC, The way it works is folks who have tix for the normally scheduled game today get those seats for both games. If you have tix for this past Monday’s game then you can trade those for tix to today’s game (or any other game of the remaining season). When you trade tix you are subject to availability of course…

  16. I dont feel very confident about today’s games. We have always done fairly well against Loaiza, but who knows Ramirez hasnt been very good in day games. The Braves are struggling at home and I’m not sure why. It’s time for Giles and the Jones’ to set up and help us win this series. Something has me worried about today, but then again I was confident yesterday and look what happened.

    Hernandez has never won in Atlanta, so maybe just maybe, Thompson will have a strong outing. I’ve got my fingers crossed at this point!

  17. The announcers said last night that Furcal was out becuase of his knee, but the website said it was his back. We need to get Hampton out of the dugout he is contagious!

  18. Kelley Johnson is not as good of an out fielder as Chipper Jones was. Chipper made some decent plays out there, KJ sucks. Langerhans need to call Keith Locksuck and get the pictures. When KJ plays he should hit 8th. His “Plate disaplin” would be great in the 8 hole. Fucal not being in the line up hurt tonight. When he gets on base it is a diffrent game.

  19. Also, Dan Kolb looked great last night as well as Boyer and CR. Our bull pen is settling down. I think these are the guys we should go to the post season with.

  20. There is no doubt that Lager is a better defender than KJ (and Francoeur for that matter). However, there is also no doubt that KJ has been a better hitter than Langer, especially over the past month. I’m not sure why KJ needs pictures to play or bat leadoff.

  21. If you ever want to feel good about a defense-challenged Braves left fielder, just think of Pete Incaviglia and the losingest franchise in pro sports, and the smile will come back to your face.
    The Phillies: the New York Mets of the past hundred years.

  22. There is no doubt that Lager is a better defender than KJ (and Francoeur for that matter). However, there is also no doubt that KJ has been a better hitter than Langer, especially over the past month. I’m not sure why KJ needs pictures to play or bat leadoff.

    Batting at the top of the order where pitchers challange you because the truly good hitters are coming up Johnson is hitting: .230/.321/.402 Ouch.

    Batting down in the order where pitchers are more apt to nibble with the pitcher coming up: .283/.397/.340

    He, of course, hurts you wherever you put him, but at least at the bottom of the order he can draw some walks and hit some cripple pitches for singles.

    I would love to quote similar statistics for Betemit, but of course he always has to bat eighth. That, apparently, is the rule. He’s hitting .323/.383/.508 out of the eight hole, but unfortuantely that has only led to more batting eighth.

  23. The Natspos just traded for Deivi Cruz. I had to laugh, but then, he *is* better than Guzman.

    He’s supposed to be in Atlanta in time for the second game.

  24. nyb, KJ was hitting at the top of the order during his slump. That’s what you are picking up with those numbers.

    There’s no such thing as protection. If you don’t believe me, see here.

    I’m still at a loss to know why he hurts you wherever you put him. Could you clarify? His numbers over the past month have not been bad.

  25. You cant really compare hitting stats for two players who dont play everyday. Johnson is getting twice as many AB’s than Langerhans is getting. If you look at their average over the course of the year it evens out. Langerhans has a better average and is better defensively. He should be our 3rd outfielder.

  26. JC, protection is a myth, but I didn’t see anything on that page about hitting with runners on base. Personally, I don’t think where KJ hits has anything to do with his performance, but the possibility does exist that hitting lower in the order means a higher chance of runners on base which could maybe possibly produce a defensive arrangement against which KJ hits well.

    I don’t buy it, but there’s more to a spot in the lineup than who hits behind you. There’s who hits in front of you, too, and a leadoff guy has the pitcher right ahead of him.

    I know most people think that the jump in BA with runners on base has to do with the inverse relationship between the quality of the pitcher faced and the chance of having a runner on base ahead of you. I just don’t know enough to say for certain that baserunners don’t have other effects, and that those effects don’t improve KJ’s performance. Heck, in leadoff, a quarter of his at-bats occur with no one on at all, guaranteed.

  27. Johnson is definetly more effective in the 8th hole, but I’m convinced Langerhans is better right now.

  28. KJ is playing scared right now and has been for some time. You can see it in his eyes. Like he realized when Francouer came up that he was not major league material anymore. He is steadily playing his way back to the minors. He needs to get some confidence back.

    Francouer is second guessing his swings as well. He appears to be looking slider every pitch and is looking terrible against the fastball.

    I actually thought Langerhans had been looking good. I sure hope he plays today.

    Drop LaRoche down in the lineup, bookend Francouer and Chipper around Andruw, and please play McCann over Estrada six days a week.

  29. There has been extensive statistical study that says that there is no such thing as protection. Hitters in the study have done just as well when not protected as ‘protected’.

    KJ bashers, I was with you a couple of days ago but he has been way better than Langerhans the last month. August OBP SLG AVG .376 .432 .284
    Langerhans August .286 .375 .250 I know, small sample size but in the what have you done lately world of this blog and baseball that is a significant difference in performance.
    Langerhans is a terrific defensive outfielder but LF is the place where you put a hitter. Games aren’t won and lost because of left field defense. Both guys have had similar years with their months with the team and very bad Julys sucking the life out of their season stats. I think that Bobby ultimately believes that KJ is the better hitter of the 2 (certainly the more patient) and thats why he continues to play him more.
    D. Stanford your ‘eyeball psychoanalysis’ is laughable.

  30. Should have been ‘their first months with the team’ as both got off to rough starts.
    KJ is actually the statheads classic leadoff hitter, good OBP, sees a lot of pitches, 1st to 3rd speed, some pop. I think that the August we’ve just seen out of him is more indicative of what he is capable of than his brutal July.
    D. Stanford, didn’t mean to insult you but really guy. ‘realized he isn’t major league material anymore’ I think if that were true then he’d have been back in the Commonwealth of Virginia a couple of months ago because Bobby and Schuerholz realized it.

  31. JC-here is the counter point to that argument.In 2000 Jeff Kent was the NL MVP hitting in front of Barry Bonds most of the season.

    Why do you think Bonds gets walk so much? If he had someone like Puljos hitting behind him he wouldn’t get walked as much and would get more pitches to hit. In 2001 Bonds was walked 137 times and still hit 73 hommers. Let’s say Bonds had a guy like Puljos or Chipper hitting behind him and teams only walked him 87 times, that is 50 more AB’s he would have had. Bonds hit a hommer ever 6.5 AB. That would be a litle over seven home runs giving him 80.

  32. nyb, KJ was hitting at the top of the order during his slump. That’s what you are picking up with those numbers.

    How convenient. Might want to think about turning that causation arrow the other way.

    There’s no such thing as protection. If you don’t believe me, see here.

    Wow, would I like that five minutes of my life back. Worthless stuff.

    I’m sorry but if you can’t understand that you are going to be pitched differently when your batting in front of Marcus Giles or when your batting in front of the pitcher, I’m just not going to waste any more time on it.

    I mean a pitching coach or manager worth anything will explicitly instruct his pitcher to pitch differently in these situations. Head shake

    I’m still at a loss to know why he hurts you wherever you put him. Could you clarify? His numbers over the past month have not been bad.

    He’s a corner outfielder hitting .243/.336/.399 who sucks defensively. If your using a guy with this profile, he is hurting you. His luke warm 90 PAs in August are no more important than is disasterous 109 PAs in July (635 OPS!)

  33. Yes, Johnson does look better than Langerhans and I strongly believe thats because he gets more playing time. With the same AB’s there average and all offensive statistics would be very similar, but that’s where the defense comes into play. Langerhans has outperformed KJ defensively while putting up similar averages.

    I’m not a KJ basher, but I just dont understand why he gets the majority of playing time!

  34. Smitty, I think that if you did a full blown statistical study of Jeff Kent you’d find that he is a pretty good hitter with or without Barry Bonds hitting behind him. Bonds would walk a lot with Babe Ruth behind him. Mostly because of his devastating ability to hit pitches in the zone out of the park. Partly becuase he has a very discerning batting eye. And some of it having to do with him being so armored up that he takes the inside part of the plate away from pitchers.

  35. nyb, did you read JC’s article? He agrees that you’ll be pitched differently when batting in front of a good batter. In fact, he finds that “protection” actually hurts you, and the reason he proposes is that the pitcher is pitching more effectively with the extra incentive of not having you on base.

  36. Fox Sports is showing Thomson vs. Hernandez as the first game today. Hopefully this is true Hernandez has never won at Atlanta and Ramirez definitely is better at night. Thomson needs a good outing and Ramirez can follow tonight with the win. Maybe Bobby actually thought about how bad Ramirez has been during day games.

  37. August OBP SLG AVG .376 .432 .284 is luke warm? Shoot thats a pretty good stat line for a month.
    Not that this is the reason KJ is getting more playing time than Langerhans but if you look at their respective minor league careers KJ projects out to be the better major leaguer. Since the Braves don’t operate that way KJ probably gets more playing time becuase he looks better as a hitter than Langerhans does.
    CSG are you sure that with the same number of chances that the offensive output would be the same? How do you know that? Langerhans has roughly 1/2 the PAs in August that KJ has but he has been significantly out hit. ?????
    In any case when KJ was struggling I posted here that Cox should consider playing Langerhans as the starter. Given the August results I was wrong.

  38. You know, nyb. Why don’t you send me a personal e-mail. It seems that you have something you want to get off of your chest. That’s a totally inappropriate and immature response, and the people on this site don’t need to read it.

  39. Johnny-her is another example.

    2002 Chipper Jones. Chipper hit fourth behind Sheff. Gary was third on the team in hit and only played in like 135 games. No one wanted to pitch to Chipper Jones, so Sheff got more pitches to hit.

    Protection may not exist for guys hitting 5-6-7, but it does for guys hitting 2-3-4. This is why Kelley Johnsons doesn’t hit 4th. Would anyone throw Chipper a strike with Kelley Johnson on deck? Nope.

  40. Also, Kent is a very good hitter, but I haven’t seen him on very many MVP lists since leaving San Francisco either.

  41. Looking at the Braves website it shows they are basically similar in every category. AB’s, H, 2b, 3b, HR, RBI, BB, SO, AVG. In almost every category they are close if not exact. My post was concerning their play over the course of the whole season not just this month. Johnny, I understand that KJ has better numbers this month, but he also gets more playing time. Like you said Langerhans has 1/2 the PAs in August that KJ has and no I dont know if they would be similar. Just looking at their yearly stats I came up w/ that conclusion……..

  42. Kent career line:
    .289 .352 .501 853
    1997 .250 .316 .472 788
    1999 .290 .366 .511 877
    2000 .334 .424 .596 1020 MVP
    2001 .298 .369 .507 876
    2002 .313 .368 .565 933
    2003 .297 .351 .509 860 Houston
    2004 .289 .348 .531 879 Houston
    2005 .294 .378 .521 .898 LA Dodgers

    Gosh the guy is a terrific hitter. If you assume that the Barry effect is permanent then why is 2000 the only year that he significantly exceeded his career averages while he played with San Fran? Is that he only year he hit in the 3 hole? 2000 is what is now called a statistical outlier what used to be called a career year. Without the exhaustive and frankly over my head mathematical analysis that JC did I can’t disprove that it was due to Bonds ‘protecting’ Kent or not. I say not just from what I see here.

  43. Got to stop being so fat fingered! Just to complete the thought. My point and I know the scientests on this blog are cringing at my method but if there is such thing as a significant difference in a players offensive performance when he is ‘protected’ by another great offensive player why didn’t Kent exceed his career statistics all 5 years he was a Giant when he was ‘protected’ by the greatest offensive player of our generation?

  44. Your point is an excellent one Johnny, and far more valuable that the piece I wrote because it is so easy to understand. I’m certainly not cringing. I wrote my study for an audience that demands they be bored to death (economists) and I didn’t take the time to simplify it. Good work!

  45. 2000 is the only season he hit in front of Bonds and he 40 points above his carrer average and he also had a carrer high in hits and his OPS was almost 200 points higher.

    The rest of his time with the Giants he usually hit behind Bonds, thus protecting him somewhat. Since Kent’s departure Bonds’s number of AB’s have gone down and the number of walks have gone up. Bonds walked 232 times last year! 232!

    Johnny, JC who do you fear more Barry Bonds or J.T. Snow? There needs to be a stat that shows how many fastballs and pitched that are thrown for strikes, a batter sees. If there was a stat showing that you would see guys hitting in fron of Bonds, or anyother great hitter, get more strikes and probably more fastballs to hit.

  46. Snitty, if you’re not going to bother to read the study, then please don’t try to engage me in a debate. Ignore me and move on, like I’m doing with you.

  47. Smitty,
    A long time ago, probably when you were in diapers, (I think that you are one of the terrific young Braves fans on this Blog) Bill James did something like what you are asking for. His study involved Dale Murphy and the oft injured Bob Horner. The study was trying to validate how much Horner being in the lineup behind Dale affected his performance. The answer was not enough to be statistically significant. The study was great becuase if I remember correctly it was done during the course of a season when Horner (as usual) was in and out of the lineup so he was able to do it in a compressed time period. Horner wasn’t Barry Bonds (who is?) but in his day he was a terrific offensive player who could hit for average and power. If he had stayed healthy and continued to play at Fulton County Stadium, IMHO he had enough raw talent to have been a great one.

  48. Johnny, in case you don’t remember, I was here supporting KJ during his initial 0-31 slump. I liked what I was seeing then because of his quality swings and keen eye for the strike zone. After it seemed he started getting more borderline (or worse) pitches called against him and also began demonstrating a weakness of hitting any inside fastballs, it seems that he has lost his plate presence. He now takes a lot of quality pitches, gets out on the borderline stuff, and really has not been making quality outs (ie moving running overs, sac flies) lately.

    I think he had a great approach at first, but I do think his confidence is down. Watch him. His first month in the bigs, he looked like he had great composure. Now he cusses himself for five minutes after every at bat. What he came up doing was doing was working, but he began cracking when umps started calling pitches that were not within his defined strike zone area and once everybody started killing him inside.

  49. I am just trying to get through to you guys that when you have a great hitter hitting behind you, there are going to better pitches to hit. Ask anyone who has ever hit 2-3-4 in baseball.

    I am aware of who Bill James is and I remember the days of Bob Horner. Bill James makes some great points on a lot of diffrent stats, and is right on the money with most of them. He is also wrong on some of them.

  50. My apologies. After having a largely Braves-free vacation for over a week, I was not aware that Johnson had a couple of multi-hit games lately. I must only be catching his bad ones. Maybe he is finally making the adjustment.

    No HR’s or RBI’s lately but I am very happy to see some better AB’s.

  51. You know, nyb. Why don’t you send me a personal e-mail. It seems that you have something you want to get off of your chest. That’s a totally inappropriate and immature response, and the people on this site don’t need to read it.

    Well gee, I didn’t mean to hurt your feelings but it’s a very poorly setup and executed study. I’m sorry but I wish I hadn’t wasted time reading it. There are mistakes in the premise of the study that make it impossible for useful conclusions to be drawn. Not effectively filtering for game situations that would lead to protection coming in to play for one, not understanding that certain types of hitters are helped by protection (good yet impatient hitters), others are hurt by it (players that derive much of their values from walks), and many it doesn’t matter (all around good hitters) is another.

    In my opinion the study was of little value. However I regret the tone of my original post as I would have softened it if I had known the study’s author was going to read it since a lot of work obviously went into it.

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