Atlanta 3, New York 1 – MLB – Box Score – Mets at Braves

Marcus Giles is amazing. Tonight, he scored from second on a swinging bunt out.

The Braves and Mets had identical hit totals, seven apiece. The Mets had one walk, the Braves two, but that was matched with a HBP. Four of the Mets hits were doubles and another was a triple. And yet, the Mets couldn’t get but one run across. Just one of those things, really. And great baserunning, of course. And while I don’t believe in “situational hitting” that much, it sure worked tonight.

In the first, Furcal doubled and Marcus got him to third with a groundout. Chipper walked, and Andruw drove in the run with a forceout at second. In the third, Furcal singled, Marcus walked, Chipper grounded into the force at second, and Andruw hit a sac fly. Vanilla baseball, and if your starter isn’t on it’s not much good, but Smoltz was pitching a shutout so it did.

The Mets got a one-out double in the first, a leadoff double in the second, and a one-out triple in the third, but didn’t score. They finally got one run after an infield single, another one-out double, and a ground ball in the sixth, but that was their only run. The Braves also turned two double plays.

Reitsma allowed a two-out double in the eighth but got Wright to ground out. As so often happens, the closer got the back end of the batting order and got a groundout and two strikeouts.

And Marcus. With the game 2-1 in the sixth, he led off with a single, followed by another single by Chipper. Andruw popped out after about ten pitches (which at least guaranteed that it would be Pedro’s last inning) bringing Julio to the plate. After working the count to 3-2, he hit a swinging bunt about ten feet, which was fielded by Pedro. Marcus was running on the play, and after reaching third he kept running all the way home. That sort of thing used to happen more often, but not so often anymore.

The Phillies lost, but the Marlins won, so they move to second place, 6 1/2 back. The Phillies are 7 back, the Natspos 8, and the Mets 9 1/2. Tomorrow, on FSS, Hudson versus Glavine in a night game.

56 thoughts on “Atlanta 3, New York 1”

  1. I love it, Smoltz out-pitched Pedro. This year’s playoff will be very different from the last three years I hope!

  2. The original Captain Intangibles, Derek Jeter just grounded into a game ending double play after Rivera coughed up a run in the 9th – against Tampa Bay – in Yankee Stadium.

  3. If Andruw wins the MVP, he should dedicate it to Furcal, Giles, and Chipper. Once again he had ducks on the pond all night long. Furcal and Giles are smart and aggressive baserunners, and only three NL hitters get on base as often as Chipper, allowing Andruw to tally RBIs with groundouts and flyouts when he’s not hitting it 450 feet. With the years that Lee and Pujols are having, they would likely have 130 RBI batting cleanup in this lineup. I don’t intend that as a criticism of Andruw — I’m just saying.

  4. You are absolutely right sansho1. I have to admit I got a little steamed at Pete when he kept downplaying Andrew’s low BA/RISP as “nitpicking”. When you don’t make an out while driving in runs, you allow others on your team to get RBI instead of ending the rally yourself. This point seems lost on Pete.

  5. Well Kirk, Pete is just trying to do his job promoting Andruw’s case for MVP. Pete and Andruw work under the same umbralla of AOL as we all know…

  6. It’s OK to promote Andruw for MVP, but it’s not OK to do so by misrepresenting statistics whose significance you don’t grasp. He needs to stick with the play-by-play (where he really shines).

  7. To say that Pete understands the statistical aspect better than the other announcers isn’t very high praise. I cringe when any of them try any statistical analysis. There’s nothing wrong with not understanding it, but in that case, they shouldn’t try to pretend.

  8. In Andruw’s defense, all I ever hear from him are “It’s a team effort” and “My numbers don’t matter, I just want to help this team win.” They may be standard athlete cliches, but at least he’s doing his part to acknowledge his teammates and downplay his personal numbers.

  9. To start the year, even before the Yanks hired all the extra pitchers:

    Yankees: $205,938,439
    Indians: $41,830,400

    I wouldn’t be suprised if, by this point, the Yanks are spending five times as much on player salaries.

    As of now, the Indians are a half game back of the Yanks for the AL Wild card.

    One half game: $164,108,000

    Yanks missing the playoffs: priceless.

    I feel like I’m watching Major League 4. You know, meeting the Indians in the World Series worked pretty well for the Braves last time.

  10. First, I think it’s actually kind of annoying when the likes of average joe fans like Mac, myself, JoeyT, Kirk, KC et all understand stats better then the Braves announcers. Frankly, I would lump all team’s announcers.

    It honestly seems rare nowadays where you get say a Doug Collings on TNT in the NBA who actually is smart and understands numbers. More & more you just get guys repeating cliche’s, toeing the company line and frankly, I see that from a lot of the Braves announcers.

    Mac knows how much I have hated Andruw Jones until this season. While I am not complaining about his great power numbers and appreciate them, it does still irk me that he hits into a lot of double plays and ground outs still.

    However, everything is relative. Because right now, Kolbb, Brower, Thomson, LaRoche, Hollandsworth and STILL Reitsma (though he was fine last night for the most part) all anger or annoy me much worse then the fact that Andruw can’t seem to raise his average above .270 and stop with the rally killing DP’s, I have ignored the things I dislike about Andruw because there are so many other Braves who deserve my vitriol far worse!

  11. Re: Andruw for MVP, I like Pete a lot and I don’t mean to pick on him. The thing that set Pete off was a short blurb by Ken Rosenthal that basically stated that Andruw was something like 75th in the league in OPS/RISP (which Pete represented as BA/RISP during the broadcast). Pete brought up this several times during the broadcast as an example of a columnist just looking for something negative to say about Andruw. He then tried to compare this to using a pitcher’s ERA against one club as a reason not to vote for them for the Cy Young. It would have been better if he had just stayed out of this territory rather than showing he didn’t grasp the significance of the statistic.

  12. I think Pete understands that BA/RISP is a valuable statistic, but he feels compelled to argue against it to please his audience. I agree, though, that the example he came up with was just silly.

  13. I don’t think BA/RISP is a useful metric to rate players because it’s largely random and outside a player’s control; just ask Johnny Estrada. However, despite Andruw’s monster season — and I’ve long been an unabashed supporter of AJ — his season has not been as good as Lee’s or Pujols’s. Druw’s OBP is barely up to those guy’s AVGs and his SLG is lower.

    Now, it’s true that AJ plays a tougher defensive position very well, and Lee may have some park effect advantages, but I don’t think Andruw’s production with the bat is enough to overcome his relative deficiency on offense. I’m working on making some corrections to precisely identify it, but just by eyeballing it, I don’t think Andruw has had as good a season as those guys…which says quite a bit about how those guys are playing.

  14. What corrections can you make to adjust for strong defense? It’s not like anybody else has spent any significant time in center field for the Braves this season, and it’s really hard to control for all the other factors (like, say, starting pitcher) without having someone else play the same spot on the same team.

    The Braves do a great job of preventing more runs than would be expected from their pitchers DIPS profiles. That, to me, points to a strong defense, and the cornerstones of that are Furcal and Andruw.

  15. I don’t think you should use BA/RISP as a primary means to rate players. I have not seen any evidence that this is a skill. However, in the context of the season, it has significant value since it directly impacts the total number of runs scored by the team. And to me, that means it is a useful data point in evaluating the relative value of the performance of two players.

  16. At the end of the day, you can make fair arguments for Andruw, Lee or Pujols for MVP, I agree. But, I think batting average should not be underrated and if I was voting, I would lean towards Pujols because he’s equally important to a playoff level team (like ‘Druw), BUT, he also has the great batting average and doesn’t hit into nearly as many ground outs and double plays as Andruw.

    Now ‘druw has the strong defensive edge and that should not be discounted. I just think as an observer of both hitters, Pujols is a lot more reliable more often then Andruw.

    it’s also why they should just wait until the post season is over. I mean, if Pujols wins the NL MVP award and then they play in the NLCS and the Braves win in 5 games and Andruw outhits Pujols across the board leading the Braves to a World Series berth, then Andruw would deserve it.

    I have long been a believer that MVP awards, Manager of the Year awards, and Cy Young awards in particular should be handed out after a season ends (Rookie of the Year and comeback player can be done early).

    To me, why lets say give Cox NL Manager of the year if he gets swept by Houston in the 1st round of the Playoffs…I would be more inclined then towards the team that goes to the World Series, particularly if it’s not St. Louis because LaRussa has the most talent to win.

    I am not saying a guy can’t win an award if his team doesn’t make the post season…Derrek Lee still might deserve it after all is said and done if Andruw and Pujols have meager Playoffs lets say and Houston or Philly goes to the World Series.

    But, I think when considering awards like this, you have to take April – October, not April through September into account.

    With comeback and rookie awards, it’s easier to determine by the end of the regular season though you could make an argument that let’s say Giambi is leading for comeback right now in the A.L. but then the Yankees miss the Playoffs and Barry Zito singlehandedly pitches the A’s to the ALCS? Same with the rookie award…maybe like Zack Duke is the favorite in the NL but then Jeff Francouer hits .400 in the post season?

    Bottom line…uniformly wait on all awards until after the season. It’s not like the non playoff studs like Lee or Duke can’t win awards, it’s just that you have evaluated an entire season.

  17. Exactly. It may not be a useful metric for predicting future performance, or even evaluating a player’s actual ability, but it is a meaningful part of measuring a player’s contribution. Which is what things like the MVP are all about.

  18. I see what you’re getting at, Alex. And it does have some appeal to me. But if the MVP voting for last year had been conducted after the postseason, Carlos Beltran may have won it… and that wouldn’t have been right at all.

  19. creynolds-

    It’s an interesting point you bring up but I don’t think Beltran would have won it.

    What I am saying is that you COMBINED evaluate all months together…April, May, June, July, August, September and October.

    no one questions Beltran’s September & October but there were plenty of guys with better April – August, especially Pujols in the NL.

    But you are right…it could happen one time where a Beltran wins it because of 2 months. Still, I would rather have that happen one time then an award given to a player with a great regular season, makes the playoffs, hits .200 and his team is swept in the 1st round. To me, the definition of an MVP is a guy who carries his team from point A to point Z, not A to H or S to Z. it should be all encompassing, like a Pujols or a Manny or Ortiz.

    it’s why i want to see Andruw have a big post season…ebacuse whether he wins the award or not, he needs to show that he deserved serious consideration by performing big next month as well.

  20. It’s more that I don’t trust the voters, I guess. For instance, I think they will get it right this year – Pujols – but for mostly the wrong reason – it’s his “turn” with Bonds out of the way.

  21. I find it amazing that Andruw has as many RBI as he does despite his low avg/RISP. Normally high-RBI guys are products of flukey high BA/RISP seasons that they can’t sustain – Tejada is a mild example of this last year (.285/.340/.471 with the bases empty, .334/.377/.592 with runners on). Of course, he’s driven himself in 45 times, which always helps.

    Looking at his profile this year, he’s hitting “only” 30 points lower with runners on (whether in scoring position or not) and his walk rate is much higher with runners on. Not nearly as much power though – 27 of his homers have been solo shots.

    I dunno what we can conclude about all that. I agree it’s tough to pick against DLee or Pujols though.

  22. Since I generally don’t care that much about individual awards, truth be told (if Andruw loses MVP and the Braves win the World Series…who cares! I couldnt be happier!), I thought Pujols won it last year?

    It goes to show how little I actually do care the fact that I can’t remember who won…I thought it was Pujols but I guess it was that (fill in several four letter words) jerk Bonds.

    But again…I would rather a guy win if for 2 great months in the Fall (assuming there’s good numbers throughout ahead of time) then a guy who disappears in the Fall after a great April-August.

    Just a preference but awards should count when it matters.

    As a Spurs fan, seeing Nash win the MVP and Mike D’Antoni win coach of the year made me LAUGH MY BUTT OFF when Greg Popovich, Tim Duncan and my beloved Spurs won their 3rd NBA Title…my attitude was like ‘enjoy your individual regular season honors Nash and D’Antoni’ while we shine up our third trophy!!! ha!!!

  23. FYI, there’s still no good urine test for HGH, and in MLB, they don’t freeze samples, so there’s no way we’ll EVER know if Bonds is on it.

  24. Good Call, Joey…I assume that’s a crack on Bonds. If it is, keep it coming.

    For some bizarre reason, mac defends Bonds even though Barry is one of the most loathsome, dishonest, hateful and evil people in all of sports and maybe life. I am bewildered daily that Mac HATES Dan Marino, a decent guy, but blindly LOVES Barry Bonds.

    Bonds is a racist, a liar, a cheat, a jerk, his teammates hate him, his managers him, the media hates him, he cheats on his wife, he says horrible things to and about everyone (like he’s Billy Packer or something)..I can’t think of a guy I enjoy rooting AGAINST more.

    In fact, he’s openly admitted he at least wants to come back and pass Ruth…not because it’s a great accomplishment but because Babe Ruth is white.

    Barry Bonds is just an evil, evil, evil man.

  25. Alex, I agree with your sentiment, but the MVP is awarded for regular season performance. There are separate awards given to outstanding postseason achievers.

    If Barry Bonds hits 65 homers with a .600 OBP and his team doesn’t make the playoffs, how is that possibly his fault? What more could he have done?

    I think the term “valuable” throws people off, but it shouldn’t. The currency of baseball player value is wins; the best players create the most wins for their team. While it doesn’t seem like it, a win in April is one less win you have to get in September, so I think it’s tough to say that September wins are more valuable.

  26. Also he admitted to using substances identical in appearance and texture to known steroids, obtained from a known steroids dealer.

  27. I admire Bonds’ on-field accomplishments. Drug-aided or not (and it’s hard not to lean to the former), his performance is pretty remarkable. That said, I’m awfully glad he’s not on a team I care about.

  28. Guys, everything you wrote are great. The one amazing thing about baseball is that there are lots of stats available to evalutate a player like no other sports can. I can definitely take a more objective approach and even an idiot can see Derick Lee and Albert Pujols are having a much better season than Andruw. If the award is named “League Best Player”, then Andruw should not be remotely considered for the award.

    However, I guess I would like to take an average joe fan approach on the “Most Valuable Player” award. I am sure the definition of MVP has been discussed and argue many many times, so I am not going to write anymore on this. What I know is, without Andruw Jones, the Braves will not be leading the division by six and a half games. Without Andruw Jones, the Braves would have disappeared from the race in June.

    As I have said this before, I should say I really WANT Andruw to win the MVP award because I think he deserves it based on what I see every day. I really see Andruw’s maturity and improvement this year and starting to become the impact player which we all hope he would be. So, the emotional side of me would like to see Andruw gets rewarded for his significant improvement from prior seasons.

  29. Alex, why does Mac hate Marino? I find it pretty sad that a player as good as Marino never had a chance to taste a championship.

  30. kc,

    I don’t disagree about where the Braves would be without ‘Druw. But to be fair, the exact same argument could be said about Pujols…would they really have run away and hidden from the Central without pujols? Sure, the NL East is much tougher because you have 5 good teams instead of 2 1/2 good teams (the Cubs are a half a good team), BUT, The Cardinals would be behind Houston by now without Albert.

    With regards to Bonds, he wouldnt have half his numbers without the roids…just another reason to hate this guy.

  31. Alex, I do not dispute the fact that Pujols also deserves the award. I guess I am favoring MVP candidates who are playing for a playoff contending team.

    By the way, I would like to add that I have a lot of fun following the AL wild card race. Seeing the Yankees battling the Indians and the A’s for the wild card spot is really amusing.

    Regarding Bonds, I forget, did he lie about not using roids like Palmerio did? Or did he claim that he didn’t realize he was using roids?

  32. I see both sides of the argument, kc, so I won’t be too strenuous here. However, in my eyes at least, restricting MVP candidates to players on playoff teams is like punishing Roger Clemens in the Cy Young Award balloting because he doesn’t have lots of Ws. If you say ‘Lee is great, but the Cubs won’t make the playoffs’, you are punishing him for the performance of everyone on the Cubs EXCEPT him. Similarly, if you say, ‘Clemens is great, but he only has 11 wins,’ you punish him for the fact that his team was shut out many times when he took the hill.

    A pitcher’s job is to prevent the opposition from scoring, and Clemens has clearly done the best job of that this season. A hitter’s job is to create as many runs as he can for his team, and Lee is probably the best hitter in that regard. Now, the most valuable player should combine offense and defense (for position players), properly weighted, so if you think Pujols’ (or Andruw’s) defense makes up the gap, that’s an argument you can make.

    I just don’t think it’s fair to influence one’s voting on individual awards by the performance of candidates’ teammates, something that is independent of their own achievement. That’s me.

  33. I’m still bitter about ’96. It makes me queasy when I remember the 2000 subway series. It puts a little spring in my step when the Yankees lose. Does this make me a bad person?

  34. The Cy Young is for the BEST pitcher.

    The MVP is the MOST VALUABLE player, not the best position player.

    The argument is often made that no player on a team not in contention is really that valuable, in that the team’s wins and losses don’t really matter as much as a contending team’s.

    Also, RBIs are legit when talking about MVP. How valuable is a good hitter if he has no one to knock in? Is a good player on a poor team really that valuable? How many games can be won by solo homeruns?

  35. Oh, and I mean to say that Clemens should probably win the Cy (though Carpenter has been good), and it’s not inconsistent to say that and still consider the team when voting MVP.

  36. If I voted for CY YOUNG, I would vote for Clemens. He would have 22 wins by now in St. Louis and about 19 wins if he was with the Braves. But Clemens has singlehandedly kept Houston a Wild Card leader for 2 months so he has earned his stripes.

    Lee, while maybe by himself, has not singlehandedly kept the Cubs in it because they are not in it. While a case should be MADE for Lee and the MVP and he deserves to be top 3, top 4, my vote would go Pujols 1st, Andruw a close 2nd and a lot of it does have to do with their teams.

  37. Let’s say I have a coin collection with one rare mint condition coin that is worth $10,000 and a few other coins worth no more that $2000. Meanwhile, you have a collection with an $8000 coin, a $7000 coin, and a few $6000 coins. Your collection is a lot more valuable than mine, but I have the most valuable coin. If I lost my $10,000 coin, no one cares about my collection any more. But if you lost your $8000 coin you would still have a good collection. My point is, Lee sure has a heck of a lot of value to the Cubs (and Cubs fans). They certainly aren’t sniffing .500 without him, and probably they are fighting off the Bucs for last place. His performance is one of the only bright spots in an otherwise disappointing season.

  38. Kirk,

    Saying Lee has value to the Cubs and Cubs fans is 100% true but fruitless. The bottomline is that the Cubs have not been challenging for a Playoff spot for 2 months now and Pujols and Andruw jones, who are equally as important to the Braves and Cardinals and have in line numbers with Lee, their teams are going to make the Playoffs.

    If Jones and Pujols weren’t close to lee in numbers, that’s one thing. But consider the injuries the Braves and Cards have suffered to hitters and pitchers and while yes, some other guys on both teams have stepped up their games (Eckstein, Francouer), the Braves and Cardinals would clearly be screwed without their MVP boys.

    And yes, the Cubs would be a Pirate level team without Lee, but Jones and Oujols’ teams have done much better and all 3 guys have the same numbers. Why should Lee get the votes and not Jones or Pujols when the Cards and Braves have been far better because of their MVP’s then the Cubs have?

    it’s simple mathematics!

  39. Trade for next year:

    Kolb, Reitsma, Brower, LaRoche, Ramirez, Thomson


    Barry Zito, Danny Haren, and Houston Street

    if only we could be so lucky

  40. I’m not saying the Lee should be the hands down winner. I am only saying that to eliminate him because he’s not part of a valuable collection of players should not happen since it is an individual award, not a team award. That said, I don’t think Lee really has a chance to win. Probable order of finish is Pujols, Jones, Lee, although it’s possible that if AJ has a monster September he could catch Pujols in the eyes of the sportwriters.

  41. Kirk-

    we agree…I think lee should be ‘in the hunt’ as well. Hey, if Pujols and Andruw suddenly stop hitting and Lee marches through September and wins the triple crown, despite no Playoffs? Sure, I’d vote for him.

    I agree he should finish in the Top 3. 3rd behind the big 2.

  42. Joey, I understand your argument. However, as I said above, “valuable” is not necessarily defined as “Best on a Contending Team.” To me, wins are value; whoever creates the most wins should win the award. I agree that clutch performance is part of value. In my perfect world, the MVP would be the player who had the highest park-adjusted WPA total after 162 games, no matter what team he played on, no matter how unlikely he would be to repeat that performance. That way, hitters and pitchers can be evaluated using the same metric so we don’t have traveshamockeries like a reliever winning the MVP.

  43. Kyle, wins become more valuable as the team gains more. The 91st win is more valuable than the 81st, for example. The marginal value of wins increases as the team gains more wins. Wins are not equal in value.

    So a player that contributes to one of a team’s 91 wins is more valuable than a player that equally contributes to one of a team’s 81 wins. The jump from 90 to 91 wins is harder than the jump from 80 to 81. It costs more, on average, and is much more rare.

  44. I just find it easier to boil “Most Valuable” down to “Best”, whether or not that was the intent of the framers. The term “valuable” can be construed in so many different ways that the term is rendered useless, and ripe for subjective interpretation (whether purposeful or unconscious) that many times boils down to “how can I define valuable so that my favorite player best fits the definition”. There’s just too much defining of terms to fight through before you even get to who deserves the award.

    “Best” can certainly be a loaded word, too, just much less so than “valuable”, so that’s how I tend to look at the whole thing.

  45. Joey: of course you’re right, as the 91st win is more valuable than the 81st. However, being able to contribute to the 90th win implies that there already have been 89 other wins. To look at it another way, it is impossible to contribute to the 90th win on the third day of the season; yet, fail to win enough in April or May and you won’t be able to contribute to “valuable” games in September.

    Say the Braves win the pennant by one game, and Andruw hit game winning solo homers on April 5 and October 2. The second home run was certainly more “clutch,” but I argue that they have equivalent value: take either away and the Braves miss the playoffs on a tiebreaker.

    I don’t think you should approach MVP voting this way. It just doesn’t make sense. By the traditional MVP-voting criteria, if Macay McBride contributes 2 wins to the Braves and they make the playoffs by one game, he is infinitely “more valuable” than Derrek Lee, who would have missed the playoffs with or without his enormous contributions. That’s an absurd result.

  46. No, I was meaning that the added marginal value of the 91st win is, in effect, averaged over all the wins, as any of them could be considered the “91st”. So each win takes on added value as the total number of wins increases. I wasn’t thinking chronologically.

    More wins means each win is more valuable, so a player that contributes to any of those wins is a more valuable player than a player on a lesser team contributes equally to the same number of his team’s wins.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.