202 thoughts on “One-run game thread: Nats at Braves, April 21”

  1. ajc is reporting that Chipper is in the lineup tonight. Anybody else have the feeling that between his health and the way Hudson bounces back tonight this is the most important game of the year?

  2. the most important game is the one that clinches us a playoff spot. If that doenst happen then none of them are very important

  3. kruger, I don’t think the game is more important than the rest, but the information we’re likely to get from the game (if Hudson has bigger problems, if Chipper’s going to go down for a significant amount of time early on) is pretty important.

  4. ububba, that plays into one of those things on pitching match-ups I don’t “get”. Here’s my baseball management theory question of the day:

    Why don’t we try to have our #1 guy face their #2 or #3 more often. That should help us get more wins with our #1. Then, when we face their aces if we get lucky our #5 guy and batters have a good day and we win some of those too. It would seem to set things up for fewer tough-luck losses where our guy goes 7 strong innings of 1 run ball and our offense can’t do anything for them.

    If both teams had 5 starters, with ERAs at 2, 2.5, 3, 3.5, and 4 we would statistically (I believe, I’ve not run the numbers so somebody can correct me) be more likely to win more games if we put our 2ERA guy against their 2.5 or 3ERA guy. If we try and match our best to their best then the main way we win is by luck (due to the standard deviation from the average-ness of ERA), force of offense, or by paying and having more guys better than their guys.

    It would seem managerially if you had two “identical” staffs that by shifting off one or two places in the rotation (obviously not every week, but aiming for it and tweaking it as possible) you would give yourself an edge in 3-4 of any 5 games, instead of a toss-up and relying on your hitting for all the games. To me that would seem a better way for a mid-to-low market team to plan things to maximize their wins.

    Statheads and students, tell me how that’s wrong (I’m serious, I don’t have delusions I’m RIGHT, just don’t know what I’m missing in the equation).

  5. Charles,
    I was just thinking about the Nats’ relatively unscary offense, as it related to Hudson.

    Also, I don’t know how the kind of scenario you put out could ever be enacted. Even if you believed in the notion of lining up your #1 vs their #3 or whatever, you’d make a mess of your own rotation in about a month.

    Remember, you have off-days, rainouts, doubleheaders, extra-inning fiascos, injuries, etc.

  6. That’s funny that you say that. I have thought of that too. I just never thought of it in a team wide aspect, but if you were the number 1 starter and kept facing everyone else’s number 5 starter you could have a great season. I sort of thought that would be a way to cheat a Cy Young.

  7. CharlesP,
    You are correct. For a short series it may make more sense to try to save your best pitcher for a matchup with less than the other team’s best. Particularly if your opponent has one superstar pitcher and then quality falls off after that. It could be better to concede a loss against the superstar, and then boost your chances to win the other games. The problem is that you can’t manipulate the rotation much during the regular season because you’ll mess up the pitchers’ recovery cycles.

  8. OK, I will amend my statement to agree with CharlesP. I’m far less concerned with the outcome than Chipper making it through to garbage time and Hudson pitching 7 strong.

  9. ububba,
    obviously you couldn’t screw around with guys schedules very much in the season, but with the various off days I’d think you could shuffle things occasionally to make for better match-ups (maybe once before the all-star break, and once after). Don’t teams do this once in a while already, but to get Ace against Ace matchups instead? It’s not an exact science, but it would seem to be a good strategy for a team like our current Braves. It wasn’t an issue when it as Maddux, Glavine, Smoltz as much, but now it seems we (and others) waste good outings by trying to go ace to ace.

    You would of course have your #4 or #5 guy out there as your opening day starter, which isn’t great PR (though I think winning all season is better PR than having a star on the mound for opening day). And admittedly your #5 guys are going to have even worse records than they already do. But I would think the odds of winning more games would be worth it.

    Another factor for teams like ours. Smoltz is an ace, but he’s aging. If you regularly put him against another teams 3rd starter your giving the offense a better shot at staking him to a bigger lead and letting him only have to pitch 5-6 innings per game and still getting us a win on occasion (as happened with Smoltz’s last start).

  10. I don’t know, Charles. So much of what we see on game day is predicated on the preparation pitchers undergo between starts. The amount of long toss they do to build arm strength or the amount of time they spend working on a particular pitch plays an important role in a pitcher’s success over the course of a long season. Most important, however, is the amount of rest a pitcher receives. And I would think that having a stable routine would help a player–position players included–get through a 162-game season, especially one in which so much travel is involved.

  11. Some thoughts from our Richmond team.

    Barbaro Canizares needs the nickname carnivore. He is devouring the IL. Maybe we can get something from an AL team for him or get lucky and him learn to catch.

    Thorman is climbing. Not that fast, but at least a little better.

    Lilliquist and B. Jones are struggling. Big time.

    Who in the hell is Reginald Taylor and where did he come from? He had a .982 OPS in the Mexican League last year and is at .990 or so in the IL so far.

    Sammons continues to defy his earlier minor league performance. He is still around 1.000 OPS. Wow! If he can just OPS .800 at Major League level he would be very valuable.

  12. its probably just my imagination, but it sreems like over the years the braves hit better against the the star pitchers than the bums. and god help them if they face a guy that they dumped for chornic sorryness or an unknown rookie in a crucial series.

  13. chipper in the lineup but kj not. i bet they plan on chipper playing part of the game and if we are coasting, they will bring in kj to replace him and move prado to 3rd.

  14. Good points Remy, but I’m not actually suggesting they go out there every week and say “who are we going up against?” as much as looking at how others are shaping up going into opening day, any longer breaks you may have (day-off followed by a rain-out), all-star break, etc. So the throwing schedule and such shouldn’t be thrown off by that (for that matter what has happened to the Leo philosophy of throwing twice between starts vs once like most other pitching coaches? Any info on which teams are doing one or the other?)

    Now granted, this would only work for a season or two (if it worked at all) because once a fair number of teams have made the same changes you have, you’re back to ace vs ace again.

    So it’s obviously not a flawless plan, but it would seem to me that there might be a way of gaming the system/schedule a bit to maximize your chances if you’re not a team with 4 aces.

  15. Charles,
    I mean, you could do a lot of things, but I guess I’m not fully convinced that “going for the mismatch” would actually work out in the long run.

    These days, the most “rotation tampering” you see is when an older guy (like Pedro) gets an extra day of rest. Sometimes you’ll see an ace moved up a day in a late-season matchup, but you don’t see a lot of it anymore.

    Plus, let’s not forget that pitchers have become fussy about these kinds of things—they’re slaves to the regimen.

    Sure, a guy like Mike Mussina is an extreme example of someone who won’t budge from his routine, but he’s a royal pain in the ass (and annoying excuse-maker) if anything begins to differ from his norm.

    It may be something that works in APBA or Stratomatic, but maybe not with real people.

  16. “It may be something that works in APBA or Stratomatic, but maybe not with real people.”

    That’s probably right. And admittedly this idea always comes to mind after Smoltz has gone 6 or 7 giving up one run and taken a loss anyway, but it’s an idea (good or bad though it may be). It would be interesting to see a team take the chance and send out their #4 guy on opening day, but I doubt it will happen.

    I just looked at his stats, and andruw had 2 hits, 2 walks, and 5 strikeouts during the weekend series… and that brought his average, slugging, and obp all UP from what they were before the series. I feel bad for the guy, hope he pulls it together and has a great career, but either way the Braves should at least induct him into their hall of fame when he retires.

  17. Was Matt Chico throwing 101 mph in warm-ups or something? Why on earth is Manny Acta playing for one run here?

  18. washington’s batting averages after Guzman and Milledge

    .213
    .255
    .212
    .150
    .115
    .256
    .111

    with that said you still have to be very careful with Zimmerman and Johnson

  19. Guzman’s single was yet another ball that mysteriously went right under Prado’s glove after he made a”valient” diving effort. His ability to achieve this feat everytime he plays second is absolutely uncanny.

  20. FRENCHY WITH THE ROPE FROM THE OUTFIELD!

    Good Gawd he’s got a cannon. time and time again.

  21. didnt even notice Kotsay sitting tonight until I saw him give Frenchy a high five in the dugout there. Blanco in CF

  22. This figures to be one of the most lopsided polls yet. Especially because, to keep up with his nightly quota, Prado figures to make 3 more “nonerrors” before the night is done.

  23. Yunel was honestly past the bag when the ball was caught at first – that is no exaggeration either. He was safe by three or four feet

  24. @ 43: “Prado has a remarkable ability to make horrible plays that don’t result in errors.”

    It’s beyond remarkable. The dude is a zenmaster of the “nonerror.” He’s turned it into an art form.

  25. The ump was clearly trying to make up for having called Milledge out, which was a borderline call. But Yunel was very, very, very safe. Safe by more than a step. Beyond the bag when the ball got there. That’s hard to screw up.

  26. Is this the 9th inning already? Why is everybody playing for one run?

    They must have read the title to this thread.

  27. Please tell me Bobby’s getting tossed.

    BTW, what is it with Yunel’s bunts inducing crappy umpiring? Remember when he bunted and they called him out for coming in contact with the ball, only the ball was never closer than 6 inches to him?

  28. When I say that someone is the “worst [position]” I am referring to defense; I added the qualifier to clarify. Nobody ever got a hit while playing second base; they get hits as batters.

    If the umpire admitted he blew the call, why didn’t he reverse it? That call is suspension-worthy.

  29. so why no reversal of a bad call? does that only happen when it benefits the other team?

  30. just showed a replay about 5 to 10 feet away from the bag. Yunels foot hits the bag and the ball still hadnt come into view point yet. Both feet were past the bag when the ball was caught

  31. He didn’t get tossed, the announcers speculated, because the umpire admitted he blew the call. That just goes to show that for all his ejections Bobby isn’t a McGraw or a Martin, because those guys would have humilated the umpire, who clearly deserved it.

  32. Frank, they think the ump admitted he blew the call that’s why Bobby didn’t make much of a fuss.

  33. Sorry – watching on Gameday right now. It said – “Escobar – sac bunt to pitcher. Prado to third.”

  34. What’s the point of admitting you blew a call if you don’t rectify your mistake immediately?

  35. Did the Nats’ announcers then explain why the call wasn’t reversed?

    If I were Bobby, I’d have a much more difficult time swallowing a known bad call and refusal to correct it than I would a mistake.

  36. Im very good friends with Jason Standridge, use to pitch for the Reds and now in Japan. I was asking him one day about how hard Adam Dunn hits the ball. He told me that Willy Mo puts Adam Dunn to shame in BP. Too bad Willy has to hit real live pitching some times

  37. Remy–agreed–if you’re willing to admit the mistake why not just reverse your call?

  38. Julio was a really bad 2B, though oddly he wasn’t that bad a shortstop…

    I guarantee that I would have gotten ejected in that situation, probably before the umpire said anything, because I would have led off with “Do you have money on this game, or are you just drunk?”

  39. Oh, and arguably (though it’s not an argument I would make) that call just cost us two runs. I should probably shut up about it now, but God was that bad.

  40. I never saw him play a lot of games at 2B, but Ruben Gotay was often described as a something approaching awful in the field. From what I’d heard & read, Randolph couldn’t stand him when he was on the Mets.

    Of course, having a slick-fielding former 2B as your manager doesn’t help.

    Looks like we got our hitting shoes on today.

  41. During Steve sax’s rookie year, the Braves once put up protective netting in front of their dugout when playing the Dodgers.

  42. Fulton, I believe I said
    “Prado > KJ” quite a while ago…. But you can jump on with me.

  43. Sorry, FCB, I’m Martin Prado’s Only Advocate In All The World (TM).

    AAR, I hesitate to correct a fellow fan of The Fall, but technically that wasn’t a suicide squeeze, because Diaz wasn’t off with the pitch.

  44. I hope Matt Chico’s the most improved pitcher in the NL. This will be a fun summer if that’s the case

  45. Pete and Skip refer to the Diaz run as “the old Chuck Tanner play,” whereby the runner keeps pace with the third baseman as he comes in for the bunt and then takes continues home once the third baseman commits himself. Evidently, Tanner would try that play in the anywhere in the order, but, according to the boys in the booth, he never had any success.

  46. Although I never claimed he was >KJ, and reserve the right to crawl back under a rock should he start kicking the ball around again….

  47. Sansho, I stand corrected. Here’s what Mark E. Smith would think of the first-base ump, via “Chicago Now!”:

    “Do you work hard?
    Do you try hard?
    You don’t.”

  48. Tanner also occasionally employed two pinch-runners on a 25-man roster with the A’s back in the ’70s (abetted by Charlie O Finley). Go take a look sometime at the BBRef pages for Larry Lintz, Matt Alexander, Don Hopkins and especially Herb Washington sometime.

  49. #114

    I’m sure you’re right. But Tanner’s subsequent obsession with Omar Moreno might be evidence that Charlie O rubbed off on him….

  50. Fantastic double by Diaz, who’s finally showing some real signs of life tonight (though the way Chico’s pitching, he could make anyone look good).

    Literally anyone other than Brian McCann could have scored from first on that one.

  51. Wow. Pena just put an elbow in Milledge’s face catching that fly, with Milledge calling him off the whole time.

  52. Also, right now, Wily Mo Pena is bad at everything — he’s not hitting and he’s not playing defense. He should probably be sent down to AAA; even Willie Harris is better than this.

    Nice play by Lastings Milledge, who apparently wasn’t too badly hurt after Pena ran into him for no good reason.

  53. You know what’s weird? Odalis Perez is actually pitching fairly well for the Nats this year. Yet another example of Jim Bowden finding a fairly useful #3/#4 starter. We really could have used him last year.

  54. Does Prado still get charge with an error, or is this one of those “errorless” examples of which you spoke earlier?

  55. 7 walks for Odalis in that game. Wow, that’s brutal. I guess I had blocked out of my memory that Brian Jordan batted cleanup ahead of Javy and Andruw.

  56. A shutout would be really nice. Give the team even more momentum and obviously save the bullpen. I dont think pitch count is going to be a concern tonight.

  57. They called Prado’s latest misadventure an infield single. I swear, that man may not have The Pictures, but he has something on the official scorer.

  58. In fairness, it was a sharply-hit grounder up the middle. Maybe they should have called it an error, but no one ever does.

    Also, Blanco’s having another great game. That’s three two-hit games in his first four starts.

  59. Trivia question:

    We all know that the Braves bullpen has been somewhat over-taxed lately.

    Name the last two days Royce Ring appeared in a game.

  60. i really do love escobar and his enthusiasm, but his bat tossing will cause someone to earhole him soon.

  61. hit streak continued, batting average raised…let’s get chipper out of the game.

    ps escobar’s bat toss is pretty sweet

  62. That looked like Chipper just wanted his hit; that was low and away and he just put the big part of the bat on it.

  63. After Hudson gets through the 7th, I think it might be a Resop and/or Ring situation.

  64. man, adam laroche is down to .125. maybe adam should start the first month of the season in the batting cage and start playing in may.

  65. If Torre likes the pitcher batting 8th idea, then Andruw might hit 9th before it’s said and done.

  66. “Up until a year ago, my knowledge of Hank Aaron didn’t go much further than those few seconds they showed when Barry Bonds broke his records.

    And that was fine with me.

    Then I started dating a Braves fanatic.

    Most of the time he keeps his obsession to himself. But I have heard from him — and countless colleagues — that Hank is not only “the greatest hitter who has ever lived” but that Braves games are a “religious experience.”

    I had hoped to just take their word for it.

    But the Braves are coming to Atlanta on Friday night. And I have been asked to go.

    So it’s time to see for my self.

    It’s my boyfriend’s 50th game. And my first.

    Anything I should know, look for, expect?”

  67. And Aaron Boone runs his way out of the inning, and the Nationals continue to demonstrate that they run the bases like the 2006 Tigers pitching staff played defense.

  68. This makes no sense:

    “A Boone reached on infield single to third, A Kearns scored, J Estrada to second, J Estrada to third, A Boone to first on throwing error by third baseman C Jones.A Boone out at second.”

  69. “A Boone reached on infield single to third, A Kearns scored, J Estrada to second, J Estrada to third, A Boone to first on throwing error by third baseman C Jones.A Boone out at second.”

    The 1st base umpire must have made that call.

  70. cordero used to throw 91…they should have dealt him 2 years ago like the brewers did with kolbb

  71. oops! 3 run homer given up by Sosa. We should bejust one out I think.big change from last week.
    ESPN now laughing over call at first on Yunel.

  72. Guys, my apologies. Been concentrating on the Phillies, Mets and Braves so much that until I just heard on ESPN that the Fish are 12-7, I was thinking we were near the top.
    Like the guy on ESPN said, the Marlins are so young they don’t realize they aren’t supposed to be winning like this!

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