Nats 6, Braves 0

ESPN – Nationals vs. Braves – Box Score – April 22, 2008

Life, it is said, is not fair. You do not need to tell this to John Smoltz, not just because he is in his forties and is familiar with most cliches, but also because of the events of the past five days juxtaposed with the events of tonight. After scoring over six runs a game back with strong relief pitching during a five-game win streak, the Braves:

John Who?1. Couldn’t get a run, or any real threats of runs, off the pitcher to the right, and;

2. Gave up five runs in the ninth due to complete relief pitcher incompetence that may, at some point, have involved Chris Resop soiling himself.

Said Washington pitcher, whom ESPN did not have a photo of, is John Lannan, who joined with Paul Macartny for one of the greatest songwriting teams in popular music history held the Braves to five hits in seven innings. It will come as no surprise that Lannan is a nondescript lefthander who entered the day with a 4.86 ERA which he lowered by exactly one run. He is the same guy whom the Braves pounded for six runs in four innings on the twelfth. Tonight, he looked unhittable.

Where is Yoko when you need her?

John Smoltz, meanwhile, picked up his 3000th career strikeout in the third inning on his way to perhaps the Braves’ most impressive pitching performance of the year. He didn’t walk anyone and allowed just five hits in seven himself, but unfortunately two were back-to-back doubles in the second — the second of them to Willie Harris, of all people — to score a run. And got hung with a loss.

Boyer (whose labrum, at this point, would not be insured by Lloyd’s of London) and Ring got through the eighth. But Jorge Campillo couldn’t do it in the ninth, throwing away a potential 1-6-3 DP ball that would have ended the inning. By the time he got out of there, two runs had scored. And Bobby, probably feeling that the game was lost anyway, brought in Resop.

I figured that Christopher Resop’s middle name would have to be something worse than “Kali”. “Lucifer”, perhaps. But it’s just “Paul”. At any rate, Resop pulled off the rare Triple Grybo, allowing three of Campillo’s inherited runners to score (all unearned, though) while not allowing any of his own to cross the plate. You have to be impressed by that.

The bottom of the ninth was remarkable only for the way it ended, Mark Kotsay striking out. The reason this was remarkable is that there weren’t two runners on base as there were the first time he struck out, or the time he popped out to short. The Braves “offense” was Francoeur — who had two four-pitch walks to go with a single! — Diaz (2-4), and Escobar (2-4). Prado had a pinch-hit walk, and that platoon is probably looking really good to Bobby right now, and I may yet come around on it. Chipper was hitless, breaking his streak, and all in all the switch hitters and lefties were completely productionless tonight. If you want to look on the bright side, the Marlins and Mets both lost, so the Braves could move into a tie for first place with a sweep of the upcoming microseries with Florida. This breaks my rule about talking about the race before the break, but I could use a little optimism right now.

125 thoughts on “Nats 6, Braves 0”

  1. I would say that Resop is worthless…but I believe he actually has negative worth. So I don’t even know what the term for that is. Financially, it’s what Mike Hampton is.

  2. I go to the gym in hopes that I return to a 1-1 game in extra innings. Yikes.

    I mean, really, we shouldn’t lose too many more times to this bunch.

  3. The offense decided to take the night off, and that pretty much explained the entire night. Resop or no Resop, double play or no double play, the result would still be the same.

  4. ” rel=”nofollow”>LINK

    For a free ticket, and picking it up at will-call minutes before the game, I’d say my seat wasn’t all that bad.

  5. I’ve got to say, Mac, this is one of my favorite write-ups in a while. The Yoko line, the labrum line, the “Triple Grybo”…. The hits just kept on coming!

    It seems like incompetence juxtaposed with greatness (as we saw tonight) brings out the best in you. Or at least a bit of extra venom. :-)

  6. Indeed, tonight’s writeup is very entertaining. I am sure it is directly related to the level of Mac’s frustration on tonight’s game.

  7. Paul!?!? What a silly name for a cat! That’s a person’s name!

    somebody’s gotta get that one…

  8. Speaking of Paul, I still can’t believe the Hawks bypass Chris Paul…on the other hand, Marvin Williams WAS considered as the most talented player in that draft…oh well…

  9. I’ll put thisone down in the “50 we were gonna lose anyway” column, and have a better attitude tomorrow.

  10. James, I don’t know what you’re talking about and it’s still funny.

    I think I need to go to bed…

  11. Dang, just found it, and I’m embarrassed…I love Family Guy.

    I love this job more than I love taffy…and I’m a man who enjoys his taffy.

  12. You realize that Chris Resop is a man whom the entire American League, and all the bad teams in the National League, passed on? Makes you think.

    Anyway, new poll.

  13. On the other hand, Kali has returned to earth after his solid start, while Todd Redmond is surprising all people with his solid performance with the M-Braves…

  14. Great recap, Mac. Boy, I’m glad I missed this one. Tearing up the striped bass out on the river was a much better way to spend the evening.

  15. Hey, here’s something fun. You know how Tommy Hanson is destroying High-A like Godzilla on speed? Guess who else has similar stats:

    W-L IP K BB ERA WHIP
    Tommy Hanson 2-0 22 32 6 0.00 0.50
    John Smoltz 3-1 23 31 6 0.78 0.91

  16. Yes AAR, if someone has not noticed, Smoltzie has been almost unhittable…with the exception of Willie Harris I guess…

  17. A few remarks:

    #5

    Gee, ububba, has anyone ever commented that you go to the gym, really, really late?

    And sorry we got Resop’d.

    #11

    But wait…the Hawks are IN the playoffs…as a #8 seed with a likely 4 game easy elimination at the hands of the top overall seed, the Celtics.

    I haven’t liked the Hawks in years (my loyalty since 1991 is with the Spurs…me happy about last night in that regard) but when the Paul-Marvin Williams “mishap” happened, a little of that ‘childhood’ Hawks love spirit I had left got crushed, by a bumbling Hawks management.

    In fact, taking Marvin Williams over Chris Paul is Isiah Thomas like. And we all know now that new Knicks President Donnie Walsh is PAYING Isiah $18 million to basically “not have ANY contact with ANY New York Knicks player EVER again”. I think they’re going to get Isiah a frisbee and a collar and let him play in the corner of the MSG offices.

    As for the Braves game last night, I HATE HATE HATE losses like that. I can accept a 10-1 loss to Johann Santana or Jake Peavy with say Chuck James pitching for the Braves. I mean, you go into a game like that hoping to be pleasantly surprised but are realistic for the most part.

    John Smoltz, pitching for his 3,000th strikeout, in the midst of a 5 game winning streak, at home, against the FRAKKING Nationals, with non descript lefthander pitching whom we pounded a week earlier.

    Losses like that are frankly inexcusable and shameful and beyond excusable.

    Finally, why is it a Braves RULE that we have to maintain one-two awful relievers at all times? FREE PHIL STOCKMAN and end this Resop-ian nightmare, once and for all.

  18. OK, I said inexcusable and excusable in the same sentence. Clearly, I am not right this morning with a dumb loss like that.

  19. I went with “Cthulhu” because I’d like to see you try to spell it. Cthulhu delenda est.
    Banish Resop to the Dark Dimensions.

  20. well, at least the bullpen made sure it wasnt another one-run loss because we obviously had no intention of scoring.

  21. “In fact, taking Marvin Williams over Chris Paul is Isiah Thomas like.”

    To be honest, this may be the worst move since the Bowie-Jordan pick–or maybe the Konkak pick. Here’s what I know: Chris Paul went for 32 points and 17 assists in a romp over Dallas. It’s not even funny anymore. It’s just… so awful.

    As for last night’s game… the difference between this year’s team and those of a few years ago is that the Braves no longer take care of business against the teams they need to beat. They should be running 14-4 records against the Nats and Marlins, 5-1 against the Pirates and Astros. This is why they end up with 83-85 wins. That, and the 1-run losses.

  22. “And sorry we got Resop’d” [emphasis added].

    Alex R.,

    I like the way you change a noun to a verb.

  23. #38

    I have to agree. It’s not like Williams is devoid of talent, but it was universally acknowledged going into the draft that Williams was young but with “upside” while Paul was acknowledged as not only the best PG in the draft (something the Hawks desperately needed and now have the half as talented Mike Bibby) but most people felt strongly Paul would in fact become one of the best PG’s in the NBA.

    And while I am a big time Tony Parker fan and feel he’s top 2-3, Chris Paul is now the best PG in the league. Nice job, Hawks.

    By the way, regarding Resop, the fact this his actual initials are CPR maybe the best thing ever…like we, Braves fans, need CPR just to watch Resop pitch an inning. Brilliant.

  24. Paul played so fast at Wake that he often seemed out of control — turns out he just needed pros around him. And he wanted to be a Hawk.

  25. stu………thx for the video, but that sounds pretty old-wave to me……….like a b-side from one of the more insipid british-invasion groups from 1965.

  26. I’m with sansho, “Poser” was a glaring omission on the new poll. It should be the clear winner.

  27. I’m not going to defend the Marvin Williams pick, but a couple of points of clarification:

    While the Hawks were in desparate need of a PG, it was pretty much universally acknowledged that Marvin Williams was the most talented player in the draft. They went with talent over need, which was obviously a mistake, but it’s not like they drafted Shelden Williams over Brandon Roy or something.

    Alex, that’s some serious revisionist history on Paul. He was considered a real talent, but the debate over who was better between Derron Williams and him was a heated one (still is–look at their head-to-head match-ups).

    sansho hits the nail on the head re: Chris Paul. There were questions about him, but he’s certainly answered them, and the Hawks should have tried to fill their glaring need with a talented kid who wanted to be there, anyway.

  28. The big difference between Resop and Gryboski is that Resop usually allows both inherited runners and his own runners to score. Looking at Gryboski’s ERA may lead some to mistakenly believe that he was an effective pitcher. The same problem doesn’t exist with Resop.

  29. Stu,

    Most NBA execs were on board with paul, even over Deron Williams, that’s not revisionist as it was just 2 years ago and I am not that senile.

    That being said, if the Hawks had taken Daron Williams, currently one of the other top 3 PG’s now in the league, and the reason the Jazz were in the western finals last year and on the verge of being back in the 2nd round, this year, it would have also been a great pick.

    And for the record, Mac can vouch here for the conversation we had during that NBA draft…there were 4 letter words spewing from Mac and I was also shaking my head in bitter disgust when the Hawks took the “king of Upside”, Marvin Williams.

    It was acknowleged that Marvin had the most upside, which is not the same as being the best player.

    If you listen to Dick Vitale or Hubie Brown, during those ESPN broadcasts, every basketball player in America has “upside”.

  30. And again, even if you are supremely confident that Marvin Williams is going to be a Scottie Pippen like small forward, you have 3 (at that point) already, and the NBA Gods are offering you 2 superstud Point Guards, my goodness, take one!!

    Most NBA drafts, it’s hard to even find 1 PG…along with Center, it’s the hardest position to fill on a basketball team. You can find small forwards just looking under your desk chair at work.

  31. Like I said, I don’t disagree that the Hawks should have taken one of the two PGs over Marvin Williams. But you’re not remembering correctly if you don’t think there was a debate over who the better bet was between Williams and Paul.

  32. I’ll back Stu up as there were heavy debates about Paul and Deron, and most had Deron as the favorite. I always favored CP because he played like a man posessed and always took games over in the end. Thats exactly what you want your point guard to do.

  33. I just checked under my desk chair and found no small forwards. You deceived me and now owe me a small forward, Alex.

  34. Rob, there are currently 5 New York Knick small forwards under my chair. Except they are hiding from Isiah Thomas.

    I definitely remember the Williams-Paul debate. Let me again say for the record, either would have been a 1000X better pick than Marvin Williams.

    And yes, I remember Jay Bilas, Vitale et all talking up Williams’ upside…and I remember them also saying “the Hawks should have taken a PG here”.

  35. Great write up but it needs a miserable Braves loss index number and a Resop, entire bullpen, or maybe Roger McDowell doghouse.

    re: Hawks

    Marvin may have seemed to have more upside than Paul (sure doesn’t look that way now) but the Hawks already had Josh Smith and Josh Childress. They didn’t need yet another athletic small forward. Not taking Paul or Williams was borderline insane and then taking Shelden the next year was certifiable. They did do a nice job in last year’s draft though and getting rid of the trash on the roster for Bibby was good.

  36. #55

    Well, you’re analysis of Paul in college was spot on…watching the way this kid is dissecting the Mavericks like they’re frogs in Biology class.

  37. “Small Forward” makes for quite an interesting euphemism in this under-one’s-desk-chair context.

  38. We deserve to lose any game we start Kotsay against a lefty just out of principle.

    If only there were some way to platoon Kotsay with Prado.

  39. Or on second thought maybe a picture of a bat in the doghouse. They should be able to score a run or two against an unproven pitcher with an era close to 5 coming in.

  40. I was saying on email earlier that Mike Bibby is arguably the best PG the Hawks have had since Mookie Blaylock’s hey day.

    That being said, Chris Paul and Deron Williams are both twice as good as Bibby and the Hawks would be far higher than an 8th seed in the East if they had one of those 2 guys.

  41. Can we just agree that the Hawks – with like eight 6’8” guys and a glaring need for a PG – should have drafted D Williams or Paul?

    With JJ and Paul in the backcourt, they’d be a very good team.

  42. Can we just agree that the Hawks – with like eight 6′8” guys and a glaring need for a PG – should have drafted D Williams or Paul?

    With JJ and Paul in the backcourt, they’d be a very good team.

    Is anyone disagreeing with that?

  43. send Campillo back to Mexico those were his own mistaken runs…not Resop’s. So he gave up a dbl…did that run score…not…

  44. I think that’s the second appearance in a row that Resop allowed all inherited runners to score and none of his own.

  45. I turned off the spam filter, Robert.

    In the future, in case I turn it back on… One thing the spam filter does is block people who try to post under different names, even pretend/parody names. This may be what happened.

  46. Kotsay looks like garbage against lefties this year.

    5 for 32 .156avg .229OBP .188slg%

    Doesnt it make a platoon harder when KJ is hitting .194 against RH and .276 against LH?

    check out some of our guys splits this year

    Prado .400avg against LH
    Diaz .439 against LH
    .184 against RH
    Blanco 2-3 against LH
    6-15 against RH

    is it time for 3 platoons?

    KJ/Prado at 2b
    Diaz/Blanco/Kotsay platoon in OF? Diaz/Blanco against lefties and Kotsay/Blacno against RH? Is Blanco solid enough to play everyday?

  47. Parish: Resop is responsible for everybody’s runs even if he doesn’t inherit them… NOT…

  48. Resop sucks. There is no point in keeping a guy around who cant keep inherited runners from scoring, cant keep people off base, and cant throw more K’s than BB’s

    7.1IP 10H 7ER 6BB 5K 8.59ERA 2.18WHIP .333BAA

  49. In the future, in case I turn it back on… One thing the spam filter does is block people who try to post under different names, even pretend/parody names. This may be what happened.

    I didn’t do that, but I’ll keep that in mind. Perhaps the filter just didn’t think I had anything worth saying.

  50. I really don’t know why it does things. I told it — repeatedly — that you weren’t a spammer, and it wouldn’t learn. It’s done the same thing to Alex R. in the past, a couple of other people.

  51. Diaz/Blanco/Kotsay platoon in OF? Diaz/Blanco against lefties and Kotsay/Blacno against RH? Is Blanco solid enough to play everyday?

    I’d vote for ditching one of the catchers and getting a fifth outfielder.

  52. I don’t get bent out of shape over pitching matchups, but tonight sure looks like a recipe for runs. Bullpen, get ready.

    Stu,
    Funny you like that song so much. I always considered it a “guilty pleasure.”

    I was a huge Psych Furs fan, but by the time that record came out (“Mirror Moves”), I thought they’d lost a lotta edge. Obviously, they still had hooks, though. Sometimes those fluffy, synthy ’80s pop songs just getcha.

    Check their first 2 albums, “Psychedelic Furs” and “Talk Talk Talk,” it’s sort of like Johnny Rotten fronting Roxy Music.

  53. I don’t think that the Braves have a real candidate for that role, though. B-Jones is a lefty, and not playing especially well. Anderson is playing somewhat better, but is also a lefty. Borchard is a switch-hitter, but he’s useless, and “better” against righties anyway. Richmond’s fourth outfielder, the legendary Reggie Taylor, is also a lefty, as is fifth outfielder Thorman, about whom I need say nothing more.

  54. One of the threats I considered was to play nothing but songs from John Hughes movies until the Braves win a one-run game, led off by “Pretty in Pink”. I’m shallow sometimes.

  55. The redone version (the one for the film) of “Pretty in Pink” is awful; the original from “Talk Talk Talk” is awesome.

  56. Thanks for the tip, ububba. I also consider “Ghost in You” a guilty pleasure. I hate myself for loving it—but I love it.

  57. I think I got this from Klosterman who got this from someone else: “A ‘guilty pleasure’ is something you pretend to like ironically but really just like.” You know, like me and Hall & Oates.

  58. Mac,
    You’re right about that, but mark me down for liking Yello & “Oh Yeah,” outside the cinematic context, of course.

  59. #82, true, they would need to look outside the organization to find a RH outfielder. The roster construction during this offseason was pretty lousy.

  60. For that matter, I really like “Don’t You Forget About Me”, and am now old enough and securely uncool enough that I don’t care that people know this.

  61. “I’d vote for ditching one of the catchers and getting a fifth outfielder.”

    I vote for acquiring a LH bat to platoon with Diaz. I’m not asking for Ted Williams, just a solid platoon bat . . . an OPS in the neighborhood of .820 vs RHP. I don’t think that’s asking too much. I could live with the suckiness of Kotsay and Blanco in center if there was an upgrade in LF.

  62. BTW, forgot to mention: Saw an outstanding & very touching “American Experience” on PBS last night on Roberto Clemente.

    If you don’t know his story, you should really see it; if you do know his story, it’ll impact you even more.

  63. Oh, c’mon, Stu—it’s better than Flock of Seagulls…

    What if you were to learn that I like and regularly force my wife to listen to “I Ran (So Far Away)”?

    And if we’re talking Ferris Bueller songs, ububba, I gotta go with “Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want,” although I of course prefer Morrissey’s original.

  64. Diaz is up to 70 PAs without a walk. He’s got to be getting close to the team record for PAs without a walk to start the season. What the league record? Can we get Elias on this?

  65. Yeah, good one. Frenchy went 135 PAs without a walk in 2006. Wow, Matty is barely half way there. He could do it though, especially now that he’s feeling pressure to keep his full time job.

  66. its funny Diaz is hitting .300 and playing better defense than in the past and we’re talking about him like he’s the worst player on the team

  67. Not to mention 0 BB and 1 HR overall.

    Smoltz on the strikeout list… He’s 16th. However, he’s 25 behind Pedro, who is on the shelf. He should move up to at least 13th (Gibson had 3117, Schilling is at 3116 and may not pitch again) by the end of the year, and possibly 12th (Jenkins, 3192).

  68. I know his splits I posted them earlier. Try taking a look at KJ’s numbers though, .194 against RH –

  69. KJ had an .858 OPS vs RHP last year; Diaz has a long history of not being able to handle right-handed pitching. I fail to see the connection.

  70. Diaz always struggles early and early against righthanders. But whenever he is given time to play against them without fear of platoon, he starts cranking out hit after hit. As I vaguely alluded to in another thread, if Booby had half the patience with Diaz as with Francoeur he wouldn’t have a very nice season.

    As far as KJ goes, I expect his numbers to rise dramatically soon. Its probably turning into a good thing that the Braves aren’t on TV nationally like they have been in the past or I would blow a few blood vessels at Booby’s platoons.

  71. “But whenever he is given time to play against them without fear of platoon, he starts cranking out hit after hit. ”

    And this is based on. . . what exactly?

  72. Platoon splits for ’07 show

    vs. RH 170 AB 54 hits
    vs. LH 188 AB 67 hits

    The rest of the numbers show more power against lefties, but he still had a high number of hits versus right handed pitching.

  73. Diaz has faced RHP about 47% of the time the last three years. If you use Frenchy’s career as a guide, corner OFs on the Braves will face RHP about 70% of the time. So you know right there that his numbers are going to take a good hit as an everyday player. The questions are 1) how big of a hit and 2) is he still an acceptable player after the hit.

    For number 1 it’s tough to say because the quality of the RHP you are allowed to face when you are a RH platoon player has got to be suspect and so the numbers may not translate as an every day player. You are never going to start against Oswalt or Sheets, you may get left in the game when it’s gotten out of hand to face the 10th or 11th man on a staff. Then again that may be balanced out by the times your team is desperate and you are called on to pinch hit in the ninth against Flash Gordon. I’m not going to figure it out, but I suspect you may face somewhat “easier” RHP when you are strict platoon player than if you just played every day.

    For 2 I suspect the answer is still yes but Matty’s extreme loss of pop against RHP and his extreme lack of patience this year makes it questionable.

  74. Jeremy,

    Actually, Diaz does not have a long history of not being able to hit righthanders. Since he got his new contact with the Braves before the 06 season, he has hit for BA and OBP almost the same. His ISO, however, drops from about .200 to about 50.

  75. ’06 splits

    vs RH 151 AB 54 hits
    vs LH 146 AB 43 hits

    He actually had a higher OPS that year vs RH but it was more OBP than SLG

  76. I went to see the 3KK last night and was horrified by 2 things. The 23,000 in attendance and the fact the game program being handed out for this 2 game series featured Will Ohman on the cover with “The Specialist” scribbled beneath.

    WTF??? How do we only get 23K fans out for the most historic Braves moment in 30 years (many of our lifetimes)? And why was Smoltz not on the cover of the hastily put together 2-game program.

    Its terrible that Glavine and Maddog notched 300 wins elsewhere, Andruw may hit 500 somewhere, and Chipper may or may not be in ATL when/if he reaches 3,000 hits. This is certainly the most historic Braves moment many of us could ever hope to witness. Its a crying shame.

  77. Last chance before I ask a Met fan:

    Anybody on the board from the NYC area who wants to go to Braves/Mets at Shea on Friday night? I have an extra seat in the Mezz behind home plate.

    Hit me: djtimes at testa dot com.

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