Braves 3, A’s 2

ESPN – Athletics vs. Braves – Box Score – May 16, 2008

Hey, a one-run, come-from-behind win! This calls for some Phil Collins!

Looked bad early. Jair Jurrjens (pitching on three days’ rest) wasn’t right and was elevating his pitches. The A’s have really no power at all and a team batting average of .250, but what they do is work the count and draw lots of walks, the most in the American League. Tonight, they got some hits — eight against Jurrjens, and three walks — but couldn’t hit it out of the park and ran the bases like… well, like an American League team. They got both their runs in the second inning, but in the process had two runners thrown out at the plate, and the only reason it wasn’t three was that Jurrjens threw the ball away allowing their first run to score.

The bullpen shut them down, but for the first five innings the Braves couldn’t do much of anything against “Dana Eveland”, whoever that is. Through four, they had one hit (a double by McCann, who still inexplicably hits sixth against lefties even though he’s outperforming Francoeur and far outperforming Teixeira) and a walk (Chipper, naturally). They got a hit and a walk in the fifth, but screwed it up with some terrible baserunning of their own, Diaz running on a 3-2 strikeout of Blanco.

Finally, in the sixth, someone other than Chipper and McCann did something. Infante singled, and Chipper followed to make it first and second. Teixeira remained hapless, grounding into a double play, but Francoeur singled in Infante, and McCann followed with his second double of the night to tie the game. Joey Devine (!) finished the inning and got through the seventh with another horrible bunt (Glavine with a pinch-popup) to help. In the eighth (with another ex-Brave, Alan Embree, pitching) Chipper singled, Teixeira and Francoeur couldn’t do anything, and McCann singled. Kotsay doubled to the gap (anyone but McCann would have scored with two out, but come on, the man was 3-4) and the Braves had the lead. Acosta, who had pitched the eighth, pitched the ninth as well with no problems. The scorer managed to figure out that this was a win and not a save. I actually like this bullpen usage, but would like it better with better relievers.

Chipper and McCann were a combined 5-7 with two doubles; the rest of the lineup was 4-24. Par for the course against lefthanders.

33 thoughts on “Braves 3, A’s 2”

  1. If McCann doesn’t move up in the order against lefties soon, I think I’ll hurt someone.

  2. McCann just manhandled their lefties tonight. And no, these A’s are not a scary offensive team at all.

    It’s just such a bizarre feeling to finally win a game like this. I think I’ll crack open a Beck’s. Cheers, Bravos!

  3. Fun pitching fact:

    The numbers 4 and 5 Braves pitchers in VORP to date have been Jeff Bennett and Jorge Campillo.

    Seriously. Jorge Campillo has been the 5th most valuable pitcher (at least in that sense) to the Braves this year. Kid’s eaten innings and not allowed runs with amazing proficiency.

  4. Too late now, but I think Bennett or Campillo should have started in Philly instead of Chucky, Chucky should have started tonight instead of Jurrjens on short rest (not that Chucky would have done that much better), and Jurrjens and Huddy would get the weekend starts.

    At least we’re back in the W column. This team must have one of the biggest home-road differentials around.

  5. I have a feeling that we’re not going to see Chucky for awhile. It wouldn’t break my heart to instead see Bennett against the Mets in that DH next week.

    BTW, Glavine will be going on 5-days’ rest on Tuesday.

  6. I hope you’re right; shuttling James back and forth won’t help him work out his weaknesses.

    It’s hard to remember now, but he had a nice run May to July last year.

  7. Well, Chattahoochee skeeters, no. But Black Warrior River skeeters are comparatively tame.

    Campillo’s innings have been pretty low-leverage, though. He’s only entered three close games with a lead (a “save situation”). Almost two-thirds of his PA against have come in low-leverage situations (I’m not quite sure how that’s defined). Most, I believe, have come with the team behind, but they haven’t rallied to get him a win yet. There’s value there, but I don’t know how much.

    Jorge Campillo 2008 Pitching Splits – Baseball-Reference PI

  8. Them skeeters’re no joke—big as the palm of your hand.

    The Staff
    I remain somewhat amazed that our staff has held up so well. Really, Chucky is the only starter that has been full-on awful.

    Mets Next Week
    Turns out, they’re not going to make up tonight’s Mets-Yanks rainout at all this weekend or Monday (which is an off day for both teams). So the Mets will probably come into that Tuesday DH without having their staff taxed too much.

    I’m hearing that they’re going to do another one of those goofy Queens-Bronx doubleheaders when they get together again next month.

    So that means we’ll probably get Santana (vs. Hudson) on the Thursday game. We’ll miss Maine altogether.

  9. Well, a one run win is even more miraculous than a Frenchy homer, so my day is officially brightened. Though I feel like I lost a few years off my life after watching it.

    I agree with those who think Tex and McCann should be swapped, at least until Tex ends these 0 for 12 spurts. IF he ends them.

  10. I think that the Braves may well regret not trying to trade Tex last winter. At least his value was high–particularly if he had gone to a club which could have signed him to a long term contract.

    Chances are that he will still put together a very solid season for Atlanta…

    I just happy this morning that the Braves won….

  11. Another fun fact: all three runs were scored with two outs. How’s that for clutch hitting?

  12. Just looking at the stats, Devine has been pretty solid for the A’s in limited work this season. 0.51 ERA, 0.85 WHIP in 17 innings. Any thoughts?

  13. It certainly looks like Devine’s problems with command are a thing of the past. P Givne his track record with Atlanta, probably the best that can be said is that Devine would not have pitched as well for the Braves.

    That said, even if Kotsay plays well for the entire year (I am happy to be wrong about it if he does) the Braves clearly overpaid in the trade with Oakland.

    It will look even more poignant if Smoltz returns to the rotation Gonzo and Soriano are not able to come back and regain thier best form as closers…

  14. He’s good. Just like his minor league numbers said he would be. Obviously Kotsay not sucking cushons the blow.

    Chucky should have started tonight instead of Jurrjens on short rest (not that Chucky would have done that much better),

    Really? You didn’t enjoy winning today? He would have walked the whole roster.

    I actually like this bullpen usage, but would like it better with better relievers.

    Me too. Multi-inning outings are where it’s at. Bobby’s shown a real willingness to think outside the box with bullpen usage, which is nice. He’s got to get a lot of credit for holding the pitching staff together.

  15. On another positive note, there was some pretty good pitching on the farm last night. Chad Rodgers, Chris Vines and James Parr all pitched well. All of these pitchers have struggled (Vines has probably not been completely healty for a couple of seasons) and wouldn’t it be nice if they are all turning important corners in their development?

  16. I think it’s time we start doing something about our poor road record. Since we’re on a homestand now, I think the best we can do is spin it. So here goes:

    We’re .500 over our past four road games! And since one of those was a Cole Hamles 4-hitter, we’re really 2-1 in our past 4 realistically-winable road games. So maybe we’ve turned that corner. (Ignore the 0-9 that preceded this positive swing!!)

    But time to win a couple more at home. :-D

  17. Devine appears to have slightly altered his windup. It’s a little more fluid than it was when we had him.

    But I’m not going to suffer from buyers’/sellers’ remorse. Good luck in the East Bay.

    Mets juggled their rotation. Looks like we’ll get Maine in the DH Tuesday.

  18. I like interleague because the Marlins and Natspos aren’t in the AL. I get tied of playing them.

  19. As a Mets fan, it’s probably bad that I like rainouts. It means we can’t lose, at least.

  20. Joey Devine never would have amounted to anything with us. He needed a fresh start. I don’t care if he becomes the most dominant closer of all-time. It never would have been with us.

    And Kotsay has surpassed all expectations. I think he’s just as good as Andruw defensively (at least new fat Andruw) and his offensive production has already far surpassed anything Andruw did last year.

    Why are some people still wringing their hands over this? We did not overpay. We paid what we needed to get what we needed.

  21. And Kotsay has surpassed all expectations.

    Dude, it’s May – he’s got plenty of time to get into mid season form. I wouldn’t presume this is going to be his level of performance all year just yet. And Blanco can pretty obviously do what Kotsay has done and wouldn’t have cost us anything. So while I’m not wringing my hands because this is going to be the Frank Wren style going forward, yeah, we overpaid regardless. I would have much rather traded him for something more useful long term or kept him (and the money).

  22. Re: @14 and others

    Stephen;
    Thank you so much for chipping in with your farm team comments. Being Saturday afternoon, I hope that you see this, but I wanted to say thanks.

  23. Kevin Lee–Thank You for your nice message: its Saturday night here and tomorrow is a work day for me.

    More important, we have had some misadventures on the farm (Schafer and the disappearance of Eric Campbell–to name a couple), but the Braves really seem to have a really big crop of nice arms. At this point in the season they still hold lots of promise….

  24. Kotsay has been a pleasant surprise. Very good defensively and of late a valuable hitter. I think it was wise to take chance on him this past offseason as there were no proven options within the system. Blanco has does a nice job in a reserve role, but prior to this spring he wasn’t penciled in to even make the big club.

    To get Kotsay, we had to trade something of value, and we dealt from a position of strength at the time, the bullpen. Coming out of spring training we had Soriano and Moylan as the late inning guys, with the idea Gonzalez would be back at midseason. Also, Acosta and Bennett showed enough last year to make you feel comfortable about depth, and you also still had Yates. Devine never seemed quite comfortable here either, and maybe it was best for him and the Braves to part ways. This far the trade looks good for both teams.

  25. I agree, Hanan. I was a Kotsay skeptic too. I did see him play at Turner Field when he was with Oakland and all I remember about him was a huge homer he had against us to secure the Braves’ loss.

    After hearing about his long absences and back problems upon acquiring him I was afraid we’d be getting another Caminiti or Brogna or Craig Wilson type of veteran. But I, especially after last night’s huge single, am much more of a Kotsay fan today. He’s over .300 and 19 RBIs, no E’s in CF and looking good w/ that arm.

    JB in ATL

  26. Many here were saying the Kotsay-Devine trade was a bad one. I think it still was in the fact we overpaid. Kotsay’s performance thus far has made it much better than I thought it would turn out.

    Still, a marginal improvement over what it was reasonable to expect from Blanco for one year will not prove to be worth more than five years of top notch relief, be Devine a closer or a setup guy.

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