Braves 7, Marlins 5 (10 innings)

ESPN – Marlins vs. Braves – Box Score – June 02, 2008

Joe Simpson really needs to know how to shut up. While he was up in the booth complaining about how Yunel Escobar can’t bunt and should be trying to make one of those stupid “productive” outs, Yunel calmly hit a homer over the center field wall to end the game. Well, if he could bunt it wouldn’t have happened, so I guess it’s a moral failing. I’ll take it.

The Braves led most of the night, but couldn’t break the game open (despite a number of opportunities) and were victimized by the left field “play” of Greg Norton and Omar Infante, misplaying outs into hits, singles into doubles, etc. Francoeur gave them a lead in the second with a solo homer. In the third, Teixeira singled in Escobar to make it 2-0.

Joseph Reyes had a no-hitter the first time through the order. But he allowed four hard-hit balls in the fourth, three of which found the grass, and the Marlins tied it up. The Braves retook the lead on a Teixeira homer in the fifth, while Reyes was doing well again, but he cracked up in the seventh and couldn’t get an out. Manny Acosta did a pretty good job to keep the Marlins to one run after entering with first and third, nobody out.

Francoeur swung and missed at a terrible pitch 3-2 with the bases loaded and two out in the seventh, the second time in the game the Braves left the bases loaded. Soriano somehow got through the eighth in an inning where I was sure Bobby was trying to lose. Escobar singled in Blanco with two out in the eighth, but Chipper left the bases loaded, flying out to deep center.

John Smoltz came in to save the game. He isn’t really throwing at three-quarters — it’s more like two-fifths, a funky looking crooked-arm delivery. He had great stuff but not the greatest control. To his credit, he really could have gotten out of it. He got a one-pitch out on the leadoff man, then a flare that Andruw would have gotten and Blanco almost did. Instead, it bounced away for a double. Wes Helms, the longtime bane of my existence, singled to left to make it first-and third. The next batter flew out, and it looked like a mistake that the runner at third didn’t go home when Francoeur threw about fifteen feet up the third-base line; Helms made it to second. The next hitter hit a clean single but not a particularly impressive one to score the tying run, and then Infante, in left field for defense (!) botched it to allow Helms to score. It was scored an earned run but really shouldn’t have been.

After Teixeira grounded out to lead off the ninth, Francoeur walked and went to second on a McCann walk. I make fun of Francoeur’s decision making at times, but he made a legitimate heady play on a pinch-hit grounder by Anderson, ducking and distracting the third baseman enough that he double-clutched the throw to second, allowing Anderson to beat the relay and extend the game. Big play, because a wild pitch then allowed Francoeur to score and tie the game.

Ohman blew through the top of the tenth like the reincarnation of Mike Remlinger or something. Kelly Johnson, who didn’t start (and I will have more about that tomorrow) but came in earlier as a pinch-hitter, led off the tenth with a walk. Genius Joe wanted to see Escobar bunt (with Infante on deck, mind you) and Bobby agreed, but the pitcher was wild and threw away the second attempt, allowing KJ to get to second. Simpson still wanted a walk and was complaining about Yunel not being good at it, as I said long ago in the opening to this writeup, when Yunel hit a 3-0 pitch out of the park.

Chipper, by the way, was 2-4 with a walk and is hitting .407. It is probably bad form for me to point out the twelve men left on base, isn’t it?

137 thoughts on “Braves 7, Marlins 5 (10 innings)”

  1. Ehhh, we’ll forgive you the LoB comment, but only because you’re who you are, and you did what you do to pull the Braves through.


  2. Escobar came through with key RBIs twice. He hits so much better when he isn’t leading off an inning, I wish Bobby could see it. Hitting Escobar leadoff is wasteful.

  3. Mac,

    how do I get notifications.

    The Penns tied it up with 30 seconds left. Wild

  4. Lest anyone accuse me of being overly negative, Leo Mazzone was friggin awesome on the Fox Saturday game. The man just flat out loves baseball and it really shows. It helps that he knows WTF he’s talking about too and has Skip’s no BS attitude. How did Fox get Mazzone and the Braves radio network get Lemke?

  5. I think we should add a new glossary term, maybe call it The Frenchy; to leave the bases loaded or hit into a double play with the bags juiced.

  6. Smoltz’ stuff didn’t look that good to me. Fastball was kinda like Moylan’s except Smoltz was leaving it up. The slider had no downward movement, was kinda just hanging up sideways. So kind of like Moylan on an ineffective day. My memories of Smoltz throwing sidearm are not favorable, he has mostly done it in the past trying to hang in there in the postseason, and wasn’t that successfull with it, and he usually had surgery soon after. Except this time he won’t have another surgery, he’ll have to retire.

  7. This NHL game is awesome.

    Also, Mets’ Oliver Perez couldn’t get out of the first inning in San Fran. Six in the frame for the Giants and it’s 6-1.

  8. It’s all about control and location. I am sure Smoltzie will be fine. I am not sure about next year though!

  9. I concur. Love to see it live, don’t care for it on TV usually, but this is one intense game.

  10. Here’s a good one, continuing a discussion of one-run losses… the Indians in 2005 went 22-36 in one-run games, one of the highest totals of my lifetime. Cost them the division (they finished six behind the White Sox, who were 35-19 in one-run games) and a postseason berth (they finished two games behind the Yankees and Red Sox). I don’t have much doubt that they were really the best team in the AL that year, but… it happens.

    Wickman was 45 of 50 in save opportunities for them.

  11. One thing we have all forgotten is another fine game from JoJo. The JJ and JoJo combo are looking better and better…the Braves finally able to develop some young pitching talent?

  12. url/smitty,
    I was in Detroit last week when the NHL Finals began. I was there for an electronic music festival, but my hotel was the home base for the NHL, so all the league types & media people were there.

    It was hysterical because you had all these club people/ravers mixed with the buttoned-up hockey types, just staring at each other in the elevators. And the hotel bar was quite a scene, but fun.

    Techno & hockey—I was in heaven.

    And yes, I did catch Newcleus & Egyptian Lover—some seriously fun old-school flavor.

  13. Mac, so it’s not like Wickman was blowing lead for them, it’s like they are always one run short in their comeback…or leads were already blown in the earlier innings…

  14. The mets are down 6-1 to the Giants (!) in the second, i believe. I was hoping something like this would happen

  15. I think Pittsburgh has a bright future.

    I wonder who Jerome Bettis is pulling for here. You know he is from Detroit

  16. For once, credit to Roger for correcting JoJo’s control problem. I never thought the kid would be able to resolve this continuing problem he had in his entire minor league career.

  17. I think he is. I remember around the Super Bowl a few years ago when Pittsbugh was there it may have been mentioned on a late night pregame show by the winner of a crazy fact contest only once.

  18. Mac, you didn’t mention that Bobby gave Esco the green light on the 3-0 pitch there. Probably the best in-game decision he’s made all year. Maybe he’ll decide to stop trying to bunt with one of our top 4 hitters – that’s just rediculous. But I have to give him credit for letting him swing away there.

  19. Good point, Joshua. Cox’s willingness to green light a 3-0 count is one of the things I’ve always liked about him.

  20. Bobby likes his hitter to swing on 3-0. It happens as often as he asks his best hitters to bunt.

  21. Sounds like it was an absolute blast of a weekend. Awesome!!!

    Damn, this is a hell of a hockey game.

  22. The NHL rinks are too small for my taste. I like the international hockey game better when there are more space and the game has better flow.

  23. I actually used to listen to hockey games on the radio, when the Birmingham Bulls of the WHA played (1976-79). They didn’t make it in the merger because — well, come on. Anyway, I don’t know if it hurt or helped that I had no idea what the announcers were talking about. (“Icing?”) I mean, I was five to eight years old those years, but I’m pretty sure I still wouldn’t know what they were talking about.

  24. Wikipedia says that the Bulls tried to sign Gretzky. I can not even contemplate Wayne Gretzky living and playing in Birmingham, Alabama. I can’t even contemplate him being in Birmingham, and that must have happened from time to time.

  25. My dad was an usher for the Bulls (and the Vulcans) and I got to go to a bunch of games as a kid. That’s probably the main reason I enjoy hockey.

  26. I don’t think it is the LOB that matter so much as does the average with RISP.

    As pointed out earlier in the year you WILL leave a lot of runners on when you score a lot, but you obviously got a lot in. The Braves left the bases loaded three times tonight and scored on two solo homers and a wild pitch. They had a lot of chances with RISP and only got three hits in those situations. Not terrible, but not that good.

  27. I always wanted to see a Flames game at The Omni, but I lived 100 miles away. My mom was way more into baseball, so my ATL trips usually involved the Braves. No complaints, really.

    I didn’t become a real hockey fan until I moved to the NYC area. I saw a playoff game in Jersey between the Devils & Mario Lemieux’s Penguins. After that, I was hooked.

  28. I know you guys are on to Hockey, but I kind of support the (this hurts to say) bunt attempt in the bottom of the tenth. You have to get that runner to third with less than two out.

  29. I know the Frenchy bashers don’t want to hear this, but Franceour has looked a lot better at the plate when I’ve seen him over the last week. He still has a long way to go and I’m not convinced that he’s turned the corner yet, but I see some hope lately. He’s been taking more pitches and he seems to be seeing the ball a lot better. Unfortunately it looked like he was trying too hard for the HR and he digressed badly on his bases loaded at bat.

  30. Francoeur has looked better.

    Again, I don’t know much about hockey, but are the Penguins just putting off the inevitable? One thing I do know is that you have to score to win, and from what I can tell they have no chance of scoring.

  31. I don’t think there is any way the Pens win this series, but it is a lot of fun watching them hang on for dear life.

  32. I love the Pens’ desperation.

    The Pens are short some men, so their guys are exhausted. Plus, the Wings are just better stick handlers anyway. If the Pens are going to win, I agree that it may take a flukey goal—and Osgood has give up some weird ones in his career. So stay tuned.

    On the bunt, I tend to agree with you in this sense: I don’t think there’s a right or wrong move there.

    If Esco successfully bunts with KJ on 2nd, Infante needs to make contact & the game’s over. (Chipper’s never going to hit in that inning, no matter what happens.)

    Me, I’d prefer to let 3 guys take their hacks.

    If you don’t bunt Esco, he & Infante can certainly fail & the inning ends up with KJ on 2nd, Chipper on 1st with Tex up and 2 outs.

  33. If you don’t have the puck, you can’t shoot it.

    That’s what I mean. Detroit does this to everybody. Nobody can touch them for puck control.

  34. And I gotta say that I’ve never seen a 3-OT game where one team so dominated the other.

    Of course, if I’m a Wings fan, that would make me very nervous.

  35. By the way I have 4 season tickets for the Thrashers for this coming up season. Anyone interested. Section 412 Row F 4 seats together with one on the aisle.

  36. This series is what the NHL needs. We might just stumble back to having four major sports again… wow.

  37. It’s true that the NBA is also having a huge season, and that Lakers-Celtics is a huge series. But this game might have earned some folks interested in Game Six, and for the sports fan, like me, I’m pretty psyched to have some time later this week to watch both series. I can’t remember when either, let alone both the NHL and NBA, seemed this interesting.

  38. Man, Smoltz is a freaking athlete. To change your arm motion like that and still pitch pretty effectively (you know he will), that’s pretty incredible.

    I enjoyed the Francouer love in the recap, but when I watched it, I was worried he just flat-out fell down. His slide into home was classic too. Nothing is particularly pretty with this guy…

    Good thing the Braves win. I broke my foot and tomorrow I have to start wearing a boot for 4-6 weeks. I’m not at all excited about that, especially since I had been working out hard and put on about 10 pounds of muscle. That boot’s gonna wreck things. Oh, and when the Braves are FINALLY on television in my area (FSN in my area carries the Marlins games), we get a nasty storm and it knocks out the cable. Comcast couldn’t fix it for 7 hours. OF COURSE! Like I said, good thing they won.

    Go Braves.

  39. The NHL will never overtake the NBA here—hockey just isn’t in the American sports DNA like hoops—but it’s nice to have a game like that. People can see how great it can be.

    OT in the NHL playoffs is always must-watch TV for me; but when the Cup is on the line, it’s off the charts. You’ll never see so much desperation.

    I’ve been fortunate to have attended a lot of bigtime sporting events, but I have never felt so wrung-out as I was after a very similar game in 2000—a Game 5 Finals where the Devils were trying to win the Cup. Dallas won 1-0 in 3 OT. I wasn’t right for about 36 hours.

  40. I didn’t realize Tex has homered in four of the last five games, I guess his power stroke is back…

  41. Jordan Schafer’s first game back:

    2-4, triple, BB, 1 run, 2 RBIs

    I am still looking forward to seeing the kid manning centerfield next season.

  42. I’m not fan of Hockey not even an ounce but i’m somewhat interested in this series maybe this can bring hockey ratings back up for the usual fans. and Yeah Tex is hitting them from left to right. I hate the REDS

  43. Wow, triple OT, wish I didnt fall asleep.
    Almost as exciting as some of those old Islanders-Capitals games.
    Sudden death OT is the best way to end a hockey game, I hate that shootout crap.

  44. I know it’s early, but if the Braves and Phils take the East and the WC, and Houston manages to sneak back into things and take the central (highly unlikely, but even if they make a run at it the argument could be the same)… who do you see getting the NL MVP? Chipper? Utley? Berkman? What makes the difference over the rest of the season?

    NL Cy this year? Webb is the easy choice, though Santana, Volquez, and Zambrano are all still “in it” (as if anybody is out of it entirely in June)

  45. Its nice to see Schafer back at AA. Lets see how he makes the transition to AA before sending him onwards. I recall George Lombard had a great year at Greenville (then the Braves AA team) and never got much better–this is a truly sobering thought…

    Rob Cope–sorry about your travails…we lost ESPN where I live at the start of the baseball season. I am just happy that (with all of its imperfections) exists…

  46. Follow up question, if Josh Hamilton holds on to win the AL Triple Crown, but the Rangers still suck, does he get the MVP?

  47. Check out this byline from Paul Newberry of the Associated Press:

    “Despite Smoltz’s blown save, Braves win one-run game
    By Paul Newberry
    Associated Press

    Can they not do math at the AP now?

  48. I only watched the first two OTs and then had to go to sleep. Amazing game; non-stop action. Apparently, the rule changes instituted after the strike have opened up the game. I knew Detroit would lose because (1) they had missed so many opportunities, and (2) I was rooting for Detroit. I wish I had grown up with hockey so I understood the nuances better. Also it’s a much better game in person–it’s difficult to follow on TV although I understand it’s better on HDTV. I went to a Flames game in Atlanta years ago with a friend from Long Island. No one else knew what the hell was going on.

    I agree with Parish about the bunt. In that situation, it makes sense to try to move the guy to third base with less than two outs. Bunting to get the guy from first to second is much more problematic to me. Of course, knowing the Braves, if Escobar had bunted the runner to third, the next hitter would have grounded to third.

    Someone mentioned the Braves finally developing young pitching, citing Jo Jo and Jurrjens. I agree (tentatively at least) with Jo Jo but the Braves didn’t develop Jurrjens. He had already pitched in the majors when they acquired him. The organization can’t take credit for him any more than it can take credit for Smoltz. I guess you can say it deserves credit for knowing how to fleece the Tigers every 20 years. The record on developing pitchers is still not great.

  49. Utley is unreal….right now he and Hamilton are hands down the best in each league…

  50. I agree that we can’t take credit for developing Jurrjens, but we can claim a great deal of credit for Smoltz. 1987 was only his second year in pro ball, and he put up an ERA of almost 6 in AA, and walked more than he struck out. His first year in the Braves organization, he dominated at Richmond. That huge improvement was on our watch.

  51. As for Smoltz struggling last night — the only thing I’m worried about is his health. He’ll have the new windup mastered soon, of that I have no doubt.

  52. We can’t take credit for Jurrjens, but maybe we will for Charles Morton. While he has yet to pitch an inning, I am very pleased that the Braves have let him develop at Richmond. I think he is getting the time there that Kyle Davies didn’t. Time will tell…

    I also think Jo Jo will get there, but he will be uneven for awhile.

  53. Li’l Tony update: .155/.175/.194, OPS+ of 0. In the 50 games in which he’s played, he’s failed to reach base even once in 25 of them.

    It appears he’s finally lost the job, but they don’t know who to give it to — four different players have started at SS in the last four games. Now that’s a team with problems.

  54. Sansho,

    I didn’t realize that Smoltz had pitched at Richmond (I had sort of lost track of the Braves at that point.) Thanks for correcting me on that. You are right that the organization can take credit for him.

  55. @86 Not sure what you mean by ‘hands down,’ as not only Chipper and Berkman but also Albert Pujols, with his .386/.486/.644, have been raking as well if not better. They’re all astonishingly great.

    Utley – 172
    Pujols – 195
    Chipper – 198
    Berkman -215

  56. I should (and I will) post this at the top of a new thread where more people will see it, but:

    Mac, you do the best job of anybody I’ve ever seen at providing clear, concise, entertaining summaries of games. You identify the key moments and unearth the subtleties that are so key in baseball.

    Thanks again for this truly great blog.

  57. Is it wrong that I was a little disappointed that the ball escobar hit went over the fence? I just really wanted us to win by 1.

  58. Thanks, Hank.

    What’s interesting is that if Escobar’s ball hadn’t left the yard, he would have gotten credit only for a single on what would have at least been a double and possibly a triple. Rules are funny sometimes.

  59. Well I hope this game gets Escobar back on track. I was severely disappointed in Blanco tonight, he had an awful game. Maybe it was just a fluke.

    Random question: Does Soriano throw anything other than a fastball and slider? It seems right now Acosta has more pitch variety and velocity.

  60. OK, so Pedro returns tonight & Joba gets his first MLB start, but under the radar we have…the amazing Jorge Campillo, baseball’s best 5-inning pitcher.

    His last 10 appearances: 25 IP, 21 H, 3 ER, 22 K, 1BB.

  61. You know what blows? I live in FL and I cant even see these games…..damn D-Rays…they are fun to watch though, they remind me of early 90’s Braves teams

  62. The only time I get to see the Braves is when they play the Mets…Even when the Braves are on FOX as the main game, somehow either the Yankees, Mets, or Red Sox is the alternate game and that’s who I see. So ESPN is my only hope to see a Braves game. But I’m use to it now.

    Adam M you are correct…Utley is not hands down the MVP. Just looked at the numbers…it just seems like he is doing everything.

  63. I almost added Pujols into the mix in my initial question but got lazy… he’s probably a bigger MVP candidate than Berkman just because his team is a little more in it (though why I’m writing off a team only 7 games out this early in the season is beyond me).

    How the heck do you choose between Berkman and Pujols for the AS game? Chipper not getting the nod this year would be criminal, likewise Utley, but who are the other likely picks for the rest of the positions? (I think we discussed catchers a few days back).

  64. Can’t believe I missed the Hockey chatter! I love hockey!

    Anyway, anybody a MLB rules maven? The game turned last night when Anderson hit the double play ball to Cantu in the ninth and he double clutched, seemingly because he thought his throw was going to hit Francoeur coming from second. Question: If he makes the throw and it does hit Francouer, what’s the ruling? Obviously it would be in the runners best interest to try to knock that ball down unless the result is an automatic two outs.

  65. I think what Chipper is doing at his age, is more of a story than what Utley is doing.
    Just my opinion, although it could be biased due to the fact that I hate the Phillies

  66. Utley 2008:

    Home: .342/.413/.808
    Away: .295/.392/.533

    Not that those road numbers suck or anything, but I think this is the year that the MVP voters figure out that CBP is Coors Field West.

  67. Francoeur can’t try to block the ball, but he doesn’t have to make any effort to avoid it either.

    I get that, but if they do rule that Francoeur moved into the ball can they award two outs?

  68. Remy,

    I live in Port St John, just west of the space center (my house shakes when the shuttle takes off) but Brighthouse and FSN are in a pissing match, and I dont get it right now without buying the extra package. I was going to get MLB Extra Innings, but it was either that or gas for a week….

  69. Just checked, I get to watch “Nascar Classics 1982 Daytona 500” on FSN instead of the Braves/Marlins, because I live in the D-Rays programming area……ugh

  70. Actually, you might want to peek in on that, because back then the cars actually looked like cars. Only, you know, with ads all over them.

  71. Has anyone looked at the AL Voting Update and seen that 7 out of the 9 starting positions are either a Yankee or Red Sox, with Jeter something like 600,000 votes ahead of Michael Young.

  72. ricflair,

    I’ll take you up on those tix! WHOOOOOOOOOO!!!

    I thin the NHL hit a walk off grand slam last night and may have had the best effort to save their sport yet. I am hooked and can’t wait to watch the next game.

  73. I was 8 years old when they ran that race Mac, it would be a history lesson!

  74. Robert,

    Well what do you call Turner Fields, b/c I believe every Braves player is hitting lights out at home. Utley is ultra-hot right now…..

    Pujols is the Manny Ramirez of the National League, except he’s better.

  75. Mike,

    When you really looked closely, the American League is having an off year hitting wise. Guerrero has been struggling. The J & J boys in Minnesota haven’t done anything special. We know about Detroit and Chicago hitting woes. The Devil Rays as a team have been good, but no individual is having a really great year. Besides JHamilton, it really becomes a popularity contest….therefore you get “The Evil Empire” and “Red Sox Nation.” Plus ESPN is probably rigging the votes.

  76. Tony –

    You cannot tell me that you don’t believe Utley benefits from hitting in that bandbox they call a ballpark. The splits say enough. Not to say Utley doesn’t deserve praise for what he is doing – he is unbelievable right now. But his park has ALOT to do with it.

  77. And that brings another point – what do Berkman’s road/home splits look like. He plays in another bandbox, but I’d be inclined to believe his road/home splits are alot closer together than Utley’s.

  78. Berkman 2008:

    Home: .425/.523/.839
    Away: .355/.428/.686

    He’s sizzling everywhere, but there is a pretty good spread there.

  79. TheSecondSpitter – I live in Deland, just NE of Orlando and have subscriptions to MLBTV and MLB Extra Innings. All Braves/Marlins games have been blacked out on both. Can’t figure out why.

  80. Wait Albert Pujols is just 28 y/o with a career .333 batting avg, 296 HR and 900 RBIs?? Career OBS 1.044?? This guy is sick…

  81. I just read the Wiki bio on Josh Hamilton. “Wow” is all I can say. It’s amazing that a guy who attempted suicide three times, visited rehab more than I’ve been to Turner Field, and has almost 30 tats is competing heavily for the Triple Crown. Even without the steroid use, I’m not sure he would qualify as a favorite of Dale Murphy.

  82. Ben,

    The article in SI was even more of a WOW…basically he is a recovering “crackhead”. I suggest reading the whole article…

  83. 125 — or maybe he’d be a big fan. everybody loves a redemption story. one of the reasons i find myself cheering for hamilton is because of the great story — what he’s been through (even if self inflicted) and pulled himself out of.

  84. Addiction is a disease with a societal trigger. I’m glad that Josh Hamilton is clean and I, for one, am really pulling for him to make good on all his early promise.

  85. Deland, that’s Chipper’s hometown, right? He went to school in Jacksonville, and I hate his alma mater for person, selfish reasons.

    I didn’t check all the posts, but if it hit Francouer, unless he’s already out (which he wasn’t), then nothing would happen. It’s like on a pickoff where the runner breaks, the throws goes to first, then the first baseman, trying to throw it to second, hits the runner in the back. At least that’s the way I’ve always been taught.

    I read the SI article on Josh Hamilton. He’s quickly becoming one of my favorite players in all of baseball. Man, if Atlanta could get him, he’d easily be up there. The dude has some heart…

  86. With all the stress and rigors of going through a baseball season, with the added pressure of the limelight, not to mention the everyday struggle over not giving in to addiction, Hamilton is all the more impressive.

  87. Rob, Correct on Deland. There is a fantastic “Chipper Jones Family Little League Park” not far from where I live. Presumably paid for by Chipper’s charitable trust.

  88. Robert,

    Yes, the umpires can award a double play if they think the runner intentionally got hit with the ball. This came up in the 1977 World Series when Reggie Jackson got hit between first and second on a throw. LaSorda argued that he had stepped in the way of the ball and that it should have been a double play.

  89. But Reggie (who really did shift his body to get hit by the ball) interfered with the relay. Francoeur would have interfered with the out at second. Can you assume the double play in that situation?

  90. Didn’t see the Frenchy play, but that’s a helluva question. I’m not sure how you can “award” two outs when the defense didn’t even record one.

    Kings or Ducks?

    And Chipper’s alma mater, the Bolles School in Jax, is also the alma mater of the late, great songwriter Gram Parsons.

  91. I actually lived in DeLand for a few years, worked for EVAC, rode by the “Larry Wayne Jones Little League Complex” everyday….also, Stetson is a great little baseball school, love going to the games….

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