Braves 5, Marlins 4

ESPN – Marlins vs. Braves – Box Score – June 03, 2008

I should call out players more often. (You’re next, Infante!) Greg Norton was 0-2 with a walk in his first three tries, and fell down on a routine fly ball to left field, though he made the catch. But with two on and nobody out in the eighth inning, trailing 4-3, Norton laced a double past first base, scoring Chipper and Teixeira, and ultimately winning the game.

Jorge Campillo didn’t have the magic tonight. He gave up a double to the first batter of the game, who later came around to score, and also allowed two homers to Dan Uggla (we should just avoid second basemen whose names begin with “U” from here on out) and left trailing 4-3.

The Braves’ runs had come in the first, on a three-run homer by Chipper, the 399th of his career. But after that, it was Hibernation Mode again. The Braves drew eight walks tonight, but only had six hits, and precious few from innings two through seven. But Jeff Bennett, back in the long relief role to which he’s well-suited, was brilliant, striking out four in three innings allowing one hit. Will Ohman pitched the seventh, and the rules say he gets the win, but Bennett was the primary pitching contributor tonight.

Chipper (2-4, .409) led off the eighth with a single. Teixeira followed with a double, then Norton drove them both home. The Braves had a good chance to add some insurance, but left the bases loaded (it was the second time in the game that Escobar ended the inning in that situation) and Bobby called on Soriano. This time, Soriano did it without any trouble, groundout, strikeout, groundout. If it matters, the Braves could catch the Marlins tomorrow for second, but the Phillies are and always have been the real concern.

65 thoughts on “Braves 5, Marlins 4”

  1. Hey Mac, no mention of Sori’s increased velocity tonight? He was gunning them in at 95 on almost every fastball. He looked really good.

  2. Did Norton also muff a pop foul in the 2nd giving Uggla an extra swing leading to his first homerun? I was listening on the radio and it sounded like he should have made the play.

  3. Joesteve (from the last thread) I’m in favor of limiting visits to the mound. They did that already, of course, but nobody imagined they’d make multiple pitching changes in an inning as a matter of course.

    I still like Bill James’ rule — a reliever can’t be changed during an inning unless he’s given up a run. Goodbye, LOOGYs.

  4. If my neighbors don’t turn down thier stereo, I may go Omreg Norfante on them!

  5. It’s amazing how a good win like that feels.

    And yes, big props for Mr. Bennett. I would love for him to be our Ramiro Mendoza.

    In San Fran, Pedro doesn’t look terribly sharp. His velocity is alright, but not his command. He’s behind every hitter & he got saved a bit by a Randy Winn baserunning boo-boo.

    And, of course, Zito continues to be a Whiffle-ball pitcher whose pitches aren’t exactly Whiffling.

  6. well, if we’re not going to win on the road…ever, then we need to keep this up. Good win though.

    Everyone say a prayer tonight for Chipper’s health.

  7. No, but I’m convinced more than ever that this season hinges upon (more than anything) his health.

  8. Switching relievers wouldn’t take so long if they eliminated the 8 warm-up pitches. Why not make ’em warm up in the pen? Then when the manager goes to the mound the new pitcher runs to the mound and starts pitching.

    Also, I’d be in favor of eliminating all meetings on the mound. Get you signals right between innings.

  9. Damn Ethan!

    Don’t scare me like that! I am having a good night. I have three big wins tonight (Braves, my neighbors went to bed, and some other thing that is on TV that we can’t talk about on Braves Journal becasue of a very good rule)

    The last thing I want to hear is that Chipper might be hurt

  10. Why not make ‘em warm up in the pen?

    Nah, bullpen mounds suck. Gotta give them a few on the real thing to get calibrated. Anything that would shorten a commerical break (which a pitching change is) is a non starter.

  11. Should have worded that a little more carefully. Toward the end of the game though, the thought of permanent hibernation mode snuck in. (knocking on wood).

    Chipper is the man.

  12. Speaking of hitting 95, guess what Charlie Morton was up to tonight? How about throwing 8 innings of no-hit ball? Granted, those 8 innings came immediately following a leadoff swing-bunt infield single (ball never got past the mound but was in a perfect spot), but still a pretty strong performance. :-)

    I had the pleasure of watching Morton tear through the Durham Bulls lineup (one of the better ones in the AAA International League) tonight, making hitters look just plain silly with his nasty curve and solid fastball. Here’s his line:

    8IP 1H 13K 1BB 0ER 122 pitches

    And that about sums it up. (Don’t worry, though, I’ll keep yammering on!) Morton showed four pitches tonight (FB, CU, CH, and SL), and got strikeouts with all of them. Of his 13 Ks, 11 were swinging. Of his 122 pitches, over 20 were swings-and-misses. His curve was clearly his best offering, and in addition to missing bats with it, he was also able to throw it for called strikes.

    His FB was somewhat erratic, bouncing between 88 and 96 by the stadium gun (which kinda sucks), and a scout I asked said he had maxed out at 95. At times, Morton had issues commanding it, surrendering his only walk in the 5th on four consecutive pitches (to Elliot Johnson of “breaking-that-Yankee-catcher-in-spring-training” fame). But it seemed to get better as the night went on. The stadium gun had him in the high-80s in the first inning, but by the 3rd he was low-90s, and he was hitting mid-90s by the middle innings. (Whether these changes should be attributed to Morton’s FB getting progressively better or the stadium gun getting more accurate I do not know.) He didn’t visibly tire, either, as had FBs go for 93, 93, 94 in the bottom of the 8th as he approached 120 pitches.

    But it was the off-speed stuff that was really impressive. Guys were going down all night to his curve. Reid Brignac struck out swinging on a curve in the bottom of the 8th for Morton’s penultimate strikeout. He had guys out in front all night, and changed speed to great effect.

    And the few times the opposition did make contact, they rarely hit it hardly. There were a couple sharply-hit foul balls, and a liner of middling velocity to the 2nd baseman. But the few balls that were hit into the air were mostly pop flys. Overall, GO/AO ratio was 8:4, an d the one hit coming on a swinging bunt. Also, nearly everything was hit to the right side with the right side of the infield recording 6 outs to the left side’s 2.

    Anyhow, bottom 9, Abraham Nunez comes in to finish off the 7-0 route. The Bulls’ RF puts a ground-ball just far enough in the hole that he’s able to beat out the throw to first. The crowd gives him an ovation, because its the first home-town hit they’ve seen in OVER 8 INNINGS! Morton completely dominated the game; it was amazing to watch.

  13. Thanks for the update mraver!

    The thought of our best pitching prospect being allowed to throw 122 pitches makes me want to hurl!

  14. Great news, though I don’t like the idea of minor league pitchers throwing 120+ pitches in a game.

  15. surprised at Morton’s pitch total

    a very modest move to speed games–make fake pick off moves to all bases (not just first) balks

  16. Excellent reporting, mraver! I’m not so worried about the pitch total, as long as it doesn’t become a habit — Morton isn’t a kid. What a bonus for the organization that a mid-level guy like Morton has put it all together.

  17. Thanks for the heads-up on Morton, mraver.

    And the only baseball rule I’d change is the DH. I go to a lotta games, so I don’t mind the mound visits so much.

    Pedro’s settled down a bit, in and out of trouble since the 1st.

  18. Heh. Almost forgot! It’s starting to look like we’ve been focusing on the wrong Richmond middle infielder: Lillibridge was pretty bad at the plate (0-4 2K BB; only bright spot was that he worked the count well for the BB) while Diory Hernandez (2-5 HR 0K) looked okay. He rolled out weakly once, but the HR was a very solid shot. Kid looks like a solid candidate to be a backup MI (although I’m not sure at all that he can play SS… in which case maybe he’s just Martin Prado with less pop and more OBP), but not really a lot else.

    Brandon Jones didn’t play (presumably because he sucks), which was disappointing, and all Clint Sammons did was come out to warm Morton up between innings; Sal Fasano (whaaa?) caught the game.

    That’s basically it for real prospects. Barbaro Canizares went 3-5 with a HR and is doing about as well as Dan Johnson (only Bull Morton didn’t record a K against) in the International League. Mark Jurich (who, IIRC, some people wanted called up at some point last year or the year before) had a good night, bring his slash line up to .261/.292/.348, for an OPS of .639, which is only marginally worse than his line for AA this year.

    So yeah, tonight was mostly just Morton. :-)

  19. I see a nice line from Heath tonight, too, and pretty good for Hanson.

    Locke was okay this afternoon, but only struck out 1 in his loss.

  20. You may be right, Mac. I was just surprised to see him still around and, more surprisingly, with the Braves.

    Then again, the Bulls’ everyday catcher is Mike DiFelice. 8-0

  21. mraver, I’ll echo the thanks for the Morton update. I’ll also echo the sentiment about 122 pitches, that sounds alarming. Do they only worry about the pitch counts at every other level now ?? Did Dusty Baker sneak into the dugout and manage Richmond tonight ?? I have questions damnit. They need to be answered !

  22. I just watched Baseball tonight and they didn’t even show the Braves highlights or even mention anything about Chipper Jones. All they talked about was Joba Chamberlain and Pedro Martinez. Who really gives a f*** about those guys. You have a guy hitting over 400 in June and they do not even talk about it. F*** ESPN!!! I am sorry but this BS.

  23. I’m sneakily getting very optimistic about Charlie Morton, which is a dangerous thing, given the Braves’ record with pitching prospects, not to mention TINSTAAPP.

    But man, this kid might be good.

  24. #34 – I just saw the highlights on Sportscenter. They gave extra mention to Chipper and the number of multihit games he has this year.

  25. I find it ironic that I was just listening to Billy Joel’s “You May Be Right” as I pulled into the driveway and one of mraver’s posts starts out “you may be right.” Eh, I may be crazy…

    I’ve said this before, but I think fake pick-off throws are important. The importance is subtle, and you really don’t pick it up watching a game on television, but they definitely don’t need to be outlawed.

    Go Braves.

  26. Barbaro Canizares is destined to lead a revolution of some sort. Libertad!

  27. If Joba pitched for anyone other than the Yankees, Red Sox, Mets, Dodgers, or Cubs…E!SPN would hardly touch on it.

  28. Ehh. I don’t think the pitch count thing was a huge deal. Just limit him to 90 or 100 next time out. He’s already 24, so he should be stretching it out a little, and it didn’t look like he was laboring too much in the 8th; he was still getting the FB up there pretty good.

    I think it’s fine provided they don’t make a habit out of this kind of thing.

  29. It’s surprising, but I don’t think the pitch count is a real issue as he is already 24 as many had mentioned.

    A future rotation of JJ, JoJo, Charlie, and Hanson? Again, the Braves finally are able to develop young starting pitchers? I am starting to get excited about this…

  30. Mac…in regards to your poll…

    Jay Bruce is…

    x A poor-man’s version of Chipper Jones.

  31. “I get in trouble when I think too much,” Chamberlain said. “It’s something that I pride myself on – not thinking too much.”

    Chucky and Joba must be great friend and fan of each other…

  32. I agree. If Joba Chamberlain was, let’s say a Minnesota Twin, how much attention would ESPN pay to him?

    Tommy Hanson is a better prospect than Charlie Morton.

  33. Require a relief pitcher to face at least two (preferably three) hitters. That would eliminate LOOGYs and all the ridiculous LaRussa-inspired pitching changes. But the players union would nix that because washed up soft-tossing lefties would be out of work.

    AJC noted that Chipper moved into 2nd on all time Braves hits list with 2202. He is, however, 1400 hits behind the leader. That guy must have been pretty good.

  34. Chris Dimino of 790-The Zone is reporting on the radio that Smoltz is done for the season and will have shoulder surgery.

  35. That’s weird, because Smoltz has said before that he won’t have surgery, and also it takes more than 48 hours for that sort of thing to be diagnosed and planned.

  36. Dimino discussed this, and apparently Smotlz has changed his mind. He has had more than 48 hours to think about this. He was told that he needed surgery a while ago, but he wanted to see if he could do it without it.

    Now, this could turn out to be bad info, but Dimino is a good source and I have never known him to be wrong in his reporting.

  37. Just damn!

    Smoltz was as dominating as I’d ever seen him for the first innings of the games in which he pitched this year.

    What’s the over on successful shoulder surgery on a 41-year-old?

  38. If this is true, I have to believe it’s over for Smoltz. Maybe he is just doing this so he can play golf in retirement. I can’t imagine that he would want to rehab at 41. It’s sad but I can’t say it’s too surprising.

  39. I’m holding out hope there is another John Smoltz they’re talking about…

  40. Honestly, I wish Smoltz well…but I actually think the bullpen will be OK.

    From Mike Hampton on when he will pitch again:

    “It will probably be around the [All-Star] break,”…. “if I don’t have any setbacks.”

  41. Stu is devastated. This is probably the end of his favorite player’s career.

    (When he becomes sufficiently crestfallen, Stu refers to himself in the third person.)

  42. Hillary loses, now Smoltz career may be over…On the other hand Unit is still pitching and isn’t Schilling rehabbing somewhere. So there is hope.

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