Braves 4, Dodgers 3

Atlanta Braves vs. Los Angeles Dodgers – Box Score – June 03, 2010 – ESPN.

Almost let that one slip away. Almost.

The Braves scored first, getting a run in the first on a two-out single by Glaus to score Prado. In the fourth, Glaus came through again with a solo homer, then Escobar scored on a double by McLouth, which just goes to show that anything can happen. In the sixth, Ramirez completely misplayed a Medlen fly ball into a double, scoring Hinske. 4-0.

Medlen was awesome for seven innings, allowing just three hits and not walking anyone. He had just three strikeouts, but was always ahead in the count and got a lot of weak ground balls. In the eighth, those weak ground balls came back to bite him, as two of the first three hitters reached on infield singles. The fourth hit a clean single to the outfield, and Medlen was relieved with the bases loaded.

Wagner was unavailable having pitched on four consecutive days, so Bobby held Saito back to close while using Moylan to try to get out of the jam. Moylan’s control has been off of late and last night he landed the triple Grybo, allowing all three of the runs to score. The first man singled to score one run, and Heyward made a horrifying throw that was closer to the third base dugout than the plate, allowing a second man to score and the other runners to move up. The third run scored on a groundout, then Moylan walked the go-ahead run. Bobby had finally seen enough, and O’Flaherty came in and struck out Ethier to end the inning.

In the ninth, Saito came in and got two popup outs, then went 0-2 on the third batter before having to leave the game with a hamstring injury. Venters, the only reliever left Bobby has any faith in, came in and struck the batter out with one pitch for the save. Efficient. The Braves’ winning streak has now matched the earlier losing streak.

45 thoughts on “Braves 4, Dodgers 3”

  1. Wagner has talked about this being his last season. I hope not. He’s always wanted to be a Brave and if he remains and excellent closer, I’d love to bring him back one more year.

    Having said that, if he does retire, Johnny Venters looks like the next closer for the team. It’s pretty sweet to have a young, inexpensive in-house option for that job for next year, should Wagner retire. While there will be various things Wren has to do this offseason, if Wagner leaves, I am not sure we have to spend $$$ on an expensive big name.

  2. re: Moylan

    I think it’s fair to say that Marc is right but that others of us are right as well.

    Moylan has been overused by Bobby. On that note, Marc is spot on and that can only decrease his effectiveness, night to night. But for all his solid ERAs, everytime I see Moylan pitch, I see Kevin Gryboski. I see a guy who gets extra runners on and makes me nervous – a lot. And maybe it’s a psychological thing after seeing chunky Gryboski, fatty Wickman, fatty Kevin Kolbbb, but Moylan just gets chunkier and chunkier and just looks more tired throwing out there because he’s dealing with all that extra gerth.

  3. While searching for other Braves-related items, I stumbled upon this gallery of some Braves (Medlen, Schafer, Moylan, Prado) getting tattooed. It’s not really my sort of thing, but I thought some of you might find it interesting.

    http://tiny.cc/dm25g

  4. How many times over the last few years have the Braves had substantial but not huge leads (3/4 runs) and either blown the lead or almost blown it? I don’t understand why this happens so much.

    The Braves had had at least three streak longer than this that I can remember, 1982, 2000, and, revealing my age, I remember them winning 10 in a row in September 1969 to wrap up the division. (They lost the last day after clinching the day before with their 10th in a row.) I’m not absolutley sure, but I think they also won 10 or 11 in a row in 1970, but that was the first year of the Big Red Machine and they gained virtually no ground.

    Is Heyward struggling? Is it time to send him down? :)

  5. Anyone know if a team has ever had a winning streak and a losing streak of nine games or more in the same season?

    @4 — Don’t forget the long winning streak in July of 1992 that was extended by “The Catch.” (I believe that one was more than 10 games, but I could be wrong).

  6. @4: Maybe because you can’t shut out MLB hitters, especially good ones like the Dodgers have, on a nightly basis? I dunno–those games scare the hell out of me, but you can’t always totally silence the opposition.

    Heyward is 1-14 in his last 19 plate appearances.

  7. @3 – thank you for that link. I had no idea that Moylan had two full sleeves. I am a tattoo guy, but it’s just so weird seeing kids like Medlen and Schafer getting enormous tattoos at such a young age (to me anyway). My tastes have changed pretty dramatically since my early 20’s – I am glad I didn’t get any of the things I would have wanted then done. Also, seeing Schafer in an Ed Hardy shirt…well I’ll try to root for him anyway. There is a link to a pretty funny video of Medlen getting tattoed – funny because when he says “I am going to represent” he sounds like the whitest mall rat on earth.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cFRfhQOh-jY

  8. spike, I had the same thought about the Ed Hardy shirt…

    I remember seeing Moylan in Spring Training (or somewhere) one year and saw the sleeves. I also remember reading an article about Hinske this past offseason that focused on a huge piece he had on his back and both arms. He has been working on it for a while, apparently. I am not a tattoo guy, but I have always been fascinated by the fact that people make lifetime commitments (unless you go the laser removal route) to the artwork. There is no way in the world I could pick something that I would want on my body forever, or if I could, I would spend so much time pouring over the details that I would lose interest or change my mind in the meantime.

  9. I’m perversely encouraged by Heyward’s slump because he’s not striking out much and continues to draw walks. I have no evidence to support this, but I would suspect that the game’s elite hitters go through slumps where their walk rate remains level and their strikeout rate does not skyrocket, they just aren’t striking the pitch with authority.

    Any statheads out there able to confirm or deny my supposition?

  10. @9 – this will sound odd, and actually counterintuitive to why you’d get one in the first place, but I really stopped noticing mine after a few years. They become giant, very personal, freckles. Really. And my informal polling among my tattooed friends has been pretty close to 100 percent on the subject. I honestly forget I am tattooed (I have 4 pretty big, visible ones, not frat letters on my ankles) sometimes.

  11. 11 — As far as anecdotal evidence goes, he has “just missed” on a few that he has hit hard in the past 5-6 games. He’s fine.

  12. @11, Seatpainrer,

    Those statistics, with nothing more (assuing you are correct with “he isn’t striking out much”), almost perfectly define: random drop in Batting Average on Balls in Play. He SHOULD hit around 300 on those and not below 100.

    Even if he is not hitting it with as much authority in this sequence, that will show up more in ISO than in BA.

  13. Thanks cliff, I can see that (I think – ISO = SLG-BA, right? It shows the ‘Power’ of a hitter?) And BABIP is Hits/AB-SO, (ie take the strikeouts out of the BA calculation).

  14. Heyward’s going through a small rough patch. He did something similar last month, too, and I wouldn’t worry much about it. He’s going to struggle at times, but the key is whether he makes adjustments, and I think he will going forward.

  15. I agree that Heyward should get through this stretch and return to top form. I’m encouraged in that he isn’t striking out 3 times a game, and that he continues to draw walks.

  16. I’m not really worried about Heyward’s slump, but he is 20 and, as precocious as he is, you worry about him starting to press and get into bad habits. You can’t reasonably rely on a 20 year old rookie to carry the team all season and, fortunately, some other guys (mainly Glaus) are stepping up. If Heyward ends up with the kind of numbers Chipper had in his first year (especially if he maintains the OBP), I would be happy enough. Let’s face it, these are major league pitchers he is largely facing for the first time. This isn’t easy.

  17. @10 thanks for the link. I looked at the box score from the game where Otis Nixon made the Catch. The Braves only sent 25 men to the plate in that game. I wonder how many times in history a team has won a 9 inning game with only 25 plate appearances.

    Here’s the video of the catch. Remember, that fence was 10 feet tall:
    http://mlb.mlb.com/video/play.jsp?content_id=3251606

  18. How many times over the last few years have the Braves had substantial but not huge leads (3/4 runs) and either blown the lead or almost blown it? I don’t understand why this happens so much.

    Marc, the timing of this complaint is strange, considering we just became the first team in NL history to score 5 or more and give up 3 or less in seven straight games.

    7-3
    8-3
    7-3
    6-3
    5-2
    9-3
    7-3

    We had the exact type of lead you mentioned for an entire week’s worth of games, and we set a record for being good at keeping it!

  19. #21 – VanSlyke’s reaction shot is beauty. Couldn’t happen to a nicer guy.

    You can hear it in Skip’s voice that he thinks the ball is gone on contact. I can only imagine how Chip would have butchered that call.

  20. @5, in 2008, the Indians had a 10 game losing streak, and later on got a 10 game winning streak. They also had a 7 game losing streak and a 7 game winning streak that year.

  21. 23—But, as DOB asked via Twitter last night, has any team ever had each such streak before the All-Star game?

    22—Was Van Slyke a jerk? I don’t think I ever knew that.

  22. Why aren’t we talking more about how Glaus has been terrific? Great addition Wren!

  23. Van Slyke once uttered a classic line. In 1993, while on the DL, he was watching a game from the dugout. William Pennyfeather was playing center field for the Pirates in Van Slyke’s absence, and after watching him struggle for a while Van Slyke was said to have asked, “Why don’t I feel more like Wally Pipp?”

    Pretty funny, and maybe a clue about why he wasn’t universally liked….

  24. 22—Was Van Slyke a jerk? I don’t think I ever knew that.

    Might be me. Some of the stuff since he retired is pretty jerky.

    link

    Saying I told Bonds to move and backing it up with this:

    I always felt that I got a sixth sense on the field that, as an outfielder, I had these premonitions that seemed to come true about half the time.

    I mean, he makes Bonds the sympathetic figure which you would assume is impossible.

  25. Sansho,

    Point well taken.

    Re Van Slyke: As I recall, while he was with Pittsburgh, he made some comments about Hilary Clinton–while she was First Lady– that some interpreted as jerky. I don’t want to go any farther because it’s venturing into the political but I seem to remember something like that.

  26. Van Slyke was so fortunate to have guys who happened to be even bigger mouthy dopes than he was on either side of him. And what #22 said.

  27. So the 13 game winning streak in ’92 went 2-1, 2-0, 4-0, 3-1, 7-4, 4-2, 5-0, 3-0, 3-2, 9-7, 2-0, 4-3, 1-0.

    We must have had some pretty good pitching back then.

    What I’d like to know is: Has there ever been a team who went through a 9 game losing streak in April AND was in first place of their division at the end of May? Seems pretty hard to do.

  28. Dave Trembley fired. Don’t ya love baseball? The guy driving the ship is typically fired before the guy who built it.

  29. I know for a fact Moylan got fairly drunk the night before the first game against the Phillies earlier this week which was a one o’clock game. That could explain his bad outing that day.

  30. @22 – “High pop up, BELTED! Deep right field, BASE HIT! back, back, back, FISTED!

  31. I believe our winning streak in 2000 was 15 games, if I’m not mistaken. Whatever it was, I am positive that it is the franchise record for the longest winning streak, and thus was longer than 13.

    Also, I always kind of thought we’d give the closer job to Craig Kimbrel next year. We’ve certainly been grooming him for it. We even sent him back down a week or so ago so that he could continue to get regular work as a closer (at least that’s how I took it). Venters has been a very nice surprise, but he was a starter until very recently, so I don’t know what the plans are with him. It’s possible we’d keep him around in the bullpen, especially since Lowe, Hanson, Hudson, Jurrjens and Medlen all stand to be back next year. If he continues pitching this way, he could very well be a late-inning guy next year. I don’t see that he’s passed Kimbrel, though.

    If it’s because he’s left-handed, the majority of hitters in the majors are right-handed, anyway. There’s nothing wrong with a left-handed closer, per se. I’ve liked both Wagner and Gonzalez in the role (yes, I liked Gonzalez…what of it?). But I don’t know that I’d fall in love with the idea of a left-handed closer. It’s not strategically superior to having a right-handed one.

  32. @35, Tremblay had a fair amount of talent, and all of it was underperfoming. Can’t blame the O’s too much for getting impatient.

  33. I can’t believe I’m doing this, and it’s not like it happens often at all, but to Chip’s credit, his constant screaming at the top of his lungs kind of works in situations where something truly crazy just happened. So maybe four times a year, Chip makes a call of a play that isn’t horrible.

    For instance, I’ve found him to be striking the right tone precisely twice this year. The first time was Heyward’s first AB homer on Opening Day, and the second time was Brooks Conrad’s walk-off grand slam. Although the peak of the moment only lasts for so long. If two minutes later, he calls Conrad “Books Conrad”, it wears off quickly.

  34. I can’t stop watching the Chip Caray call from the postseason that got him fired:

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