Braves 5, Rays 3

Atlanta Braves vs. Tampa Bay Rays — May 18, 2012 — ESPN.

I imagine that Rays fans feel about “Big Game” James Shields more or less the same way that we feel about Tommy Hanson. They’re good pitchers and all, but they have this occasional habit of giving up runs in bunches. Shields has had the following season ERAs since 2008: 3.56, 4.14, 5.18, 2.82, and now he’s at 3.77 this year, after giving up four earned in six innings last night. Admit it: you’d hate him.

Hanson did his usual high-wire act and somehow managed to tie his career season high in innings pitched, with 7. He walked two and struck out just three, which obviously isn’t ideal, but he gave up just six singles, and was immensely helped by a sputtering Rays offense that let him cruise through the 4th and 5th innings with just 15 pitches combined.

As usual, the Braves got the scoring started early, with a Martin Prado double and a Freddie Freeman RBI single in the first, and then Chipper Jones scored on a wild pitch in the second. Jones later left the came with a contused angle ankle after he took a hot shot off the leg. Hopefully he won’t be out for long.

Hanson then gave the lead back on single runs in the second and third: Luke Scott reached on an infield single and later scored on an Elliot Johnson bunt single, which Hanson kind of jogged toward and then realized that he wasn’t going to be able to throw anybody out. Then, in the third inning, BJ Upton reached on an infield single, stole second, made it to third via a double steal, and scored via a sac fly. Hanson can’t hit, he can’t field, and he can’t hold runners, but as long as he doesn’t give up hard contact I’ll take that tradeoff.

Somehow, this year’s Braves have a knack for continuing to add runs throughout the game. Two more runs in the 5th on a Freeman RBI double and a Brian McCann RBI single, and another run in the 7th when Prado hit a solo shot. Venters gave one of them back when Sean Rodriguez got hit by a pitch — it looked like a questionable call to me — then advanced on a passed ball, and was singled home by Luke Scott, whose facial hair is probably grounds for prosecution. They call him “The Wolverine,” as if that excuses it.

Rays fans are going through a tough time right now, without Evan Longoria or Desmond Jennings, and with uberprospect Matt Moore scuffling in his rookie season. If you see one today, be nice to him or her. They’re much better than Yankees or Red Sox fans.

55 thoughts on “Braves 5, Rays 3”

  1. Eh, who cares about the details, Alex, they are still located in Florida, after all.

    Luke Scott was on base entirely too many times last night. I hope that doesn’t happen again today.

  2. Yeah, no one cares what you call em. They’re still a trash organization with a trash fanbase.

  3. I moved out of Florida last month (lived there all 25 years of my life), and I had become a local Rays fan living in St. Petersburg. I think I will still be a Rays fan based on the quality of their organization and the likeability of their team. The Trop sucks, and the fans are more apathetic than Braves fans, but the Rays will be my AL team for the foreseeable future.

    With that said, my job is taking me all over the country (well, the 36 states Chick-fil-A is in) for the next two years, and I’d love to find some Braves fans wherever I go, whether it be New Hampshire or California, to watch a game at a bar with.

    Hopefully I’ll be able to meet some of you guys on my chicken tour.

  4. Not sure thats a good comparison with Hanson. Hanson’s seems to be far more consistent with his era’s of 2.89, 3.33, 3.60, and this years 3.31. His WHIP #’s are also consistent 1.18, 1.17, 1.17, and 1.37. I can see why the Rays fans would be frustrated with Shields, not so much why Atl fans would hate Hanson as much as some do.

  5. Rob, my wife and I are also travelling while we work for the next couple of years, about 3 months in each city. We are currently in San Antonio for the next 2 months. Hoping to go to Seattle next, and then after that, who knows. Maybe our paths will cross…

  6. Our old friend KJ is putting together a nice season for the Blue Jays.
    He batted the first run in tonight against the Mets. Yunel batted in the second run. Braves power in Toronto.

  7. Huge soccer game starting right now: Champions League final Bayern versus Chelsea. Anybody watching?

  8. Excellent writeup, Alex. In point of fact, Hanson has gone past the seventh several times, although you have to go back to 2010 to find an example….

  9. Ben Zobrist looks like a zombie when he stares, mouth-agape, at the pitcher.

  10. I like runs. I’m sure Delgado appreciates it too.

    Joe is going to be talking about Upton not charging that ball all day.

  11. Gameday just gave Delgado’s first pitch to Pena a 100 on the “nasty factor” scale and it wasn’t even a strike.

  12. Best throw I’ve ever seen Heyward make. Decently strong but perfectly accurate.

  13. Someone in the stands just yelled ,”My name’s Dan Uggla! I have really big arms!”

  14. The Rays have Juego Grande. We have Inning Grande.

    (Or is it Turnos Grande? I am horrible at Spanish)

  15. The Rays announcers are laughing at the Braves inter-league schedule. “the Braves have to play 6 games against the Yankees, Philadelphia and Miami don’t play them at all. Is somebody mad at them?”

  16. The day technology allows for human umpires to be replaced will be one of celebration.

  17. @38:

    The Phils play the Twins, the worst team in the MLB, instead of the Yankees, and play the Red Sox 6 times. Nationals play the Orioles 6 six times, Marlins play the Rays 6 times (really just as bad as playing the Yanks), and Mets play the Yankees 6 times as well. Why couldn’t the Braves just play the Blue Jays 6 times? It’s not like we’ve never played them in a World Series…

    Odd.

  18. @48: It’s sort of blind luck that the one year we play the Red Sox only three times they end up being kind of crummy.

  19. Didn’t realize Adam is having such a fast start…he actually cares about baseball in April and May!!!

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