Braves 7, Marlins 1

Miami Marlins vs. Atlanta Braves – Box Score – July 31, 2012 – ESPN.

It’s a great time to hate the Marlins right now, as long as you don’t mind kicking a man when he’s down. The Marlins are 16-33 since June 3, when they were tied with the Nationals for first place in the division; as a result, they punted their season by trading their third baseman, the greatest player in franchise history, as well as the starting second baseman and a starting pitcher; the Braves have outscored them 15-3 in the last two days; and for the second time in a week, the Braves beat Ricky Nolasco 7-1.

Kris Medlen really couldn’t have been better. He took just 57 pitches to get through five innings; he came out after a very long rain delay, but according to Medlen’s quotes after the game, Fredi had already decided that five innings was enough. Medlen allowed just three singles, a homer, and a walk, and other than that he basically dominated the Fish.

After Donnie Murphy drew first blood with a first-inning solo shot off Medlen, the Braves put up a three-spot in the bottom of the inning on three singles, two walks, and a balk. That made it 3-1, and everything else was just piling on. The Braves have now scored 14 runs off Nolasco in the 14 1/3 innings that he has pitched in three starts against us this year. You almost would wonder whether Uggla just gave the team a killer scouting report, but of course Dan went 0-4 again. He’s now batting .208.

The Braves had a balanced attack, as their 1-through-5 hitters, Bourn, Prado, Heyward, McCann, and Freeman, went a combined 9-for-24. But the truly unexpected offense came from Juan Francisco, who went 3-3 with a double, a two-run single, and an intentional walk (!), and Tyler Pastornicky, who hit a pinch homer. Read that again.

Cory Gearrin, Chad Durbin, Eric O’Flaherty, and Jair Jurrjens then came in and pitched a scoreless inning apiece.

Gosh, I like Kris Medlen.

P.S. This will not be the game thread; Mac’s recap of Paul Maholm is going up in a few hours.

53 thoughts on “Braves 7, Marlins 1”

  1. Check out these July Numbers

    Fransisco .407/.484/.778
    Chipper .364/.419/.636
    Freeman .323/.427/.527
    Reed – .342/.375/.500
    BMac – .296/.354/.704
    JHey – .275/.359/.441

  2. Just looking at the schedule for Aug-Sep. The Braves have a LOT of games with teams with losing records. The challenges are series with the Dodgers and Giants, and, of course, several meetings with the Nats. The Mets will probably also prove to be difficult.
    The final series of the season is in Pittsburgh. Those could prove to be a very interesting and important games. I’m looking forward to it.

  3. I am sorry to hear that Bethany. You will hear a lot of people tell you that you will come across something much better. You will not believe them.

    In a sort time you will land on your feet and you will see that these people were right.

    You will come across something much better

  4. Or those games in Pittsburgh could be a meaningless prelude to our predestined one-game Wildcard playoff with them.

  5. While it hasn’t been the case for a couple of years, there was about a six-year stretch when the NL wild card team had a better record than at least one of the division winners. Statistically it’s more likely that the best team not to win its division will have the third best overall record in the league than the fourth best. And now, under the new rule, this team will be awarded half a playoff spot. Ridiculous.

  6. #7 – Divisions arent fair either, neither is interleague schedule. Not sure what could be changed to even it out, but Id love to see us play Houston for the majority of our games.

  7. Agreed. To me, the best solution is 4 4-team divisions in each league, so everyone has to win something in order to qualify for the playoffs. But while the sport seems ready talent-wise (read, pitching depth) to expand to 32 teams, the economics of the situation are probably another matter.

  8. #10 – But, I dont see how you could realistically have 4 equal talented divisions. Braves shouldnt have to play the Phils/Mets/Miami while the Cardinals play Houston/Pittsburgh/San Diego every season for example.

    Best scenario, would be just two leagues with no divisions, no interleague, and play every opponent. It would be a scheduling nightmare however.

  9. Divisions work better if you balance the schedule.

    @10 – Agreed on all points. Can anyone think of a metro area that could support a MLB team that already doesn’t have one or two?

    San Antonio?
    Salt Lake City?
    Houston? –

  10. I think we should take the worst player from each team at the end of the season and drop them all into a large arena and watch them fight to the death over a few days.

    Not sure the player’s union will go for it though.

  11. Depends on how you see the playoffs. IMHO, a handful of games at the end of the season don’t tell you who the best team is: the regular season did that. And there’s so much luck involved that involving a little extra luck with a one game playoff doesn’t matter all that much. And it’s a gigantic improvement over 2003 when the Braves kept a 100 win team out of the playoffs.

    Baseball’s problem (if you want to think of it that way) is that every mediocre team (.500 winning percentage) has a reasonable chance of beating a 100 win team in a 4 out of seven series, and a really good chance of beating one in a 3 out of 5 game series.

    No doubt my opinion is colored by the fact that I still think that 14 division championships is far more impressive than a 1995 WS win (but I wouldn’t give up either one of them) but I just can’ get worked up too much by who doesn’t get in, or what obstacles they have to overcome when they get there.

    By contrast, consider college basketball. There are clearly no more than 10-12 teams with any chance of getting through the tournament, and yet there is untold ink spilled over whether the 37th best team in the country got screwed.

    In another contrast, I had no problem in college footall with using more-or-less arbitrary criteria selecting two teams from the, say, six, who might have had a chance in a tournament. (That said, I doubt the new system will get us a better champion than the old system, though I fully grant it might get us different ones.)

    The playoffs are well-meaning but arbitrary, and inherenetly so. It;s the same reason i don’t get upset at the use of the ASG to give home field advantage: it’s neither better nor worse than a coin flip, and I don’t see why it’s any worse than the old system of alternating years.

  12. @11

    That plan would certainly achieve balance, but probably at some expense of regular season interest. I like it that we play more games against our division rivals, and that those games mean more.

    Sure, smaller divisions would probably lead to greater year-to-year imbalances — but as long as there’s some ebb and flow to where the imbalances occur, I’d be okay with that.

  13. Orlando? Austin? Nashville?

    Florida can’t support one team, much less three. Austin is growing and might work, but the obvious place to put a new franchise is Brooklyn or New Jersey, with another in either LA or Portland/SLC. (This assumes Montreal is forever off the list.)

  14. Nashville might work in another 10-15 years, but there’s no way we could support a MLB team at this point, IMO.

  15. Baseball’s problem (if you want to think of it that way) is that every mediocre team (.500 winning percentage) has a reasonable chance of beating a 100 win team in a 4 out of seven series, and a really good chance of beating one in a 3 out of 5 game series.

    Right, which is why creating a situation where a single game means as much to your playoff chances as the previous 162 combined is so absurd.

  16. Portland would be the next stop with one of the Texas cities getting a team as well.

    Nashville is actually a bigger market than KC and it is a good sports town. But I agree with Stu, it isn’t ready for a big league baseball team.

    When they are I am sure the Reds, Cards and Braves will push for it to be an AL team.

  17. That’s why I said: “if you want to think about it that way.” I don’t. I think the whole thing is only slightly less random, so I’m not concerned with the utter randomness of the first part.

    Baseball is clearly concerned that wild-card teams do too well in the playoffs. by instituting this system: (1) you get rid of one right off the bat; and (2) you screw up their pitching rotation (maybe) requiring them to have extra depth. Frankly, if that were all that important, I’d pitch a second line guy in the wild card game and preserve my best pitcher in case I win. In a one game playoff, it can’t make that much difference unless you first guy is so much better than your others. the Braves would be crazy to use their best pitcher (Hudson? Sheets?) in a wild-card game… take your 50-50 chances and raise your probability in the next series which is somewhat more dependent on talent.

  18. Baseball needs to contract, not expand.

    Unless you go international. Travel is tough to Europe / Asia and who wants to go to Mexico until the cartel violence is stemmed?

    If you moved the Marlins and Rays to Tokyo and Taiwan, you might have something.

    On a somewhat related note, the city fathers in Louisville are trying to lure an NBA team to stem the tide of red ink from the new (taxpayer-funded) arena.

    TSPLOST results – not just no, hell no. I was surprised.

  19. The three primary considerations for an expansion market are:

    1) radio and television market population
    2) average income for locals, and
    3) # of corporate entities located in the metro

    Tampa’s main problem is the lack of corporate entities based out of the bay, for example.

    The best expansion market is Brooklyn or NJ. After that Portland or Charlotte, with Austin or SLC being in line one day, maybe. Austin has a low average income level as a college/government town.

    I support a expansion to 48 teams, pulling the majority of the AAA franchises (and Montreal, and Vancouver) into the league while building out a promotion/relegation structure into the model.

  20. You’d be crazy NOT to use your best pitcher in a one-game playoff, if you can set it up that way. The cost of losing that game is immediate elimination.

  21. I assume the TSPLOST results break the “no politics rule.” But since you brought it up, people are fucking idiots.

  22. The only “pure” way of selecting a champion is the pre-division method where the team with the best records in each league won the pennant and met each other in the World Series. You could be sure of the best match-ups but at the expense of most teams’ (and fans’) seasons being effectively over by July. This is not realistic in today’s world but I miss the idea that the teams having the best seasons-and with all teams in each league having essentially the same schedule, there was little doubt who was better-would always meet in the World Series. Today, the World Series has been watered down by the fact that the best teams frequently do not make it through the playoffs. Of course, this format would have helped the Braves in the 90s immensely. My idea is to go back to two divisions in each league with two (or three) wild cards. This would reduce-although not eliminate-the chance of a weak division champion. I don’t like this one-game playoff format because it’s incredibly unfair, but it does accomplish the purpose of making the division races more significant.

  23. I have a few friends at the Atlanta Regional Commission, and they were frustrated at the “no Plan B” approach to the T-SPLOST campaign. It came across as a scare tactic, and it doesn’t require a particular political stripe to be repelled by scare tactics.

  24. TSPLOST was a referendum in metro Atlanta to fund infrastructure development. It was opposed from the left by the Sierra Club and from the right by the Tea Party and it predictably failed, because the suburbanite knuckleheads in the metro area believe that infrastructure grows magically out of the road-building fairy’s ass.

  25. Natpros to Puerto Rico with expansion AL Senators in DC and a team in Havana when Cuba returns to democracy?

  26. @4 – I’ll add and if you’re ever conflicted about letting loyalty to your employer get in the way of something you want to do, that’s why we don’t do that.

  27. @32 – 33 thanks. I pride myself on being informed and I had no freaking idea what justhank was talking about.

    Baseball was looking to contract at one point in time. Besides Tampa who would be the next best candidate?

  28. TSPLOST was a vote of no confidence to all elected officials – nobody wants to give them an $8B slush fund from which they’ll fund pet projects and embezzle. You can make it into a left/right thing if you want, but large portions of both sides opposed it.

    Usage taxes are more fair in the first place. Suburbanites can pay for roads via tolls, and transit riders can pay for their infrastructure via fares. An all-encompassing regressive sales-tax is not the way to go about it.

    Apropos to the Braves – I still think more people would be willing to divert funds to MARTA rail if it freaking went somewhere that people actually want to go – like say Turner Field. Why would anyone in their right minds want to give the idiots responsible for that non-decision yet more money?


  29. @Bethany
    Grieve a bit, learn a lot, then go on.
    To be your age, with your talent and portfolio; whew!

    And anyway, who know more about the Eephus pitches life throws than you?
    War Eagle!
    Go Braves!

  30. @27: I think you can easily concoct cases where you’re wrong. Just to take an obvious example: suppose you have Justin Verlander and 4 Livans. Essentially, your only chance of winning the 3 out of five series is to pitch Justin twice and hope Eric Gregg unpires one of the other games. Then you can’t pitch justin in the wildcard game because you’ll assure yourself that he only gets one game in the next series. By holding him out, you increase your chances in round two by much more than you cost yourself in the playoff game.

  31. @42 – No. The “territory rights” is the obvious problem there. But there are 22 million people in the NYC metro area, and only two teams. It’s the best place to put an expansion franchise by far.

  32. Well here are the top 30 TV markets that don’t have a ML team:

    19 Orlando
    20 Sacramento
    22 Portland
    24 Charlotte
    25 Indianapolis
    27 Raleigh-Durham
    29 Nashville
    30 Hartford

  33. @25 – Been hearing that since I was a kid (grew up there). A lot of history for pro support there with the Kentucky Colonels and everything, but it seems like a lot of that support ended up with U of L, as the Colonels’ dismemberment coincided nicely with Denny Crum’s rise. But no way in hell it would happen now–as I understand it any NBA team would be the third-in-line tenant in the YUM (refuse to use the exclamation point), having to pick nights for home games after both the men’s AND women’s b-ball teams from U of L had their picks. I was actually never sure how the YUM got funded, though, did the city pick up most of it?

  34. Supreme Court precedent (Federal Baseball Club v NL, Toolson v. NY Yankees, Flood v. Kuhn) ays that baseball is not subject to anti-trust legislation. Yeah, it’s pretty laughable, but it would take many years for any effort to overturn it to go forward.

  35. The YUM! Center is incredible. Better than Philips; better than many other NBA arenas, I’m sure.

  36. @50 yeah, objectively it absolutely is. Maybe I’ve just haven’t been to a real exciting game there yet, though, but I came away really missing Freedom Hall. I mean, it’s wonderful that it’s downtown — it’s so incredible to see so many people downtown on game nights — but there was nothing else to do at Freedom Hall besides watch the game; the concourses were kind of gross, the whole place was kind of depressing to walk around, and in your seat there weren’t all the flashing ads and ribbon boards. I know that sounds curmudgeony and I’m willing to accept that, but the game I went to was sold out but half the lower bowl was empty because everyone was at these schmancy bars they built in. I dunno, it all kind of felt like an airport you paid entry to get advertised to in. But I s’pose that’s the deal with so many new stadiums (stadia?) & arenas nowadays.

  37. @49,
    Even without the antitrust exemption, it’s not clear to me that the NJ AG would have standing to sue MLB. There would need to be actual owners who applied for a franchise and were rejected. The state of New Jersey can’t apply to MLB for a franchise.

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