Braves 6, Padres 1

San Diego Padres vs. Atlanta Braves – Box Score – August 15, 2012 – ESPN.

Another strong start for Paul Maholm, who among other things is working deep into games, taking pressure off the bullpen. In each of his three starts, Maholm has gone at least seven innings. He’s now 2-1 with a 1.56 ERA as a Brave.

Today the action was mostly concentrated in the third and fourth innings, when all the runs were scored. The Padres took the early lead with a solo homer in the third. The Braves, meanwhile, had blown chances in each of the first two innings. Michael Bourn led off the game with a single, only for Martin Prado to ground into a double play in front of Jason Heyward‘s walk. And in the second, Dan Uggla led off with a walk followed by Juan Francisco‘s double, but Uggla was thrown out at home trying to score on a Brian McCann groundout, and Paul Janish popped out.

In the third, it looked like they might blow another chance. Prado singled and Heyward doubled with one out, but Freddie Freeman grounded out to the pitcher, Prado thrown out at home. But this time, Uggla hit a three-run homer to make it 3-1. That was all the Braves would need, but they would get more in the fourth. Janish was hit by a pitch, went to second on a wild pitch, and third on a fielder’s choice, scoring on a Bourn groundout. Prado reached on an infield single, then Heyward’s second double of the night scored two, making it 6-1.

Maholm went seven, allowing five hits and three walks, striking out seven. Thirteen of the fourteen outs in play he recorded were on ground balls. Chad Durbin allowed a hit and a walk in the eighth, while Cory Gearrin got three ground balls of his own in the ninth.

137 thoughts on “Braves 6, Padres 1”

  1. So, I wasn’t super positive about the Maholm trade (more because I think I people are underselling the value of Vizcaino since he’s doing TJ right now, than because I didn’t like Maholm, although I did think he was kind of redundant), but he’s been REALLY good these first three starts. Actually, he’s kinda been on cruise control for the past couple months, and maybe the Braves staff figured he was like to keep that up. Well, he certainly has so far! Between him and Minor, the best pitchers on the staff lately have been the lefties.

    Keep it up, Bravos!

    Also, I missed the schadenfreude last night from Melky’s suspension, (I was out celebrating my successful dissertation defense. Go me!) so let me just throw in my thoughts here:

    BAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAAHA!

    But common! Couldn’t this news have dropped AFTER their series w/ the Nationals? Fat fool can’t even get suspended right!

  2. @1 mravery
    Congratulations on your successful defense.
    Congratulations on finishing a dissertation.
    Congratulations on being a Braves fan!

  3. This Felix Hernandez is pretty good. Why couldn’t Wren trade for him? I think Chad Durbin and Eric Hinske should have gotten it done. What a sucky GM.

  4. Fourth best, but that’s still pretty good. Combine that with the third best offense and you’d think we might have a playoff team on our hands…

  5. Lost in the schadenfreude-fest is this:

    I want whatever Melky was taking because that stuff really does work miracles.

  6. I just looked up the new wild card rules – the WC team with the better record gets home field advantage for the play-in game.

    My prediction is that the Braves take the first WC spot, and host the Cardinals. The game will be on Thursday, October 4. Exciting!

  7. Are the A’s better than the Braves at developing pitchers? Or are these arms for the A’s just by-products of recent trades?

  8. Buster Olney on Melky coming within a month and a half of probably getting some asinine contract: “He’s like a bank robber who pulled it off all the way up until his getaway car ran out of gas.”

  9. There was a writer somewhere who “broke” the story a few weeks ago, then had to retract it when nothing immediately came to light. But it was definitely out there.

    Of course, there was also the fact that Melk had spent several years proving conclusively that he was NOT Rogers Hornsby.

  10. There’s little doubt in my mind that the Giants knew. Rumors were flying two weeks ago, and Andrew Baggarly addressed them. When they were denied by Melky and the team, he issued an open apology for inquiring based on ‘rumors.’

    I mean, if Baggarly caught wind of it..

    I believe they inform the player and the team of the first failed test, and then take a B-Sample and go through the entire appeal process before they announce the suspension. I believe that was part of the problem with the Braun thing, it was leaked and confirmed before his appeal had even played out, which was not supposed to happen. I believe there was a dustup over Palmeiro years back, too, because they held up the appeal process long enough for him to get his 3000th hit.

  11. @19 – Well, apparently there were rumors going around as of late July re: Melky’s PED issues; reporter Andrew Baggarly asked him about it and Melky denied everything (apparently, the denial was made during the pendency of Melky’s appeal of his positive PED test). http://www.nbcbayarea.com/blogs/the-cove/Melky-Cabera-Lied-About-Suspension-166315056.html

    It’s certain that the Giants knew about Melky’s adverse test results as of July 31, when they traded for Pence. Obviously the appeal process was still ongoing at the time, but the Giants very likely felt they needed to plan for Melky’s impending suspension.

    It also seems that Melky’s unsuccessful appeal may cost the Giants – if he had just owned up to the violation and started his 50 game suspension immediately, he would have been eligible to return by the last week or so of the regular season, potentially right when the Giants would need him to try to beat the Dodgers for the NL West pennant. That said, as a Braves fan, I couldn’t be happier how this all turned out.

  12. So Melky knew a suspension was coming even as he was acting like such a jackass when the Giants visited Atlanta?

    You would think impending doom would inspire a little humility.

  13. One more comment on last night’s game:

    That Padre homer was barely a homer. It hit the fair pole a foot above the fence. Maholm was very close to another shut out.

  14. So, does the Melky episode show us how PEDs can help make a sub-average player become very good?

    We’re talking about a guy with OPS+ numbers that went:
    95 (in ’06), 88, 68, 93 & 83 to 121 (in 2011) & 158.

    As has been said a jillion times—especially about particularly obnoxious players—this game can be very humbling.

  15. 26: Maybe. We don’t know exactly when the juicing started, and it’s also the case that Melky was entering what would normally be a hitter’s prime years without chemical assistance.

  16. I cant wait for Melky to return to Atlanta next season. BTW, I just picked up some tickets for Sept 28th. Chipper’s ceremony day.

  17. @26-

    Some comments on whether we can attribute Melky’s success to PEDs from Johna Keri:
    http://www.grantland.com/blog/the-triangle/post/_/id/34820/melky-cabrera-ped-suspension-impact

    The gist is that his improvement is almost entirely in terms of batting average, he’s had a REALLY high BABIP this year, he was highly-regarded coming up which presumably indicates that he’s got the tools to succeed at the ML level, and that a normal aging curve would expect some improvement over what he did as a Yankee.

    If you view his performance for the Braves as an outlier and regress his batting average a lot, that he could do something similar to last year seems reasonable.

    Guess we’ll wait and see what happens next year when the Rays or A’s sign him to a cheap deal. Or more likely we won’t. Just another data point.

  18. Well, I don’t know about “normal aging curve” indicating what he did could be expected.

    The guy thought he was good enough without trying to get better. Then the bell rang for him so he started working out. That he used performance enhancing drugs while he worked out may or may not have made a difference.

    The guy never put any effort into conditioning. When he finally decided to, he thought he’d maximize his efforts by getting a little chemical boost.

    I don’t know that there were any years where he “tried” but didn’t “cheat.” We can assume his year with the Royals, but we also know how easy it is to beat a testosterone test (Victor Conte of BALCO called the TE test and IQ test) so perhaps that year with the Royals he was cheating, too, he just beat the test that year.

    Presuming he doesn’t want to go through this again, next season will be the first year he “tries” without “cheating.” So, I think we’ll see.

  19. I seriously want what Melky took. Was it just testosterone?

    I guess getting rid of man-boobs would help your average but 75 points worth?

  20. It occurs to me that the downside of this Melky thing is that Michael Bourn will be even-more-hotly-pursued. Melky would’ve drawn some interest away from Bourn.

  21. @40 – well, certainly Bourn will be overpaid by somebody but that’s kinda how it works.

    Anybody else out there we could get that will give us even 80 percent of what Bourn would if he re-signed?

  22. @40 – well, certainly Bourn will be overpaid by somebody but that’s kinda how it works.

    Anybody else out there we could get that will give us even 80 percent of what Bourn would if he re-signed?

  23. now, wait a damn minute.

    One double-post is a mistake. Two means something other than operator error is afoot.

  24. @38 – I don’t know if Melky was taking some kind synthetic testosterone, or something that causes you to produce more testosterone.. But my brother turns 40 in two weeks, and has been taking injected testosterone as part of a fertility treatment, and he took the opportunity to take up the weights again. The man is shredded like he hasn’t been since he was 25. Obviously, that’s anecdotal evidence. But yeah, upping your testosterone can work wonders for your fitness and physique.

  25. @43, such a move would certainly help our chances of making the marginal$/win playoffs next year. :-)

  26. I would say at least the following teams will be in on Bourn:

    Atlanta, Houston, Washington, Cincinatti, Texas, Dodgers, Giants, Cubs, and Phillies.

    Probably a few on top of that.

  27. Bethany is nothing if not loyal, giving Michael all the money and Brandon all the, well, dreamies.

    Quick inning for Meds, but the Padres made pretty good contact.

  28. Well, Hamilton and Victorino will also be FAs.

    We could trade for: Lorenzo Cain, Dexter Fowler, Tyler Colvin…maybe there will be a surprise. Michael Saunders is an interesting player away from Safeco…and everyone’s favorite, Colby Rasmus…Chris Young or Gerardo Parra…

    None of them are as good as Bourn is or will be next year. That’s OK, because Heyward is going to win the MVP in 2013.

  29. Well, he’ll be an OK utility infielder in the defense-first mold, but not much more the minimum money.

  30. There’s a really loud woman who chants, “Let’s go [whoever], let’s go!” followed by a big operatic “let’s gooooooo.” I hear her at every home game. I can’t be the only one, right?

  31. @86

    I think I know what you’re talking about, except that to me it sounds more like a girl rather than a woman.

  32. Yeah, let him go. I really don’t get why some people don’t ever want our pitchers to go for shutouts, even when their pitch counts are perfectly manageable.

  33. There’s no evidence that one necessarily correlates to the other. It’s just paranoia. Plus, he’ll get an extra day of rest, anyway.

  34. Do you think one inning is going to risk them that much? These guys are human beings, and if your pitch count is below 100 going into the ninth and you can have a potentially once in a lifetime opportunity for a complete game shutout, I would think you’d want the ball and that you should get it.

  35. How on earth can you put this guy back to the bullpen?

    104 pitch complete game shutout. I can definitely take that.

  36. You know, I am as big of a Tommy Hanson fan as anyone here. Medlen definitely needs to keep his spot and Im not sure what you do with Tommy now. Btw, Tommy has never had a complete game (9 Inning) shutout. Medlen is a beast.

  37. Yeah, I really dont understand why some want us to stop our pitchers after 8 innings. Especially when they are cruising and having easy innings. Its one thing if they are stressful innings and having high pitch counts. Complete game shutouts can give a pitcher a huge boost of confidence. Save the pen when you can and Medlen does get an extra day of rest now also.

  38. @115 It really depends on the sitatuon, but I can take a 104-pitch shutout for Medlen (low pitch count, a new elbow, relatively low mileage arm for his age). I was not supporting the idea of Beachy throwing that shutout, and I wondered how he would response to that game. Sure enough, everything went downhill from there for Beachy. Let’s see how Medlen will pitch after this game.

  39. Fun with WAR, note 1: Heyward’s got 12.3 WAR in 1545 career plate appearances (including his slump year). If he has the same number of plate appearances in his career as Chipper, he’ll end up with 83.3 WAR. If we exclude his year last year and project, he’d end up with 98 WAR. And oh yes, he just turned 23.

    Fun with WAR, note 2: NL leaders in WAR (not including tonight)… McCutchen 6.2…. Wright 5.9…. Bourn 5.5…. Braun 5.3…. Heyward 5.1.

    It’s probably McCutchen’s award to lose. However, given voter propensity to vote for players on playoff participants, it’s not inconceivable to think that the MVP will be a Brave. Especially given how Heyward is hitting right now.

  40. The six-man rotation (which I’m fine with, for a couple of spins anyway) is an argument for leaving Medlen in, as he gets an extra day of rest, and we’ll presumably be one reliever short for a couple of weeks.

  41. @121 Even if it is a four-man rotation, Medlen deserves to be in there. Of course, I understand what you mean. Kawakami must be thinking why can’t we do that when he was with us.

  42. 124,

    I’m betting Kawakami is silently sitting at home right now, plotting his perfect revenge against the team that betrayed him.

  43. 120- Big night for Chipper, indeed.

    Guys Chipper would pass with another 25 hits: Doc Cramer, Billy Williams, Dave Parker, Bill Buckner, Rusty Staub, Lou Gehrig, and Roberto Alomar. That’s most of a team of Hall of Famers and near-Hall of Famers right there.

    He caught and passed Dave Winfield tonight with career HR #465 and 466, now 32nd all-time. (Probably won’t get any higher than that- next up is Albert Pujols.)

    Total bases: He passed Craig Biggio and Rogers Hornsby tonight for 30th place.

    Even his strikeout has significance, as he tied Yaz (and Scott Rolen) tonight.

  44. Look, you have to understand, I am scared out of my mind that Medlen will get injured. Right now you just have to look at me putting both hands on the table. We cannot LOSE him, do you understand? We CANNOT LOSE HIM!!!!

    So other than that I think I’m being perfectly rational.

  45. I’m pretty sure sdp is routinely drunk when he posts here. Although he’s fantastically entertaining.

    128,

    Injuries are going to happen. Do the best you can with what you’ve got.

  46. Okay, I actually got interested in the attrition rates of starting pitchers vs. relief pitchers. I found this little gem:

    Fifty percent of all starting pitchers will go on the DL every year, as well as 34 percent of all relievers, according to research by Stan Conte, director of medical services for the Los Angeles Dodgers. That bears repeating: half of all starting pitchers will break down this year. (“When I did the research,” Conte said, “I was so surprised I figured I must have done the math wrong.”)

    So the injury rate for starters is basically 1.47 times higher than the injury rate for relievers. The question is, does Medlen provide 1.5 times the value out of the rotation as compared to out of the bullpen, especially considering he’s mostly used as a long reliever? I’d probably say yes.

  47. I understand protecting arms. Just dont think there is much difference between 8IP/90pitches and 9IP/105 pitches. Medlen is still under 100 innings on the season too.

  48. Fifty percent of all starting pitchers will go on the DL every year, as well as 34 percent of all relievers, according to research by Stan Conte, director of medical services for the Los Angeles Dodgers. That bears repeating: half of all starting pitchers will break down this year. (“When I did the research,” Conte said, “I was so surprised I figured I must have done the math wrong.”)

    Hampton alone screws that stat up.

  49. @131-

    “Goes on the DL” is not the same as “stays on the DL the rest of the season”

    And yeah, Chipper’s awesome, and it’s also awesome that he’s been a Brave his whole career.

    Question for all concerned: How would you feel if, after this year, Chipper moved to an AL team (say, the White Sox) as a DH? Would your feelings change if he hadn’t said he was going to retire and done the whole victory lap thing?

  50. 133,

    Ha.

    131,

    That’s the best evidence I could find. If you can find a more specific or detailed study, it would definitely be interesting to read.

    Regarding Chipper, he would be criticized regardless (deservingly or not) if he decided to return. And if he did, why in the world would he go to the White Sox or an AL team? The Braves would be more than happy to have him back. Even at his age, in today’s league he’s easily a top-10 third baseman. I’m also pretty sure that he’s happy that he spent his entire career with one team.

    What would coming back for a season mean for him? Positives: 20 more HRs? He’s not getting to 500. 150 more hits? He’s still not getting to 3000. Negatives: Injury ending his career. Embarrassment, and a plethora of talking heads opining that he should have stayed retired.

    It wouldn’t make sense for him to come back. Even if he came back, it wouldn’t make sense for him to leave the Braves (or for the Braves to let him go). But if I’m wrong on both accounts, I’d still be absolutely giddy to see him come back for another year.

    He can do a decade’s worth of victory laps for all I care. He’s Chipper F****** Jones.

  51. @128 That’s what I said when Beachy had his complete game shutout but seems like nobody cared at the time.

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