Braves 7, Marlins Phillies 5 (by sansho1)

ESPN – Box Score

In the words of the great Knucksie from atop the Braves dugout tonight, “Ladies and gentlemen, it’s time to play ball!”
And hey, here’s a new one for Cole Hamels Facts: he’s now 0-1 on Opening Day, because we just beat the crap out of him.

After Tim Hudson dispatched the Phillies in order in the top of the first, the Braves got right to crushing Hamels via a savage 2-run swipe from Freddie Freeman in the bottom of the inning. From my infield vantage point…

Opening Day

…it was obvious that Hamels was having trouble controlling his breaking pitch, bouncing a couple and sailing a third.So the Braves sat on his fastball and had a flyball party all night, and it was great fun to behold.Dan Uggla sent a cripple pitch soaring into the leftfield stands in the second inning, and Freeman followed up in the third with an RBI single that was hit so hard that, despite my vantage point, in the infield…

Opening Day

…I didn’t see the ball until John Mayberry scooped it up. So things were rolling merrily along until the hate-ably splendid baseball player Chase Utley took Hudson deep in the fourth inning, with Hudson beginning to struggle generally, getting deep into too many counts. This culminated in the fifth with a 11-pitch walk to Ben Revere, sandwiched by singles by Hamels and Jimmy Rollins, whereupon the annoyingly excellent Chase Utley hit a completely predictable single to right, scoring two more runs and making the score 4-3.

Luis Avilan came in and stopped the bleeding, and followed it up with an uneventful sixth inning as well, eventually earning the win. Meanwhile, Justin Upton gave us all a hearty hello with a mammoth shot to left field in the fifth, and fellow new arrival Gerald Laird drove in Uggla with a soft liner to The Exact Spot in the sixth, and then Chris Johnson hustled home on a double play to make it a 7-3 Braves lead.

EOF retired every mortal he faced in the seventh, giving up one run. Jordan Walden emitted a series of alarming spasms in the eighth, giving up one more. Finally, Craig Kimbrel’s first two pitches in the ninth were terrifyingly wild, but then he settled down and nailed down Victory #1 in 2013. Huzzah!

(No game on Tuesday, because Selig.)

77 thoughts on “Braves 7, Marlins Phillies 5 (by sansho1)”

  1. Hello! Scoring a lot of runs, giving up a few less. That should be the meme for 2013. Go Braves!

  2. Great win, great recap. Kudos to Fredi for hooking Huddy early.

    Oh, and btw,

    It was the Phillies, the heralds of the doom,
    No Marlins.
    Look, sansho1, what envious streaks
    Do lace the severing clouds in yonder east.
    Offseason’s candles are burnt out
    And jocund season
    Stands tiptoe on the misty mountain tops.

  3. Last night’s game was so much fun to watch. I’m greatly looking forward to watching this team every night!

    Alex, thanks for posting Mac’s Philadelphia write-up as the game thread last night. That is one of my favorite things that Mac ever wrote, and I thought it was a touching Opening Day tribute to him. I used to post more regularly until school downgraded me to more of a lurker, but I do want to say that you and all of the contributors have all done a great job keeping this site going since we lost Mac. Thanks for all of the work that you do!

  4. Nice job Sansho1. Providing those insights that you can only get close to the action. I’m sure you could smell the sweat on Hamels. (That’s the last time I’m writing anything glandular about Hamels.)

  5. I hope you can see that picture well enough that the joke comes across — the fact that our seats were directly facing Holbrook’s Folly was the source of bitter humor all evening.

    It should be noted that the team pulled out all the stops for us baseball-starved fans. In addition to Niekro, Murph delivering the lineup card, Chipper throwing out the first pitch, and a really cool flyover by, according to the AJC, “four T6s of the historic Dixie Wing of the Commemorative Air Force.” A shot on the big screen of Bobby Cox in the stands was the source of what I thought was the biggest ovation all night. The great Timothy Miller was there to belt out God Bless America — hell, even Miss America showed up to lead the singing of Take Me Out To the Ballgame (as best she could…following Miller ain’t fair to anybody).

  6. I’m sure there’s data that shows this is a figment of my imagination, but I’m convinced that pitch count within a single frame is important. I think pitches number 21+ in a single inning are dramatically less likely to produce good outcomes than pitches 1-20, and I think it doesn’t particularly matter what inning or what your total pitch count is going in.

    In the 5th, when Hudson had that 11 pitch AB against Revere, I knew he wouldn’t get through that inning.

    Maybe its only with certain guys, but I’m convinced that once you’ve thrown 20 pitches in the inning, the league is probably going to hit .400 against you.

  7. That was a pretty nice prelude to the main event, which of course is the debut of El Oso Blanco.

  8. I have no doubt that if Gattis had played last night he would have hit a home run and no one will ever convince me otherwise.

  9. Gattis is really 4-4 with two home runs and two caught stealings (defensively.) Don’t let those “official” stats fool you.

  10. Outside of BJ Upton it seemed that everyone took really good ABs. Very encouraging to watch the bottom half producing. There aren’t many weak links on this team and I think Chris Johnson’s bat will be respectable enough to keep him away from whipping boy status. It was odd to see Ramiro Pena get the PH opportunity over Gattis and Juan, but he put a nice swing on one too.

  11. Great game last night. I too thought it was odd that Pena came out to pinch hit, what with effing success in the dugout. BJ was swinging at everything.

    Walden is a strange pitcher. I’ve seen video but its dang weird watching that guy pitch.

  12. Great to be back! I got to see the game from the bottom of the 2d inning on, and it is clear that the hitters are ahead of the pitchers on opening day (tee hee).

    Anyone other than me think BJ looked, well, awful at the plate? He set up too far off the plate and his bottom bailed on anything over the outer half. I didn’t see more than a handful of his spring training ABs, so wondering if this was just a bad night or a bad few weeks?

    El Oso Blanco would have slaughtered Camels last night.

    ps – I hate how good Utley is, now that he looks healthy.

  13. Things I learned watching the game last night:

    1) Nobody told me Gerald Laird looks just like Fredi Gonzalez, just a little fatter.
    2) Further, nobody told me Chris Johnson looks just like Jordan Schafer, just a little less twerpy.
    3) The Braves managed to trade one right-handed flamethrower with an awkward delivery and even more awkward facial hair for another right-handed flamethrower with an awkward delivery and even more awkward facial hair. On top of that, both Hanson and Walden have two syllable names with six letters each, both ending with the sound “un”. Uncanny.

  14. So Utley can evidently still run despite those balky knees. If only Chipper had been able to do so.

  15. Upton’s homer was a blast. Did you see where it landed? Left/center (more center than left) and about 10 rows up. Nobody hits HRs there, not even Uggla.

    Dude has some pop.

  16. Oh, I forgot something! As usual, I parked near the Capitol building and walked from there, and as we got closer to the stadium I began to notice the lack of street vendors. Turns out their permits have not been approved:

    http://www.myajc.com/news/news/atlanta-vendors-shut-out-on-opening-day/nW9Ks/

    One vendor was handing out leaflets, and told me it was a conspiracy to keep all merchandise sales inside the stadium. Now, whether that’s actually the case, or whether this is just an example of bureaucratic inefficiency, I don’t know. But the street vendors have always been an integral part of the ballpark experience IMO, and it was a shame not to be able to buy a reasonably priced ball cap or a bag of boiled peanuts.

  17. Hmmmm. Maybe I published it too soon, but there’s a new thread up. I’m not used to being trusted with the keys. Don’t want to step on Sansho’s toes…

  18. Feel free to bump me anytime — I think I’ve wrung every drop of glory out of this hastily written post.

    @32

    The shuttle was running, but I don’t know where the pickup/dropoff point(s) are. It’s not at the old World of Coke lot anymore, that’s all I can say.

  19. We’re working on the iTunes link. It takes a few days for a them to pick up a new feed.

  20. Justin Upton’s swing is just so effing beautiful. I would kiss it on the mouth.

    PS: Got another little Braves fan on the way, due 10/5, just in time for me to get no sleep during a lengthy postseason run.

  21. From DOB’s game story:

    “We have the power to go blow-for-blow with anybody,” said Uggla, who struggled through spring training but quieted his critics at least for one night.

  22. When Utley did that awkward slide on his triple, I cringed. He is the Dark Lord but I don’t want any guy to get hurt. Dude is a great ball player.

    JUpton’s homer was a rocket. I think everyone in the stadium knew it at the sound of the bat.

    I know Johnson has a terrible rep as a defensive 3b but he looked pretty good last night. The Phillies 3b looked worse than him.

    edit: Congrats Stu.

  23. @43. I’ve gotta’ say that I like our situation at 3rd a lot better than the Phillies. Michael Young has had some good years, but last year at 35 he hit .277 with a .312 OBP and a .682 OPS. I don’t think we’ll see improvement in his age 36 year.

  24. Congratulations Stu and yes I agree re. Upton’s swing. It’s short and effortless…that ball looked like it travel for days. He’ll be a blast to watch this year.

  25. Congrats, Stu. Let us know if you need any ideas for names. I was thinking Sthu Christhian Martinez Jr. if it’s a boy.

  26. Stu: Here’s to another healthy & happy baby (& mom).

    BTW, Robinson Cano drops Scott Boras as agent, in favor of Jay-Z. Maybe he won’t go to the Dodgers after all.

  27. Venters saw Andrews yesterday. Supposed to see him again today. It’s not for surgery, but seeing him twice in two days probably isn’t ideal. Best case scenario, Venters is probably out til mid-May.

  28. Fredi just said that laird and Gattis will split duties until Brian is ready. Not sure what will happen to Gattis when McCann does return.

  29. Regarding the off-day, it does make sense to have an off-day built in to the first series of the season in case of weather, I guess, but why not have it on Thursday instead of Tuesday? First of all, it doesn’t interrupt the series. Secondly, that way if it rains (or snows or whatever) on any of the three days, you can make the game up on Thursday. But now, for instance, it’s going to rain in Atlanta on Thursday, and since the off-day already pointlessly happened on Tuesday (a perfectly nice day, I might add) you’re going to be stuck with a rained-out game when the entire point of the off-day was to avoid that.

    EDIT: Oh, and congrats to Stu!

  30. @56

    I would imagine Schafer is going to go to AAA. Unless they want Gattis to get more ABs.

    Gattis gives you a RH power bat off the bench and can catch or play left. Reed Johnson is the back up CF and if he and BJ go down, Heyward can fill in.

    So in the end, the only reason to keep Schafer up is to get Gattis more ABs in AAA. That or they don’t want to lose Schafer on waivers.

  31. #58
    It’s really about accommodating opening-day ticketholders.

    Some clubs charge more for opening day. If the make-up game is Thursday, it’s not opening day anymore.

  32. @58 Nick

    The reason is for all the people who bought opening day tickets. If you didn’t so it this way and left the makeup day for the end of the series, all those who paid a premium for opening day get hosed and people who had tickets to game 2 get to see the actual opening day.

    Oh and Venters had a plasma rich injection into the elbow and is shut down for 4 weeks.

  33. Atlanta Braves RP Jonny Venters (elbow) has been shut down for four weeks after Dr. James Andrews injected him with platelet-rich plasma Tuesday, April 2.

    Fantasy Tip: This doesn’t guarantee that Venters won’t eventually have to go the surgical route eventually. If the injections work, though, he’ll have to resume his throwing program and build up strength in his arm four weeks from now. Don’t expect Venters to be ready to return to action until probably sometime in late May or early June.

    2013-04-02 11:23:10 | Source: MLB.com – Mark Bowman

  34. @62

    Can’t decide if that’s good or bad news, given that I was assuming he was done for the year.

  35. The bonus pool is based on how good your team was last year, so I think we would like to have the lowest draft bonus pool every year.

  36. That sucks about Venters, but it could be worse.

    @64

    But we have done well with International players, I’m not too worried.

  37. We’re fourth-lowest. The fifth-lowest team is the Giants. I know that generally, you get less money if you win more. And I think that signing Upton cost us a pick and the money associated with that pick, right? But still. I wish we had at least as much to spend on the draft as the world champs.

  38. We can spend as much as we want, it’s just a matter of how much luxury tax we are willing to pay.

  39. I think its more the international signing limits that’ll cause problems for the Braves than the draft stuff. They were always good at finding guys in the draft even when they didn’t spend much.

  40. Thanks, everyone. We weren’t exactly counting on having two kids under the age of two, but here we are!

    Don’t need to worry about tuition at VU, Parish — the school now covers everything not covered by scholarships.

  41. This is probably crazy, but I’d just as soon shut Venters down until the all star break.

    Taking this tack, I can see it already: Venters comes back in May, struggles initially, for long enough to be moved to lower leverage innings. Then, he gets his feet under him, pitches well long enough to move back into high leverage innings… just in time to reinjure the elbow right in the middle of the pennant race.

    I say, shut him down til the ASB, thenhope he makes it through the post season.

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