Braves 3, Dodgers 1

Everybody knows what happens when the Braves start out slowly against a soft-tossing lefty: the lineup collectively curls up into the fetal position, the manager begins to “get creative,” and the hometown fans find themselves oddly, furtively, praying for rain. And so it seemed to be again, this time with the added indignity that the man to whom the Braves were showing themselves impotent bore a Dodgers uniform. As in, the Trolley Dodgers. As in, actually, the Los Angeles Trolley Dodgers. Because there is such a long and storied history of trolleys and streetcars in the greater Los Angeles area.

For 7 and 1/3 innings the Braves held true to form. Well into the 8th inning, the lineup that last night seemed so fearsome managed a mere four hits (and no walks) against Chris Capuano, the platonic ideal of pitcher who stymies the best the Braves ever boast.

But then something happened. Well, to be exact, three things happened. First, BJ Upton, a man whose OPS is almost in violation of standards first established by Warren Burger in Miller v. California, singled to left. Then Evan Gattis, no believer in tired narratives, mashed a go-ahead, pinch-hit home run. And finally Andrelton Simmons, the kind of leadoff hitter Dusty Baker used to like, hit an even longer home run to left. The Braves had taken a 3-1 lead, and Craig Kimbrel came in to seal the deal: which he did with a dominant ninth.

It’s nice for the Braves to win a game like this one for a number of reasons. It’s nice because Kris Medlen pitched a hell of a game – the lone run he surrendered was on a poorly played double by Justin Upton in the 4th – and it always sucks to spoil great starts. It’s also nice because (seemingly) for the past four weeks, the Braves have won the opening matchup in a given series and, in any number of ways, fallen apart thereafter. Tonight they obviously didn’t; tonight, in fact, they won the series, and that always feels good. But mostly it’s nice because the schedule is finally getting softer and the time seems ripe for this team to solidify its hold on the NL East. A night like tonight provided no fodder for the usual excuses – they’ve been on the road for awhile! the opponent is really good! the other team’s pitcher is Madison Bumgarner! – and thankfully, we don’t have to make any.

The Braves should have won tonight, and they won. Let’s enjoy that for a minute. Let’s enjoy that at least until tomorrow afternoon, when we’ll all obviously forget it and watch them go for the sweep against one Matt Magill.

176 thoughts on “Braves 3, Dodgers 1”

  1. I’ve making more of a point to watch the Braves Live postgame now because DOBs quotes are behind a paywall.

    Doesn’t he post them on twitter?

  2. Jurrjens made his debut for Baltimore. He was hitting 90 today on the gun.

    5IP 6H 4ER 5K 75 pitches

    Hope he does well.

  3. Bowman…If there is a need to add another bullpen arm, the Braves would at least have to evaluate whether they can afford to continue carrying three catchers. Laird is a valuable backup who would draw interest on the trade market. But it might make more sense to send Gattis to Triple-A Gwinnett, where he could get regular playing time in preparation for potentially serving as Atlanta’s starting catcher next year.

    No, it would make more sense to keep Gattis around and do something with Reed Johnson.

  4. 6- In its last two games, it got knocked out of the box in the second inning by the mighty Giants offense and was the opposing starting pitcher for the last game the Marlins won. So obviously we’re DOOOOOOOOOOOMED!

  5. I wonder how Billy Wagner would feel about chucking some 8th innings… He’s lefthanded.

  6. A “Matt Magill” is what happens when you have four starting pitchers on the disabled list.

  7. Just watched the Gattis at-bat over and over again. Damn!! We gotta find Gattis more playing time.

  8. I had a dream in which Gattis learned to play third base effectively. It was glorious, but tinged with knowing while in the dream that the possibility was so absurd, it couldn’t be real.

  9. Tremendous recap. In re whether BJ’s flailings meet the standards of obscenity, I find merit in Justice Potter Stewart’s definition — I know it when I see it.

  10. Barves seem to have most productive bench in baseball. (No need to back that up with data). Roadrunner/C. Johnson, Gattis, Laird, Success!, Pena and R Johnson are all helping team. Last year it was a weakness. Is Wren lucky or smart? It seems that without JJ and TH the starting pitching is lasting much longer.

  11. Cory Gearrin, Luis Avilan and Anthony Varvaro seem to be effective. They have total WAR of 1.4.

  12. The sad thing is we really need Gattis to be able to play 2b or CF. I’d really like Fredi to shift Heyward to Cf, Justin to RF, and let Gattis play some LF while BJ is lost up there. He still be able to spell Freddie and BMac occasionally also.

  13. If laird is traded then we lose Gattis bat altogether. Fredi wouldn’t let him start at any other position or PH without another catcher. Really seems like Reed Johnson is out of a position or the braves send Gattis back to AAA for more Ab’s. Dont see any other scenario, but Reed could bring a decent reliever back.

  14. Let’s see what Roger McDowell can do with an almost totally revamped bullpen before we start to panic.

  15. @20

    That’s true. Walden will be back soon and we still have four other good arms as well.

    We will be okay

    The starters need to go deeper

  16. Great recap. Thank you.

    Guess Gattis is still on the roster.

    Nice to have Minor throwing today and going for the sweep.

  17. @2 He posts some of the quotes, but not all of them.

    Gattis has EIGHT home runs, is OPSing 123 and has been worth 1.3 WAR, and they are talking about sending him down. Ridiculous. Unless they are going to have him learn a new position, there’s no value in sending him down. I don’t think the opposition in AAA is going to be enough that he’s going to learn substantially from it.

  18. Gattis isn’t in the lineup again. That’s right folks, it’s more important to get Schafer ABs than Gattis.

    Schafer 8
    Heyward 9
    JUpton 7
    Freeman 3
    McCann 2
    Simmons 6
    Francisco 5
    Pena 4
    Minor 1

  19. Schafer gets BJ out of the lineup, so it’s not completely for naught.

    //looks like a Coxian Sunday Special if you start Laird.

  20. Should have Heyward in CF, Justin in RF, and Gattis in LF.

    DOB…@ajcbraves: Wren said they’re not considering that now, don’t think it’d be good for him or team. RT @ShanCox73: @ajcbraves Bullpen help…. Alex Wood.

  21. Nothing wrong with stacking the lineup with lefties today. Gattis should have started yesterday.

  22. Any best guesses on getting todays game in ? Its a getaway day and the trolley dodgers don’t come back to ATL, but we are getting a heckuva thunderstorm here.

  23. Because of that, I’m guessing they’ll go to some length to fit the game in between the raindrops today. Could be a six-hour affair, though.

  24. Success deserves to gobble up some of the rest days for the starters, but that just means Fredi’s got to manage Gattis starts better. Every game Gattis doesn’t start that he could have started is bad lineup management. Why in the heck is McCann starting today if he started last night?

  25. I’ve also been baffled by Gattis’s deployment since BMac returned. Brian is hitting the cover off the ball but I really do think there have been opportunities to play Gattis a little more.

  26. I don’t think that benching BJ will do any good at all, unless he’s actually injured. Right now the problem is in his head. He needs to be able to build on things like the single yesterday and his good defense in center field.

    Kirk Gibson benched Justin Upton last year when Justin was slumping, and Justin strongly disagreed with that decision — he wanted to play, which is exactly the attitude you want a player to have. The Braves should not allow themselves to make the same mistake. If BJ is healthy, the only way he’ll work through his problems is on the field.

  27. McCann v RHP = .286/.362/.494 and Gattis is .224/.264/.494, and McCann last 28 days = .242/.333/.515 and Gattis is .250/.279/.500. McCann is hot and better against RHP in general. For a team that needs W’s, makes perfect sense.

  28. Rusty’s terrific pull from “God’s Own Drunk” in the last thread should not go unpraised.

    Well done,sir!

  29. Against a RHP, I have no problem at all with this lineup.

    But I think it’s moot as a monsoon has arrived.

    Anybody remember a wetter Spring?

  30. It would not surprise me to see this moved to a 4pm start. Looks like about a 2 hour hard rain is about to start.

  31. That same storm brought the Birmingham areas almost 5 inches of rain Friday night and Saturday morning. Good thing is they can wait it out, bad thing is it could cause some major flooding.

  32. I would say that Gattis should have started for Bmac or Freeman yesterday, but then we might not have had the heroics. This is a deep team and Fredi needs to utilize these guys to give some others a day off when bad matchups show up.

    I agree with Alex. BJ needs to be able to build on that late inning hit from last night. Sitting him today probably isn’t the best idea.

  33. Rain delay topic – with EOF getting TJ, a LOOGY is needed in the ATL ASAP. Who’s out there and attainable?

  34. @43, Wouldn’t surprise me if Gattis is the first spot starter/pinch-hitter to win Rookie of the Year.

    @47, If Frank Wren doesn’t have any pictures, I’d be glad to help Photoshop some.

  35. Alex Wood is attainable…but sounds like they won’t call him up.

    We’re not a better team with Gattis out of the lineup. I wouldn’t mind Freeman sitting more until he stops being a singles hitter. Gattis will probably play against lefties mostly – although why he didn’t catch last night is kind of a headscratcher.

  36. I think a big part of it is that Brian is doing so well Fredi is reluctant to take him out of the lineup. But it’s a shame to not have him and Gattis in the same lineup a few times a week.

  37. @38 – Thanks for that.

    Fredi gets his bench guys starts pretty regularly. I feel sure Gattis will get a couple of starts a week, especially when we see some lefties. I think right now it’s more important to get McCann and Heyward some at bats, but going forward we’ll see him when those guys need some rest. I predict he may turn up at first base one time this week.

  38. Freeman is a lifetime .823 against RHP. For today anyway, I think you could argue Fredi has put the arguably the best offensive team out there, and depending on how you view Schafer/BJ and Francisco/CJ, a very good defensive team.

  39. What does the forecast look like?

    I was hoping to alternate watching the Braves and keeping one eye on the sky here in KS.

  40. would anyone be surprised if Gattis could throw a mean back door slider? I say give him a chance.

  41. per the braves injury update page on MLB.com
    Ayala – sent on aa rehab assignment on May 15
    Beachy – sent on aaa rehab assignment today
    the Lisp – looks like he has spent 43 days on the 15 day DL (???)
    Walden – done til June

    We could sure use some starters going deep, and/or the offense producing a few more laughers.

  42. oh yeah, Walden went on the DL on the 17th retroactive to the 12, so eligible to come back before the end of the month.
    I assumed the Lisp was a victim of the numbers game with Gattis and the cast of outfielders too numerous to keep track of. Hopefully that is the case and can be brought back soon.

  43. Justin seems to do that a lot. It’s one thing to get bad jumps on the ball or misread liners at you, but he lets balls get past him to turn singles into doubles and triples.

  44. We’d be a better offense if Fredi was locked in a supply closet during games. There’s no reason to “manage” this lineup. Don’t steal. Don’t bunt. Don’t try to “make stuff happen”. Guy on 1st with 3 and 4 hitters up. I want two chances to hit a 2 run homer.

  45. @68 Agreed. Plays like that are Fredi trying to win the game with his brain, and that’s just not going to happen.

  46. I’ll describe Minor right now as frustratingly good. What I mean is that he has the stuff and pitches right now to be better than he is. Like the only things separating him and Cliff Lee are pitch repeatability and a little more aggressive approach. I’m not complaining with the results right now, I’m just watching him pitch and thinking why can’t you strike guys out in four purposeful pitches instead of six?

  47. ‏@mlbbowman
    Francisco has struck out in six straight at-bats and in eight of his past nine. He has struck out in 42 percent (38 of 90) of his at-bats

  48. I think everyone here knew the Braves were going to make Magill look good. They always seem to make terrible pitchers look okay.

  49. “B. McCann caught stealing, catcher to second”

    Wow, that’s a dumb way to end an inning.

  50. Magill is proving that ineffectively wild pitchers can have success against this lineup.

  51. One retelling of a gag from a Yogi Bear cartoon by Dale Murphy provides more comedic value than the previous 1000 attempts to be funny combined by Chip Caray.

  52. Go to hell, Fredi. You can’t give away outs in a game like this.

    The Braves are playing with the Fredi Crutch, wherein the Braves give up two to three free outs each game via caught stealings or bunts, to make the game more fair.

  53. Right down Peachtree with no movement at all. Heyward can’t hit water falling out of a boat right now. There are some deep, deep holes in the Braves lineup.

  54. Yup, sure am glad Heyward’s back….
    just joking, some sarcasm there.

    But seriously, what the heck is up with our lineup? everyone is hitting way below their career lines.

    don’t want to blame the batting coach…but I guess I gotaa blame the batting coach.

  55. 89- Exactly. Almost everyone is swinging for the moon or taking pitches over the heart of the plate. Every time. Surely someone on the coaching staff has noticed how mediocre and inconsistent that makes our offense.

  56. Our old friend John Locke going 7 without allowing a run, now at a 2.73 ERA for the Pirates.

  57. It’s gonna really be annoying if this game gets called with the tying run on first. This particular shower pales in comparison to what’s behind it. They really should’ve played through it. Now, I’m afraid that by the time they’d be able to clear the field, the bad stuff will be upon the stadium and it’ll be too late. In short, we might get royally screwed here.

  58. I remember a game a few years ago in which the Braves lost to the Mets 1-0, the game was called after five innings due to rain.

  59. Meanwhile, the Phillies hit back-to-back homeruns in the bottom of the 9th off of Chapman to beat the Reds, 3-2.

  60. According to Chip, upon having wasted 20 minutes that they could’ve been using to play the game, they’re now gonna quickly try to get started and beat the heavy stuff, which should be here in a half-hour or so. At least we won’t be stranding the tying run on first with nobody out, I guess…

  61. Ellis shows us his Dan Uggla impression.

    Also, the Padres are beating up on Haren. Nationals losing 7-2 after 5.

  62. Well, the radar isn’t looking quite as bad as far as really heavy rain. If they’re willing to play through light to moderate for the rest of the game, they could probably get it in.

  63. Ouch…Van Slyke just fouled a ball off the same spot on his shin two pitches in a row.

  64. “Rain’s gonna be coming down in sheets, soon, guys, so let’s get up there and swing so we can put this one in the books.”

  65. I hate the fact that Success is showing up our hitters as far as plate discipline. What a lousy fact about this lineup.

  66. We’ll take that.

    EDIT: Don Mattingly doing his Tony La Russa impression here. Yeesh!

  67. Donny About-To-Be-Out-of-a-Job isn’t being too subtle about pushing for a rainout.

  68. With these ground conditions, a bunt’s not a bad idea. It’s a GREAT idea!

  69. On the bright side, Kimbrel will buy Justin dinner for preserving the save opportunity.

  70. If Kimbrel is back to locating that slider, the rest of the league is in trouble.

  71. Kimbrel looks to have made an adjustment when he gets set. Looks like the front foot is more towards third now, he was turning more towards short. Looks more in sync.

  72. We’ve seen losing streaks that we thought would never end. We’ve seen oh-fer-streaks where we couldn’t buy a friend. But I always thought that we’d see a three game sweep again. (It’s our first since the 10-game run that ended on April 16.)

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