Dodgers 2, Braves 1

ESPN Box Score

Last night’s game was pretty much a repeat of Thursday night’s game, except that the Yasiel Puig homer was a solo shot instead of a grand slam. Other than that, pretty much the same script: great job by both starting pitchers, while the Braves couldn’t manage to string together enough singles to put together anything that might really constitute a threat.

The good things: B.J. Upton hit a bunch of balls hard and generally appears to have a good approach at the plate. His timing is on, his batting eye is good, and he’s spitting at a lot of the pitches that he should be spitting at. Jason Heyward hit an opposite-field double in the top of the 10th that looked like the outfielder might be able to cut it off, but he hit it so damn hard that it rolled to the wall.

Of course, that inning ended when CB Bucknor did what he does and blew a call at first base, when Justin Upton hit a swinging bunt and beat the throw to first — but that’s not how Bucknor saw it, so inning over. As it was, Justin’s only hit in the game was an infield single in the 8th. His timing is worse than his brother’s right now, but in the end, I’m not too worried about either of them.

Jordan Walden entered in an especially tricky spot in the 8th, with a man on second and one out, and managed to get out of it. With two outs in that inning, Fredi called for an intentional walk to Yasiel Puig, and that seemed like the right call to me: whatever you want to call it, either he’s a hot hand or he’s just got our number, that guy scares the bejeezus out of me. Walden got the guy who came after him. Inning over.

Avilan pitched well too. The game ended when Anthony Varvaro came in and gave up two singles and two wild pitches.

Unfortunately, the game exposed one of Evan Gattis’s weaknesses that he’s been hiding in plain view: he isn’t a very good receiver. He was charged with one passed ball in the 8th, but the two Varvaro wild pitches could have been stopped by a better receiver. (I’m not saying that Laird could have, but a Molina brother certainly could.)

As it is, Gattis’s great offense is certainly worth his iffier defense, but this game raises the question: does he need a defensive caddy in late and close situations? Fredi pulled Chris Johnson for Ramiro Pena in the 8th inning with the game tied 1-1, and Johnson made the decision easier by booting an easy ball in the 1st inning.

It would be great if Evan could play all nine innings every game he starts, but it raises questions: if he’s catching someone with a good breaking ball, would he shy away from calling for a ball in the dirt? Would the pitcher have the confidence to pitch a low ball to him with a man on base? Will the Braves trust him to be in those situations?

I doubt the Braves will make any immediate changes after one disappointing west coast game. But the questions have been decisively raised.

147 thoughts on “Dodgers 2, Braves 1”

  1. My initial thought had been the first WP in the 10th should’ve been stopped, but looking at it again, it was a FB where Varvaro missed the target by a mile, low and away. It looked blockable, but when the pitch is supposed to be a fastball away and instead you get a heater low and inside in the dirt, it’s a really tough adjustment to make. If it was a breaking ball, I completely agree. But that would’ve been a gold glove play to slide over and knock it down.

  2. The only pitch I think Evan should’ve had was the past ball on Waldens fastball. He tried to frame it instead of just catching it. The last two from Vavarro were tough plays for any catcher. I thought the first one looked like he got crossed up, maybe expecting off speed but instead got a fastball inside. The last one was on Vavarro. There is a difference in a good breaking pitch that you have to block in the dirt and one that bounces a foot short of the plate.

  3. Thank you, AAR.

    I hope Justin is moved down in the order until he’s healed. Maybe a couple of days off with Evan spelling him in left would help. Evan’s okay behind the plate – not gold glove but mostly adequate.

  4. By the way, you can follow the Braves’ third-day draft choices here.

    I know nothing about any of these guys, but MLB.com has brief capsule profiles of some of them. I’m guessing that at least a couple of them could be reaches who will hold out for more money by threatening to go back to school, but some of them may be both signable and projectible.

  5. I agree that Gattis’ defense is open to question. Too early to tell one way or the other, but it seemed to me that announcers and writers were falling over themselves to praise his defense early. Seemed they were a bit hypersensitive on the subject.

    Tough pitches last night, to be sure, but some more innings should help settle the question.

  6. We’re going to lose some of these close games after the O’Ventbrel era. We were spoiled for a really long time. The only way we’re going to be as good as we were is if we hit a lot of lucky, timely home runs.

    This goes in line with what people say about our postseason chances: we’re too streaky of a team, and our offense is not built for a short series. If we have 3 automatic outs, plus the pitcher, that are essentially feast or famine, and our bullpen isn’t air-tight the way it used to be, it could be challenging.

    As for the regular season, we can feast on teams’ 4th and 5th starters and back-ends of bullpen during long series to win 95+. So we have that going for us, which is nice.

    EDIT: To be clear, I don’t necessarily agree with the analysts’ s synopses of our postseason chances. However, in order to disagree with it, there’d have to be some assurance that Uggla/BJ/Heyward will have some adjustments in a postseason series.

  7. I heard today on XM that the Braves are averaging 9k’s per game. I knew we struck out a lot, but we are giving away 3 innings every night. That’s what worries me about post season play.

  8. we still love him…

    what godly man pursued his quest
    to Georgia where he came to rest
    his affect, still, sublime
    where does he find the time
    to turn on one in on his chest?

  9. Marlins and Mets in the 15th inning.

    I think that’s what Baseball Hell is like.

  10. @9: I still have a hard time understanding this concern. Every team “gives away” a minimum of 24 outs in every nine-inning game. What matters is what you do in between the outs. Sometimes balls in play are “productive outs,” and sometimes they’re double plays, and often they are simply an out with no effect on anything else. I’d only worry if the Braves weren’t scoring runs, but they are.

  11. True, but our down side is we are less likely to make productive outs because we fail to make contact. Sometimes it’s better to put some pressure on the defense instead of just turning around and walking back to the dugout.

  12. The Braves drafted Jason’s little brother Jacob in the 38th round of the draft a little while ago.

    Twentieth inning of Mets-Marlins about to start.

  13. And LolMets-Fishies is MLB.tv’s free game today. Talk about getting what you pay for.

    Marlins get three straight singles to take the lead 2-1.

  14. I was wondering if we were going to draft Jacob Heyward. Little more than to make nice with Jason, I assume.

  15. So I left Philadelphia about a half-hour after the Mets game started. I tuned the rental car radio into WFAN thinking, “I’ll listen as long as Harvey’s pitching.”

    I drive up the NJ Turnpike & get home in Long Island City, Queens, just as the 9th inning is finishing. I eat some chow & hop back in the rental because I have to return it in Port Washington, LI. I drive past Citi Field in the 10th inning or so.

    I return the rental, miss my LIRR train back to the city, kill an hour in the office & the game kept going on & on. I finally hop the train, pass by Citi Field again–19th inning now.

    I’m on the 7 Train when the Marlins score & entering my place as the final out is recorded. So to recap: Philly to NYC, NYC to LI & LI back to NYC = the length of the Mets game today.

    And what an offensive suckfest it was. The Mets went something like 0 for 18 with RISP. Ouch. (But I must say that listening to Mets radio guy Howie Rose was a pleasure the whole way.)

  16. ububba, I subletted in Astoria a couple years ago on a work project. Lovely part of Queens. My sister lived in LIC when she was going to Juilliard, but the dumpy part. Uncomfortably close to Shea/Citi Field, but…

  17. @20

    Rose is top-shelf. The Mets and their fans are the most detestable creatures on earth, but the SNY and radio broadcasts are phenomenal and pull no punches on the team they cover.

  18. What the heck was Jason doing? Surely Fredi didn’t call for a bunt in the first inning.

  19. Bunt happy, Bucknor behind the plate. This could be…interesting.

    Why don’t we just squeeze Simmons home, while we’re at it?

  20. The old get ’em on, get ’em over, get ’em out play.

    What a ridiculous inning.

  21. If we had this little faith in Jason and JUpton, why are they even in the lineup?

    Phils lose 4-3, so even if we toss this one away, we won’t lose any ground.

  22. The mind of a manager is so small and pathetic. He was probably thinking: “we’ve scored once in two games, so let’s just get a run across early.” Leaving aside the fact that bunting reduces the chances of scoring any runs, the man also probably assumed that scoring once increases the chances of scoring more later.

  23. BTW, last year in the minors Fife’s OPS-allowed was 200(!) points higher against righthanded batters versus lefthanded batters. And Frediot thought it was a good idea to bunt with Justin freaking Upton. What a fucking moron.

  24. I know that no manager is perfect, and odds are if we replaced Fredi the guy would just be really stupid in different ways, but none of that knowledge makes me less angry when stuff like that happens.

  25. @ajcbraves: #Braves Beachy in next-to-last scheduled rehab start tonight for Triple-A Gwinnett: 5 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 3 BB, 8 K, 60 strikes in 94 pitches

  26. So deeply have these strikeouts burrowed into my subconscious that I heard the opening notes to “A Fifth of Beethoven” in a dream I had when I nodded off this afternoon.

  27. I like dat, drew. Some of dat dere reverse psychology.

    Of course, we just had to find a different way to be stupid.

  28. Love Chipper.

    @RealCJ10: I guess everyone wants to bunt tonite!!

    @RealCJ10: Only person I was glad bunted, was Puig!!!

    @RealCJ10: Oh lord! CB is behind the plate tonite? Buckle up folks! Wonder if he apologized for missing that call last nite! Highly doubt it.

  29. Again, he’s thinking that the solution to a drought is to be aggressive. Again, this is where Fredi is most dangerous – to the Braves.

  30. Scout being Scout: Stephen Fife is trying to tie up Jason Heyward with fastballs inside; Heyward is hitting .188 on pitches in that location compared to .186 overall.

  31. I figure if we aren’t scoring, we should at least (not) do it in amusing fashion.

  32. Who was the ump that went after EOF a couple of years ago? I remember Chipper blew up and came in from 3rd to take up for him and ended up getting tossed. Was that CB or Angel?

  33. Yo dawg, I heard you like bunts, so I installed a sideways bat on your bat so you can bunt while you’re bunting.

  34. Based on what I’ve seen lately, I can’t see that the umpires’ calls have been worse than our hitters. Well, we can bunt.

  35. @57

    Bill Hohn, who, fortunately, doesn’t ump anymore. He wasn’t merely incompetent, but a jackass. A month later, he fist-bumped then-Marlins catcher John Buck after Nate McLouth struck out to end a Braves loss. That was the game that Hohn pulled out a lineup card and told Bobby that he had to eject somebody, so Bobby offered himself. Being the most raging asshole among umpires is a bit like being the biggest diva at the Grammys. But Hohn is it.

  36. @65

    There’s Eric Gregg, too, to dredge up the past. He seemed like an okay person, just completely incompetent at his job.

  37. @66—You had to bring that up. It still amazes me to see just how bad that game was.

  38. @69, Each one of those men Gregg rung up had a lethal weapon in their hands, and they did not use it. That video is a master class in rage restraint.

    UPDATE: Wait, what? Medlen?!?!

  39. Was it just me, or did it sound like when Medlen got back to the dugout that you could hear someone say loudly “where’s Huddy?”

  40. Medlen’s little skip thing around second on his trot is money. I love that guy.

  41. Has there ever been an occurrence of two MLB games going 18 or more innings on the same day? Because it happened today.

  42. We are getting some terrific starting pitching in this series.

    #22
    Yeah, Astoria’s really underrated.

    My part of LIC was once all hookers & warehouses; now it has a genuine skyline & looks like an extension of Manhattan. (And both baseball stadiums are within easy reach.)

  43. Hanley Ramirez is another one of those easily detestable human beings. So he’d make a great umpire if the shortstop thing eventually peters out on him.

  44. Moylan played 295 games with the Braves, and only had 40 GIDP. That surprises me a little. I feel like he was getting DPs every time he pitched.

  45. Okay, Kimbrel. Do your thing. And not your “make it interesting” thing. Your “the other team never had a chance” thing.

  46. In fairness, that’s a routine out if the defense plays straight up. Not sure why they’re pitching in while shading opposite field.

  47. A double play here would be really nice. Or back-to-back Ks. I’m not picky about which one Kimbrel wants to do.

  48. Not this wild-pitch crap again.

    EDIT: Even worse — we could have had a 6-4-3 otherwise.

  49. Do not walk this guy. I don’t think I can take a Pweeg AB with the game on the line.

  50. I think posts 123-126, all posted at the same time, speak for everyone. Four consecutive identical posts may be a Braves Journal first.

  51. We have been spoiled by Kimbrel. I can definitely remember what a “make it interesting” save means. This is far from interesting.

  52. Maybe Beachy will be the one in the bullpen. How can the Braves possibly take out one of their current starters out of the rotation, barring injury?

  53. The last 5 starts our Ace Minor has given up 4 runs, 2 earned while rest of starters have given up 2 runs, both earned. We are only 3-2. UnPossible.

  54. three games, three runs…

    those shots that pan across the bench
    he’s sitting there, our fingers clench
    employ him on the field
    to logic rightly yield
    his absence a repeated wrench.

  55. Puig in C sharp…

    the rookie phenom sure excites
    those laid back california nights
    erupt into a roar
    we’ve seen all this before
    we hail the one that pitchers frights.

  56. roll over beethoven..

    athletic giants, power sublime
    need better learn to take their time
    and hold the hands please back
    so they might get on track
    a dribbler is an awful crime.

  57. andrelton…

    the freshness in a rookie face
    his thrill of being in that place
    the smiles he can’t contain
    the absence of the vain
    vicariously we all embrace.

  58. identify the slower pitch
    else you will likely be his bitch
    the one above your head
    is better left for dead
    do both of these and you’ll get rich.

  59. the sunday matinee
    will be our special way
    of waving bye bye bye
    with belters in the sky
    to overhyped LA.

  60. When I was younger I was told not to dance by a girl friend who also told me not to try to write poems. She would say not to blazon either.
    I am no blazon. Good thing blazon can.

  61. a question of applied semantics
    best describes his wayward antics
    mighty senor puig
    writing his own fugue
    collides the base, cheers we romantics.

  62. our father who in heaven art
    we’ve put the horse before the cart
    we all know how to pitch
    but hitting’s such a bitch
    we pray for succor for that part.

  63. That throw was perfect. It was impossible for it to have been any better. It was the platonic ideal of a RF throwing to prevent a guy from going first-to-third. Simmons probably thought the same thing I did when it came off the bat, namely that it looked like it would take far too long for Puig to get to it and a first-to-third shouldn’t be too tough. Puig made us both look like fools. INSANE throw. From now on, no running on Puig. Ever.

    And while I’m here, the ball BMac missed in the 9th tonight was way more egrigious than either of Gattis’ from the 9th inning last night. Mac knew it was a breaking ball, knew it would be in the dirt, and just didn’t get over far enough. Luckily the dude didn’t score because Kimbrel is pretty good.

  64. A couple of thoughts out of the LA series.

    On the lack of offense: it’s Chavez Ravine.

    On the great pitching: it’s Chavez Ravine.

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