Braves 7, Mets 5

ESPN Box Score

Shouldn’t have been that close, but both of our teams have tire-fire bullpens right now. Ervin Santana was again superb; somehow, allowing one run in 7 innings actually raised his ERA to 0.86. “Harang and Santana and pray for Dantanna’s”? “Ervin and Aaron are both mighty scarin'”? Help me out here, guys.

Bartolo Colon was typically maddening and the Braves’ first two runs were a gift in multiple ways: they came via an infield single-ball thrown away sequence where the infield single was almost certainly hit off Freeman’s foot. We added another on a Heyward single-Bupton single-Freeman double sequence that would be nice to see a lot more of.

(Bartolo Colon also had one of the most entertaining at-bats I’ve ever seen. Mesmerizing.)

I won’t try to analyze Ervin Santana like I analyzed Aaron Harang yesterday — he’s been plenty good before, as I’ve written — but he’s throwing a lot more changeups this year than ever before. As I said, pitch mix is a place where you’re likely to see the influence of a pitching coach, and thus far, his changeup has been a real weapon for him.

So it was 3-1 Braves through 7 innings. And then, just like the previous game, the Braves scored a bunch off the Mets’ bullpen in the 8th and 9th. Jupton scored an old-school National League run in the 8th when he hit a single, stole second, advanced to third on a groundout, and scored on a Daisuke Matsuzaka wild pitch. Then in the 9th he hit a three-run bomb off Jose Valverde. (Those runs were unearned because Valverde Bucknered a Jordan Schafer bunt to open the inning, then recorded two quick outs before intentionally walking Freddie to get to Justin. Oops.)

David Carpenter and Craig Kimbrel gave up two runs each. Their velocity was fine, but the control is a problem, to say the very least. But Carpenter is making about $40 million less than Kimbrel, so I’ll focus on the Kraken.

Craig Kimbrel came in after a week off while he recovered from shoulder soreness, and he nearly yakked it all up. The velocity was basically fine — he just couldn’t control where the ball was going, and both the fastball and slider kept tailing back up over the heart of the plate. After giving up a hit by pitch, a single, an RBI double, an RBI single, and a walk, Fredi yanked him and put in Walden to try to get the game’s final out with the bases loaded. Kimbrel wasn’t happy, but it was the right move, and Jordan got the job done. Kimbrel said all the right things in the clubhouse after the game, apologizing to Fredi for swearing at him when he took the ball from him, and I’m glad to see the velocity was there. Hopefully, next time he’ll have his command.

Fredi made an early decision that was moot in retrospect but really stupid at the time, and I’ll just mention it here. In the first inning, Ervin Santana gave up a leadoff walk to Eric Young, who promptly stole second and took third on a flyout to deep center. And then, with David Wright at the plate in the first inning, Fredi brought the infield in.

Wright is the Mets’ best hitter and there are 8 innings left to play. You don’t bring the infield in there. Bringing the infield in is a last-ditch, play for a single run type of move like calling for a position player to make a sacrifice bunt in the 8th inning. As it was, Wright hit a ball in a spot where Andrelton Simmons could easily have fielded it at his normal depth, and traded a run for an out. Instead, it went for an RBI single. There was no further harm done in the inning, but giving away extra outs is never a smart move.

150 thoughts on “Braves 7, Mets 5”

  1. I was grumbling about pulling the infield in for the rest of that inning. As soon as he did it I predicted the outcome. It did give me a good chance to explain the situation to my sons, age 11 and 13. Ultimately no more runs came out of it, but it cost Santana more pitches than should have been necessary.

  2. Two things about bringing the infield in. (1) He didn’t pull the infield in until there were two strikes. I assume that has something to do with Wright’s habits with two strikes. (2) From my view (and I was sitting about 20 feet from Ron Darling) there was no way even Simba gets the ball that was hit unless he moved about ten feet left as he backed up. Still, unless you can provide me some pretty good evidence on (1), I thought it was an odd idea.

  3. Not that it really matters in this day and age, but those runs against Valverde should have been earned. Schafer’s out would have been the first of the inning, and his (or any runner’s) presence on the basepaths has an effect on how the rest of the inning plays out — it’s absurd to presuppose that the next plate appearances would have reached the exact same outcome. To me, unearned runs should be awarded only when an error directly results in runs scoring on the play itself, or when it extends an inning by failing to record the LAST out.

  4. First off, after getting booted from AJC for $$$$$, and anyway their coverage was super-homerish without real content, and the AP reports are so bland, it is a real pleasure to have found this site. Keep up the good work, guys; I come here after every game.

    Attitudes are hard to prove, but this team seems to have an improved winning attitude. Every hit Bupton and Uggla gets seems to add confidence to the whole team.

    Hey, what about Bupton’s fielding and throwing yesterday? What was up with that?

  5. Playing the infield in bothered me more than anything else Fredi’s done this year. There’s probably logic behind the decision, but it eludes me.

    Thanks for the great write-up, Alex.

    Edit: BJ definitely is not Andruw redux.

  6. @3

    And, even when an inning is artificially extended via error, any home run should count as earned. In fact, I’d only count as unearned those runs which were on base as a result of the third-out error (including the batter). If the pitcher subsequently blows up, he would get the blame.

  7. I feel like we stole that one since the two runs that were the difference should never have counted since everyone except the umpires saw the ball hit off Freeman’s foot. I would have lost my mind and gotten ejected had I been on the Mets’ bench.

    I missed a lot of our at bats I was mostly watching the Hawks…did Jason look better at the plate last night?

  8. As Mac often noted, the distinction between earned runs and unearned runs is generally stupid and arbitrary. There are too many misplays that aren’t counted as errors — and too many runs that are clearly the pitcher’s fault that they get let off the hook for, like a homer after what would have been the third out of the inning — for the distinction to really have much meaning.

  9. Ok… taking on the challenge.
    Harang and Santana and ignore manana : terrible.
    Santana, Harang: I say god-dang! almost as bad
    Aaron and Ervin: like blues goes with bourbon. Still not good, but we’re getting somewhere.
    Tommy Johns suck, but with Wren we’re in luck. (Better, but not inspired.)
    Ligaments tearin’? Get Ervin and Aaron. (Ok.. that one is passable. Sticking with this one for the moment.)

  10. Response to #4 LA Braves.
    Don’t expect any response from the people on this site. They think of themselves as Braves “elitists” and only converse among themselves. Mac, the guy that started this blog, was a real gentleman and encouraged open responses from everybody but since his death these few do not consider and conversation except among themselves.

  11. Big east-west strike zone for Wheeler in that first inning. Let’s see if Hale gets the same calls.

  12. wtf uggla, that’s it I concede this game, I have better things to do than to start cursing on easter sunday.

    braves only lose on days where gattis doesn’t start? seems that way.

  13. I read the comments here before checking the score and expected it to be 5-0 Mets, best-case scenario. Pretty surprised that people are ready to concede the game when it’s 2-0 in the third inning.

  14. @30 You forgot to account for the BravesJournal effect, i.e. the complete lack of perspective regarding any negative outcome.

  15. Hah, yes.

    Fortunately, Hale has managed to induce a couple of GIDPs the last couple of innings, so he’s been able to erase some of the baserunners that he has continued to put on. And he’s throwing a few more strikes, which always helps. In the first two innings he simply could not command the fastball for strikes.

  16. another P who can’t sac bunt…anyway, if Hale can get through 6 with no more runs scoring, he has earned some respect, especially with the way the game started.

  17. lolmets, and bj just missed it; please let him continue at least returning to his career norms!

    edit:
    FREEEMMAAANNNN

  18. Loved this exchange on Braves Radio just now:

    Don: “So many strange things happening at the ballpark today. Must be a waning gibbous moon.”
    Jim: (deadpan, after a beat) “I was thinking the same thing.”

    I genuinely love those guys.

  19. Jupton misses two hanging sliders, then flails at one in the other batters box….I can’t figure the guy out, honestly.

  20. I loved being home, remembering there was a game on (the MLB At Bat app has stopped alerting me), and turning it on to see a BJ oppo-bomb off the wall. What an amazing season it can be if Uggla and BUpton are showing up.

    This game is becoming a tremendous distraction from having to pack up for our fifth move in less than 2 years. And my wife is making me get rid of my Braves pillow for the new house. Give and take, give and take.

    To clarify from last thread, I don’t get spitting angry when he sucks. That was more of a joke. I’ve grown to accept who he is (not).

  21. @45, they’ve had that as a running joke, I think. I’ve heard them do that waning gibbous moon comment before.

    I am genuinely impressed with how hard Jim Powell works to make Don Sutton look good. Powell does it effortlessly, too, but he’s like a master wrestler, putting his man over.

    By the way, I wonder if B.J. Upton looks at Granderson and sees the boos he’s getting, and realizes how good he has it being in Atlanta rather than playing for New York.

  22. @50 I had to concede so I would stop cursing at the fielding stupidity; this has been a nice surprise, no doubt about it. Not to mention I expected worse after the Uggla error.

  23. @49, Jim Powell is indeed effortless. Whereas Chip in contrast is all effort.

    Ben Ingram is a mini-me version of Jim Powell in a lot of respects. I have a feeling we’ll lose him at some point when a good job opens up elsewhere around the league, which is a shame because he would make part of a good foursome with Don, Jim and Joe.

    * I wish Jim would quit describing runs on the board as “bagels”. Ugh. I’m going to write him a polite email asking him to retire that reference.

  24. Hale is going to have great memories of his last major league start (for a while) with his team fielding worse than Gwinnett.

  25. Hale might not have been at his sharpest, but the defense sure as heck didn’t do him any favors, and he managed to limit the damage decently.

  26. I guess you really can’t blame him for pitching away from contact and nibbling so much, because we’ve kicked the ball all over the park today.

  27. I am going to assume Chipper flew up to NYC and worked with Jason in the cage for 15 minutes. He’s taken nice swings today.

    Maybe if we bury a couple chunks of dark matter around the infield we can bend space-time away from Dan Uggla.

  28. I thought it was too much to ask BJ to have two good at bats in one game

    I blame BJ for Freeman’s dp

  29. Strasburg is pitching a great game today. Locating everything. But still losing 2-0 in the sixth to Shelby Miller and the Cards. Feels so wrong to root for the effing Cardinals.

  30. Thomas is on 5 days rest, Varvaro has 5 and Schlosser’s got 6.

    And two outs with two pitches, we might get two innings from Thomas here.

  31. @80 For those types of match-ups I usually just root for the game to go 30 innings and totally ruin both bullpens for several weeks.

  32. If I ever meet the Buddha I am going to ask him how it could be that at 38 years of age Randy Choate is still getting major leaguers out.

  33. Well if there’s no other positives to take from this game, you can at least say that our pitching staff finally recognized that Eric Young Jr is, in fact Eric Young Jr.

  34. Is BJ doing some sort of Ron Gant thing up at the plate now? It sure seems like he’s mimicking him.

  35. Because I’d given up, I am pleasantly surprised by the game going this far and focusing the positives: Hale remaining unruffled when he’s in trouble; five consecutive scoreless innings from the ‘pen, including one from Pickles. It keeps me from removing my Uggla bobblehead from the too-massive collection and handing it to my 21-month-old to destroy.

  36. I think this game is in Pickles’ hands. He may have to pitch 7 innings since we’ve kinda been indifferent about trying to score today.

    Edit: we just got diced up.

  37. The first team to get to hit with the mound and plate both in shadows is going to have to take advantage of it.

  38. I don’t think you can take him out. Walden is likely unavailable, and I don’t think I want Kimbrel to pitch more than one inning (or at all). At that point you’d be stuck with a starter on short rest or a position player if the game continues.

  39. Hard to get a groove when you play every other day. But yeah we needed something good to happen there. I think we’ve ridden this Pickle about as far as it can take us.

  40. It looks like we won’t be playing baseball beyond this inning, but I can’t blame Pickles. This loss is on our offense.

  41. Well now they can get their bodies on to the plane that their brains have been on since the 3rd inning.

  42. I think BJ and Freeman should get honorable mentions for LVP since they turned a 1st and 3rd with no outs into a big goose egg. It was a team effort…don’t give Uggla all the credit.

  43. Forget the game for a second. This news is just mind-blowing.

    Minor League fun: Jeff Francoeur pitched a 1-2-3 inning for the El Paso Chihuahuas (Padres) against the Las Vegas 51s (Mets)— YCPB (@cantpredictball) April 20, 2014

  44. @145

    He’s probably been bugging the manager to let him pitch ever since he learned sign language.

  45. I get the sense Frenchy is prepping for a new phase in his baseball career as a Max Patkin-type lovable doofus.

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