Laundry (red hosiery) 8, Stinks 6

Well, yesterday began that most important of things, “the interleague rivalry game.” 10 years before I was born, the Braves shared Boston with the Red Sox. So they are our American League rival. Right.

Seinfeld said we root for laundry. But for 3 teams, that couldn’t be more true (unless you think the Cincinnati Reds root for communism, [political comment deleted before Alex had to])

You like your odds when facing a pitcher coming in with a 5.88 ERA. At times, Clay Buchholz has been pretty good. Not so far this year.

Red Sox got on the board first in their part of the 3rd. Bad outfield play may have contributed there. But the Braves came back and got 3 in the bottom half. Then 3 in the 4th. Here is where you think “Hey Ervin, let’s smell baseball.” Unfortunately, top of 5 I smelled something and it wasn’t much like baseball. Two outs. To a two strike count at least 4 times. but 6 straight “non outs” with the last being a “really damn out of here” by the still ferociously dangerous David Ortiz.

Before top of 5, I thought about the “rule of thirds.” As in one third are definite wins with little in doubt, one third are definite losses with little in doubt, but it is what you do in the other third that matters. Well, this game was a failure to be “the good third.”

Well, Alex Wood had a good inning and then it rained. Coming out of the rain, offense was in hibernation mode. Ian Thomas didn’t cover first, and that blew up his inning and effectively lost the game.

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159 thoughts on “Laundry (red hosiery) 8, Stinks 6”

  1. Frankly, one of the biggest problems is all of the missed opportunities when Buchholz was on the mound. In the first four innings, the Braves collected eight walks and six hits, and somehow only managed to score six runs. They did that by leaving two on in the first, one on in the second, bases loaded in the third, and two more on in the fourth.

    If we had cashed in a few more of those, we might still have won the ballgame.

  2. @1

    We did have a ton of early chances. Santana’s (or Laird’s) pitch selection in the 5th was beyond stupid.

    I have never really been impressed with Laird’s game calling. I’m not sure if he is calling it or the dugout, but yeaterday’s 5th inning killed us.

  3. Was that thud I heard Santana hitting the ground?

    @1 – 8 walks and 6 hits = 6 runs? Geez, that is God awful. I guess on the plus side we did score 6 runs.

  4. 2 — I agree, the 5th inning pitch selection was pretty atrocious. And Laird looks terrible as a receiver.

  5. 3 — It should have been more than 6 runs. Buchholz was almost Ankieling it out there.

  6. Reading 1 and 3 above has me thinking… what should the number of “on bases” needed to score a run? Should we expect to score a run for every 2.5 “on bases” or something like that? At one end of the spectrum, if all we do is hit home runs then we get one run per “on base”. If all we do is walk then we score (“on bases” – 3) runs (assuming bases loaded from walks when the inning ends so if there are 7 walks in an inning and those are the only “on bases” then we would get 4 runs (7-3)). So what Alex said in 1 above is we had 14 “on bases” and got 6 runs. That is 2 1/3 “on bases” per run scored. What should the expectation be? Just curious…

  7. @8, amen. But still, if you let David Ortiz beat you, then you’re doing it wrong. Just walk him.

  8. @6 et al
    Please refer to Jonah Keri at Grantland today re “cluster luck”

    It’s most informative

  9. I don’t care about what the catcher is calling. If you have two outs and no one on base, they shouldn’t score five runs. I hate these two out walks and I would not have been surprised if the next guy hit a home run. But to not get another out? That’s on Santana. He should have thrown the damn ball down the middle of the plate to the first guy he walked and see if he hits it at someone. If he hits it out, it’s still 6-2. Unfortunately, he apparently waited until Ortiz came up with two on base to do that. There’s a reason, I guess, why Santana didn’t have a contract until the end of spring training.

  10. Well our collection of 2b players need to improve. If Pena and Pastor can’t hit, then at least keep Uggla in there. Pena had an awful AB with the bases loaded yesterday. We either need to play Uggla or release him and call up LaStella.

  11. #11 – It’s a combined effort. Laird called for a 3-2 slider in the dirt. I agree with you. Up 6-1, throw nothing but fastballs.

  12. Lost in yesterday’s agony of defeat was Fredi Gonzalez tying Joe Torre for third place with 229 loses as an Atlanta manager. Only Luman Harris and Bobby Cox have more.
    With 2 more losses Fredi ties Fred Haney for 15th on the all-time Braves franchise list. Haney managed Milwaukee, taking over a .500 team 46 games into the ’56 season and finishing 2nd in the NL, winning the ’57 World Series, losing the ’58 World Series and then finishing 2nd in ’59.
    Prior to joining Milwaukee, Haney had managed dreadful teams, the St. Louis Browns and Pittsburgh Pirates, winning 40% of time in 1 of 6 seasons.

  13. @15

    I wonder if it goes back to the earlier discussion about what pitches are being called?

    I am sure the dugout calls some of the pitches. But with McCann gone, the dugout may be calling more. That or Laird and Gattis need some help.

    I’ll just blame Fredi.

  14. I think Kimbrel has lost a little bit of his fastball command so far. What % of strikes is he throwing compared to years past?

  15. Yeah, his command hasn’t been what we’re used to. He was wild in the minor leagues and figured out control in the majors in 2011.

    Also, that picture at the top of that article terrifies me — it’s Kimbrel with the dreaded “inverted W” arm action.

  16. To my eye, Kimbrel’s just been missing his spots a bit more than last year. There were a few outings early on where he really seemed to struggle with his command, resulting in some quite long innings. But lately it’s looked better. We’ll eventually see whether it’s a real blip or just a short-term thing.

    One thing to keep in mind is that even elite relievers can have a short half-life.

    edit: And can we please stop calling it the “inverted W” and start calling it the “M”?

  17. At least according to Fangraphs, Kimbrel’s command has been good (by his standards) this year, even if his walk rate is up. His first-pitch strike rate is 60.5% (career 59%) and his overall % of pitches thrown in the strike zone per PITCHf/x is 51.1% (career 49.4%).

    Kimbrel’s results thus far this year have actually been pretty great – his slightly elevated walk rate this year (relative to 2012-13) seems to be the result of batters swinging at fewer pitches thrown out of the strike zone. However, Kimbrel has increased his whiff rates on pitches thrown both in and out of the zone, resulting in a monster K rate which more than compensates for the walks… his K/BB rate (or K% – BB% if you prefer) for 2014 is above his career mark.

    Just based upon the eyeball test, it seems to me that Kimbrel was less than sharp for a stretch earlier this season, which has skewed his 2014 results to date. In his recent appearances he’s been in and around the strike zone with enough frequency that he’s forced batters to swing more, and it’s resulted in dominant performances.

  18. ESPN headline Sox break 10 game losing streak! WTH do the Sox need there own TV network when they have Everything Sox til u Puke Network?

    I know nothing new, but I still wanna bitch. hell at least I get to watch Braves tonight.

  19. @24

    Especially with two games at Fenway coming up. Just hope yesterday wasn’t the start of a long losing streak, as defeats like those can be.

  20. I didn’t get to listen to or watch yesterday’s game. Unlike tonight, when I’m listening on the radio and I’m already about to vomit from all the cheering from the stands.

  21. I actually prefer Yankee fans to Red Sox backers at this point. It’s just a small sample size from my professional and personal circles, but the Sawx rooters are far more insufferable.

  22. Does Caray sound star-struck to anyone else? Like we’re supposed to be thrilled that the famous Red Sox have graced us with their presence in Turner Field?

  23. Can someone please tell me how to get Braves radio online? I am not sure how much longer I can listen to ESPN.

  24. The degree to which the Red Sox argue about borderline calls is absolutely ridiculous. For the love of God, deal with it and shut the hell up! Pedroia throwing crap around the dugout five minutes after a strike call that didn’t even result in an out yesterday, Ortiz taking 45 seconds to bitch about a first-pitch strike, Ross taking a similar amount of time to bitch about a check-swing call early in the count. Yeesh…what a bunch of babies!

    Also, I’ll certainly take it, but Johnson couldn’t make that play again if he tried.

  25. I am not sure how much longer I can listen to ESPN.

    Fox Sports features Simpson, Caray and Smoltz knocking patience and working the count, with Smoltz literally saying “who cares about OBP if you’re not hitting?”

  26. @34

    And complaining about the home-and-home series, the animosity toward which I’ve yet to understand. Why would anyone think it’s either a good or a bad thing? It’s just a thing. Who gives a crap? You were going somewhere after this homestand. What difference does it make if it’s Boston as opposed to Miami or Los Angeles or wherever?

  27. ESPN very unsurprisingly calling that pitch from Lester in the opposite batter’s box “real close.”

    Edit: And Haring should have been told to not swing at anything.

  28. I agree with them on strikeouts, for the most part, and even I’m about to change over to ESPN with this conversation. I like how that part of the blackout rule has been eliminated so now I can go back and forth BTW.

  29. It’s not so much about agreeing with him than it is about him saying it every other inning.

  30. 8 baserunners a homer and a double in three innings and only two runs.
    Damnit we waste tons of opportunities to put teams away.

    I am feeling good about Heyward and Bupton though.

  31. @46 Well if you wanna here what a great player Brock Holt is or how Ortiz is going to broker peace in the Ukraine go to ESPN.

  32. Looked 100% out on the slow-mo replay.

    Hearing Chip describe how replay works is about the worst thing there is in sports.

  33. I’m not sure they’ve figured out that they can look at seemingly secondary things, such as whether or not the bag gives before the tag is applied, to determine it. I fear they’re looking and saying, “Well, there’s a bunch of dirt flying in the air, we can’t tell when his foot hits the bag. Oh well, can’t overturn!”

  34. The magic Harang had is gone. He will be toast by the all-star break and Wood will be back.

  35. Hearing Chip describe how replay works is about the worst thing there is in sports.

    “Remember, there has to be clear and convincing evidence to overturn the call.”

    -Caray, during every replay ever.

  36. My favorite Chip-ism right now is when he says “there can be three possible outcomes: overturned, upheld, or the call stands”.

    Gotta keep scoring. 3 runs probably won’t win this one.

  37. …or Lester could, I don’t know…just get the pitcher out without needing the benefit of a borderline strike call! Jesus, these guys are the San Antonio Spurs of Major League Baseball. Not only is every call that doesn’t go their way a travesty, it deserves a five-minute inquisition, apparently.

  38. Next thing you know I’ll be saying that Chip really isn’t that bad and it’s my fault for not liking him.

    Did Lester not just cuss out Bob Davidson after Harang walked? I guess that’s ok, because Red Sox.

  39. Runner on third, no one out; I fear the Red Sox have the Braves right where they want them.

  40. Not sure about the entire Sox team, but Chip definitely wants to make sweet sweet love to David Ross.

  41. So defense is part of the reason why TLS is still at Gwinnett? Alrighty then.

  42. La Stella homered tonight, so that should keep him in the minors for another month at least.

  43. I hate how every stupid, poorly hit ball that comes off Ortiz’s bat seems to drive in a run.

  44. Because this is what we want — tie game, and Avilan pitching to a lefty masher.

    Sigh. Spoiled, we’ve been, by past ‘pens.

  45. The Atlanta Braves… Finding new ways to lose every day and always the perfect tonic for a losing streak

  46. Some pretty crappy luck in this inning, but we can still get out of it. Just need one hit to Simba.

    Edit: apparently I needed to be more specific and ask for it to be hit hard to Simba.

  47. This wouldn’t be so bad if bases loaded, nobody out and first and third, nobody out combined to produce one piddling run. Sometimes, you make your own luck.

  48. And the inning where we pissed away a bases loaded nobody out situation is going to be the difference. The continued inability to play solid fundamental baseball costs this team so many games in the standings

    This bullpen is a train wreck. Get rid of Avilan and Thomas and use almost anyone else.

  49. We’re going to get swept by a last-place team that had lost ten in a row.

  50. He should have walked Ortiz and let Varvaro have one more crack at a righty. But probably some other ridiculous bullshit would’ve happened so what can you say. At least Fredi is going to burn every arm in the pen for no good reason.

  51. Gawd what a frustrating team. Yeah some bad luck,but we had the opportunity to put them away.
    A hit by Jackie Bradley? Really?

  52. Wood is not available tonight? I thought the Wood-Carpenter-Kimbrel is our standard late inning formula. I honestly would trust Hale more than Varvaro.

  53. You’d like to think that 9 hits and 2 walks in less than 7 innings would amount to more than just 3 runs.

  54. And the dregs of the lineup awaits in the eighth. And Simmons is hurt. Drive home safely.

  55. looked like he was complaining about his ankle. of course espn talking about damn beards insteadmof an injury update.

    edit typing on an ipad sucks

  56. Simmons wanted to stay in and got mad at Fredi when he was pulled, so it probably isn’t too bad.

  57. @128 I agree. While I don’t think La Stella will turn out to be anything special, Pastornicky is simply not good enough.

  58. So, tonight we lost Gattis, Simmons, and the game. I think it’s safe to say tonight could have gone better.

  59. Tonight’s lineup featured 6 position players with OPS’s in the .600’s … it’s amazing to me that we have a winning record.

  60. Still furious about Harang swinging with bases loaded, no outs. Don’t even hold a bat. Leave it in the dugout. Is there a way to just disqualify yourself and accept an out without having pitches thrown? Stand on home plate during the pitch? And he swung at both pitches he saw, almost as if someone told him to go up there and drive in a run. Unbelievable.

  61. The Braves are basically an average team leading a weak division. Yeah, the Red Sox are in last place but they are still the World Champions and, more importantly, an American League team. The Braves don’t have the horses to play the better AL teams. It’s been that way for years.

    Harang should never have taken the bat off his shoulder with the bases loaded. Apparently, both he and Fredi are too stupid to even contemplate something like that. Why have a manager if he is just going to sit on his ass in situations like that? I’ll guarantee everyone watching the game was saying he shouldn’t swing.

  62. Most managers (dare I say any manager at any level?) would’ve given him the take sign until he either struck out or walked. Our manager is special.

  63. None of the “media” will give Fredi a hard time. Bobby Cox loves Fredi and he’ll be here for as long as Cox is in the front office. The next phase is acceptance.

  64. @136 – Agreed. But in his defense he probably knew that Heyward was gonna pop out softly or beat a dribbler into the ground.

    @134 – La Stella may be better than all three combined. But I’m setting the bar real low.

    Y’all, I know Chip and Joe suck but NOTHING is worse than listening to the Red….. I mean ESPN announcing trio of Boone Sutcliff and some dude. NOTHING.

  65. To be fair if Harang hadn’t of hit into the DP then Heyward’s next grounder to 2b would’ve been a routine DP.

  66. I don’t put Harang’s decision on Fredi. Harang has to know the situation and what the probable outcomes are.

  67. So Gattis is day-to-day and Simmons is hurt.

    Given the quality of our bench, tomorrow night, we may have the worst DH since 1973.

  68. Pena and either Uggla/Pastor will be in the lineup at the same time. Doumit will surely DH. Laird will catch again. Magic 8-ball says we are gonna get blown out.

  69. I was all in favor of trying Pastornicky at second but I think he is actually worst than Uggla. Ready for La Stella to come or even let’s give Gosselin a chance. Anything is better than what we are trying. Pena is a bench player nothing more.

  70. Soooo, when is Venters ready? If ever…

    Meanwhile, Huddy is putting up a beautiful season. WHIP 0.88, 1.92 ERA, FIP 2.92.

  71. Yeah! Let’s spread the blame around!

    I blame Snitker. We haven’t been right since his turn in the Christmas video a couple years ago.

  72. @147 – Venters had another set back. I am doubting he ever pitches again.

    I blame Andruw.

  73. I’m going to blame Heyward’s leadoff homer in the first. Defusing potential rallies like that can really add up over nine innings.

  74. Tough break to lose both Gattis and Simmons in one day, especially when headed to Boston where Gattis would’ve most definitely spent at least one game as DH. Now the lineup will consist of Pena, Pastornicky, Laird, and Doumit. Not good…

  75. I am betting that Uggla will get at least one start. Which makes the lineup worse if that is possible.

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