Braves 2, Rockies 8

ESPN Box Score

Tyler Matzek became the third Rockie to make his major league debut over the past week, which is something no team ever wants to be in a position to experience. In the Rockies’ case, half of their team is on the DL and they have been reeling as a result of that. However, if you have to have a bunch of major league debuts all occur within a few days, the Braves are probably a good team to face. No matter which guys seem to be wearing the laundry (or who the hitting coach is), when ballplayers have “Braves” scrawled across their jerseys they struggle to hit pitchers they have never seen before.

After a nearly four-hour-long game last night, this one zipped right along. Matzek’s team gave him some early runs to play with, when they scored three runs off of Julio Teheran in the first inning. Julio actually had a couple of outs before the scoring started, but he then ended up surrendering as many runs as Mike Minor did in the first yesterday. Minor had been staked to a 7-run lead, though, whereas the offense tonight did not get around to getting a baserunner until the fifth inning. In fact, the Braves’ hardest hit ball up to that point was a foul ball Tommy La Stella hit that a fan from Colorado Springs came away with in the third inning.

The Braves spoiled Matzek’s bid for a shutout in the 8th inning, when Regression, Tommy La Stella, and The Defense recorded back-to-back-to-back singles and knocked the rookie out of the box. No Rockies pitcher has ever pitched a shutout in his major league debut, so naturally, Matzek nearly did so against the Braves at Coors Field, one day after they scored 13 runs. Matzek also recorded his first big league hit in the 7th, when Simmons made a good dive to catch the ball but could not throw him out in time. He then came around to score the Rockies’ 7th run, after David Carpenter was brought on to put the threat down and only managed to throw more fuel on the fire.

The Braves squeaked across another run when Upton the Elder picked up an infield single off the pitcher’s glove later in the 8th. That showed the Braves’ luck was finally starting to change (the Rockies had been picking up all sorts of Coors Field bloop singles all game), but it was too little too late, even in that ballpark.

Other notable tidbits:
Troy Tulowitzki got his first hit of the series tonight. He came in to this series hitting .500 at home, so the Braves holding him hitless for the first two games was no small feat. He ended up 3-for-4 on the night, though, so he made up some for the last two nights.
—The Original Fredi Gonzalez has already stated that both Upton the Younger and Evan Gattis will sit tomorrow, so going home with a winning record on this road trip is looking questionable.
Evan Gattis has a 12-game hitting streak. When do we start an El Oso for All-Star campaign?
—In the bottom of the sixth inning, Freddie Freeman and Tommy La Stella pulled a combined brain cramp and allowed Josh Rutledge to score a run while they chased Tulowitzki in a run down. When you lose by six runs no single play does you in, but that one looked pretty bad.
Regression had another two-hit night tonight. The man loves hitting against the Rockies.

This laugher will knock the Braves out of first place if the Nationals hold on to beat the Giants, but, seriously, a team who can’t figure out a way for seven innings to score even one run off of a rookie making his debut at Coors Field probably doesn’t really deserve to be up there, anyway.

I can’t be all negative, though, because this team does have some interesting elements that will make Braves baseball exciting this summer. Tommy La Stella shows no interest in slowing down on the amount of contact he is making (although he did look bad on a strikeout against the first lefty he’s had the chance to start against at the big league level tonight). When Jason Heyward is on, he is a delight to watch, as is The Offense when he gets in the zone. Then, of course, we have the Simmons boys, no relation, who should give us plenty to cheer about on the defensive end. I saw on Twitter earlier this week that Craig Kimbrel’s slider is the only pitch in MLB that has never been homered against (and he’s only given up one extra base hit with it—a double a few years ago), so that’s something to keep an eye on, as well. A few more tweaks here and there (see: bench and LHP reliever), and this team may yet become a lot of fun to watch.

Natspo(s) delenda est.

44 thoughts on “Braves 2, Rockies 8”

  1. Thanks Rissa. Nice touch to end your recap on a positive note. I hope you’re right.

  2. I am really going to start doing a “Give Justin some love” campaign. Yes, maybe he is lacking a little on defense and he may look like he doesn’t care like Andruw did, but why don’t we love the guy more? The guy is a rock solid team player and he is actually having a better season than Freddie in terms of both WAR And OPS.

  3. @5, that’s a really good piece. The thing is, I sometimes like Jason Whitlock — he has a talent for writing jeremiads. But 90 percent of the time, he’s insufferable, and that article does a very good job unpacking exactly why.

    Yes, Justin Upton is having a great year, and he does it so quietly that he goes underappreciated on his own team. It is not too much to say that’s why we were able to get him — if he were more of a rah-rah guy, the DBacks probably never would have traded him. But he’s been the rock of our team this year.

  4. #7 – Just learned a new word.

    Justin Upton is terrific. A championship caliber player.

  5. JUP and Freeman are both MVP caliber players. If Heyward could be more consistent, he could be too. That is why this team is frustrating.

  6. ‘Rissa – bravo! above and beyond.

    The rest of us of course are all excited, full of it…it’s been such a long wait we can hardly believe the great day’s finally here…and not just 1, 33 of them…oh dear, can we stand it?

    Riots in the street, construction fatalities, unfinished stadia, yellow cards, red cards – the National League was never like this…Cobb County and its shameless shenanigans pale before Manaus, a city so remote you can’t even get there by road, there’s some kind of bug that has got into the grass so it’s likely to tear up within minutes of the first ball being kicked, and when the requisite 5 games scheduled have, somehow, been played there the $290 million stadium will resume its place as an empty, dormant shell as the rain forest, what’s left of it,advances.

    so what’s it to be this afternoon, MLBtv at 3.10… ESPN at 4 ?? only one can be recorded…and it can be watched in two 45 minute blocks without commercials, deo gratia…sometimes we wonder just how much that contributes to the World’s Game popularity…

    have fun.

  7. @10 agreed. I need to see Heyward put a sustained period of great play not just the sporadic bursts we’ve been getting. Gattis and (full SSS alert) it seems La Stella look like good complementary pieces. I’m just wondering if those 5 are good enough to compensate for BJ, Simmons and Johnson being offensive holes.

  8. Nice recap. I definitely re-read the part about the fan getting the foul ball in Skip’s voice.

    “And a fan from Shelbyville, TN comes away with a souvenir.”

    Miss that guy.

  9. @16 I included a few Skip-isms in that recap—glad you enjoyed that one. I’ve been thinking about him recently, with all the references to the “dry heat” when the team was in Arizona (“the first one who says this is just a dry heat gets it right in the neck.”) and when S. Simmons made his debut I thought about how Skip would always say “Jones boys, no relation.” No one could make losing easier to swallow than Skip, so I thought referencing some of his sayings was appropriate last night.

  10. Yes, Harwell used to pick random cities in Michigan for fans who caught balls.

    What I liked about Skip is that he made it clear he wanted the Braves to win-in part because it made his job easier-but was just cynical enough about the whole thing to not take it too seriously. Except, of course, when the Braves won the World Series. A lot of these announcers act as if they are defending the flag and apple pie.

    @7, it was a good article but I thought the author was doing a little of what he accused Whitlock of doing-acting as if there was one acceptable point of view and anyone who disagreed was either uninformed or racist.

  11. MLB.com is at it again, refusing me both TV and radio access. I guess I have no option but to move to Atlanta.

  12. Greetings from Chicago…

    Got off the plane at O’Hare this morning & who’s the first person I see? Elvis Costello. Well, hello, 2nd City…

    FWIW, my MLB.TV’s working fine.

  13. So pleased to see that our patient, disciplined approach has carried over from last night.

  14. Seriously, we’re going against a guy with a 5 ERA in Colorado. We’ve got 1 hit through 4 and have twice tried and failed to bunt our way aboard and Chacin is at 42 pitches.

  15. This is a guy who had walked 19 in 38 innings so far, so the patient disciplined approach is surely called for, too bad we didn’t get the memo.

    Edit: in 17 hitters we have taken 25 pitches (5 each by Heyward and Freemen, 0 by BJ in 2 ABs)

  16. Thanks, Alex.

    Sigh, this team is about to go 3-4 against two lousy teams. Losing to the Red Sox is one thing-struggling or not, they are the defending champs. Losing to Arizona and Colorado is just really bad.

  17. Well at least someone got the memo, we took 12 pitches that inning and what do you know got 2 walks.

    If this holds up we’re going to have scored 3, 2 and 0 runs in 3 of our games at Coors, wonderful.

  18. Either Walker and Fletcher are telling these guys the wrong things, or they’re being tuned out. No matter what the case, it’s time for something different, even if it’s not necessarily better. The last two days were filled with at-bats that offered no evidence of study or scouting for the opposing pitcher. It wasn’t the losing; it was the approach.

    And David Carpenter can be suspended for the next 100 games, as far as I’m concerned.

  19. Glad to have missed the last two games. Started 17-7 and have crapped the bed with 17-24 since. Doesn’t seem like a good team to me. Next to worst offense in all of baseball. Pitching starting to regress. The silver lining is that every else in the division has problems too.

    Next couple of weeks are big. Angels will be tough (yay, more pitchers we’ve never seen before!), and we have a showdown with the Nats looming.

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