Padres Braves 2, Mets 1

The Padres Braves top pitching prospect, Matt Wisler, made his major league debut last night, pitching eight Maddux-ian innings in a 2-1 win over IWOTM. The Padres Braves second baseman of the future, Jace Peterson, drove in the winning runs in the bottom of the eighth with a one out off Braves Mets lefthander Sean Gilmartin.

Wisler looked like he was set to take a hard luck loss in his debut, as Mets pitcher Jacob deGrom was just as dominant through seven innings. Fredi Gonzalez, who gets a lot of justifiable grief around these parts over his questionable pitching decisions, left Wisler out for the 8th inning, and he finished strong, setting down the top of the Mets order in 1-2-3 fashion.

DeGrom, meanwhile ran into trouble immediately, allowing a leadoff double to Andrelton Simmons, followed one out later by a infield single to Pedro Ciriaco, to leave runners on the corner. Terry Collins lifted DeGrom for Gilmartin, and Gilmartin proceeded to give up the Double Grybo to Wisler’s AAA teammate Peterson. Bobby Parnell and Jeurys Familia proceed to load the bases, but the Mets’ pen stuck the landing with Chris Johnson, mired in a horrible slump, striking out to end the threat.

Jason Grilli pitched around a Juan Uribe error in the 9th to notch his 19th save of the season. Quick show of hands – who here had Grilli with more saves than Craig Kimbrel at ANY point of the season?

But the story of the night was Wisler. He only needed a highly efficient 88 pitches to get through 8, walking none and giving up six hits. The only potential fly in the ointment was only two strikeouts (one being Curtis Granderson leading off the game). Wisler was helped by his defense – especially CJ, who had several nifty plays at third. The only run Wisler gave up was a 6th inning Michael Cuddyer chopper over CJ’s head to score Ruben Tejada. But overall, complaining about that is like complaining that Paul McCartney is left handed and that The Beatles look off-kilter with two righties and a lefty.

Anyway, the Braves are 2.5 out, and we get to play 10 on 9 tonight with Williams and Perez toeing the rubber against Noah Syndergaard.

122 thoughts on “Padres Braves 2, Mets 1”

  1. In other words, we only have comprehensive and reliable box score data back to 1914 or so, but in the baseball-reference Play Index, no pitcher before Wisler had ever thrown at least 8 innings in that few pitches in his debut, before Matt Wisler.


  2. Seat Painter, you crafted a wonderful recap, for which I thank you.

    The kid did okay. Follow suit, Bills.

    Let’s win this series tonight and let the NL Least know we’re only mostly dead, which is a lot better than being completely dead.

  3. Wow I’m shocked that they kept a pitch count dating back to the early 1900s. I would be interested to get some of Phil Nekro’s pitch counts for his complete games. I would bet he approached 200 pitches many times.

  4. I stole this from an article on Wilbur Wood:

    “Wilbur Wood started in 49 of Chicago’s 154 games in 1972. His manager asked him if he could pitch every 2nd or 3rd day and he said yes. He pitched 20 complete games with 8 of them shutouts. He started both ends of a doubleheader on two occasions. His arm did get stiff and sore after many games he pitched in, according to Wood. Back then pitchers never used ice after games.

    So did his arm hold up after pitching in 377 innings? The answer is a definite yes. The next three years his inning totals were 359, 320 and 291. By age 34 his best days were behind him, and he soon retired in 1978. Wilbur Wood threw a knuckleball so skeptics may say that is the only reason why he could throw so many pitches in a game or for a whole season.

    But they would be wrong. Consider that in 1971 Mickey Lolich pitched 376 innings for Detroit-AL. Lolich had 308 strikeouts that year, and the closest he came to a knuckleball was watching Wilbur Wood’s dance across home plate for strike three when he batted against him.

    Lolich’s career also didn’t suffer after he pitched 376 innings and 29 complete games. He followed it with 327, 308, 308, and 240 innings pitched per season.”

    I couldn’t find a pitch count for Phil or Wilbur for a game, but I’ll keep looking.

    Here’s the article cite:

  5. It was Ringo that made The Beatles look off-kilter, and he was amphibious.

    (That’s a reference, not a typo.)

  6. Quotations On Hitting Against Niekro:

    * “Trying to hit [Niekro] is like trying to eat Jell-O with chopsticks.” – Bobby Murcer, who batted only .208 with no home runs (all 10 of his hits were singles) in 48 career at-bats against Niekro.

    On Niekro’s knuckleball:

    * “It’s like watching Mario Andretti park a car.” – Ralph Kiner

    * “Trying to hit that thing is a miserable way to make a living,” and “I work for three weeks to get my swing down pat and Phil (Niekro) messes it up in one night.” – both quotes by Pete Rose

    * “It giggles as it goes by,” and “When I swing, don’t laugh.” – both quotes by Rick Monday

    * “Hitting Niekro’s knuckleball is like eating soup with a fork.” – Richie Hebner

  7. @8: That’s an excellent piece, coop. And it suggests that the pitch counts are estimates made by tangotiger’s formula, or something close to it. What wasn’t mentioned in the piece (except in passing) was Mazzone’s theory that pitchers threw way too little in a misguided attempt to keep their arms healthy. His view requires many more pitches on off days, which will obviously be missing by considering only game time pitches. Are there any Mazzone disciples anywhere?

  8. Great article, JonathanF. I’ve wondered for a long time what Leo must have done to merit his exile from the Braves system. It looks like he’d still be an asset in some emeritus facet.

  9. It’s with great sadness that I realized that, even with the Cardinals hacking (or whatever) dating back to 2012, it still did not overlap with T. LaRussa’s tenure. Oh, how that would have sustained me. My schadenfreude reservoir would have been so full as to send me forth wishing nothing but good things for all mankind for the rest of my days.

  10. And I should have predicted this in advance. Fredi has gone full Bobby. (you never go full Bobby).

    Of all Bobby Cox’s delightful idiocies, the most idiotic was his rule that if a starter got hurt, his replacement IN THE FIELD had to bat in his place in the batting order. This led to situations where Mike freaking Mordecai (OPS:.449 –there was really no reason to take his bat with him to the plate) was hitting third for a couple games because Chipper had a booboo and Bobby couldn’t figure out what he should do with the No. 8 hitter if he put Mordecai where he actually belonged — I mean, then that guy has to go somewhere, right? Confusing. Kids, this actually happened. I was there.

    So you knew whoever was going to play first was going to hit third.

    I know, I know. KJ is a non-laughable candidate to hit in FF’s place given our lineup. I still think Neck and Cameron are better candidates. Good thing is Fredi didn’t even have to think about it. It’s WWBCD all the way.

    And kids? We’re in this.

  11. More Natswatch:

    Desmond was sat for a game, and Matt Williams said he may sit another. Espinosa played short (his real position — he’s a very good fielder). And the Nats won (Espinosa fielded cleanly and had a single and a triple). Bowden speculated in ESPN that the Nats would trade Desmond at the break (I know — for what?) and bring up their prospect Trea Turner (the PTBNL that they couldn’t actually acquire for a year because of the MLB prohibition against draft-and-trade — bizarre situation). Like I said, Desmond is the opposing team’s fifth column, and anything that gets him out of the lineup improves our enemy, so let’s hope that doesn’t happen.

    What is also troubling for us next year and after is that the Nats have some really nice pitching depth that is show-ready. Tanner Roark is actually the 3d best SP on the Nats, and the callup Ross is quite good (11 Ks last night). (They also have the Giolito kid who is considered by many the No. 1 pitching prospect in baseball — he’s a couple years away, at high-A.) Lucky for us, at least for 2015, the Nats PR department makes out the lineup, so both Roark and Ross are going back to AAA as Fister and Strasburg return. Fister did not look good in his first return start.

    The longer term issue for the Nats is they’ve basically bought fully into the win-now-at-all-costs view, and if they don’t, they’ve got some pretty crippling contracts (Werth, R Zimmerman, Scherzer)that are going to hamper them a lot in resigning guys (like J Zimmerman and Harper) and in the FA market. One of the many reasons the Nats are not succeeding this year is that their bench and bullpen is really very bad. So when guys like Werth, Rendon, RZim either are hurt, or stink it up, or both, there’s nothing on the bench to throw out there to cover the gap, and they really can’t go out and spend real money to get better — it’s all committed.

  12. It seems pretty clear right now that they’re not gonna re-sign Zimmermann or Strasberg. I’m guessing they’ll give Harper one of them Giancarlo Stanton $300 million contracts, but a big question will be whether they give him an opt-out like the Marlins gave Stanton.

    So, Andrelton Simmons and Jace Peterson are clearly our best double play combo since Furcal and Giles. There’s a decent chance that they are even better than Furcal and Giles, all things considered. If that is the case, then here’s the question: how high do they rank on the all-time Braves middle infield list?

  13. The best fielding 2B we ever had was Glenn Hubbard. Unfortunately, except for one season with the immortal Pepe Frias, he was teamed almost always with the radioactively gloved Rafael Ramirez.

    Simmons is quite simply the best defensive SS I’ve ever seen. He’s as good as Ozzie (not Guillen). I think he’s actually better, but that’s considered heretical.

    So Hubbard was very good, but nowhere near as good a 2B is as Simba is as a SS. So I would rank our best DP combos as :

    1. Simmons and Peterson
    2. Simmons and somebody else
    3. Simmons and some guy from the stands

  14. Simmons by himself is probably number four.

    And Bledsoe, I hope Harper signs somewhere other than with the Yanks and you invite me to view the house-eating. I’ll pay well for a good seat.

  15. Yeah? Like how much, in American?

    Seriously, I can’t imagine a guy who has Harper’s, uh, self-esteem, not wanting to play in Yankee Stadium in pinstripes and hit Ruthian home runs to the short porch. I bet that’s been in his mind a long time.

  16. Top Ten Braves SS/2B single-season defensive combos (by BBRef WAR):

    1. Simmons/Peterson, 2015 5.7 (projected)
    2. Simmons/La Stella, 2014 4.2
    3t. Furcal/Lockhart, 2002 3.7
    3t. Furcal/Giles, 2003 3.7
    3t. Furcal/Giles, 2005 3.7
    6. Simmons/Uggla, 2013 3.5
    7. Ramirez/Hubbard, 1985 2.9
    8. Robinson/Perez, 1974 2.8
    9. Blauser/Lemke, 1993 2.7
    10. Menke/Woodward, 1967 2.5

    Bottom 5
    46. Frias/Hubbard, 1979 -0.7
    47. Weiss/Boone, 1999 -0.8
    48. Chaney/Gilbreath, 1976 -1.0
    49. Thomas/Gant, 1988 -2.4
    50. Rockett/Gilbreath, 1977 -2.9

    Pat Rockett rightly assumes the mantle of worst ever, as he does in any list for which he qualifies. His 1978 season is right there with the worst performances in MLB history — he managed -3.0 WAR in a season of only 157 PAs. In other words, had he played full time he would have been worth about 10 wins below replacement.

    That 1988 infield was something special, too. A blatantly disinterested Andres Thomas, Ron Gant almost torpedoing his young career, 32-year-old “athlete” Ken Oberkfell, and an out-of-position Gerald Perry. Glavine and Smoltz’s struggles that year truly meant nothing.

  17. Lemke could turn it. When he was out there with Rafael Belliard at SS, we were better defensively.

    But Belliard couldn’t hit & Blauser could, so…

  18. So I was pretty much right — Uggla being the functional equivalent of a guy from the stands.

    Wow. Sansho digging up the memories. Milo Hamilton’s nickname for Marty Perez was “the Little Taco.” Not kidding. A different era.

    And I swear I cannot remember a guy named Chaney playing SS for us.

  19. @20 — Every time the Braves have a painful loss, there are two things you can do to cheer yourself up: Look at the Phillies’ roster; and look at the Nationals’ payroll and pending free agents. Turns my frown upside down.

  20. That was Darrel Chaney, utility infielder for the big red machine who inexplicably got regular playing time in 1976 (he did put up an uncharacteristicly good 82 OPS+). He was -11 runs with the glove too. My favorite player from that team (I was 12 and a lousy little league SS, the 2 of us had a lot in common!)

  21. Nats’ Scherzer is perfect thru 7 IP vs. Pittsburgh.

    And Chaney later became a WTBS announcer (or was it still WTCG?) for Braves games.

  22. I like these ugly Black Cracker uniforms. This game so far, not so much; but I have more confidence when we trail than when we lead.

  23. Spike, I owe you something, but I don’t know the rules of that game. I hope it’s not a Lamborghini.

  24. Was watching the Scherzer 9th inning on MLB TV and they were cutting in the Nats announcers. I thought FP Santangelo was getting ready to go kill Tabata right there on the field. Of course, if some Natspo had broken up Francisco Liriano’s perfecto, I’m sure he would have been gushing all over the never say die Nattitude.

    He’s such a herk. (A herk is someone I don’t care enough to move my typing finger all the way to the ‘J’ key, and so settle for a ‘H’).

  25. Sadly, LolBarves are playing too. Williams and Perez are both throwing OopsBalls.

  26. Damn I wanted to have seen that on TV

    //eta posted before I knew darnaud was hurt. Don’t need to see that

  27. This is certainly an interesting strategy, walking Jace to face Maybin with the bases loaded.

  28. Apparently, once d’Arnaud came out of the game, they assumed that no one replaced him to throw to on the force play.

  29. 67- Apparently our pitchers are just competent enough to not absolutely always fail.

    Bon appetit!

  30. Bannie, Jim Johnson’s pitching, so you should probably set down the knife and fork.

    Edit: Or maybe not. This bullpen competence is confusing.

  31. @74 – i’ll eat my neighbor’s house if JJ pitches a scoreless inning.

    Albeit tomorrow.

  32. Our bullpen tonight: Three innings. No runs. Three hits. Three strikeouts. One save. Two houses consumed. Productive evening!

  33. Great games from our fourth and fifth starters. Let’s sweep with our ace tomorrow. And come on, Pirates, whup them Nats good.

  34. I just want to say that BBREF War says that Cameron Maybin is less valuable ON DEFENSE than Justin Upton, and it also says that Jace Peterson gives back runs, too.

    So yeah, WAR is still broken.

  35. Who would have ever believed that we could be 2 games out of first after 69 games with Teheran sporting a 5.07 ERA and the worst bullpen in baseball? As bad as our division appears, I wouldn’t count us out. Our bullpen seems to be improving and if Teheran doesn’t improve he could lose his starting spot or go on the DL for some unknown reason. This could be the year we find out if Fredi is the major culprit in our end of year collapses or if we break that trend.

  36. @87—clearly, our depth of position players meant we needed to trade for two more pitchers. Oh, wait…

  37. I think we have an intention to keep arroyo for 2016? Otherwise this trade looks a bit pricy. Why are we keep taking bad contracts off Dbacks’ book?

    I like the way we keep adding arms but this trade is quite expensive.

  38. @90—yeah, but that’s not saying much. Our “depth” in reality is quite shallow.

  39. We basically bought a top prospect (plus anything Arroyo ends up giving us) for roughly $10M. What’s not to like? It’s not my money.

  40. I love it. Toussaint was the 16th overall pick last season.

    Wikipedia has already been updated, and humorously:

    “He signed on June 20. On June 20, 2015 he was traded to the Atlanta Braves along with Bronson Arroyo for Phil Gosselin.[8] After the trade, Dave Stewart was checked into a local Phoenix mental health facility.”

  41. I would ask why you give up potential value to dump BJ’s contract when your plan is to spend that money on prospects, but, with how Maybin’s turned out, Bronson Arroyo is probably going to be the WS MVP.

  42. Toussaint was a VU commit before he signed pro, so if the Braves aren’t going to draft any more actual Vandy players (besides Minor, who may be done with the organization), I guess I’ll have to settle for this.

    Jim Callis’ take: “Touki Toussaint giveaway by @Dbacks to @Braves to dump $9.5 mil of Bronson Arroyo’s salary is the most inexplicable trade I have ever seen.”

  43. Given the D-Backs’ new TV contract, a salary-dump trade makes as much sense for them as buying a fleet of snowplows for the city of Phoenix. Maybe there’s something up with Toussaint, but there’s no sign of any issues that would cause them to bail on a potential linchpin starter after two and a half months at low-A.

  44. Braves have made a bevy of brilliant trades this season. Let’s keep adding talent.

    On the game, this is one of my faves this season. As much as I hate to say it, the difference in this game was probably AJP’s grit. Think about it.


  45. Melvin goes yicketty last night against the DBacks. Makes them think Gosselin is probably a hidden gem.

  46. Goose was okay but redundant. Arroyo was okay once and could help Braves later this year. Touki Toussaint: the name alone is worth $10 million, and the kid’s supposed to be able to pitch! Braves win!

  47. Arroyo is an arm in the pen down the stretch and another flier to eat innings at #5. Gosselin is a guy from Gwinnett. This trade is brilliant.

  48. Not looking forward to hearing Arroyo play his guitar or watching runners steal bases on him because of his high leg kick, but I like the deal.


    So far this season, Gomes has been penciled into the lineup 37 times with a right-hander on the mound. Against them, he’s hitting an abysmal, and wholly predictable, .182/.226/.295.

    Why has he playing as often as he has?

    “Sometimes he’s our best option,” said Gonzalez. “We don’t have anyone else to hit. For instance, we just sent (Todd) Cunningham down and if he was here, he might have played instead of Jonny tonight.”

    A lack of preferable match-ups has also factored in. Atlanta went through a stretch of 27 games where they faced just one left-handed starter. Rather than completely bury him on the bench, Gonzalez “picked spots to throw him a bone against righthanders.”

    There’s also the Gomes factor.

    “Good things happen when he’s in the lineup,” opined Gonzalez, echoing other managers who Gomes has played under. “I know the splits, but he brings an energy to the lineup that you can’t quantify. You might not be able to explain it, but you can feel it.

    “If you believe all the numbers – sometimes you believe them and sometimes you go, ‘This is the reason,’ whether you like it or don’t like it, or somebody pooh-poohs it. He brings intangibles you can’t quantify.”

  50. It isn’t clear to me when or whether Arroyo will be back this year, but yeah, it’s hard not to love this trade. As Jeff Passan tweeted:

    But I actually recommend just searching “Touki Toussaint” on Twitter. Pretty much every major baseball writer who’s weighing in on the deal has excoriated the Diamondbacks. As long as Liberty is letting us spend money, we should spend it to bring guys like this into the system.

  51. Here are a few more from Baseball America and Baseball Prospectus guys:

  52. Thank you, John. I was already pleased with the trade, and that article made me feel even better.

    Now let’s pound the Mutts, and make it a perfect day.

  53. I have some serious indigestion – – but great trade to hear about. Love stockpiling arms on the farm. Some of those dogs won’t hunt, but sheer numbers will lead us to a few gems.

    Now let’s go get a sweep.

  54. That is one of the weaker attempts I’ve ever seen to justify the other team’s side in the trade. It is perfectly possible that Toussaint flames out in the upper minors, and that may seem like a retroactive justification for what the Diamondbacks have done. But Toussaint’s expected value, right now, given his stuff and draft position, is more than what the Diamondbacks sold him for. (This article from 2013, for example, estimates the value of a draft pick from 16 to 30 at around $20 million, all things considered.)

    Selling top prospects like this is like playing Russian Roulette: you may not get killed this time, but it ain’t smart.

  55. I’m not even sure it even qualifies as a justification. “We’ll see” is just an invitation to hindsight, irrespective of whether or not the use of hindsight is justified. Any decision *might* work out. It’s only expectations that matter.

  56. This from the Rosenthal piece:

    “‘The selections made are, from the A’s point of view, delightfully mad. … The worst teams in baseball, the teams that can least afford for their draft to go wrong, have walked into the casino, ignored the odds, and made straight for the craps table.’

    Lewis was guilty of overstatement — not every high school player fails, not every college player succeeds…”

    How can he read that Lewis quote, in which he explicitly references “odds” and read “every high school player fails, every college player succeeds”?

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