An Ode Which Is Offensive: Braves 5, StinkBait 4

Huascar, Boxcar, where for art thou Huascar? I think “eephus” hit it well last night. Boxcar has some things to work with and might end up pretty good. Last night, he did a reverse Ian Anderson. Instead of letting 3 score because of 1st inning walks, Boxcar let 3 score because of first inning hits. And, once again, the bullpen was at least “lights low” if not “lights out,” and the offense continued to chug.

Several runs, several runs, several runs onward, they create the Valley of Death, does this nine Bravos. Dropping behind 3 to 0 in the top half of the first inning is fairly unsettling. But, when you get 4 back in the bottom half, then that kind of makes up for the bad start, doesn’t it? And, it was largely the usual suspects, as Claude Rains so eloquently delivered some 78 years ago.

So, the Mega Pen got another chance after the third. Tyler Matzek continues to be a revelation. Will next year possibly put him in the rotation. He apparently has one more pre arb year and then 4 arb years. So, unless he blows up, we may have a good one there. Good pick up on info on Tyler last year to Ryan C. (right?). At least that is the way I remember the source.

Greene gave up another one and Melancon once again let a lot of havoc loose and somehow the defense saved him. A most amazing 1 – 3 – 6 double play with the last out at 3rd, apparently a “6” and not a “5” because Riley roomed too far off 3rd and Dansby saw it and ran to 3rd. Yeah, we’ll take that.

So, tonight it is Bryse Wilson (duck!!!) against Urine. Urine should be flushed through a sewer system. If we win and Phils lose, the east is ours. However, we need to keep up the pace to pass the Cubs for second seed. Let’s Go, Hammers!

29 thoughts on “An Ode Which Is Offensive: Braves 5, StinkBait 4”

  1. Thought I’d post this here since I’ve seen it wrong several places.

    The Marlins are not eliminated from the division with a loss today. While we would win a 2-way tiebreaker with Mia, Mia would win a 3-way tiebreaker with Atl and Phi. Of course 1 Philly loss coupled with an Atlanta win would render all of this academic.

  2. Thanks cliff. Agreed that Matzek has been amazing.

    So Kyle Wright would hypothetically start a game 3, yes? Game 4 would be… Josh Tomlin? I just hate, hate, hate the idea of being Fried back on short rest.

    Little surprised they never gave Newk a shot in the pen. Guess they still could, but running out of time.

    In other news, I love watching Freddie throw. He has a low grade cannon, and I always wonder what might have been if they let him stay at 3B.

  3. JonathanF mentioned a couple of threads ago that most of the proposed pitching matchups are 55-45 and even the most lopsided matchup (Kershaw-Ynoa in his example) is about 75-25.

    You can see this from 538’s prediction algorithm:

    Let’s take today’s DH between PHI and WAS. Game 1 is Nola vs Voth, about as lopsided as you can get and this gives a prediction of 54% chance of a Philly win. Game 2 is TBD vs TBD obviously even though Philly’s standard SP replacement rates slightly higher than Was but negligible. This game shows a 54% chance of a Was win.

    So according to 538 (not perfect I know), a lopsided SP matchup should account for about 8% increase in odds of a win. I’d take it, but it’s not insurmountable.

    This bear out looking at the NYY vs Tor series as well. Cole vs Roark (huge advantage NYY) gives a 68% chance to NYY while Tanaka vs Anderson (even) gives a 60% NYY edge.

  4. I’m looking forward to a Bryse Wilson start tonight. He’s looked better these past few outings and maybe he’s making adjustments. However, more to the point, I’m looking forward to hopefully seeing new faces get tested since Cole Hamels is out indefinitely.

    Also, Braves should stretch out Tyler Matzek to start in 2021. I’m sure he’ll continue his offseason work with Driveline, but having him back in the rotation would be a solid move.

  5. Tyler Matzek’s ranking via Statcast:

    Barrel Rate: 3.7% (Top 7% of MLB)
    Hard Hit: 25.4 % (Top 5% of MLB)
    K%: 8% (Top 8% of MLB)
    xERA: 2.34 (Top 3% of MLB)

    Seriously…what a signing. MilB deal at the end of 2019 turned one of the best relievers in the game with several more years of team control.

  6. Here are some relevant 538 SP adjustments by team

    Fried +26
    Anderson +15
    Wright -22
    Wilson -16
    Ynoa -14

    Nola +31
    Wheeler +23
    Elfin -11

    Flaherty +31
    Wainwright +9
    Kim +2

    Bauer +17
    Castillo +14
    Gray +12

    Gausman +10
    Smyly +2
    Cueto -5

    Alcantara +15
    Sanchez +14
    Lopez +9

    Woodruff +26 (Wow)
    Burnes +20
    Anderson -4

    Not perfect of course, I think they base it on some sort of rolling game score, but out 1-2 is competitive with anyone really, Gray or Castillo vs Wright in a decisive game 3 is a bit scary though.

  7. 4-I am with you Ryan, I’m glad Wilson gets a shot and I really wish Davidson or Muller could’ve gotten a look, just to see if Atl could catch lightning in a bottle at just the right time, but looks like this is what we are rolling with. Or JDLC for that matter.

  8. Very few thought Wright would beat Scherzer, but here we are. (More accurately, the Braves beat the Nationals that day.)

    We’re all aware of this team’s shortcomings, yet they stand with a 32 – 22 record and that is the best way to look at them.

  9. Quite surprised they never took a last look at Folty. I guess for obvious reasons but still. I still have a soft spot for him.
    @3 interesting read, Dusty. I would have thought a lopsided matchup accounts more than 8% increase in win probability. Good for us, I guess.

  10. Yesterday, Tyler Matzek and Darren O’Day pitched three absolutely critical innings. They threw 64 pitches, of which only 31 were strikes. They walked three men. Miraculously, despite seemingly having very little foreknowledge of where the ball was going, they gave up no hits and no runs.

    By contrast, Mark Melancon threw nine pitches, all strikes.

    Meanwhile, Dansby and Ronald hit back-to-back doubles to start the second inning, the Braves had 24 plate appearances, and made 21 outs: three singles, 0 XBH, 1 GIDP, 1 BB, 11 K. I hope they got plenty of sleep last night. After the first two batters in the second, they were swinging the bats like they had a bus to catch.

  11. That was one weird game last night & the 2 heads-up plays by Freddie really came in handy. Good to get a W in Game 1, considering the uncertainty we’re facing tonight. Let’s grab the flag & get our good pitchers rested up.

  12. Purely anecdotal, but 538 had a losing record on their win predictions from the previous day on the article Dusty sent. Like I said, purely anecdotal, but overall, 538 is tremendous at counting beans, but I don’t know how much I’d trust 538 to tell me who’s going to win a playoff game based on who is pitching. And if they’re telling me that Scherzer is only 50% more likely to outduel Boxcar Ynoa than your garden variety pitching match-up, then I’m very dubious. If you ran that Scherzer vs. Ynoa simulation 10 times, I think Scherzer would win at least 8, maybe 9 times, not 7.5. But even still, that’s an almost automatic L no matter how much the numbers are churched up.

    I want to be optimistic, and Dusty is providing a lot of terrific information that should quell concerns a tick. But it should tell you something that Cole Hamels is scratched for the playoffs, and it doesn’t even move the needle all that much. We were in a bad situation even if he was to pitch, and we’re in a bad situation now.

    I will, however, enjoy every single playoff game my Atlanta Braves win this year because they have been few and far between since I was in elementary school.

  13. 12-Thanks for the comment Rob, I would actually argue that you are making the case for the crapshoot when pointing out 538s record yesterday. Perfect example is TB vs NYM Fairbanks (-27) vs DeGrom (+58). So NYM was favored to win 59% and lost 2-1. In one sense I wouldn’t think of the prediction as wrong, something that has a 41% chance should happen 41% of the time, and in another sense, we should hope that 538 predictions can be wrong as I’m sure LAD would be favored in all 7 games against Atl. And back to that NYM game, that really is as lopsided as it gets in matchups and TB won with only slightly a better team than NYM.

  14. @2, if I remember correctly, what might have been if they had left Freddie at 3B was expected to be a shoulder injury.

    On 538, for what it’s worth, its preseason prediction model gave the Braves the fourth best (8%) chance of winning the division in 2018, third (21%) in 2019, and third (22%) this year, behind Washington and the Mets each year and also behind Philadelphia in 2018. That’s about a 1 in 270 chance of winning the division all three years. 538 is based in New York, but I didn’t see anything in its explanation of the model about giving extra credit to teams based on their closeness to NYC.

  15. The 538 model has some significant issues, especially early in the season, when the WAR predictions from PECOTA and even team payroll factor into the initial rating. All the inaccuracies pretty much even out as more games are played so game predictions and playoff odds are pretty accurate by the end of a normal season. The model right now has the Pods and the White Sox still really underrated and the Braves have finally gotten separation from the Nats.

    Over at the soccer side of things their model puts 1/3 weight on what a website lists as trade valuations for the players on the team. This results in my team, Leeds, beginning the season ranking last in the league even though most pundits expect them to be comfortably in the top half of the table. Anyone placing bets based on 538’s odds is going to lose a lot of money!

  16. And I just noticed they have the Dodgers at a 31% chance of winning the Series. Was this the wrong week for them to stop sniffing glue?

  17. A few days ago I believe the Braves radio announcers said that Tampa Bay had only 4 quality starts all year. Did I hear that correctly? They have the 2nd best record in baseball. What is their secret? They are 13th in team OPS and 5th in team ERA. The stats don’t seem to support a 36 and 19 record. We are first in team OPS and 16th in team ERA.

  18. 17 – Doesn’t seem far off to me, Vegas has LAD at 7/2 which is 28.6% I think, though that’s inflated by 20% or so as futures tend to add up to 120% so more like 23.8% true odds per Vegas.

  19. They need to win 4 series and even if they are a 2/3 favorite in all of them (and Jonathan will tell you they are not…) that should only be about a 20% chance of winning it all.

  20. This has nothing to do with current events, and please let me know if posts like these are unwanted here, but I stumbled across this and found it fascinating: Can you name the two pitchers with the most complete-game shutouts on fewer than 100 pitches in MLB history? Hint: Both of them are former Braves, and Tom Glavine is not one of them.

  21. @21–off the top of my head, I can’t imagine that Maddux is not one of them. As to the other, Knucksie tossed a lot of shutouts but I guess Spahn is more likely the answer.

  22. Bryse pitched pretty well in that long relief appearance a couple of weeks or so ago. Hopefully he can carry that over.

  23. @ 18, td,

    Rays pythag record is 33 and 22. a half game up on the Braves.

    I don’t know where to find second order and third order pythags. Basically they go into run components as opposed to runs and then project number of runs and then project number of wns.

    The only REAL (non random) thing that seems to cause this is unusually good bullpen production, particularly managed with appropriate leverage increasing from worst pitcher to best pitcher. So, the Rays are probably not so much of a superteam as they may appear.

  24. #21
    The 1st guy is obvious.

    The other guy might be a bit surprising, but he was a decent pitcher who toiled for some brutal Braves clubs. He cut quite a profile, too.

  25. I cheated and looked it up. The second guy may have been a decent pitcher, but I wouldn’t have guessed it in fifty chances. Part of the key here is that we don’t have pitch count data before 1973. And in the last twenty years no one much goes nine innings and there are many more strikeouts so the feat basically doesn’t happen any more.

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