Once (last night, in fact) upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary, I decided to go to bed rather than complete the recap of the Braves’ 3-2 loss in 10 innings. The creative muse was not speaking to me immediately after that dreary rain-soaked affair, so I decided to sleep, perchance to dream. I remember that Coleridge’s poem Kubla Kahn came to him in a dream, as did the melody to Paul McCartney’s Yesterday.
When I woke this morning, I don’t remember any dreams. No problem: I realized I could do no better than the eloquence of our own estimable balladeer AAR in this space just 24 hours ago:
“Well, that sucked.”
OK, not everything sucked. The Braves’ pitching was quite good, certainly good enough to win. Huascar Ynoa wasn’t perfect, but he was excellent through the first four innings, shutting them out on two hits, with seven K’s and no walks. He appeared to tire in the fifth, as he surrendered singles to the first two batters. A sac fly moved the runner to third, and the pitcher bunted toward first. Freeman fielded the ball just as it looked like it was going foul, hesitated as he whiffed on trying to tag the baserunner, and threw wildly to home. No error was charged on the play, but it sure looked to me that a prompt and accurate throw home would have cut down the runner. Anyway, Ynoa then issued his first two walks of the game, the second to Blackmon with the bases loaded, bringing home the second Rockies’ run. Jacob Webb was summoned to face Trevor Story with the bases loaded, striking him out to end the threat.
The bullpen was terrific. Webb, Chavez, Matzek, Jackson, and Hancock tossed four and a third perfect innings.
Eddie Rosario didn’t suck. In fact he drove in the only two Braves runs on the night. He singled home a run in the second (following singles by Riley and Swanson), and then after the Rockies two run fifth, he tied the game with a solo homer in the bottom of the frame.
Other than Rosario (who wore the number 21 to honor fellow Puerto Rican Roberto Clemente), the Braves offense did suck. Or to be more precise, they struggled mightily to score despite ten hits and four hits on the night. All starters had hits except d’Arnaud, and Albies, Riley, and Rosario had two hits each. But the team left 12 runners on base and was collectively 1 for 10 with runners in scoring position. Squandering all those opportunities, while the pen was shutting them down, became more and more frustrating as the game wore on. They left the bases loaded in 7th and left two men on in the 8th . In the 9th, with two runners on and two outs, it looked like Freeman had won the game when he stroked a drive over the head of the center fielder. Actually, I should say that is sounded like he had won the game, given Chip’s call. Turns out the center fielder tracked it down fairly easily at the edge of the track.
So they went to the 10th. Minter allowed one single on the inning, but since the Manfred Man was already in scoring position, that was enough to give Colorado a one run lead. In the bottom of the 10th, Freeman was the Manfred Man (Come all without, Come all within), but Riley struck out, Duvall was HBP, d’Arnaud struck out, and Swanson flied out weakly to right.
The loss was doubly frustrating because the Phillies won (on a walkoff passed ball, no less) against the Cubs. The lead is down to 3.5.
It would really behoove the Braves to win today’s 12:20 series finale against the Rockies, with a tough West Coast trip coming up. We will count on Jethro Tull to right the ship. Given the forecast, it may take an ark to get the game in. They played in a steady rain throughout last night’s game, and by the end the field looked like the Okefenokee. I hate to imagine what it will be like today.
Postscript Chip Watch:
In the first inning, Chip noted that Rockies pitcher Antonio Senzatela has given up 39 of his 70 runs this season in the first 3 innings, so you’d better get to him early. The point, I guess, is that after the third inning, he gets very stingy in surrendering runs.
If he regularly went 8 or 9 innings, that would indeed mean that runs are very hard to come by in the last 4 or 5 innings; he would be giving up half as many runs per inning after the third. But it occurred to me that, like most pitchers nowadays, he may only average about six innings per start. If that’s the case, 39 out of 70 is not very disproportionate. I looked it up, and sure enough, he’s averaged between 5 and 6 innings per start. That means he has surrendered almost the same number of runs per inning after the first three innings as he has in the first three.
This one isn’t just on Chip. Obviously the stat folks handed him this one to use on the air. And it’s pretty minor, really. But it’s just one more example of citing statistics without supplying any context or without thinking about what they mean.