Rockies 3, Braves 2

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.

Author: tfloyd

Tfloyd was born on the site of Atlanta Fulton County Stadium. Before the stadium was built, that is; it was then the site of Piedmont Hospital. It took the Braves another 11 years to arrive on what is now Hank Aaron Drive, but I‘ve always liked to arrive at the ballpark early.

27 thoughts on “Rockies 3, Braves 2”

  1. JC’d previous…

    @35

    Well said Sir…

    My update…no surgery on Friday now…tested positive yesterday for Covid…so far, asymptomatic…vaccinated February, double Moderna…booster not yet available

    Main threat to long term health now is Braves numbers with RISP…frustration giving way to anger…never a good idea! Cheers

    tfloyd…

    thanks for duty above and beyond.

  2. Who do we think was the individual who pressured the error change? Cringeworthy. As tfloyd explains there were three separate behaviors to ponder. Terrible and costly plays by Freddie but oh how he must have cringed when he heard that announcement. The Gods punished him, and us, a short while later –
    it might be, it could be, it’s caught.

  3. Dansby is not hitting again. Either he’s worn down or just back in a bad rut. Interesting that Snit went with Arcia instead of Joc especially against a righty.

  4. Chip was describing a real thing, even if it may be the result of HR luck. Senzatela’s ERA in the first three innings is 4.70, in innings 4-6 it’s 3.56, and in innings 7-8 it’s 2.08. (This includes last night’s game and Chip’s info didn’t, but that doesn’t change my overall points.)

    Out of 25 starts, he’s only thrown 8.2 innings in the 7th & 8th (8 games), so it’s a small sample. His ERA in the first 6 innings of those games was 2.40, so it looks like the Rockies have only let him start the 7th if he’s pitching effectively. Seems like that would be the case for most pitchers, but in his case he’s continued pitching effectively when given the opportunity.

    His OPS the first time he’s faced a batter is .694, the second time it’s .823, and the third time it’s .693. (The fourth time it’s .571 on two singles in 7 PA.) It looks like his results have deteriorated on the second time through because his K/BB numbers got worse, and they’ve improved the third time because, though his K/BB numbers remained poor, he’s stopped giving up HR – only 1 in 155 3rd PAs after 6 in 224 1st PAs and 5 in 222 2nd PAs. I assume the K/BB changes are “real” and more likely to continue in future games and the lack of TTO HR is mostly not-likely-to-continue luck, even if it has resulted in fewer actual runs.

  5. @5: I thought the same thing as tfloyd when Chip said that, but there’s a real problem examining it the way you are. You are correct that he pitches effectively late when he’s pitching effectively, and some pitchers don’t, but that’s really on the manager/pitching coach, not on the player, right? There’s a huge survivorship bias problem here that’s really hard to correct for. If your manager can see you’re faltering before your results start to suck, you will always show the pattern Senzatela shows. And if your manager can’t tell, you will always be a guy who falters and looks very bad as the game wears on.

    In some sense, it doesn’t matter whether Senzatela’s good results in late innings are because Senzatela is good in late innings, or because Bud Black is. But if you were trading for Senzatela, you’d really want to know, unless you trade for Bud as well.

  6. Thanks, blazon. Sure hope that you remain asymptomatic, or if you do develop symptoms that the vaccine does its good work and keeps it from being serious.

  7. @6, sure, I’m giving credit to the manager/pitching coach for having been correct so far about when he should start the 7th. But Chip’s basic point, that unlike most pitchers, he has not been (or been allowed to be) increasingly ineffective in later innings, was correct. For what it’s worth, before this year his career ERA (426 innings total) was 5.03 in innings 1-3, 4.93 in 4-6, and 4.76 in 7+, so not as much of a decline as this year but still not the increase that is typical.

  8. My point was that he hasn’t been dramatically better after the third inning than he’s been in the first three. At least not to the extent that if you don’t score in the first three there is little hope that you will score later (as Chip all but said). His career shows remarkably similar results in innings 4-6 to innings 1-3. To the extent there is some improvement this year in innings 4-6 over innings 1-3, I think the sample size is sufficiently small and the results insufficiently different that there is not much of a conclusion to draw.

    Which is my main issue with the stats used on the broadcasts. The small sample size of most of them generally doesn’t warrant the conclusions that our announcers wish to draw.

  9. I’m beginning to think this pennant “race” is like War Games. “The only way to win is not to play.”

  10. Great day for a postponement considering where the team is. Hope we can win the division with margin and don’t have to make up this game.

  11. I’ve actually got tickets for the Braves/Mets game on October 2. It would be a very exciting game if we were in 1st place but hadn’t clinched at that time, but I hope we’ve clinched a few days before that. Does anyone have an opinion on the best time to clinch? I have definitely seen teams clinch too early and lose their momentum. I’ve also seen teams burn themselves out in a pennant race and have nothing left for the playoffs.

  12. Since there will be no recap, here’s what I planning to start with:

    Those who know me know my year divides, with some slight overlaps, into three seasons: Braves baseball season, Yale football season and Yale hockey season. Those who know me really well, by living with me for the last 27 years, got a COVID reprieve. Neither Yale hockey nor football had a season last year (and baseball was highly truncated), but Yale football will play their first game since a stirring 50-43 overtime victory over Harvard on November 23, 2019 on Saturday. I realize that waiting until mid-September to start playing college football will strike you SEC fans as quaint; indeed, our Saturday opponent, the Crusaders of the College of the Holy Cross, have two games played already. But to paraphrase Daniel Webster’s famous phrase about another Ivy League school: “It is, Sir, as I have said, a small football conference. And yet, there are those that love it.”

    In any case, preparations for my initial tailgate on Saturday have distracted me somewhat from baseball, but the overlap from mid-September to (if the dice roll appropriately) then end of October is my unending cornucopia of riches. While I learned to live without my sports passions for almost two years, it is a darkened world and one I don’t care to repeat.

    Chipwatch
    So I spent way too much time investigating the theory that pitchers have problems after they have pitched at Coors Field. I promised to apologize to Chip if there’s anything there. So what I did was the simplest thing I could think of, and even it was way more complicated than I would have liked. I took every non-Colorado pitcher’s first game after having pitched in Colorado. That totals 6,943 appearances. I found the next game they played and looked at their ERA. Of those 6,943 appearances, only 2,615 lowered their ERA in that next appearance: 38%. If there were absolutely nothing there, it ought to be a lot closer to 50%. I’m still not convinced, but there is at least some evidence for it.

  13. I’d go for clinching 4-5 games out so there’s time to give players a little rest (d’Arnaud & all the infielders this year) and set up the rotation for the postseason. I’m sure there are many examples of teams doing well or poorly regardless of when they clinched. The 1991 team had a long, draining pennant race before clinching in game 161, and it played well in the postseason.

    This might actually be one way the 28?-man roster limit in September may hurt some teams. Normally, if you clinch early, you can rest your starters and give innings to pitchers who won’t be needed in the postseason, but with only 28 on the September roster, there aren’t that many of those pitchers. Now if you rest your starters too much, you might tire out some of the back of the bullpen. It may just take more use of the Gwinnett shuttle, bringing up Wright or someone similar to pitch 4 innings or so and then replacing him with another Gwinnett pitcher the next day.

  14. Great non-recap, JF. 27 years, huh? She must enjoy your different outlook even more than your fans here. May you have many more wonderful years.

  15. Be safe, blazon

    All this talk of clinching has me nervously looking over my shoulder at the Phillies, who now appear not to be Phlunking and loom large in the rearview mirror

    Relative strength of remaining schedules offers no comfort, and hoping that the Muts do “us” a favour this weekend is wishful thinking

    I fear it will be all still to play for at the end of September

  16. Paternity leave
    if it is what we are led to believe
    must always be denied
    to those whose sliders so exquisitely hide.

  17. Grrrrrrrr!

    Gotta hand it to the Phills
    there was first an abundance of predictable ills
    then a Cubs seven becomes their seventeen
    we can imagine their delight at what came in between

  18. If anyone has time to do a preview of this road series and its importance, I’d be very grateful. Just reply in comments if you’re up for the challenge.

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