Braves Journal, The House That Mac Built

I don’t want them forget Ruth; I just want them to remember me. -Hank Aaron

09 May

Atlanta 5, Colorado 2 – MLB – Box Score

Wait, can the Rockies stay for a few more days? I’ll miss them… The Braves swept the series behind Russ Ortiz and some early runs, getting five in the first four innings, then held on. Gary Sheffield scored twice and drove one in, and every Braves starter except Julio Franco (including Ortiz) had a single hit.

Ortiz (7 2/3, 2 ER, 6 K, 4 BB) threw a ton of pitches, 131, with 74 of them being strikes. Yes, it was a double header and you don’t want to tire your bullpen, but Bobby had three relievers he didn’t use at all in the series. Not surprisingly, Ortiz tired in the eighth, King came on to allow two more inherited runners to score, and Hernandez got out of it.

Then, even more foolishly, Bobby sent John Smoltz back out there to get another save, even with a three run lead and three relievers gathering cobwebs in the pen. Why couldn’t Jung Bong or Trey Hodges finish the game? The only explanation is that Bobby thinks that maximizing Smoltz’s save totals is a more important goal than maximizing the number of times he can use his best reliever with the game in doubt.

On the other hand, Smoltz might have already been getting warm in case Hernandez couldn’t get out of the eighth. In which case, forget I said anything.

The Braves now have a two-game lead over Montreal. Next up is a real challenge; the defending NL champion Giants, owners of the NL’s best record and the league’s best player. Should be fun.

5 Responses to “Atlanta 5, Colorado 2”

  1. 1
    Troy Says:

    I don’t know guys, I didn’t really see that much wrong with using Smoltz twice yesterday. I do know what you’re saying about the usage and I thought while watching it how silly it is that the same three guys were used in both games, while three others go unused all day.

    Then again, Smoltz is our best pitcher, and my favorite Brave. I love to see him out there. My guess is, with his starter history, and the fact that he probably won’t break 100 innings this season, that he wants to get out there as often as possible. And Bobby, who’s seen him throw complete games and be a badass for 15 years, probably also feels a lot more comfy putting Smoltz in in the ninth instead of a youngster like Hodges or Dawley.

    It’s weird, i see people complaining that he doesn’t get enough two-innning saves, and then he’s used for 2 and a third innings after a day off, and people are saying that was a mistake. Somehow, i don’t see his performance yesterday as being the type of thing that would prevent him from coming out and saving a game tonight, if need be.

    And the other factor is, you never know when you’ll need a closer. The next three games could be blowouts and we might not need him until next week. I say, the more innings Smoltz pitches, the more likelihood we win, and thus I’m all for him getting in the game.

    While i’m at it (sorry so long), what does everyone think about the “games won when he pitches” streak that seems to be in every writeup now? I used to think, ah that stat is kinda dumb and misleading. But now i like it more, because I think about it from the opponent’s point of view: if you are playing the Braves, and you see John Smoltz trotting out to the mound, you are going to lose the game. That’s beautiful.

  2. 2
    Creg Says:

    I don’t necessarily have a problem with using Smoltz twice, either. Remember, it was a one-run game when he entered Game 1 and the Rocks had scored four runs the previous inning. But it may hurt them with no off day before the Giants series. Smoltz is likely to be needed this weekend the way the Giants can work the count…

  3. 3
    Mac Thomason Says:

    I wouldn’t have minded so much if it had been a one-run, or even two-run game. But three? In that situation, any major league pitcher — and certainly Bong and Hodges, who look like good ones — should be able to get the save. And you could get John ready in a hurry if they got in trouble.

  4. 4
    Matt Davis Says:

    Re: the pseudo-stat mentioned above.

    There is correlation and then there is causation, and the one does not mean the other.
    This is taught in high school but it’s probably unfair to expect writers to grasp this crazy, obscure mathematical fact.

    Speaking of numbers and the stupidity of using a pitcher according to a dumb statistic, has anyone else seen the figure for the percentage of the time a team wins the game when leading after 8 innings? If I remember it right it is something like 92%. So we are paying Smoltz – the best pitcher on our team – $10 million a year to pitch 70 innings and boost that percentage up to about 94 or 95%? By the way 70 innings is under 5% of the total innings in a regular season. [Somebody, possibly Neyer, wrote a column about this and used actual figures.]

    I’m not against having a closer. I just don’t think he should be the best pitcher on the team and I don’t think any rational human being would calculate their worth at $10 million a year. Yet somehow baseball is (mostly) still being run by a bunch of idiots who refuse to pull their heads out of their asses. Luckily this is slowly changing (speaking of which…LET’S GO RED SOX!)

  5. 5
    chris Says:

    matt, i can tell your not a ny fan, becuase if you were, you would know the yankess won titles on the back of marino, and the mets lost on the backs of armando. and if your an atlanta fan, you would know atlanta would probally have 3 world titles if they had ever had a bull pen in some of those world series

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