Apparently, the maximum theoretical number of caught stealings that can be recorded in a game is infinite. Thankfully, the possible number of blown saves in a game is constrained by the number of players on the roster. The Braves tested the latter boundary Sunday in Pittsburgh.
Julio Teheran turned a 4–2 lead over to the bullpen, after going 7 innings, allowing 6 hits and a walk, with 4 strikeouts and 0 earned runs. However, Arodys Vizcaino, Jim Johnson and Jose Ramirez barved it up, leading to a 6 – 5 Braves loss in 10 innings. In the 4th, Teheran picked off Starling Marte AND Freddie Freeman; Freddie was somehow handcuffed, or back on his heels, and dropped the throw. Freeman was charged with an error, and Marte was safe at 2nd, but charged with a caught stealing. This led to 2 unearned Pirate runs. In the 6th, Teheran picked off only Marte, his league-leading 23rd pickoff since 2013.
Vizcaino and Johnson gave up a run apiece in the 8th and 9th respectively, and Ramirez gave up a 2 run walk off homer to Marte in the bottom of the 10th, after the Braves scored a 5th run in the top of that inning. Vizcaino’s run was also unearned, but he was saved from further damage in the 8th by a nice double play; Johnson could not get the same help in the 9th as David Freese broke up Brandon Phillips’ turn on a slowly hit grounder. (It’s not clear to me that Phillips had a chance had he gotten a throw off.)
Aside from wasting a nice start from Teheran, the Braves wasted a 4 for 5, 2 home run, 1 stolen base effort from Freeman who (like millions of people before him) came up a triple short of the cycle. Dansby Swanson also went deep for the Braves. Marte went 4 for 5 for the Pirates.
The Braves are now 1 and 5 on the season as their planned exile post the SunTrust Park shakedown continues (in this context, “SunTrust Park shakedown” refers to the exhibition game played March 31st against the Yankees.) An off day Monday, then on to Miami for two.
Funniest thing I ever heard about Pittsburgh: (I swear I saw this on an ‘80’s Jeopardy episode.)
Alex Trebek: “This Pittsburgh sporting team acquired its nickname due to its habit of signing players away from other teams.”
Overly enthusiastic contestant: “WHO ARE THE PITTSBURGH STEALERS?!”