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28 Apr

Clutch game thread: April 28, Cards at Braves

Thought of the day:

I do not believe that athletes are better people than us, I do not believe that athletic contests are tests of character, and I do not believe that there is any such thing as an ability to perform in clutch situations. It’s just a lot of poppycock.

Baseball men often like to attribute the success or failure of a team to clutch performances. Those of us who study baseball systematically know that this is largely untrue, that the number or runs a team scores is a predictable outcome of their hits, their walks, their home runs, and their other offensive accomplishments — and further, that the number of games the team wins is largely a predictable outcome of their runs scored and runs allowed. Clutch performance can increase or decrease a team’s wins, but clutch successes and failures generally even out over the course of a season, leaving most teams with about the won-lost record they deserve.

– Bill James, The New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract. New York: Free Press, 2001. 349.

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209 Responses to “Clutch game thread: April 28, Cards at Braves”

  1. 1
    Gadfly Says:

    Now see, as always, Bill James states it in a much more reasonable way. His fans turn that comment into “clutch doesn’t exist,” when that isn’t what he is saying at all.

    I’d agree that over time, especially when looking at an entire team over an entire season, these things will generally even out. That doesn’t mean that there aren’t people who tend to perform better in high pressure situations (he says that there aren’t, but then goes on to address a completely different argument.) Again, closers are the perfect example.

  2. 2
    Stu Says:

    [Post deleted because it was screwing things up. -- MT]

  3. 3
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    That was not a clutch comment, Stu.

  4. 4
    Gadfly Says:

    @3: Haha, that has to be the funniest thing I’ve read in here in a while. Definitely failed in the clutch there Stu. You’re clearly not the David Ortiz of blog commenting.

    With that, I think I’ve avoided the rain enough for one afternoon…

  5. 5
    Stu Says:

    I know, AAR, the “first” thing is annoying. Sorry, Mac.

  6. 6
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    The thing is, the Braves don’t always even out “in the clutch.” You don’t go 11-30 in one-run games or underperform your Pythagorean expectation by 7 wins — as we did last year — without having some serious fingers on the scale.

  7. 7
    Seat Painter Says:

    I have been persuaded by Mr. James that ‘clutch’ doesn’t exsist. However, is there an anti-clutch? In other words does choking exist, and is A-Rod the poster boy?

  8. 8
    Mac Thomason Says:

    By and large, if you can’t perform in pressure situations, you wash out long before you get to the major leagues.

  9. 9
    Marc Schneider Says:

    Gadfly,

    I’m not arguing against the idea of clutch in general–maybe it exists especially for something like pitching or making putts where you can to a greater degree control the results of your action. But hitting is different–you can do everything right, be as cool as a cucumber and still fail if the pitcher executes. I’m sure some people perform better under pressure than others, but major league baseball players have already had to perform under enormous pressure just to reach the big leagues. And, in baseball, for one player to succeed, another has to fail, but both may be performing equally as well. Hitting is arbitrary in a sense anyway since hitters make outs far more than they reach base. The point is, if you are saying someone is a clutch hitter based on the results of certain at bats, how do you know that the result comes from the hitter’s skill or the pitcher’s mistake. If a guy hits a hanging curve for a home run to win the game, is that clutch hitting or choke pitching?

  10. 10
    Joshua Says:

    Whether you believe in ‘clutch’ or not, you have to believe in a player’s mentality. Some ball players just have the right mindset for hitting in high-pressure situations and are relaxed. Others may be more nervous or even over-anxious to succeed, which would affect performance. Chipper can perform in high-leverage situations b/c he can stay calm and within himself. Others (i.e. the rest of this god foresaken team) just try to do too much (maybe over-anxious). But either way it results in what many think of as ‘clutch’. In reality, it just boils down to individual personalities.

  11. 11
    braves14 Says:

    Comment #2 was hilarious. Fail! lol

  12. 12
    Stu Says:

    11—???

  13. 13
    sansho1 Says:

    Chipper has an ability to perform in the clutch because he has an ability to perform, period.

    Career OPS – 955
    2Out w/RISP – 901
    Late & Close – 930
    Score Tied – 913

    IOW, yes, Chipper is somebody you want at the plate in a clutch situation. But it’s because he can freaking hit, not because he raises his level of play.

  14. 14
    Jeff K Says:

    I agree with Gadfly. I haven’t read the book, but James doesn’t explain here what he means by an “ability” to perform in clutch situations. Does he mean that teams as a whole generally cannot (validly) be characterized as clutch performing? What about individual players? If he means the latter, then I don’t see how a team W-L record supports or refutes his argument.

    More fundamentally, there seems to me to be a disconnect in arguing that RS and RA can accurately predict W-L records and, therefore, that success or failure is not due to clutch performances. Clutch performances result in superior RS and RA — definitionally so — and so are correlated with W-L records. James would argue that they are so closely (statistically significant) correlated that seasonal W-L records can be accurately predicted using RS and RA.

  15. 15
    sansho1 Says:

    Here’s a simple test — if you believe there are such things as clutch players, name one. If this ability exists, then surely somebody is famous for a career of raising his level of play in high pressure situations. So who is it?

  16. 16
    Mac Thomason Says:

    Underestimating the Fog.

    Not to put words in James’ mouth, but I think what he would argue is that there is no evidence that clutch performance is an “ability” — that some players perform better than expected in certain situations — but there is enough “noise” in the data that you can’t say, for certain, that there is no such ability. It is, of course, very hard to prove a negative.

  17. 17
    ububba Says:

    I’m comfortable with using the term “clutch” for players who perform well in the biggest games (i.e.—post-season).

    Whether it’s them far exceeding their career numbers or equaling already impressive career numbers, it works for me.

    It’s not that complicated.

  18. 18
    sansho1 Says:

    #17

    Except that only one of those is “clutch” — the other is “good”.

  19. 19
    Frank Says:

    15–I discount the clutch business–or more accurately think (a la 16 that there is too much noise)–but players often cited are Reggie, Jeter, and Schilling

    I tend to think these are just good players not particularly clutch ones.

  20. 20
    csg Says:

    too bad Esco wont let Chipper be clutch

  21. 21
    Frank Says:

    Does make one wonder if there is such a thing as unclutch baserunning? Or would that be non-clutch?

  22. 22
    mraver Says:

    Here’s the best write-up of the New And Improved Francoeur I’ve seen:

    “As Steven Goldman observed, the “new” Francoeur’s walk rate doesn’t mark him as a vastly different animal from the one who took a brief refresher course on the joys of Jackson, Mississippi, home of the Braves’ Double-A affiliate, last July. The Braves’ fourth-place finish saved the homegrown hacker from an appearance on last year’s list, but the team’s off-season rearmaments may have given him a better shot at cracking this year’s edition, even though he’s unlikely to plumb the depths to which he (and his BABIP) descended in 2008. Standard small-sample disclaimers apply, but Francoeur’s actually swinging at fewer pitches than he has at any point in his major league career, with most of the difference coming from a newfound tendency to lay off of balls outside the strike zone (and to strike them with greater frequency when he does commit). Despite the improvements, he still comes in well above the league rates in both categories, hardly a surprise given his former status as the personification of impatience.

    Francoeur has been hitting more balls in the air in 2009, which should translate to an increased incidence of extra-base hits. If he can maintain his career-high contact rate and career-low strikeout rate, he has a shot at a league-average OBP. Unfortunately, “league average” constitutes a problematically low ceiling for a corner outfielder, but unless Francoeur learns to stops swinging and love the walk (an increasingly remote prospect), he’ll continue to bump against it, with fluctuations in batting average determining how much headroom he has to spare.”
    - Ben Lindbergh

    http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=8786

  23. 23
    Stu Says:

    [Post deleted because it was screwing things up. -- MT]

  24. 24
    Jeff K Says:

    @13 – Or someone who believes in this sort of thing could simply argue that Chipper isn’t a clutch hitter. Pujols:

    OPS

    Career 1.050
    2 outs/RISP 1.167
    Late & Close 1.050

    His OBP with 2 outs/RISP is over 80 points higher than career (.510 compared to .426)! Great eye, no holes in his swing, and he cuts it down just to drive in the run.

  25. 25
    Mac Thomason Says:

    I would take a league-average OBP from Francoeur if he puts up a slugging percentage well above the league. Unfortunately, his OBP of .304 is 43 points below the league, and his slugging percentage of .440 only ten points above…

  26. 26
    sansho1 Says:

    #19

    Reggie — was certainly successful on the biggest stage several times, but was also unsuccessful several times. In 17 postseason series, he exceeded his normal production 9 times, and failed to reach it 8 times. IOW, any prediction prior to a postseason series that Reggie would shine had just as much chance of being wrong as right. His performance in high-leverage situations during the regular season was practically identical to all situations.

    Jeter — career regular season OPS, 845. Postseason, 846.

    Schilling — can’t argue with his postseason success, although his “clutch situation” performance in the regular season is in line with his overall numbers. I’m actually something of a believer in clutch pitchers, as they are the initiators of the action. Probably should have mentioned that.

    “His OBP with 2 outs/RISP is over 80 points higher than career (.510 compared to .426)! Great eye, no holes in his swing, and he cuts it down just to drive in the run.”

    Well yeah, that could have something to do with the 80 IBBs in 592 PAs in those situations.

  27. 27
    Jeff K Says:

    Pujols’ SLG% is also 32 points higher w/ 2 out/RISP (.657 compared to .625 career). Does that mean he’s getting those special 2-base IBB?

  28. 28
    Stu Says:

    32 points of slugging (an extra base once every 30 ABs—fixed, thanks, sansho) doesn’t strike me as a huge difference in a not-huge sample size. Am I wrong about that?

  29. 29
    sansho1 Says:

    His SLG is also lower in late & close situations and in tie games. See, that’s the point — if he’s clutch, there should be no doubt.

    #27

    Actually, that’s one base every 30 ABs.

  30. 30
    Mac Thomason Says:

    Except that late in close games you’re facing closers and top setup men, who collectively have ERAs around 2.50.

  31. 31
    Dix Says:

    I realize it’s annoying when people say “First!” when they lead off a thread, but why is Stu being ridiculed for lack of clutchness?

  32. 32
    sansho1 Says:

    OK, so maybe that brings him back up to his normal production.

  33. 33
    Mac Thomason Says:

    ‘Cause he said it second.

  34. 34
    Jeff K Says:

    Pitchers don’t have standard clutch statistics, but I decided to look at John Smoltz given his reputation as a post-season clutch performer. Remarkable, given that post-season performance is (of course) against the top performing teams each season. I think the reputation is well deserved.

    Career

    ERA 3.26
    W-L% .588
    WHIP 1.170
    SO/9 8.0

    Post-Season

    ERA 2.65
    W-L% .789
    WHIP 1.135
    SO/9 8.4

  35. 35
    Catz Says:

    Why are we still using Reyes… I never really thought he was that good

  36. 36
    Dix Says:

    @32 – If you say so…it was the first post I read this thread.

    Plus, an unsuccessful leadoff attempt is only unclutch if it happens late. It’s not like two consecutive whiffs to end it a la the previous thread.

  37. 37
    sansho1 Says:

    In a nutshell, I just happen to think that hitting, being as reactive as it is, doesn’t really lend itself to clutchiness. Pitching might be another matter — the pitcher knows what he’s about to try to do, and it’s up to him to do it. He’s the stimulus, not the response.

    “@32 – If you say so…it was the first post I read this thread.”

    Now THAT’s funny stuff!

  38. 38
    csg Says:

    Catz, he’s not and thats a good question. We are trying to buy about 4 weeks out of Reyes before they call up Hanson. Hopefully we’ll still be at .500 by then

  39. 39
    Jeff K Says:

    @27, 28 et al. — I think the point I’m trying to make is that players like Pujols (and Chipper for that matter) are rightly considered clutch players because they perform at as good or better levels when the opposing team is doing everything it can to get them out. Someone silly might be tempted to say that opposing teams are always trying their best to get every player out, but that’s not the case of course — starters having to go at least 6-7 innings, specialized relief, specialized defenses, etc.

  40. 40
    Jeff K Says:

    @38 — BS. Most hitters say they study pitchers and have a plan for every AB. The best hitters know what the pitcher is likely to do (or fail to do) before the pitcher does. And pitchers aren’t robots — skillfully executing their plans to pre-programmed perfection.

  41. 41
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    Like sansho says, the guys we tend to think of most often as clutch are the guys who have had a whole lot of opportunities to do so. Dave Justice had a lot of wonderful moments — and 63 playoff RBI is a whole hell of a lot — but he had so damn many at bats that his overall playoff BA is .224. Cap’n Jetes and Papi have had a lot of incredible moments in October, but they’ve also had approximately a billion playoff at-bats.

    On the other hand, Mariano Rivera seems to be demonstrably clutch. How the hell else could he have a sub-1 ERA in more than 100 innings against the best teams in baseball?

  42. 42
    Joshua Says:

    @41 – I say BS to that. You can’t plan for situations. You don’t know what it is going to be like with the bases loaded and you’re down a run in the 9th. You don’t know how you are going to react. These are human beings, not robots (as you so eloquently put it). Some people know how to react in those situations, and others don’t.

  43. 43
    Stu Says:

    “@32 – If you say so…it was the first post I read this thread.”

    Now THAT’s funny stuff!

    Sigh.

  44. 44
    Dix Says:

    When you say it like that…”some people know how to react” in those situations, it makes it impossible to agree. If clutch was about knowing how to react, it would be a skill and not a quality or attribute.

    Unclutch players know they shouldn’t strike out with the bases loaded, they just do it anyway. Just like how everyone responds when Gadfly posts. Am I to say that you are all therefore unclutch because you don’t know how to act in that situation?

  45. 45
    Joshua Says:

    I have already said that I don’t consider it ‘clutch’. I said I believe people handle those situations differently depending on who they are. Are they going up there thinking “I don’t want to be the one to screw this opportunity up” or are they going up there “I want this opportunity because I know I can deliver”. Those two mindsets can be the difference between succeeding and failing in those tight situations.

  46. 46
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    #42: Of course, one reaction would be to say that, since you have no idea what things will look like when you’re down to your last out in the 9th, you might as well try to score as many runs as you possibly can with your other 26 outs: hence, don’t do things like trying to bunt, make productive outs, or otherwise play for 1 run rather than for a big inning.

  47. 47
    Joshua Says:

    @46 – totally agree with you.

  48. 48
    csg Says:

    anyone notice we only have 3 SB’s, next lowest in baseball is two teams with 6

  49. 49
    Jeff K Says:

    @42 — I guess all those great hitter are just liars. Or self-deceived.

  50. 50
    sansho1 Says:

    No hitter can know the intended pitch, location, and velocity before the pitcher does, unless the pitcher is Kyle Farnsworth.

  51. 51
    Joshua Says:

    @49 – maybe a little of both.

  52. 52
    Jeff K Says:

    No pitcher knows the pitch, location, and velocity either. Especially if you’re Niekro or Wakefield.

  53. 53
    Dix Says:

    They know the intended pitch, location, and velocity, which is what Sansho said.

    “Vision — you can’t play ball without it,” manager Bobby Cox said.

  54. 54
    Jeff K Says:

    I was able to read Sansho’s post — my point though, echoing my earlier post, is that hitters don’t hit intentions. At least good ones don’t anyway.

  55. 55
    PWHjort Says:

    A more recent Bill James article on Clutch hitting. By the way, we had a heck of a debate on this issue over at the AJC blog today:

    “A reader tells me that I have taken so many positions on the issue of clutch hitting that he has given up hope of following me. Well, for the sake of clarity, I have had only two positions on this issue. First, in following the lead of other researchers, I thought that there was no such thing as an ability to hit in clutch situations. Second, thinking more about the issue, I decided that we had jumped the gun in reaching that conclusion—thereby introducing bias into our research–and that we should haved waited and studied the issue more carefully.

    Whether any hitter has an ability to hit in clutch situations is a debatable issue on which I have no position. In any season, however, it is clear that some players come through more often in clutch situations, if only because of luck.”

    I’m still waiting for ONE scientific study that suggests that clutch hitting is a repeatable skill, that is, hitters possess an ability to preform better in pressure situations. Until then, I have no opinion.

  56. 56
    PWHjort Says:

    A quote from the Nate Silver of Baseball Prospectus: “Producing wins at the plate is about 70 percent a matter of overall hitting ability, 27 percent dumb luck, and perhaps 3 percent clutch skill. It’s your choice what you do with that 3 percent.” Another quote: “Regressing clutch ratings in even seasons against clutch ratings in odd seasons results in an R-squared of .10. Simply put, it suggests that 10 percent of clutch-hitting performance can be explained by skill, with the remaining 90 percent a matter of luck. That’s a much higher skill quotient than other studies have identified. But to paraphrase Bill James, the observation that clutch-hitting performance is random is more true than false.”

  57. 57
    braves14 Says:

    lineup per DOB

    1. Omar Infante, 2B
    2. Escobar, SS
    3. Chipper, 3B
    4. Kotchman, 1B
    5. Francoeur, RF
    6. Diaz, LF
    7. Schafer, CF
    8. Ross, C
    9. Reyes, LH

  58. 58
    stupup74 Says:

    ‘Clutch’ hitting is kind of a misnomer.

    Hitters that take a good approach to the plate, swing at good pitches and GET PITCHES to hit, tend to execute in ANY situation. Executing is not just getting a hit, it is also making an out that moves runners over or in.

    A personal example: I get frustrated with Chipper because IMO he doesn’t come through in the ‘cluth’. That said, he had NO PROTECTION. He is having to go after pitcher’s pitches or walk in many situations. After reading this discussion and WATCHING games, I am beginning to change my opinion. (He still could be better.)

    Those facts, I feel, tend to support 55 and 56 as far as percentages. If a pitcher makes his pitch he usually has a high percentage of success on a given day.

    That said, percentages and stats are one thing, but there is still something to be said for WATCHING the games. As a fan, we know who we feel like will come through and who will not come through.

    Colin Cowheard (and I hate the guy) made a point one day, he said “I don’t need stats to know Derek Jeter is a gamer, I can SEE that”. There is some truth in that. Stats and fielding/hitting zones are useful tools, but eyeballs still have a place in the game.

    Watch the game tonight, especially late if the braves are behind 1 or 2 runs late. Notice the what the braves take and what they swing at. See if they have good approaches tonight. If they succeed I bet they lay off the junk and drive the hittable stuff, or they will execute and get a bunt down or ground ball to the right.

    However, after watching this same core group for 2-3 years, I bet they will swing at stuff diving away from them or up in their eyes. They will hit the ball in the air too much and make unproductive outs.

  59. 59
    ububba Says:

    #18
    I can’t totally agree, Sansho.

    There are plenty of “good” players like who don’t come through in the post-season. Does it matter what we call them?

    As for the “good” ones who have done it for, let’s say, more than one PS series—Rivera, Rose, Smoltz, Jeter, Koufax, Molitor, Bob Gibson, Brock, Schilling, etc.—I have no problem bestowing them with glittery classifications—clutch, special, bad-ass, king of the ultra-pressurized small sample size, whatever.

    I’m not going to attempt to explain it with, “Well, that’s what they do.” For those situations, IMO, they deserve more credit than that.

  60. 60
    csg Says:

    would you say Tiger Woods is just good or is he clutch?

  61. 61
    braves14 Says:

    Cardinals score one without getting a ball out of the infield. Sheesh.

  62. 62
    oldtimer? Says:

    unclutch?

  63. 63
    Mac Thomason Says:

    So, what inning will Reyes panic and collapse?

  64. 64
    Jeremy Says:

    I say the 4th.

  65. 65
    stupup74 Says:

    63

    It will be in whatever inning he gets past 80 pitches

  66. 66
    Mac Thomason Says:

    I say send up a pinch-hitter.

  67. 67
    csg Says:

    5k’s in 2IP

  68. 68
    csg Says:

    at least Frenchy has become Frenchy again. Now down to .276 still no signs of power

  69. 69
    Frank Says:

    Part of the problem of determining clutch is simply defining it. Situations other than late and close can be clutch; consider the AB by Kotchman and Reyes.

  70. 70
    braves14 Says:

    Reyes has been pretty good tonight so far.

  71. 71
    Mac Thomason Says:

    He was even better in his last start — until he wasn’t.

  72. 72
    Frank Says:

    68–I guess the critics are no longer silenced–nor should they be since Frenchy’s ops is now around .740

    JoJo will probably collapse but I thought he was unlucky giving up the run the first. The hbp was cheap and the grounder deflected by chipper might not have scored Rasmus.

  73. 73
    PWHjort Says:

    10$ Escobar makes a baserunning error.

  74. 74
    braves14 Says:

    Ducks on the pond. Clutchman up to the plate.

  75. 75
    csg Says:

    so we have four 1B showing good numbers with small samples in our system

    Barbaro (who must love AAA by now)
    Greg Creek in Mississippi (never heard of him)
    Gerardo Rodriguez in Rome (5hr in 70AB)
    Freddy Freeman in Mrytle Beach

  76. 76
    Frank Says:

    sheesh–he did

  77. 77
    PWHjort Says:

    PAY UP!

  78. 78
    Stu Says:

    Wow.

    At what point do we bench the moron for a game?

  79. 79
    RJ in KS Says:

    Where’s Renteria?

  80. 80
    drewdat Says:

    Technically, Kotchman did just ground into another DP.

  81. 81
    Jeremy Says:

    It’s comical at this point.

  82. 82
    c.shorter Says:

    sit him. do something. he doesn’t understand.

    we all loved it back when he’d take 2 bases on a walk… but we knew this kind of recklessness comes with it.

  83. 83
    sansho1 Says:

    that’s just sad

  84. 84
    Wick Says:

    Yunel just crossed the thin line between aggressive and stupid!

  85. 85
    braves14 Says:

    What exactly just happened?

  86. 86
    csg Says:

    wish I knew what happened

  87. 87
    Dan Says:

    What is up with Escobar? That’s at least three stupid outs on the bases already this year.

  88. 88
    Mac Thomason Says:

    New poll.

  89. 89
    csg Says:

    easy one there Mac

  90. 90
    Frank Says:

    Dr. James does arms–anyone know a doc that Esco can see to get his head out of his a$$?

  91. 91
    drewdat Says:

    Kotchman hit another weak grounder with men on base, looked like a regular DP ball, but maybe it was too slow. Anyways, Pujols fielded it and lollipopped a backhand to Greene at second, way too slow to turn the DP. Escobar was running home since he assumed the throw was going to go to first. Greene threw home and they got Escobar going back to third.

  92. 92
    drewdat Says:

    Nice play by Infante, but Chris Kaman was safe at first.

  93. 93
    braves14 Says:

    “Casey Kotchman grounds into double play, first baseman Albert Pujols to shortstop Khalil Greene to catcher Yadier Molina to third baseman Brian Barton. Yunel Escobar out at third, Chipper Jones out at second. Three out.”

    Edit: Oh, I see.

  94. 94
    Frank Says:

    It’d be an insult to Prado to call such putrid play a Prado, so a Yunel it will be.

  95. 95
    Jeremy Says:

    Escobar rounded third too far.

  96. 96
    PWHjort Says:

    That’s an easy “Aye”.

  97. 97
    PWHjort Says:

    Do they have 3rd base coaches in Cuba?

  98. 98
    sansho1 Says:

    Yeah, that’s better. The “Prado” can go back to its original meaning.

    BTW, reason #425309745092 to hate Chip Caray. Given a half-inning to come up with an answer to “what park did Ernie Johnson, Sr. make his major league debut in 59 years ago”, he comes up with Jarry Park. In Montreal. In 1950.

  99. 99
    NickC Says:

    Yay. That’s the first time this year I’ve heard Chip’s “the game will soon be all about speed” speech.

  100. 100
    Mac Thomason Says:

    This does not include:

    1. Caught stealing (unless it’s one of those things where a blunder is labeled a CS);
    2. Picked off first;
    3. Failed sac flies (unless it’s a popup to the shortstop or something);
    4. Things that are clearly Snitker’s fault.

  101. 101
    Wick Says:

    Is Pat Rocket available for SS?

  102. 102
    Frank Says:

    I didn’t care for the proposed Peavy trade. I’m beginning to wonder if I was wrong … don’t think so, but …

    The 6 year olds on my kid’s little league team are smarter baserunners than Esco.

  103. 103
    Mac Thomason Says:

    Well, if we traded for Peavy we wouldn’t have traded for Vazquez, who has been a lot better than Peavy so far.

  104. 104
    Frank Says:

    Will the chisox give us Lillibridge back in exchange for Esco?

    [Not intended as a serious question]

    Edit–Poor JoJo has put together a good start but will likely lose yet again.

  105. 105
    Joshua Says:

    That Ryan guy is pissing me off.

  106. 106
    csg Says:

    “but will likely lose yet again”

    - – definitely – - -

  107. 107
    NickC Says:

    #105, I have a feeling he’ll play the outfield tomorrow and save a home run.

  108. 108
    Frank Says:

    I stand corrected–you’re right b/c the offense can’t seem to get even a single run

  109. 109
    drewdat Says:

    What do you think, DP here?

  110. 110
    drewdat Says:

    Nope, just a K, then Francoeur comes through.

  111. 111
    Jeremy Says:

    Francoeur sucks.

  112. 112
    csg Says:

    at least we are showing our flaws in April instead of playing good and Wren thinking this team can compete. Its either get a bat now or play close to .500 ball with good pitching

  113. 113
    Dan Says:

    I thought Francoeur was still hitting over .300, but he’s at .269 now.

    Is it the Reyes meltdown inning now?

  114. 114
    stupup74 Says:

    Not to belabor the point of ‘clutch vs. luck’, but in a way teams make their own luck in this game by throwing strikes and putting the ball in play with something on it.

    The braves don’t put it in play hard at all and that is why the are the most ‘unlucky’ team in the league.

  115. 115
    drewdat Says:

    That was hot. Omar has been pretty good out there at 2B.

  116. 116
    Jeremy Says:

    First pitch swinging, just what we need.

  117. 117
    drewdat Says:

    Diaz looked safe to me, then again, so did Greene a while back.

  118. 118
    csg Says:

    Schafer needs to swipe one

  119. 119
    Mac Thomason Says:

    Schafer’s batting average is now higher than Francoeur’s. Everything else, of course, has been better all year.

  120. 120
    csg Says:

    other than Diaz, Frenchy has the lowest avg in the lineup

  121. 121
    Frank Says:

    repeat after me–Diaz doesn’t hit RH pitchers

    Jones might not either but maybe we could find out.

  122. 122
    PWHjort Says:

    Francoeur has now grounded into 4 DP. Team high.

  123. 123
    Mac Thomason Says:

    A freaking converted pitcher just robbed us of a game-tying double.

  124. 124
    Jeremy Says:

    We’re cursed.

  125. 125
    Jon K Says:

    no jeremy we arent cursed WE SUCK!!! you people are so blinded its unreal

  126. 126
    Jeremy Says:

    Jon K,

    Lick my balls.

  127. 127
    Jon K Says:

    The ball was catchable and he made a nice catch. We didn’t get “robbed”. You guys want to talk about a word that doesn’t exist (like clutch) why don’t you look at the word “robbed” in baseball. There is no such thing, good defensive players make plays, you don’t get robbed of a hit. If it was meant to be a hit then it wouldn’t be even remotely close to a defender.

  128. 128
    csg Says:

    I cant believe Jo Jo had this line

    7IP 3H 1ER 1BB 7K

  129. 129
    Jon K Says:

    Mac

    can you please ban Jeremy? I don’t appreciate that kind of talk.

  130. 130
    Mac Thomason Says:

    Everybody just calm down.

  131. 131
    stupup74 Says:

    Tony LaRussa OWNS the braves.

    He has the perfect game plan to beat Atlanta. The OF plays so far back that it takes an absolute shot to get past the OF, saving the D bases and baserunners.

    It is the opposite of what most people do. The Cards know that the braves are not going to dink and dunk them to death. They know the braves hit the ball in the air way too much. The Ankiel catch is an obvious highlight, but the hit Schaffer had would have been a double if they had been at normal depth.

    He also is absolutely not going to give Chipper anything to hit. He knows Chipper is the only legitimate run producer in the lineup.

    Get used to this. Anyone playing the braves should use this strategy.

  132. 132
    csg Says:

    #127 – good point, however you could be robbed if you’re called out on a play and you were obviously safe. Or if a ball is called a strike.

  133. 133
    Jon K Says:

    CSG

    This is true… That usage of robbed was inaccurate.

  134. 134
    braves14 Says:

    Maybe we should skip over Kawakami instead of Reyes.

  135. 135
    csg Says:

    cant wait for Bowman’s recap. It will be “hit batsman cost the braves” when it should say “this offense sucks”

  136. 136
    Dan Says:

    What does Cox see in Norton? Why must he come out of the dugout in every close-and-late game to kill any rally?

  137. 137
    Mac Thomason Says:

    Reyes and Jurrjens should be waiting in the clubhouse after the game with nunchucks.

    Dan, Norton hit the ball really well. Ankiel made a great play, or the game is tied and the go-ahead runner’s at second.

  138. 138
    braves14 Says:

    I hate Bowman’s vocabulary. His game headline tonight was “Reyes goes for inaugural win”

    Who in the world uses the word inaugural in that context?

  139. 139
    csg Says:

    anyone know why Hamels was pulled up 5-0 after 4.1IP?

  140. 140
    Jon K Says:

    haha did I just hear “the offense has yet to awaken”… like your talking about a sleeping dragon or something. This is like a sleepying bunny… and not the bunny from Monty Python and the holy grail haha

  141. 141
    JoeCraigMcMurtry Says:

    Things are getting a little heated in here…hopefully Gadfly will stop by soon to calm everyone down and remind us how foolish it would have been to waive “our best outfielder.”

    But seriously, Reyes looked legit tonight. At the risk of sounding like a Homer, I have the feeling he is turning the corner.

  142. 142
    Dan Says:

    Escobar (first-pitch?) double play time?

  143. 143
    Mac Thomason Says:

    “PHILADELPHIA’S COLE HAMELS LEFT THE GAME IN THE FIFTH INNING DUE TO A SPRAINED LEFT ANKLE.”

  144. 144
    braves14 Says:

    Leadoff walk. C’mon Yunel, redeem yourself.

  145. 145
    csg Says:

    no DP here Yunel

  146. 146
    PWHjort Says:

    Bunting? Really? Cool, Bobby. Let’s piss away our outs and play for 1 run. Great idea.

  147. 147
    braves14 Says:

    “foul bunt”

    Here’s a Walk Chipper sign.

  148. 148
    Mac Thomason Says:

    He’s bunting. And really, I have to agree, except that he’s so bad at it.

  149. 149
    Frank Says:

    maybe he’s bunting to avoid making a Yunel–though one should never underestimate his capacity to do so

    now for another Chipper walk

  150. 150
    stupup74 Says:

    Even if Esocbar gets Infante to second, they are going to walk Chipper with 1B open.

    If they don’t, I will be shocked.

  151. 151
    kc Says:

    Wow, I just check the game and boy, our offense sucks big time…

  152. 152
    Mac Thomason Says:

    Hey, at least he got the bunt down. BTW, the second baseman was about a foot off the first base bag when he took the throw, not that the umpires care.

  153. 153
    Mac Thomason Says:

    Well, they’re at least pretending to pitch to him. But not very hard. Next, the LOOGY to face Kotchman?

  154. 154
    Jon K Says:

    haha this team is so easy to beat. Walk Chipper… and pitch to everyone else. That’s the game plan to beat the braves, it works everytime

  155. 155
    Mac Thomason Says:

    They’re officially treating Chipper like he’s Babe Ruth in a Babe Ruth League… WHAT?!?!? No LOOGY, Tony? Are you feeling well?

  156. 156
    JoeCraigMcMurtry Says:

    Bobby Cox. What a moron. That is the one time you don’t bunt. Knowing that it will just take the bat out of the hands of your only decent hitter. Hopefully this time it works out.

  157. 157
    kc Says:

    I really hate sac, but with Chip coming up, it’s probably the right thing to do. Tie it up first…

  158. 158
    Jon K Says:

    And that’s the end of the 8th

  159. 159
    kc Says:

    Of course, the cards walk chip….you have to love larussa…

  160. 160
    Frank Says:

    hey–no DP!

  161. 161
    PWHjort Says:

    Why do people still cheer for Francoeur?

  162. 162
    kc Says:

    Wait, when does larussa put the pitcher back to the ninth spot?

  163. 163
    braves14 Says:

    Can Francoeur be CLUTCH?

  164. 164
    Jon K Says:

    hahaha maybe the only remedy for this is to laugh. I don’t think you can have a worst 9 man lineup

  165. 165
    Dan Says:

    Matt Diaz will either strike out swinging at a bunch of balls or make a first-pitch out.

  166. 166
    kc Says:

    Well Jon, I still love Chip.

  167. 167
    braves14 Says:

    Francoeur walks! Diaz, your turn.

  168. 168
    Jon K Says:

    and it sets it up for a huge huge Diaz strikeout

  169. 169
    kc Says:

    Wow, Frenchy doesn’t suck for once!

  170. 170
    braves14 Says:

    He’s due.

  171. 171
    Jon K Says:

    I wouldn’t throw Diaz one strike… diaz will either strikeout swinging at balls, or will ground out or pop out swinging on a terrible pitch

  172. 172
    Jon K Says:

    This is a clutch situation

  173. 173
    Mac Thomason Says:

    Take one for the team! Yes, off the helmet!

  174. 174
    csg Says:

    Ill take a walk

  175. 175
    Dan Says:

    WOO-HOO!

  176. 176
    PWHjort Says:

    And there’s a piece of clutch luck for Matt Diaz.

  177. 177
    Frank Says:

    Diaz = clutch!

  178. 178
    Mac Thomason Says:

    Yay? I like the result, but that was obviously Ball 4.

  179. 179
    drewdat Says:

    Attaway Matty D!

    Chris Kaman, you suck!

  180. 180
    Jon K Says:

    hahaha they were actually rooting for a hit batter

  181. 181
    Jon K Says:

    CLUTCH!!!!!

  182. 182
    kc Says:

    I guess you can call that clutch, ha :P

  183. 183
    Jon K Says:

    I’ll use another baseball slang word like clutch… that was a seeing eye single

  184. 184
    braves14 Says:

    I knew Diaz was due! Go Matt.

  185. 185
    stupup74 Says:

    Again, referencing my earlier post, if you take good, patient ABs, get bunts down, you make some ‘luck’ like Diaz did just there. Quality AB with a positive result.

    In a word, that was clutch!!!!!!!!!!!!

    :)

  186. 186
    Jeff K Says:

    Clutch = Diaz

  187. 187
    braves14 Says:

    2 runs on 1 hit. Thanks, Kyle McClellan.

  188. 188
    braves14 Says:

    So, will it be Soriano for the 9th?

    Nope, Gonzo.

  189. 189
    Jon K Says:

    Was that more clutch hitting by diaz, or a lucky result after a grounder?

  190. 190
    kc Says:

    We almost got Kyle McClellan yesterday too, but we got the two out hit today and not yesterday. That’s the difference.

  191. 191
    stupup74 Says:

    Good sign……..Gonzo is back to 95 on the peachtree gun.

  192. 192
    drewdat Says:

    Kaman

    Khalil

    I think I have something here.

  193. 193
    kc Says:

    I am fine with either Sori or Gonzo.

  194. 194
    Mac Thomason Says:

    You know, Pujols isn’t going to do it, but it seems like Gonzalez would be really easy to bunt on.

  195. 195
    braves14 Says:

    See ya, Poo holes.

  196. 196
    Jon K Says:

    gonzo has looked like his old self

  197. 197
    Mac Thomason Says:

    Pujols for his career has an .832 on-base percentage (and a .701 slugging percentage) after getting a 3-0 count.

  198. 198
    Catz Says:

    Chris Guccione has a serious ego. not just based on that last call, but every game i have seen him umpire.

  199. 199
    drewdat Says:

    2-1, 9 hits total. That’s a ’91 game.

  200. 200
    Jon K Says:

    i mean when moylan, sori and gonzo are healthy and pitching as well as they have shown they are the 3 best in the majors (meaning the combo of the 3)

  201. 201
    stupup74 Says:

    That was fun to watch and fun to chat about.

    I am going to go lift to burn off some energy.

    Good night everyone.

  202. 202
    ububba Says:

    Pretty sweet win there.

  203. 203
    kc Says:

    Can we sign Gonzo to a long-term deal?

  204. 204
    Jon K Says:

    The braves needed that clutch win to build momentum and to fire the guys up.

  205. 205
    Jon K Says:

    later folks… I can’t wait to read the post game blog about the CLUTCH performance haha

  206. 206
    kc Says:

    Let’s not forget…a very good game from JoJo!

  207. 207
    c. shorter Says:

    it’s fun when gonzo is on

  208. 208
    barrycuda Says:

    nice clutchiness Matt

  209. 209
    Mac Thomason Says:

    Recap is up.

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