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21 Jul

Braves 4, Nationals 0

Atlanta Braves vs. Washington Nationals – Box Score – July 21, 2012 – ESPN.

The excesses of hope must be expiated by pain; and expectations improperly indulged, must end in disappointment. If it be asked, what is the improper expectation which it is dangerous to indulge, experience will quickly answer, that it is such expectation raised as is dictated not by reason, but by desire; expectations raised, not by the common occurrences of life, but by the wants of the expectant; an expectation that requires the common course of things to be changed, and the general rules of action to be broken.
— Samuel Johnson, Letter to Baretti, June 10, 1761

Remember to not have any hope
— Mac Thomason, game thread, Sept. 13, 2009

The Braves have two straight wins against the Washington Nationals, Ben Sheets is 2-0 with a 0.00 ERA in 12 innings as a Brave, Chipper Jones hit a fist-pumpingly awesome pinch homer in the 9th and has 4 RBI in two days against the best team in the league, and the Braves are within 1.5 games of the division lead. If we don’t start pumping the brake on the hope car, it could become a runaway train.

Why we should maybe be slightly cautious:

Sheets got lucky today. He stranded multiple runners on base three different times, getting out of first-and-second with a strikeout in the 1st inning, first-and-third with a double play in the 3rd inning, and first-and-second in the 6th inning.

The Braves offense was awfully iffy today. While Sheets was walking on the edge of a knife, it was 1-0 for about two hours, from Brian McCann’s solo shot in the second inning through the bottom of the 7th. The Braves made it 2-0 in the top of the 8th in inimitable fashion, somehow scoring just one run despite a single, three walks, three stolen bases, and a wild pitch. A day after his best game in a month, Uggla got a golden sombrero, striking out four times in four plate appearances.

On the other hand:

The Braves recorded three double plays on the day, with Janish in the middle of two of them; say what you want about him, but I think he’s a better ballplayer than Jack Wilson and Tyler Pastornicky. I’d rather have Andrelton Simmons come back at 100% than force him to come back early and struggle the rest of the year like Heyward or Prado did last year.

Brian McCann had a homer and two walks in three plate appearances today. On July 7, McCann was batting .231, and Dave O’Brien wrote a piece headlined “McCann feels turnaround coming after session with his brother.” Since then, he’s hitting .344/.417/.844, with 5 homers and 9 RBI in his last 8 games.

Ben Sheets may give up a run at some point, but still. Randall Delgado, Mike Minor, and Jair Jurrjens have ERAs of 4.52, 5.69, and 6.20, respectively. It won’t take much for him to exceed their levels of suck. Sheets’s two scoreless starts equals the number of scoreless starts that those three knuckleheads have achieved between them.

Bourn, Prado, and Heyward were 4-12 with three walks and three stolen bases today. With a top of the lineup like that, we’ll wind up scoring a few runs by accident.

I still think Medlen should be in the rotation, but he pitched two more scoreless innings. He’s got a 0.73 ERA with four holds in 8 appearances this month. He’s really good. Hopefully, with Venters off the DL, we’ll be able to add the old Everyday Jonny into our mix, too. Durbin had a scoreless inning as well. He obviously melted down the other night, but Durbin has not been charged with a run in 29 of his last 33 appearances, as his ERA has shrunk from 8.25 to 3.58.

Since the Puerto Rico/Montreal Expos moved to Washington, following the 2004 season, the Braves have been 68-69 against them. Before last night, they were 66-69. In a couple of hours, they will have an opportunity to climb to an even .500, and if they were to win, tomorrow they would have an opportunity both to gain a winning record against the franchise and to take the division lead.

But that’s getting ahead of ourselves. Chipper Jones has an even 1600 RBI. Last night, as you know, Chipper Jones pushed past George Brett to become the all-time leader in RBI by a third baseman. He gained the all-time lead in runs scored by a third baseman by passing Brett on July 1. (If he gets 28 more walks the rest of the year, which is unlikely but possible, he’ll pass Mike Schmidt for third on the all-time list for walks by a 3B, behind Eddie Yost and the great Darrell Evans.)

He may not retain his place on those leaderboards for long, of course. Some time, probably next year, Alex Rodriguez will have played more third base than shortstop; he’s currently just 77 starts and 633 2/3 defensive innings behind. And that will push Chipper to number two in RBI and runs by a third baseman. But, hell, there’s no great shame in that. George Brett will still be number three.

154 Responses to “Braves 4, Nationals 0”

  1. 1
    Dan Says:

    Wins in 2012:

    Sheets: 2
    Cliff Lee: 1

  2. 2
    sdp Says:

    See if you can find the quote.

  3. 3
    iceberg584 Says:

    “We hooked up out in the hall and he gave it to me,” Thome said. “It was good.”

    Is that it? Haha

  4. 4
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    “I got to my room that night and I saw they had a guy on a harness trying to get it.”

  5. 5
    sansho1 Says:

    If we don’t start pumping the brake on the hope car, it could become a runaway train.

    The brakes, I’m sure, are fine.

    Watching Sheets pitch is reminiscent of watching Javier Vazquez.

    And hey, hasn’t @DadBoner been on a roll the last couple of days!

  6. 6
    sdp Says:

    @3: winner! lol. And, Alex, I hadn’t thought of that one, but that could work too.

  7. 7
    jjschiller Says:

    I was going to go with: “We hooked up out in the hall and he gave it to me,” Thome said. “It was good.”

  8. 8
    jjschiller Says:

    Too late… :(

  9. 9
    Josh Says:

    “Lucky” seems a little harsh for Sheets. He did have some luck, but his FIP on the game was 2.57. Still pitched damn well.

  10. 10
    Grst Says:

    Was at the game today. Chipper’s pinch HR was awesome, complete no-doubter. All the Braves fans gave him a standing O when he came out on deck, and went crazy on the HR.

  11. 11
    Dan Says:

    Astros Acquire Hamburger Off Waivers

  12. 12
    DJ Says:

    You guys, huge power move by Ben Sheets today. Bold flavors.

  13. 13
    Remy Says:

    Baserunning errors might have cost us: Janish getting thrown out at third and Heyward failing to advance to third when Prado got caught in the rundown.

  14. 14
    mikemc Says:

    Washington is in 1st place, playing their closest rival. Watching the game today, my impression is that not many in DC cares.

  15. 15
    Dan Says:

    Washington is in 1st place, playing their closest rival. Watching the game today, my impression is that not many in DC cares.

    If the Nationals stay in first place, they might actually sell out a game. #NATITUDE

  16. 16
    Smitty Says:

    @13
    Well, it was part of a DH. They had a good crowd last night.

    DOB says we called the Sox about Lester.

  17. 17
    Anon21 Says:

    12: I don’t know that Janish’s attempt to advance on the hit was an “error.” Yeah, the play didn’t end up being close, but Bernadina hasn’t got much of an arm. He’s a guy you want to force to make a play. It won’t work out every time, it didn’t work out this time, but I wouldn’t extrapolate from the result to say the process was flawed.

  18. 18
    Putter Says:

    I love it when your base stealing lead off hitter starts the game with a single and yet Fredi allows Prado to hit into yet another dp without a hit and run or straight steal

  19. 19
    Brian J. Says:

    I love RBI doubles by Chipper, myself.

  20. 20
    Putter Says:

    @18 yep

  21. 21
    Tom Says:

    Better score some more considering our pitcher.

  22. 22
    Bethany Says:

    We’re gonna need two every inning.

  23. 23
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    Obviously, when I saw that the Astros acquired Hamburger, I immediately thought of this guy: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qyXX4EgH5t4

  24. 24
    Dan Says:

    Two runs is about three innings for Delgado.

  25. 25
    Tom Says:

    What might help Delgado though is the rainy weather and the wind blowing in from RF.

    Of course, when he’s really on, there is no help.

  26. 26
    Jeremy Says:

    Delgado is amped. Fastball is sitting at 94-95.

  27. 27
    Bethany Says:

    Very nicely done.

  28. 28
    Brian J. Says:

    Whoa! I thought Janish would need three tries to hit a ball that far.

  29. 29
    Bethany Says:

    Would you guys be interested in Lester if he was available? I have to think anyone would benefit form getting away from my bad juju.

  30. 30
    Vangee Says:

    Tonight’s game is MLB free game!!!!

  31. 31
    Jeremy Says:

    I think Lester is a good buy low candidate. Under contract through 2014. Could probably use a change of scenery.

  32. 32
    Bethany Says:

    Try not to choke this time, Martin.

  33. 33
    Jeremy Says:

    If there was a “wasted leadoff doubles” category, the Braves would lead the league by a several million.

  34. 34
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    Sure, I’d take Lester of their hands. But I can’t understand why they’d trade him. They only owe him $24.6 million over the next two years and screwed-up as they are they’re easily in the hunt for the second wild car.

  35. 35
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    *off their hands

  36. 36
    Bethany Says:

    Kid, listen to David.

  37. 37
    JoeCraigMcMurtry Says:

    Delgado throwing gas and spotting a change. It’s like he wants to get traded.

  38. 38
    Coop Says:

    Or he wants Hanson or JJ’s spot.

  39. 39
    Brian J. Says:

    35- Or more positively, he knows that the rotation for the rest of the season (and even the playoffs) really only has Hudson and Hanson carved in stone, and he’d like to be there.

  40. 40
    Bethany Says:

    We’re stuck with Hanson. JJ, on the other hand…

  41. 41
    braves14 Says:

    Randall Delgado has a lower ERA than Tommy Hanson.

  42. 42
    Bethany Says:

    When Freddie and McCann are hitting, I feel a lot better about this team.

  43. 43
    braves14 Says:

    38 — Yeah, if JJ keeps pitching like he did last time he’ll be back in Gwinnett.

  44. 44
    Dan Says:

    Thought the Braves were looking for a top of the rotation starter. How does 4.80 ERA Lester alone fix anything? The Braves have a ‘Lester’ pitching for them right now.

  45. 45
    Brian J. Says:

    42- I think the idea is that Lester’s pitched better in the recent past, but even then you can say the same of Hanson, Sheets and JJ (though not quite to the same extent). He’s not worth $25 million in my book.

  46. 46
    Coop Says:

    Nice, Randall. More runs, please.

  47. 47
    Bethany Says:

    Well, that looked high but i’ll take it.

  48. 48
    Tom Says:

    Thanks, ump!

  49. 49
    Mac Thomason Says:

    I’m back in Birmingham. Still in the hospital but it’s my “home” hospital.

  50. 50
    Brian J. Says:

    Glad to hear you’re that much closer to home, Mac.

  51. 51
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    Glad you’re back and hope you’re watching!

  52. 52
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    Remember, Jon Lester pitches in the AL East, in Fenway Park. To put it mildly, that ain’t easy.

  53. 53
    Tom Says:

    Hope you’re doing ok Mac.

  54. 54
    Bethany Says:

    Hope you’re doing well, Mac, and I’m glad you’re back closer to home.

    Come on Delgado, you can get out of this.

  55. 55
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    Don Sutton just called him “the heavy-legged LaRoche.” It’s always nice when LaRoche’s molasses slowness works for us, not against us.

  56. 56
    Coop Says:

    Nice, Braves. Let’s get Randall a few more runs, please.

  57. 57
    Bethany Says:

    Great DP!

  58. 58
    Bethany Says:

    I haven’t seen the Dark Knight Rises yet, but man, that superman trailer is incredible.

  59. 59
    Coop Says:

    Welcome back to God’s country, Mac.

  60. 60
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    Philadelphia is still in America, Coop.

  61. 61
    Bethany Says:

    There is no God in Philadelphia.

  62. 62
    Smitty Says:

    Matt Garza has been pulled in his start

  63. 63
    Dan Says:

    Chipper’s first hit-by-pitch since 2009.

  64. 64
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    Lannan has given up five hits, two walks, and two hit batsmen, and of course we have just two runs.

    In his career against us, he has a 3.25 ERA in 15 starts, with a WHIP of 1.52. I hate him so much.

  65. 65
    urlhix Says:

    Sweet home Alabama.

  66. 66
    Tom Says:

    I have a bad feeling about this.

  67. 67
    Bethany Says:

    Oh no.

  68. 68
    Brian J. Says:

    Oh not this again! Every few days we let in a run this way, and it never gets less embarrassing.

  69. 69
    Bethany Says:

    You’re kidding me.

  70. 70
    Brian J. Says:

    Call the game now, umps!

  71. 71
    Bethany Says:

    Well that could have been worse.

  72. 72
    Tomas Says:

    Ok, call the game.

  73. 73
    c. shorter Says:

    Wonder what it would take to acquire Lester. I’d be interested.

    Lester at 2 years for $25
    or
    Greinke at 5 years for $100+?

    Of course, the correct answer is both. ha.

  74. 74
    Coop Says:

    Five innings, one tainted run: I’ll take it.

  75. 75
    Our New Insect Overlords Says:

    Per MLB Network, an “apparent wrist injury” for Dempster.

  76. 76
    Bethany Says:

    @75 Oh wow, that sucks for any number of teams.

  77. 77
    Our New Insect Overlords Says:

    Garza, not Dempster. I’m an idiot.

  78. 78
    DG Says:

    @11: Apparently there’s no truth to the rumor that the Astros are waiting until Tuesday to pay the Padres for the Hamburger that they bought today.

  79. 79
    Dan Says:

    Bernadina just keeps hitting. Wish Harper didn’t hurt himself.

  80. 80
    Bethany Says:

    My goodness, Dan.

  81. 81
    Dan Says:

    That’s a clown play, bro.

  82. 82
    Brian J. Says:

    Ugh. That was one ugly play, and proof that this game should be delayed.

  83. 83
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    Uggla damn near had a double play but couldn’t get a single out. Boy, he is anything but graceful.

  84. 84
    Bethany Says:

    Episode.

  85. 85
    Landogarner Says:

    Ok, covering my eyes. Someone let me know when it’s safe to look again.

  86. 86
    Landogarner Says:

    Ok, covering my eyes. Someone let me know when it’s safe to look again.

  87. 87
    Brian J. Says:

    And it’s not like we’ve got good choice for dealing with it. But Martinez is gonna do what he can.

  88. 88
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    Ugh. That’s two ground balls up the middle, neither one of them fast, and a hit by pitch on a ball it looked a lot like Morse was offering at. Should be 0-1 count on Morse with two outs. It’s bases loaded.

  89. 89
    Dan Says:

    Take him out!

  90. 90
    Bethany Says:

    Delgado is having trouble getting strike outs.

  91. 91
    Putter Says:

    And now they start playing like clowns

  92. 92
    Dan Says:

    End of inn…

    Oh wait.

  93. 93
    JoeCraigMcMurtry Says:

    That changeup to Laroche was filthy. Delgado has #2 starter stuff. Easy.

  94. 94
    JoeCraigMcMurtry Says:

    That was strike.

  95. 95
    Landogarner Says:

    Could have been much worse.

  96. 96
    Bethany Says:

    @94 Yes it was, shame he got squeezed.

    Come on Delgado, one more.

  97. 97
    urlhix Says:

    Delgado missing his spots, but I’ll take that second out.

  98. 98
    Dan Says:

    Damn, if Uggla had gotten just one out on that play.

  99. 99
    urlhix Says:

    Espinoza sure loves to crowd the plate, keep pitching him inside.

  100. 100
    Bethany Says:

    Beautiful. Great outcome considering the Uggla play.

  101. 101
    Tomas Says:

    Good battling back, Randall.

  102. 102
    Landogarner Says:

    Nice comeback.

  103. 103
    Brian J. Says:

    Lando, you can open your eyes now. And we’re not even losing!

  104. 104
    urlhix Says:

    Or go outside and get him out, I’m easy.

  105. 105
    Landogarner Says:

    @99 That’s what I was thinking.

  106. 106
    Coop Says:

    Okay, then: six innings, two tainted runs is still an acceptable outing.

  107. 107
    Bethany Says:

    What isn’t acceptable is hibernation mode against LANNAN.

  108. 108
    Coop Says:

    @78: applause.

  109. 109
    beege Says:

    Lannan looks like Lance Berkman with jaundice.

  110. 110
    Bethany Says:

    More clown defense.

  111. 111
    Brian J. Says:

    Now that’s just not bloody fair.

  112. 112
    jjschiller Says:

    Unbelievable. What did the Nationals do to deserve all this ridiculous luck?

  113. 113
    Bethany Says:

    @112 Did we not win yesterday after being behind 9 runs?

  114. 114
    Bethany Says:

    Dangit. I think that’s the ballgame.

  115. 115
    Coop Says:

    Hope we have a little more magic left.

  116. 116
    DJ Says:

    Rats

  117. 117
    drewdat Says:

    How many more grounders is Bernadina gonna squeeze through the infield?

  118. 118
    Brian J. Says:

    I think the only magic we have left are “Confuse Self” spells.

  119. 119
    Coop Says:

    WAKE UP, BATS!

  120. 120
    JoeCraigMcMurtry Says:

    They burned three good relievers in the afternoon game. We’ve got a good chance.

  121. 121
    Bethany Says:

    Well apparently we can only score runs off good pitchers.

  122. 122
    JoeCraigMcMurtry Says:

    Good point. That fastball was right in the wheelhouse. Jason is slipping back into hone of his funks.

  123. 123
    Bethany Says:

    Oh Jason. 0-2, then you look at a great pitch, take a terrible swing at a ball high and inside and then close out with one of your patented “swing through a pitch as if it was a hologram” swings.

  124. 124
    Bethany Says:

    *2-0 I mean

  125. 125
    jjschiller Says:

    When John Lannan shuts down your offense, you deserve to lose.

  126. 126
    Brian J. Says:

    Of course, Lannan shut down our offense with regularity when he was regularly pitching in Washington (8-5, 3.5 ERA coming into today against the Braves).

  127. 127
    JoeCraigMcMurtry Says:

    Bourn can still win it for us.

  128. 128
    Bethany Says:

    It’s so rare lately that we get a good start from our rotation, so I’d hate to see it wasted.

  129. 129
    Bethany Says:

    A replica of the last inning.

  130. 130
    Brian J. Says:

    And the three before it. None of which we wanted or needed.

  131. 131
    jjschiller Says:

    This is what you call a “team-loss.”

  132. 132
    Brian J. Says:

    Did Freddy just forget that Varvaro was still here? Not that he’s especially memorable, but better him than a second inning of Martinez (or in game one, a first inning of Durbin; I don’t trust the guy, even if he did pitch well today).

  133. 133
    urlhix Says:

    Gots to stay inside on Espinosa. There’s a reason he throws that knee up during the windup.

  134. 134
    jjschiller Says:

    Varvaro sucks.

  135. 135
    drewdat Says:

    Varvaro isn’t better than anything, ever.

  136. 136
    sdp Says:

    This season is over.

  137. 137
    Brian J. Says:

    When Janish can’t field, his best position is “spectator.”

  138. 138
    jjschiller Says:

    There was absolutely no doubt that the wild pitch would cost us a run.

  139. 139
    urlhix Says:

    Oh well. Get ‘em tomorrow.

  140. 140
    sdp Says:

    Anything less than three-of-four, this series is a failure. A split is just breaking even.

  141. 141
    Dan Says:

    Anything less than three-of-four, this series is a failure. A split is just breaking even.

    Oh that note: Jurrjens is pitching tomorrow.

  142. 142
    Bethany Says:

    This would have been a great game to win. Lots of pressure tomorrow to pull it out. If we don’t win the series it’s a massively blown opportunity.

  143. 143
    JoeCraigMcMurtry Says:

    Hinske is done.

  144. 144
    JoeCraigMcMurtry Says:

    So much dead weight on our bench.

  145. 145
    jjschiller Says:

    Hinske has hit 1 home run this season.

  146. 146
    Coop Says:

    Tomorrow.

  147. 147
    Brian J. Says:

    141- Thanks, Dan, I was thinking I might get some sleep tonight.

    Well, today accomplished nothing at great length. Which describes 90% of my workdays, too.

  148. 148
    jjschiller Says:

    Chipper, Bourn and Prado were the only defenders not to eat shit in that game

    Chipper and Freeman were the only players not to eat shit at the plate.

    Chipper is the only player not to eat any shit.

  149. 149
    JoeCraigMcMurtry Says:

    Zach Greinke please.

  150. 150
    sdp Says:

    If John Lannan could face the Braves every five days, his ass probably wouldn’t be stuck in AAA.

  151. 151
    Brian J. Says:

    If the Nationals were playing the Braves every five days, Strasburg would be the guy stranded in Syracuse.

  152. 152
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    If John Lannan could face the Braves every five days, we’d be in last place and he’d be a Hall of Farmer.

  153. 153
    mravery Says:

    Just watched the condensed game. I was convinced the Braves were going to crush them the way they got on Lannan early. Serious case of Hibernation Mode in the mid-innings it looked like.

    I’d question the decision to leave Lisp in as long as Gonzalez did, but I’m not sure who you go to. Venters? Ugg. Tough call.

    Gotta see if we can get ‘em tomorrow.

  154. 154
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    Recapped.

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