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This certainly wasn't the best or easiest series of the year, but somehow Atlanta managed to win three out of four games while scoring an earned run in just one of those games.
Kris Medlen continues to be really good. On Monday, the right-hander struck out 12 in a complete game shutout. He allowed just five hits and walked none.
The good news is that Atlanta had 35 at-bats with runners in scoring position during the four-game series. The bad news is that the Braves went 3-35 with those runners in scoring position, and two of those came in the first game of the series. Part of it was bad luck on hard hit balls, while others were just terrible execution at the plate.
Jordan Pacheco had a solid series at the plate, going 4-12 with a home run and three walks.
Michael Bourn reached base in every game of the series, going just 2-11 at the plate but added five walks.
Craig Kimbrel: 2.1 IP, six strikeouts, one walk, two saves. That'll work just fine.
The final Braves starter of the series pitched well, as Tim Hudson worked around six hits and two walks in seven shutout innings.
Jhoulys Chacin struggles catching the ball on the throw back from the catcher. Learn something new every day.
Feb 07, 1983
Sep 15, 1983
Remember when Scott Feldman won 17 games and had a 4.08 ERA and 3.5 fWAR in 2009? Oh, those were the days. It was a better time. 2011 was the year that the Royals were going to compete for the division. Greinke was going to be the savior. Luke Hochevar would flash brilliance only to let everyone down in his next start. Can we get back to those days of innocence? Are we forever sullied by these years that have followed? Will we ever be able to rise from the fetal position to which we've been reduced?
Ever since the tail end of their last homestand, the Giants starting pitching has really run into some difficulties. With a huge series vs. LA this weekend, they'll need those struggles to end ASAP.
Before that series with the Braves a few weeks ago, seemingly every Giants starter was taking the ball into the 7th or 8th inning, and giving their team an excellent shot at controlling the game. However, since they went out of their last road trip, that pattern has come to a halt. Ryan Vogelsong has been having the most trouble lately, as 4 of his last 5 starts have been down significantly from his performance through July. The 33 year-old right-hander was leading the NL in ERA on July 29th with a 2.22 mark, and he was in the midst of 16 straight quality starts. Since that date however, risen up over a point to 3.29, and he has recorded just 2 quality starts over 7 outings. It's not just Vogey either though. Madison Bumgarner has lost his last three starts, including the finale vs. the D-Backs Wednesday that resulted in the Giants losing a series for the first time in weeks. With the inconsistencies the Giants are currently getting out of Tim Lincecum and Barry Zito, it really applies the pressure to the other starters. After all, the Giants are still a team dictated by who their starting pitching is going, and if they continue the trend they've had the last week plus, they aren't going to keep winning.
We saw it in this series with the D-Backs. The Giants were able to get some offense and comeback in game one of the series, but didn't get great starting efforts in any of the three games and their offense still isn't deep enough to bail them out of early deficits with regularity. They were hoping Xavier Nady would provide a boost to the lineup after his solid debut with the Giants in Chicago, but he really hasn't done much since hitting that big 3-run double, and left the game Wednesday with a strained groin. Now the Giants are left in the same spot with left field that they were when they originally lost Melky, and it may force them to get creative in order to keep their best offensive unit on the field. We saw last week that they were tinkering with using Joaquin Arias out there, but that hasn't happened in a game yet, and now there are whispers of possibly placing Brandon Belt back out there. Belt played a pretty good left field last year when he was asked to, but his value to this team as a first basemen is huge as he's one of the best defenders in the NL there. Still, it may makes some since, seeing that Blanco just can't get anything going right now, and the Giants do have other options they could use at third (moving Pablo across the diamond) or at catcher (moving Posey to first).
Hopefully they can figure these issues out with this huge series kicking off Friday night. I know these two teams meet again in the final series of the regular season in Pasadena, but I think this 3-game set is the one that will set the tone for the rest of the year. If the Dodgers are able to gain some ground on the Giants, it'll give them major momentum down the stretch. But at the same time, if the Giants can get right, and play the Dodgers like they did in LA in August (excellent pitching, clutch hitting and great defense), they could unofficially put the nail in the coffin for the 2012 Dodgers.
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Another Wade Boggs TTM SUCCESS – YES!!!! He did it again. Well, I guess that I did it again as well. I kind of ran a little test – you may recall that roughly three weeks ago I received a … Continue reading →
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Shortstop has been a revolving door for the Braves in 2012. Pastornicky left something to be desired on offense and (especially) defense. Veteran Jack Wilson fielded the position well, but simply can?t hit major-league pitching anymore. I was less[...]
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When I started preparing to write this article, I was simply SURE that the Philadelphia Phillies were 5th in the NL East and yet another "lol disappoint" team to match all the other disappointments in the NL this season. Even more amusing are the contracts that just add to the disappointment, but we'll rag on that later.
The part that surprised me was when I actually looked at the NL standings and found out that the Phillies, despite the fact that they aren't the worldbeaters their payroll and name recognition would suggest, are actually sitting in 3rd place in the East, ahead of the 4th place Mets and the 5th place Marlins.
Yes, friends, the Filadelfia Fillies are in dangerous risk of hitting .500 this season, a feat of monumental proportions for a team as sunk as Colorado.
Check their schedule by month:
Now look at ours:
See how close that is? We just had like 1 more bad month than them! OK, maybe 2, but whatever, we're NOT THAT BAD SOMEHOW.
OK, so upon further consideration, I really don't want to make fun of contracts. Yes, Ryan Howard is making a hilarious 4 Gazillion Dollars over the next 5 years or something like that and is never going to hit another home run again. LOLPHILZESZ! I feel like we've mocked the Phillies for that contract enough (impossible, but I'm going to sit on that).
But one guy on the Phillies is completely hilarious, as far as I'm concerned.
Aug 14, 1977
Look at that stat line! Look at it! I don't think that stat line could possibly be any more "Juan Pierre" if you crossed out all of the numbers and literally wrote "Juan Pierre" in each of the categories.
Click past the jump, because I like to thing the next part is really interesting, because Juan Pierre.
The first hilariously Juan Pierre thing is Pierre's standard triple-slash line (AVG/OBP/SLG):
Next, his plate discipline:
Finally, his classic Run Production numbers:
Maybe I'm just being silly here, and maybe you don't understand why I find Juan Pierre so damn funny. Maybe it's the fact that his head is the size of a ripe navel orange and he has to wear his hat under his batting helmet so the damn thing fits. Maybe it's all of those loving stories we've heard about him over the course of his career rolling baseballs up the 3B line to see how they play for when he lays down one of his inevitable bunts up the 3B line. Maybe it's the fact that his no-walk, no-power, all-hits-and-hustle batting style has so many frustrated baseball writers who don't like anything beyond the classical numbers practically soiling themselves with excitement when they write about how much of a hard player Juan Pierre is.
For me, it's the consistency. I don't hate the guy, and he's a good baseball player. He's not THAT good, though, he's just incredibly annoying. (Anyone claiming he IS THAT good is probably trying to prove a point or rage against a machine or something.)
It's just the fact that everything about Juan Pierre's game says that his numbers should be flying all over the charts due to BABIP fluctuations and all that, but the man has never had a season where he's batted below .275, never one above .326, and never one above .800 OPS.
For that, I love him, and all of his pesky inefficiency.
Friday, September 7, 2012 5:05 PM MT
Saturday, September 8, 2012 5:05 PM MT
Sunday, September 9, 2012 11:35 AM MT
Drew Pomeranz vs Tyler Cloud
Josh Johnson finally reaps the benefits with a needed win as the Marlins had a three-run first to defeat Milwaukee on Thursday afternoon, 6-2.
Hero of the Game: Donovan Solano: 3-for-4, RBI (+0.90)
Goat of the Game: Giancarlo Stanton: 1-for-4, 3 K's (-.037)
Play of the Game: Jose Reyes RBI double in 1st inning (+.106 WPA)
Josh Johnson can rest easy tonight knowing he's leaving Marlins Park with a winning decision.
The rally in the first led off with a Bryan Petersen double followed by Donavan Solano bringing Petersen in with a RBI single. Later, Jose Reyes brought in Solano with an RBI double. Reyes would then score via a sacrifice fly hit by Greg Dobbs.
Johnson (8-11)threw for seven innings and got just as many strikeouts (7). He allowed two earned runs on two separate Milwaukee sacrifice flies in the third and fifth innings. Johnson also allowed four hits while walking two.
Marco Estrada took the loss for the Brewers, putting his record to 2-6. He went five innings allowing four runs (all earned), while giving up seven hits and striking out five.
The Marlins are on their last thread as a loss Thursday would have confirmed what everyone already knows — elimination.
18,707 fans came to Marlins Park Thursday, which is the lowest attendance the team has seen since opening the new ballpark.
The season presses on, however, when the Nationals welcome in the Marlins for a weekend set starting Friday.
Jhoulys Chacin allowed one run to score when he couldn't handle a routine throw back to the mound from Wilin Rosario, and for the second straight game, that one run was enough to give the Braves the victory. Rockies pitchers actually now have a streak of 32 innings without allowing an earned run to score, but have just a 1-2 record in the three complete games encompassed in that span.
Despite the "scoreless" streak, Chacin, much like the other three Rockies starters this series, wasn't overly effective as he allowed ten baserunners (seven hits, three walks) over his three and a third innings. Unlike his three previous outings since returning from the disabled list, he lacked command of his sinker, as evidenced by the 4/5 GB/FB rate on his outs and he quickly exhausted his 75 allotted pitches while dealing with the traffic. There was a decent chance that Juan Francisco would have scored anyway during the fateful second inning, as after a Dan Uggla hit a ground rule double, the Braves had runners on second and third with nobody out. That said, the Rockies bullpen was phenomenal, not allowing a baserunner for the remainder of the game while striking out five Braves in four and two thirds innings.
Charlie Blackmon had four hits to lead the Rockies, but also made a critical base-running error in the top of the second, trying to stretch a double into three bases without success.
56 - 80
Leading up to the final series of the year in New York, Talking Chop and the Mets blog Amazin' Avenue will be doing a series of simul-posts highlighting the relationship that Chipper Jones has had with the New York Mets and their fans. Amazin' Avenue continues the series with this great article written by Matthew Artus. It can also be found on AA, here. So sit back and enjoy the roots of why Mets fans dislike Larry.
"A trip to New York will bring better things."
A 23-year-old Larry "Chipper" Jones uttered that sentiment to a pool of Atlanta Braves beat reporters on May 8, 1995. The Braves just surrendered a four-game sweep to the Philadelphia Phillies and Jones, just a dumb kid who had only had a cup of coffee in the Majors in 1993 and because he missed the entire 1994 season while recovering from an ACL injury. He, like any sane baseball player, knew well enough that it was way too early to panic - especially considering that the season started so late due to the last-minute resolution of the 1994-95 baseball strike.
Unfortunately, that sentiment, the wide-eyed optimism that making it up in New York means you'll make it anywhere, helped boost Jones into the pantheon of premier baseball players at the expense of our beloved Mets. He smacked his first career home run the next day, introducing himself to the Shea Faithful as a menace who would torment the die hards in Queens for the next 17 years.
There were some who hit more against the Mets (Willie Stargell hit 60 heartbreakers over his career) and some who crushed our hopes and dreams on a bigger stage (Yadier Molina, anyone?), but there have been few singular opponents in the Mets' storied history who haunted the Flushing fans so consistently and so thoroughly.
At the moment, the former first round draft pick can claim 49 home runs at the expense of the Amazin's, which is tied with the Phillies for the most dingers delivered by Jones against a single team. This weekend marks the last time Jones can pad that total in Flushing, though he'll have three more games later this month back in the den of horrors that is Turner Field.
And as Mets fans prepare to
boo Jones out of Citi Field bid adieu to one of the most feared and revered rivals in team history, we take a look back at some of the battle scars we repressed Larry Jones' most lethal home runs at the Mets' expense.
May 9, 1995 vs. Josias Manzanillo
Where to start? After Jeff Kent had tied the game for the Mets with a solo homer in the bottom of the eighth, Jones capped a 2-for-4 day with leading off the top of the ninth by making Josias Manzanillo, the reliever who entered this game with an 11.12 ERA and who attended a pre-game meeting with the Mets pitching staff about the very topic of getting ahead of hitters, the answer to the question "Which Mets reliever dialed up the 2-0 fastball that resulted in Chipper's first career home run?" It gave the Braves a 3-2 lead, Jones with the highest WPA he's ever accrued from a home run against the Mets (.339), and Mets fans with the first taste of heartburn they'd feel every time Larry's name appears in the Braves' lineup.
"It was a long time coming and I got quite emotional. I went into the tunnel to gather myself together."
July 2, 1999 vs. Masato Yoshii
While Jones' first career home run fell on my birthday, this one has always been more of a personal low for me. The Braves third baseman put an exclamation point on a three-run first inning for the Braves by belting a 412-foot blast off the Japanese right hander. It marked the first of two homers Jones would hit in a 16-0 drubbing that saw Matt Franco record an out as a reliever and Rick Reed in right field.
The kicker? The sell out crowd of 51,979 fans at Shea were in the house for Fireworks Night, meaning every last one of them - including your friendly neighborhood Mets blogger - had to watch every moment of suffering summoned up that night by Jones and company.
"After the third inning, I told him we might need him."
- Mets manager Bobby Valentine, on giving Franco a heads up that he might need to pitch in relief
Sept. 21, 1999 vs. Dennis Cook
1999 didn't end so badly for Mets fans as the team ended its 11-year playoff drought with a Wild Card appearance. Of course, the Mets settled for the Wild Card because they went into Turner Field on Sept. 21 just one game behind the Braves for the NL East lead - and left four games behind. Jones played a big part in that, hitting four home runs in that three game series including two in the series opener. As the first came against reliably righty Rick Reed, Valentine brought in the left-handed Cook to turn Jones around at the plate. Chipper didn't mind hitting righty, knocking a solo shot over the fence for the game winner.
"It's a tough loss, but it's not going to break our season. We've still got our chances."
Sept. 23, 1999 vs. Al Leiter
While Cook's home run took the wind out of their sails, this one against Leiter removed all doubt about which playoff race the Mets would pursue in the 1999 season's final days. Jones hit his final home run of the '99 campaign off the Mets southpaw, further cementing what would result in the Braves slugger being named the 1999 National League Most Valuable Player. That Jones hit the three-run homer wasn't the debate after this game. The debate instead was about Valentine's decision to allow anyone to keep pitching to the Mets' biggest pest.
"It's not a worry or a concern. You don't always see the same hero, so they have to have someone else come through. If they do, they'll be champs."
Sept. 11, 2002 vs. Steve Trachsel
The New York fans, seeing the 2002 Mets in freefall, likely hoped for a spirited effort from their beloved Amazin's given the sentimental considerations of the one-year anniversary of 9-11. They got it in the nightcap, but Jones spoiled the first game of the doubleheader with a pair of home runs, one against Trachsel and a later one against the questionably-nicknamed "Japaense Greg Maddux," Satoru Komiyama.
"It was a long and exhausting 14 hours in uniform with everything going on. It was hard to concentrate. But the interruptions all had meaning to them. The guys that were here last year, I looked at their faces and could tell they were feeling it."
Sept. 27, 2002 vs. Pedro Astacio
The 2002 Mets likely didn't need another doubleheader against the Braves, but they got it towards the end of the season and Jones once again capitalized. The first game at Shea was a ghost town in terms of attendance, while the latter had about a third of the 33,527 paid attendance actually in the building to see Jones take Astacio deep. If you were still watching this albatross of a team on Sept. 27, you likely stopped for good once Chipper's homer left the yard and officially clinched last place for the Mets for the first time since 1993.
"Mathematically, we weren't eliminated till a few weeks ago, but realistically, just the way you look at it, I can't put a number on it when it felt over."
- Mike Piazza, on the team's broken spirits following this game
Sept. 5, 2005 vs. Steve Trachsel
Hey, look, Steve Trachsel again! While hearts were heavy in Metsopotamia regarding Trachsel's first appearance on the list, they were flying high this time around as the Amazin's were just two and a half games back in the NL Wild Card race. Jones changed that attitude by clobbering a tiebreaking two-run home run in the eighth, boosting the Braves toward a 101-win season and bringing Willie Randolph's inaugural season as Mets manager a little further away from a happy ending.
"He seems to be the one to always drop the hammer."
Aug. 9, 2007 vs. John Maine
Remember all those games in 2007 when Willie Randolph would say "Oh, it's just one loss" without knowing yet that all those losses would result in the Collapse? This was one of those losses, as Jones, who was inserting himself in yet another NL MVP conversation, brought the Braves from behind with a two-run homer in the fifth. Mark Teixeira went back-to-back following Jones's no doubter, but this one gets special mention as A) at 439 feet, it was the longest home run he would hit outside of Turner Field in 2007, and B) it represented his last home run in Shea Stadium.
"By the middle innings we were both drenched with sweat, sticky with overflow ketchup and chocolate ice cream, and fractious, sniping about the timing of mandatory bathroom trips and debating the proper relationship between not listening to fathers and the likelihood of getting further treats. And the Mets weren't helping, not with John Maine pulling his usual act of getting unnerved by a bit of bad luck, only this time he gave up a shockingly long homer to Chipper (whom I tried to teach my unnervingly fair-minded son to boo) and then a less-flamboyant one to Teixeira."
- Faith and Fear in Flushing's Jason Fry, on recalling what it was like to manage his four-year-old son and his expectations for the Mets on a warm August afternoon
Sept. 21, 2009 vs. Pat Misch
Every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end, right? Once Shea Stadium ceased to be and Citi Field became the official home of our New York Mets, Chipper Jones officially christened the place with his first home run in the new building. He hit the third of three home runs by the Braves' first 12 batters in the game, and did it on the 10-year anniversary of his soul-sucking performance against the playoff-bound 1999 Mets.
June 16, 2011 vs. R.A. Dickey
In Dickey we trust, unless he's in Turner Field with a 3-0 count against Chipper Jones. Larry struck once more against the Mets' beloved knuckleballer with a three-run shot against a Mets team under new management and mired in Madoff madness. Mets fans kept right on deluding themselves into thinking their might be a playoff race in Flushing after the All-Star break, but it was always truly tough to believe given that Jones, who wound up with a 3-for-4 day and tied his career high for RBIs in a single game with five, was still in the league. (Of course, it didn't help that the Mets would go on to lose due to an always-popular walkoff balk by D.J. Carrasco.)
"Well, I guess if we're gonna get beat, at least it's Chipper and not one of those scrubs."
- Amazin' Avenue commenter MetsFan4Decades, making peace with the familiar refrain of Jones tearing the still-beating heart out of the Mets in another game
Feel free to leave out any Chipper-branded home runs I missed in the comments.