September 30, 2009 at 1:31 pm by Capitol Avenue Club under Atlanta Braves, Daily Post, Farm System
Update 3:45 PM
I’ve read two articles that have been very good and I have to link to them here:
With a Braves loss and a Rockies win last night, the Rockies’ magic number is now 3. By the same token, the Braves’ elimination number is 3. That is–the total number of Rockies wins and Braves losses for the rest of the year can’t equal 3 for the Braves to make the post-season or play game 163 to get to the post-season. In fact, here’s a chart of what has to happen in order to get to the post-season:
|To Tie After 162|
|To Lead After 162|
Things aren’t looking too rosy, though hope endures. The position the Braves are in is still the same. They still have to keep winning and hope the Rockies stumble. The urgency of the matter is much greater, though. The good news is the pitching match-ups seem favorable the rest of the way. It’ll be Javier Vazquez vs. Ricky Nolasco, Tommy Hanson vs. Garrett Mock, Derek Lowe vs. Livan Hernandez (again, thank god), Jair Jurrjens vs. Ross Detwiler, and Tim Hudson vs. J.D. Martin. If the Braves can force a 1-game playoff, Javier Vazquez would face Jason Hammel (or Aaron Cook on short rest). Per the new rules, the Braves would host the 1-game playoff since they tied the season series and own the better record in their division.
The Rockies will throw Jason Hammel vs. Jeff Suppan tonight, Aaron Cook vs. Manny Parra tomorrow, Ubaldo Jimenez vs. Randy Wolf on Friday, Jorge De La Rosa vs. Clayton Kershaw on Saturday, and Jason Marquis vs. Hiroki Kuroda on Sunday. The Dodgers have the on-paper advantage in every game of the series if they decide they want to play to win. Whether they do or not is to be seen.
Like I said, all you can do is win and hope. And try to make this flip up-side down.
Pretty much a 2-horse race at this point. Man, 2.0 out looks a lot better than 3.0 out. And 1.0 out would look even better. Perhaps the Braves will be 2.0 out by tonight. I don’t think they’ll lose another game. You’d really like to get it to 2.0 games heading into the Nationals series. 2.0 out with 4 left is a much better position than 3.0 out with 4 left.
Nolasco has a 5.17 ERA in the month of September and a career 5.o2 ERA in 11 games (10 starts) against the Braves. Javier Vazquez has a 1.93 ERA in September, but a 5.88 ERA against the Marlins this year. Hopefully he gets back on track. The Marlins match-up well with Vazquez because they’re aggressive hitters and Vazquez lives in the zone. A lot of Braves hitters have high career OPS’s against Nolasco. Chipper Jones (1.649), Brian McCann (1.224), Yunel Escobar (1.158), Matt Diaz (1.264), Martin Prado (1.000), Greg Norton (1.400), Gregor Blanco (1.000), and Ryan Church (.939).
Nolasco’s best pitch is his slider (12.2 RAA). With that, we’ll do stat of the day.
Stat of the Day
wSL. How well the starting 8 hit the slider.
Nolasco’s pitch is more of a cutter/slider than a true slider anyway, so I don’t feel like this has much predictive value. I know the Braves have taken care of Nolasco and I expect them to continue today.
Tentative Top 10
I’ve started ranking the prospects and I’ve come up with my tentative top-10 list. There’s a good chance something changes before I come out with my top 40. But here’s what I’ve got at the moment.
1. Jason Heyward
2. Julio Teheran
3. Freddie Freeman
4. Randall Delgado
5. Brett DeVall
6. Craig Kimbrel
7. Cole Rohrbough
8. J. J. Hoover
9. Tyler Stovall
10. Adam Milligan
Before you ask, Mike Minor would be number 11 and Zeke Spruill would be number 12. That’s all I’ve got so far. I miss minor league baseball.
Rafael Soriano 100 Strikeout Watch
Rafael Soriano is now at 96 strikeouts. He wasn’t used tonight so he should be available tomorrow night. Now, only 4 away, it seems likely that Soriano will reach the century mark.
Other “races” include:
- Brian McCann 100-RBI watch.
- Peter Moylan home-run watch. Peter Moylan has broken the Braves single-season appearances record and is yet to allow a home run. If he finishes the season without allowing a home run, he’ll hold the record for most appearances in a season without allowing a home-run.
- Javier Vazquez xFIP watch. He’s at 2.93 and Lincecum is at 2.94. Will Vazquez finish the season leading the league in xFIP?
- Chipper 20-homer watch. If Chipper hits 2 more homers (I hope he hits 5 more) over the final 5 games, he’ll become the 1st player in MLB history to hit 20 or more home runs every year for the first 15 years of an MLB career*. Chipper’s currently tied with Eddie Matthews with 14.
*Hank Aaron hit 20 or more home runs for an astonishing twenty years, but he only hit 13 home runs in 509 PA’s his rookie year, so he doesn’t qualify for this list. Hank Aaron is tied with many at the bottom of the list with zero.
I’ve refrained from discussing this topic in this space for awhile now. I’ve wanted to bring it up for a month, but figured it’d be better to see them finish the season. I don’t suppose a player’s value tremendously dips or skyrockets over the final 5 games, so I guess it’s appropriate to bring it up here. Here’s a list of everyone who could possibly be considered team MVP:
- Brian McCann
- Yunel Escobar
- Martin Prado
- Chipper Jones
- Matt Diaz
- Javier Vazquez
- Jair Jurrjens
- Rafael Soriano
- Peter Moylan
I’ll list their WAR:
Vazquez is clearly the most valuable pitcher. Whether or not Yunel or McCann has been more valuable is debatable. Fangraphs doesn’t know how to handle Catcher’s defense so it just doesn’t include it. It’s admirable that they’ll admit they don’t know what to do, but ignoring it all together is a lousy solution. No doubt McCann’s WAR would suffer if his defensive performance were included. Secondly, UZR rates Yunel worse than he performs. +/- has Yunel at +10 runs while UZR has him at merely average. That’s a full win right there.
Apart from Vazquez, McCann, and Yunel, there isn’t another suitable candidate. Matt Diaz and Martin Prado haven’t played enough. Relievers don’t pitch enough innings to have major impact. And Chipper and Jurrjens haven’t been good enough.
There are arguments that a starting pitcher shouldn’t be a MVP because he only participates in ~20% of the games. It’s not a bad argument. And if you buy into that, the decision is, in my eye, is between Yunel and McCann.
That’s all I got.
We need a miracle.