Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Morning Chop: Braves’ NLDS Edition 10/5

October 5, 2012; Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta Braves shortstop Andrelton Simmons (19) hits a shallow fly ball that was ruled an infield fly on the field against the St. Louis Cardinals during the eighth inning of the 2012 National League wild card playoff game at Turner Field. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports

Morning Chop: NLDS Edition – Summary of Atlanta Braves News 10/5

 

Key double play leads to Braves win in Game 2

USA Today

ATLANTA — The Braves looked too rickety for the postseason in Game 1 on Thursday. They blundered through nine innings with flimsy defense and wasted at-bats. They were mowed down by the Dodgers’ starter Clayton Kershaw (12 strikeouts) flailing away at his breaking pitch. This National League Division Series looked like the series the pundits thought it would be all along with the Braves overmatched and the well-paid Dodgers too superior.

BOX SCORE: Braves 4, Dodgers 3

NIGHTENGALE: Braves have a shot after the win

But the nerves, the jitters, or whatever ailed the Braves in the 6-1 loss in Game 1, did not reappear in Game 2. Atlanta turned three double plays and got three two-out hits to drive in four runs and beat the Dodgers, 4-3, here Friday night. They looked more like the team that won 96 games in the regular season and won the National League East by 10 games.

 

 

Nightengale: A big blow to Dodgers — and Mattingly?

USA Today

ATLANTA – The whispers have been there all summer on the West Coast, and Friday night, they turned into audible groans in the Deep South.

Nights like these, Los Angeles Dodgers manager Don Mattingly simply can’t afford.

BOX SCORE: Braves 4, Dodgers 3

No member of the Dodgers’ ownership, front office or player came out and blamed Mattingly for the Dodgers’ 4-3 defeat to the Atlanta Braves, evening the National League Division series at 1-game apiece.

There was only silence.

Mattingly, who figures to finish second or third in the National League Manager of the Year balloting, still does not have a contract for next season.

 

 

Mark Whicker: Now we know why Dodgers’ management hasn’t totally committed to Don Mattingly

Miami Herald

ATLANTA – Absolutely nobody who knows Don Mattingly is driven to replace him with another manager.

But, if it happens, the events of Friday night hinted why.

The Dodgers lost Game 2 to the Braves, 4-3.

On the surface, not a big deal.

Even if they don’t clinch the Division Series by winning Sunday and Monday at home, they know they can roll out Clayton Kershaw for Game 5 on Wednesday here.

But the way the Braves took a 4-1 lead in the seventh, or the way the Dodgers corkscrewed themselves into strategic quicksand, explains why club management has not committed to Mattingly.

Rookie Chris Withrow had just frozen Elliot Johnson with a breaking ball, and there were two outs, Braves on second and third.

Atlanta skipper Fredi Gonzalez sent up left-handed Jose Constanza to pinch-hit for pitcher Luis Avilan.

Constanza is no Matt Stairs. This season he had no extra-base hits in 31 plate appearances. Against right-hand pitching Constanza is 8 for 23, but let’s be real: If Withrow can’t retire Constanza there, he probably does not belong on a playoff roster.

Nevertheless, Mattingly brought in Paco Rodriguez, the lefty reliever against whom left-hand hitters have a .131 average. But then, Rodriguez has held right-handers to a .202 average.

Gonzalez pinch-hit Reed Johnson, the 36-year-old from Cal State Fullerton who has a discerning eye and a .291 average this year against lefties. He also was 0 for 10 in September.

So the odds were with Rodriguez against Johnson. Instead, Mattingly ordered up the 12th intentional walk of Johnson’s 1,192-game career.

 

 

Steve Lyons doesn’t want your filthy, rally-killing home runs

NBC Hardball Talk

Remember a while ago, some had the idea that having slow runners on base was a bad idea because they “clogged up the bases“? Even though having runners on base directly leads to scoring runs? It took a bit of work (and ridicule) to get that idea out of the zeitgeist. Now, thanks to Steve Lyons, we have to do some extra work to get another bad idea out:

Ok. I know U have to think a lil deeper. But a HR that doesn’t tie or put U ahead doesn’t help. Pitcher goes back to the wind up.

— Steve Lyons (@SteveLyons12) October 5, 2013

He has no more pressure and everybody starts over. Rally killer. Hit a double and score 1 run and keep the pitcher in trouble

— Steve Lyons (@SteveLyons12) October 5, 2013

Lyons, who spent nine years as a Major Leaguer and subsequently became a broadcaster, is referring to the two-run home run Hanley Ramirez hit against Braves reliever David Carpenter earlier tonight to bring the game from 4-1 to 4-3. The two-run home run Yoenis Cespedes hit in the seventh inning to bring his team from 3-0 to 3-2 also qualifies as a “rally killer”.

 

 

Baseball History Today: October 5th

Call To The Pen

One year ago on this date, the first ever NL Wild Card game was contested between the St. Louis Cardinals and the Atlanta Braves. Turner Field was the venue and those in attendance were “treated” to two history worthy events. Unfortunately, one severely overshadowed the other.

The first event was the infamous “infield fly rule” call made by left field umpire Sam Holbrook. A shallow fly ball off the bat of Andrelton Simmons drops in between left fielder Matt Holliday and shortstop Pete Kozma.

 

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