In defiance of all rational analysis of baseball and of traditional understanding of the game, the Braves lost tonight. This was a game in which the Cardinals’ starting pitcher went six innings, walked five, and struck out two, while the Braves’ starter went eight, walked one, and struck out eight. It wasn’t the bullpens, either. It was dumb luck.
Now, I know some people will disagree with me, but singles are mostly luck and defense. Vazquez gave up six singles in the fifth inning — three with none out, and three with two out. He only gave up three hits the entire rest of the game. With any luck, he would have been out of it unscathed, or at worst still tied. He had no luck, at least no good luck.
Adam Wainwright, meanwhile, was both wild and hittable, and the Braves should probably have knocked him out of the game early. But he got some good defense and the Braves’ peculiar lineup arrangement kept the most successful hitters (Infante had three hits, leading off; Kotchman had two and a walk in the cleanup spot; Schafer walked three times and stole a base hitting seventh) from interacting properly.
Yunel Escobar had a terrible night, going 0-5 with a GIDP (his fourth of the year) and not doing anything on the defensive end to save Vazquez from the singles explosion. It happens, but in combination with his baserunning exploits of late, I’m not really in any mood to give him a break. Still, the Braves aren’t going to score many runs when he and Chipper start off 0-9 (Chipper had a hit in his last PA). On the other hand, if they get ten PA apiece, the team should score more than three runs.