Braves endure another .500 week as the Mets increase their lead

This week looks strangely like the one before, except the opponents were the Giants and D-Backs, and the games were at home.  First, the Braves took 2 of 3 from the Giants, and then Brandon Webb and Micah Owings won two of three games for the D-Backs over the weekend.

This Week’s Stats

Scores and FanGraphs Game Summaries:

8/14: Braves 5, Giants 4
8/15: Braves 6, Giants 3
8/16: Giants 9, Braves 3
8/17: D-Backs 4, Braves 0
8/18: D-Backs 12, Braves 6
8/19: Braves 6. D-Backs 2

Stats for the week alone:

Hitting PA OPS pLI WPA WPA/LI Clutch CP pWPA pWPA/LI pClutch pCP
Mark Teixeira 21 1.252 0.89 +0.490 +0.366 +0.124 +0.164 +2.33 +1.74 +0.59 +0.78
Yunel Escobar 20 0.879 0.82 +0.250 +0.084 +0.166 +0.181 +1.25 +0.42 +0.83 +0.90
Matt Diaz 5 1.000 0.52 +0.115 +0.005 +0.110 +0.112 +2.30 +0.11 +2.19 +2.24
Tim Hudson 3 1.333 0.61 +0.095 +0.095 -0.000 +0.037 +3.17 +3.18 -0.01 +1.23
Chipper Jones 23 0.670 0.91 +0.056 +0.061 -0.005 +0.000 +0.24 +0.27 -0.02 +0.00
Willie Harris 26 0.622 0.87 +0.041 -0.104 +0.145 +0.131 +0.16 -0.40 +0.56 +0.51
Corky Miller 5 0.650 0.27 +0.029 -0.013 +0.042 +0.033 +0.58 -0.26 +0.84 +0.65
Martin Prado 2 1.000 0.01 +0.001 +0.100 -0.099 +0.000 +0.05 +5.00 -4.95 +0.00
Chris Woodward 3 0.000 0.13 -0.009 -0.070 +0.061 -0.000 -0.30 -2.33 +2.03 -0.00
Buddy Carlyle 1 0.000 1.56 -0.023 -0.015 -0.008 +0.000 -2.30 -1.47 -0.83 +0.00
Chuck James 1 0.000 1.28 -0.031 -0.024 -0.007 +0.000 -3.10 -2.42 -0.68 +0.00
Kelly Johnson 25 0.526 0.87 -0.038 -0.141 +0.103 +0.084 -0.15 -0.56 +0.41 +0.33
Lance Cormier 2 0.000 0.83 -0.042 -0.051 +0.009 +0.000 -2.10 -2.55 +0.45 +0.02
Brian McCann 19 0.950 0.81 -0.055 -0.002 -0.053 -0.054 -0.29 -0.01 -0.28 -0.28
Scott Thorman 5 0.600 0.35 -0.060 -0.095 +0.035 -0.027 -1.20 -1.90 +0.70 -0.53
John Smoltz 5 0.000 0.97 -0.092 -0.109 +0.017 +0.014 -1.84 -2.18 +0.34 +0.28
Andruw Jones 22 0.673 0.75 -0.114 -0.165 +0.051 +0.010 -0.52 -0.75 +0.23 +0.04
Jeff Francoeur 23 0.737 0.76 -0.177 -0.260 +0.083 +0.022 -0.77 -1.13 +0.36 +0.09
Totals 211 0.741 0.79 +0.436 -0.336 +0.772 +0.708 +0.21 -0.16 +0.37 +0.34
Total Pitching IP ERA pLI WPA WPA/LI Clutch CP pWPA pWPA/LI pClutch pCP
Tim Hudson 8.0 3.38 1.02 +0.140 +0.064 +0.076 +0.075 +0.42 +0.19 +0.23 +0.23
Rafael Soriano 2.0 0.00 0.99 +0.123 +0.049 +0.074 +0.075 +1.76 +0.70 +1.06 +1.07
Ron Mahay 2.0 0.00 0.64 +0.098 +0.077 +0.021 +0.049 +1.63 +1.28 +0.35 +0.82
Lance Cormier 7.3 3.68 0.97 +0.089 +0.057 +0.032 +0.034 +0.28 +0.18 +0.10 +0.10
John Smoltz 14.0 3.21 0.94 +0.068 +0.126 -0.058 -0.050 +0.11 +0.21 -0.10 -0.08
Peter Moylan 1.7 0.00 0.09 +0.010 +0.097 -0.087 +0.001 +0.20 +1.93 -1.73 +0.03
Manuel Acosta 2.7 0.00 0.03 +0.009 +0.148 -0.139 +0.004 +0.09 +1.48 -1.39 +0.04
Tyler Yates 1.3 6.75 0.12 -0.011 -0.190 +0.179 +0.011 -0.18 -3.17 +2.98 +0.18
Oscar Villarreal 3.3 16.20 0.26 -0.098 -0.508 +0.410 +0.032 -0.45 -2.31 +1.86 +0.14
Bob Wickman 3.0 3.00 2.42 -0.139 -0.191 +0.052 +0.324 -0.77 -1.06 +0.29 +1.80
Buddy Carlyle 5.0 9.00 0.74 -0.344 -0.394 +0.050 -0.052 -1.23 -1.41 +0.18 -0.18
Chuck James 3.7 14.73 0.64 -0.378 -0.428 +0.050 -0.106 -2.22 -2.51 +0.29 -0.62
Totals 54.0 5.00 0.88 -0.433 -1.092 +0.659 +0.397 -0.18 -0.45 +0.27 +0.16
Relief Pitching G IP TBF gmLI G/T tG/T USG
Oscar Villarreal 2 3.3 22 0.35 0.47 2.02 1.54
Tyler Yates 2 1.3 6 0.15 0.20 1.17 0.97
Rafael Soriano 2 2.0 7 1.03 1.40 0.78 -0.61
Bob Wickman 3 3.0 18 1.96 2.66 0.70 -1.96
Ron Mahay 2 2.0 6 0.86 1.17 0.59 -0.58
Peter Moylan 2 1.7 5 0.13 0.17 0.19 0.02
Manuel Acosta 2 2.7 10 0.08 0.11 0.00 -0.11
Totals 15 16.0 74 0.74 14

Season Totals:

Hitting PA OPS pLI WPA WPA/LI Clutch CP pWPA pWPA/LI pClutch pCP
Chipper Jones 446 1.005 1.01 +2.445 +3.042 -0.597 -0.635 +0.55 +0.68 -0.13 -0.14
Yunel Escobar 216 0.757 0.97 +1.809 +0.524 +1.285 +1.298 +0.84 +0.24 +0.59 +0.60
Kelly Johnson 481 0.873 0.95 +1.540 +2.193 -0.653 -0.544 +0.32 +0.46 -0.14 -0.11
Edgar Renteria 463 0.878 0.96 +1.524 +1.929 -0.405 -0.321 +0.33 +0.42 -0.09 -0.07
Mark Teixeira 75 1.016 0.97 +0.793 +0.505 +0.288 +0.303 +1.06 +0.67 +0.38 +0.40
Willie Harris 305 0.831 1.00 +0.773 +0.279 +0.494 +0.495 +0.25 +0.09 +0.16 +0.16
Matt Diaz 278 0.876 0.94 +0.764 +1.073 -0.309 -0.244 +0.27 +0.39 -0.11 -0.09
Brian McCann 414 0.775 1.02 +0.353 -0.716 +1.069 +1.087 +0.09 -0.17 +0.26 +0.26
Jeff Francoeur 533 0.813 0.97 +0.275 -0.041 +0.316 +0.314 +0.05 -0.01 +0.06 +0.06
Corky Miller 11 0.764 0.94 +0.141 +0.018 +0.123 +0.124 +1.28 +0.16 +1.12 +1.13
Tyler Yates 1 0.000 0.03 -0.001 -0.033 +0.032 +0.000 -0.10 -3.33 +3.23 +0.00
Oscar Villarreal 4 0.500 1.21 -0.029 -0.067 +0.038 +0.052 -0.73 -1.68 +0.96 +1.30
Peter Moylan 5 0.200 0.55 -0.047 -0.051 +0.004 -0.019 -0.94 -1.02 +0.08 -0.38
Martin Prado 39 0.632 0.87 -0.076 -0.063 -0.013 -0.021 -0.19 -0.16 -0.03 -0.05
Lance Cormier 6 0.167 0.69 -0.095 -0.096 +0.001 -0.028 -1.58 -1.61 +0.02 -0.47
Buddy Carlyle 33 0.264 0.87 -0.281 -0.477 +0.196 +0.134 -0.85 -1.45 +0.60 +0.41
Tim Hudson 65 0.517 0.74 -0.292 -0.347 +0.055 -0.037 -0.45 -0.53 +0.08 -0.06
John Smoltz 49 0.230 0.83 -0.620 -0.790 +0.170 +0.038 -1.27 -1.61 +0.35 +0.08
Jarrod Saltalamacchia 153 0.745 1.11 -0.711 -0.273 -0.438 -0.408 -0.46 -0.18 -0.29 -0.27
Chuck James 52 0.317 0.92 -0.725 -0.689 -0.036 -0.090 -1.39 -1.33 -0.07 -0.17
Chris Woodward 127 0.529 1.04 -0.765 -0.995 +0.230 +0.265 -0.60 -0.78 +0.18 +0.21
Scott Thorman 283 0.658 0.90 -1.067 -0.608 -0.459 -0.521 -0.38 -0.21 -0.16 -0.18
Andruw Jones 520 0.725 1.08 -2.089 -0.980 -1.109 -1.032 -0.40 -0.19 -0.21 -0.20
Totals 4851 0.775 0.98 +0.371 +0.783 -0.412 -0.709 +0.01 +0.02 -0.01 -0.01
Total Pitching IP ERA pLI WPA WPA/LI Clutch CP pWPA pWPA/LI pClutch pCP
Peter Moylan 66.3 1.90 0.73 +2.289 +1.183 +1.106 +1.421 +0.87 +0.45 +0.42 +0.54
Tim Hudson 172.7 3.02 0.93 +2.211 +3.076 -0.865 -0.654 +0.32 +0.44 -0.12 -0.09
John Smoltz 153.7 3.05 1.07 +1.802 +1.642 +0.160 +0.039 +0.28 +0.25 +0.02 +0.01
Rafael Soriano 54.7 3.79 1.20 +1.297 +0.686 +0.611 +0.473 +0.61 +0.32 +0.29 +0.22
Chuck James 136.3 4.22 1.02 +0.762 -0.254 +1.016 +1.022 +0.13 -0.04 +0.17 +0.17
Tyler Yates 52.0 5.19 1.06 +0.216 +0.010 +0.206 +0.205 +0.09 +0.00 +0.09 +0.09
Oscar Villarreal 69.3 4.15 0.75 +0.155 -0.030 +0.185 +0.178 +0.05 -0.01 +0.06 +0.06
Ron Mahay 9.3 0.96 1.60 +0.047 +0.127 -0.080 -0.155 +0.13 +0.34 -0.22 -0.42
Manuel Acosta 3.7 0.00 0.07 +0.025 +0.225 -0.200 +0.009 +0.19 +1.73 -1.54 +0.07
Bob Wickman 43.3 3.74 2.04 -0.115 -0.048 -0.067 -0.017 -0.06 -0.02 -0.03 -0.01
Chad Paronto 40.3 3.57 0.63 -0.120 -0.364 +0.244 +0.111 -0.07 -0.20 +0.14 +0.06
Buddy Carlyle 85.0 4.66 0.88 -0.404 +0.226 -0.630 -0.602 -0.11 +0.06 -0.17 -0.17
Lance Cormier 20.0 9.90 0.83 -0.822 -1.363 +0.541 +0.315 -0.81 -1.35 +0.54 +0.31
Kyle Davies 86.0 5.76 0.98 -1.659 -1.037 -0.622 -0.640 -0.43 -0.27 -0.16 -0.16
Totals 1115.3 4.20 0.97 +2.580 +0.773 +1.807 +1.277 +0.05 +0.02 +0.04 +0.03
Relief Pitching G IP TBF gmLI G/T tG/T USG
Peter Moylan 55 66.3 262 0.83 0.79 1.83 1.04
Rafael Soriano 56 54.7 212 1.43 1.36 1.31 -0.05
Chad Paronto 41 40.3 180 0.82 0.78 0.92 0.14
Tyler Yates 59 52.0 231 1.09 1.04 0.88 -0.16
Oscar Villarreal 45 69.3 300 0.98 0.93 0.86 -0.07
Bob Wickman 48 43.3 201 1.59 1.51 0.59 -0.92
Ron Mahay 8 9.3 37 1.49 1.42 0.58 -0.84
Manuel Acosta 3 3.7 13 0.14 0.14 0.45 0.32
Buddy Carlyle 1 1.0 4 0.58 0.55 0.00 -0.55
Totals 392 409.0 1770 1.05 146

Best plays of the week:

  1. Yunel Escobar doubled off Scott Atchison, scoring two runs and tying Tuesday’s game at 3 in the 6th inning (+.277).
  2. Mark Teixeira homered off Yusmeiro Petit, scoring Kelly Johnson and giving the Braves a 4-2 lead in the third inning of yesterday’s game (+.197).
  3. Chipper Jones doubled in the winning run of Tuesday’s game off Randy Messenger (+.180).
  4. Mark Teixeira homered off Yusmeiro Petit, scoring Kelly Johnson and giving the Braves a 2-1 lead in the first inning of yesterday’s game (+.179), nearly allowing me to copy-paste #2 entirely.
  5. Bob Wickman struck out Ryan Klesko, keeping Tuesday’s game tied at 4 with the bases loaded and two out in the top of the ninth (+.175).

Comments

This week was par for the course from the starting pitching, with one important exception: several starters went long enough to give the relievers a break.  Although there were no complete games, three of the six starts (one by Hudson, one by Smoltz, and one by Cormier) allowed the Braves to use just a single reliever for a game.  On all three occasions, that reliever was Bob Wickman, who didn’t appear in any other games this week.

The other starts were not as good.  Smoltz was very hittable on Tuesday, and James and Carlyle were just bad in their appearances.  Still, no reliever other than Wickman appeared in more than two games, which is a remarkably sustainable workload for the ‘pen.  Unfortunately, this apparently only happens 2-3 times per season.

Wickman allowed a run in his three outings, and Yates allowed a run in 1 1/3 innings.  Villarreal was awful in 3 2/3 innings, allowing six runs.  The rest of the relief corps pitched 8 1/3 innings, shutting out the oppositions.

All in all, the poor starts had a greater negative WPA effect than the good starts had in the positive direction, so the net pitching WPA was -.433, worth almost a full loss below .500.

Conversely, the hitting was the same level above .500, as the Braves did actually finish 3-3 for the week.  Mark Teixeira led the way with three homers, including two big ones yesterday, finishing the week at +.490 on his own.

Yunel Escobar also had a solid week, even though he keeps hitting over twice as many balls on the ground as he puts in the air.  It’s hard to argue with his .315/.347/.410 hitting line, but unless he keeps hitting 23% of balls for line drives, he won’t remain a productive player.  Right now, his .757 OPS shows that he’s merely average offensively, despite the solid contact he’s made so far.

Matt Diaz and Tim Hudson had solid hitting WPA weeks as well.  Diaz only had 5 at-bats, but he managed two more hits, putting him at .342/.371/.506 for the year.  Willie Harris is still hitting .315, but you figure Diaz has to play his way into a starting role eventually.  Right?  Hudson is now hitting .237 for the year, although he has little on-base skill or power.  Not that anyone really cares about that, with the way he’s pitched.

Chipper Jones and Willie Harris had slightly positive weeks at the plate.  Even though they combined to hit just .200, 5 of their 9 hits went for extra bases, salvaging at least an average level of performance.  Kelly Johnson and Brian McCann were on the other side, slightly below average.  McCann had a solid week on the surface, but slightly poor clutch play pulled him below zero.

Andruw Jones and Jeff Francoeur took the bottom spots among hitters, despite the latter’s two-homer night on Saturday.  Francoeur is still hitting over .300 for the year, but Andruw is now hitting .216/.310/.416, and there are only a few weeks left in the season.  Hopefully the Braves can re-sign him to a bargain contract, but I won’t hold out too much hope with Scott Boras as his agent.

The Week Ahead

It’s a full schedule this week, with four games in Cincinnati and three in St. Louis to start out a three-series road trip.  The Braves will miss Aaron Harang, so it’s unlikely that they will face any dominant starting pitching all week.  There are no Brandon Webbs in sight, at least.

Monday: Hudson vs. Phil Dumatrait
Tuesday: James vs. Bobby Livingston
Wednesday: Cormier vs. Bronson Arroyo
Thursday: Carlyle vs. Elizardo Ramirez
Friday: Smoltz vs. Kip Wells
Saturday: Hudson vs. Joel Piniero
Sunday: James vs. Adam Wainwright

A 4-3 would hardly be satisfying at this point, with the way the Mets and Phillies have been playing.  5-2 with two series wins should be the baseline for success, even though the Cardinals have been playing well lately.

The Mets and Phillies both host San Diego and Los Angeles this week, as their schedules continue to mirror one another.  The Mets get the Padres first, while the Phillies get the Dodgers.  Both play only six games, so the Braves will get a free half-game if they keep up in the loss column.  The Padres are the current wild card leader (by one game over Philly), so a bad week for the Braves will set them back in one or both races.

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