Last Series vs.: August 23-25, 2010 (Rockies Sweep 3-0 in Coors Field)
One of the best parts of writing these columns is being able to see which stage of play the Rockies were in during that 3-4 game snippet of the season. Or maybe it's a season from several years ago, and I get to chuckle at names like Matt Herges or Zach McClellan.
This particular series in 2010 took place during one of the Rockies' trademark streaky finishes, and the Rockies won all 3 games in the series.
Tim Hudson and Jason Hammel went toe-to-toe in the first game of the series, both going around 6 innings (Hudson 6, Hammel 6.1), Hudson allowing 4 runs and Hammel allowing 3. Betancourt struck out the side in the 8th, but not before allowing a run on 2 hits and a walk. The Rockies rallied in the 8th, however, off of Jonny Venters, on a Carlos Gonzalez single, stolen base, a Tulo walk, and a Todd Helton single. Huston Street posted a 1-2-3 save.
Game 2 featured a 7 inning outing from Jorge De La Rosa, going 7 innings with 7 punchouts. Derek Lowe turned in a quality start by the definition (6IP, 3ER), but the Braves were never able to overcome the deficit. To make matters worse, while the game was within 1, Takashi Saito struck out the side bookending 2 singles, but strike 3 on out 3 was a passed ball, allowing Clint Barmes to reach and the runners to advance. Fowler then singled to deep LF/CF, scoring Stewart and Olivo, both runs unearned. The inning was mercifully ended by a Carlos Gonzalez groundout. Huston Street posted yet another 1-2-3 save.
Game 3 was far more of a barnburner. Esmil Rogers allowed 7 runs before finishing the 2nd inning. Manny Corpas pitched through the 3rd, allowing another 3 runs in what would ultimately be his last game as a Rockie. Down 10-1 in the 4th inning, things looked bleak. Then after the 4th, it was 10-2. After the 5th it was 10-5. After the 6th it was 10-8. The Braves held the 2 run lead for the 7th inning.
Then it was the 8th.
Seth Smith punched out.
Chris Iannetta walked.
Melvin Mora singled, Iannetta to 2B.
EYJ grounded into a fielder's choice, Iannetta to 3B.
Dexter Fowler walked.
Carlos Gonzalez singled, Iannetta and Young scored, Fowler to 3B.
And then it was 10-10.
Troy Tulowitzki singled, scoring Dexter Fowler.
Then it was 11-10.
Todd Helton singled, scoring Carlos Gonzalez.
Then Belisle struck out looking.
He returned the favor by a 1-2-3 9th, and the Rockies accomplished a 9 run comeback to tie, 11 run comeback to win.
Everything else past the jump.
Latest Series Results: W 3-0 @ Seattle, W 2-1 vs Baltimore
The Braves' biggest strength is clearly their pitching. Specifically, their bullpen. The Braves' bullpen has been worth 4.9 fWAR to date, which is a full 1.3 fWAR above the 2nd most valuable Yankees' bullpen's 3.6 fWAR. Their rotation isn't QUITE as strong, but their 9.3 fWAR has been 6th best in the majors.
With a team as strong as pitching as the Braves, it sometimes gets brushed under the table that they do, in fact, have a couple of decent bats on the team. And what better place to have those bats than...the catching corps? Braves Catchers rank as 2nd in the majors, 1st in the NL in fWAR, and lead the majors in wRC+ (148).
#16 / Catcher / Atlanta Braves
Feb 20, 1984
|2011 - Brian McCann||74||271||30||85||14||0||14||47||33||43||2||1||.314||.388||.520|
#8 / Catcher / Atlanta Braves
Mar 19, 1977
|2011 - David Ross||20||59||7||18||2||0||4||14||7||15||0||1||.305||.379||.542|
With Joe Mauer hurt, it's hard not to make the bold statement that Brian McCann is the best catcher in MLB. He's been the best in the NL for several years now. Since 2008, the only catcher to provide more value to his team has been Joe Mauer (as would be expected), at 19.5 fWAR, and second is Brian McCann, at 17.3 fWAR. On a rate scale, Mauer has a 141 wRC+ edge to McCann's 130 wRC+, but for catchers with 1000+ PA over that 3.5 year span, the next most valuable catcher in MLB has been Russell Martin, and he's sitting at 10.6 fWAR - that's nearly a 7-win dropoff in value from McCann to Martin.
And not to forget Ross. For catchers with 60+PA, Ross leads the majors with a 153 wRC+. Safe to say that if McCann needs a day off, the Braves won't be hurting at the catcher's spot in the lineup.
I'm interested to see what Alex Avila from the Tigers will do over the next several years, and if he can keep up his ridiculous batting line, but until then, Mauer and McCann are in a league of their own as far as production goes.
Monday through Thursday: 4-game series at Turner Field
Expected Pitching Matchups
Monday, July 4, 2011 @ 5:10PM MT
|2011 - Ubaldo Jimenez||3-7||15||15||2||1||0||0||91.0||84||51||44||7||39||78||4.35||1.35|
|2011 - Tommy Hanson||9-4||15||15||0||0||0||0||89.1||62||29||26||8||33||97||2.62||1.06|
Tuesday, July 5, 2011 @ 5:10PM MT
|2011 - Jhoulys Chacin||8-5||17||16||1||1||0||0||104.2||77||39||36||14||43||92||3.10||1.15|
|2011 - Derek Lowe||4-6||18||18||0||0||0||0||101.2||100||48||47||7||38||76||4.16||1.36|
Wednesday, July 6, 2011 @ 5:10PM MT
|2011 - Aaron Cook||0-3||7||5||0||0||0||0||29.0||36||16||15||0||13||12||4.66||1.69|
|2011 - Jair Jurrjens||11-3||15||15||2||1||0||0||104.2||88||24||22||5||23||63||1.89||1.06|
Thursday, July 7, 2011 @ 11:05PM MT
|2011 - Juan Nicasio||3-1||7||7||0||0||0||0||41.2||42||20||19||6||10||30||4.10||1.25|
|2011 - Tim Hudson||7-6||17||17||1||1||0||0||106.0||95||49||42||8||27||76||3.57||1.15|
|2011 - Craig Kimbrel||2-2||43||0||0||0||24||4||42.0||29||13||12||1||18||67||2.57||1.12|