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Thursday, October 10, 2019

Misery Index: Play-by-Play Breakdown of Braves’ Brutal First Inning in NLDS Game 5

Every baseball disaster has its own particular terroir. But, generally, they fall into one of two genres. There is the sudden individual moment: the walk-off, the disastrous error, the grand slam. This draws a clear line in a game of before and after; it is one instance of sensational pain, so that the entire endeavor implodes, and then it is over. There is no space for bargaining or strategizing or rationalizing. It is one play that remakes the game in its likeness. And then there is the slow decline: the frame that holds a thousand deaths, and so, too, a thousand missed chances to live. This one unravels gradually and then suddenly and, always, painfully. This one is the first inning of Game 5 between the Braves and the Cardinals.

It was historic (10 runs, the most ever scored in the first inning in the postseason), a little bizarre (10 runs without one home run!) and, ultimately, the foundation for a contest that was totally anticlimactic (St. Louis went on to win, 13-1). There was no one moment when this got out of hand. There was, maybe, only the moment when it transitioned from ordinary disaster to full-on caricature. So here are all of those moments, presented in chronological order by batter, rated by their misery.

No. 1, Dexter Fowler: Walk

This, on its face, is not so bad. This was but one base-runner. It was unremarkable, neither a four-pitch disaster nor an extended battle. Yet—it was a leadoff walk, in an elimination game, and, well, there’s inherent misery to that. Just a little! It’s irrational, concerned more with the shifty pressure of a bad omen than the particular realities of run expectancy, but, all the same, in however small a sense, it’s miserable.

Misery Rating: 3

Anatomy of a Disaster

 

QLE Posted: October 10, 2019 at 12:51 AM | 30 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: braves, cardinals, nlds

Reader Comments and Retorts

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Statements posted here are those of our readers and do not represent the BaseballThinkFactory. Names are provided by the poster and are not verified. We ask that posters follow our submission policy. Please report any inappropriate comments.

   1. Jeff Francoeur's OPS Posted: October 10, 2019 at 06:19 AM (#5888720)
It is pure hell being a Braves fan in October. The ineptitude of this franchise in games that matter is often unbelievable yet never unsurprising.
   2. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: October 10, 2019 at 06:45 AM (#5888725)
Not gonna lie, it was kind of fun watching the Braves drive into a ditch and explode immediately after the fans at the stadium went out of their way to be dicks about the tomahawk chop.
   3. My name is RMc and I feel extremely affected Posted: October 10, 2019 at 06:56 AM (#5888727)
WALK
SAC BUNT
SINGLE
SINGLE
FIELDERS CHOICE
WALK
DOUBLE
INTENTIONAL WALK
WALK
DOUBLE
DOUBLE
FLY OUT
STRIKEOUT (REACHED ON WILD PITCH)
GROUNDOUT


What, no catcher's interference?
   4. bunyon Posted: October 10, 2019 at 07:24 AM (#5888732)
So whose day was worse? Braves fans or Dodgers?

As a Braves fan, I knew it was over at 7-0. I packed for my trip, made dinner and had a pleasant evening.

I think, as a player, I’d rather have been a dodger. As a fan, it’s no contest.
   5. My name is RMc and I feel extremely affected Posted: October 10, 2019 at 07:35 AM (#5888736)
If the Rays upset the Astros, then the Yankees-Cardinals World Series is locked in.

Yippee.
   6. Jeff Francoeur's OPS Posted: October 10, 2019 at 08:06 AM (#5888739)
@4: Definitely Braves fans. I'd have been 'okay' with a back-and-forth game with the Braves on the short end, say 5-4. But making history in the first inning? By giving up a ten piece? Damn.

By the way, racial concerns aside, the chop might have been cute during the run of success in the 90s, but now that the Braves haven't won a playoff series since 2001, it's become cheesy and just plain lame.
   7. John DiFool2 Posted: October 10, 2019 at 08:12 AM (#5888741)
Esp. since they ripped it off from the FSU football team...
   8. Greg K Posted: October 10, 2019 at 08:15 AM (#5888742)
WALK
SAC BUNT
SINGLE
SINGLE
FIELDERS CHOICE
WALK
DOUBLE
INTENTIONAL WALK
WALK
DOUBLE
DOUBLE
FLY OUT
STRIKEOUT (REACHED ON WILD PITCH)
GROUNDOUT

Bolded one should be an error shouldn't it?
   9. Pasta-diving Jeter (jmac66) Posted: October 10, 2019 at 08:42 AM (#5888748)
Bolded one should be an error shouldn't it?

except for that strange scoring rule that you "can't anticipate a DP"
   10. Sweatpants Posted: October 10, 2019 at 09:01 AM (#5888750)
WALK
SAC BUNT
This still happens? They (meaning baseball, not just St. Louis) get rid of slap hitters, rarely push their starting pitchers, and give managers less authority than ever, but they still have the number-two hitter bunting the runner over to second?
   11. Greg K Posted: October 10, 2019 at 09:16 AM (#5888752)
except for that strange scoring rule that you "can't anticipate a DP"

Maybe I'm remembering the inning wrong, but didn't Freeman boot the ground ball and get no one out?
   12. It's regretful that PASTE was able to get out Posted: October 10, 2019 at 09:22 AM (#5888753)
This still happens? They (meaning baseball, not just St. Louis) get rid of slap hitters, rarely push their starting pitchers, and give managers less authority than ever, but they still have the number-two hitter bunting the runner over to second?


I didn't see any quotes as to whether a sac bunt was ordered, but it looked to me like Wong was trying to bunt for a hit. He didn't show bunt until the last possible moment, put it toward third and booked it like hell.
   13. Sweatpants Posted: October 10, 2019 at 09:35 AM (#5888762)
I didn't see the game, so I'm sure you're right. I just thought it weird that, of all the things for baseball to keep, it would be the no-out sac bunt to get the runner to second. What you described actually makes sense.
   14. salvomania Posted: October 10, 2019 at 09:41 AM (#5888765)
Yankees-Cardinals World Series

Come on, that would be awesome.

They haven't met in the postseason since the '64 World Series, which was a classic.

Young African-American stars of the Cardinals (Gibson, Brock, Flood, White) vs. the old-time dynasty of the Yankees (Mantle, Maris, Ford), or at least that's how Halberstam framed it in October '64.

Gibson's first start in that series was the last time he failed to start and complete a World Series game, and the only other WS game he failed to start, complete, and win was Game 7 against the Tigers in '68.

Nine WS starts, 81 innings pitched. Incredible.
   15. Rusty Priske Posted: October 10, 2019 at 10:00 AM (#5888776)
It the midst of that mess, how about how stupid it is the put down a sac bunt by the 2nd batter of the game?

That isn't a point of misery. They should have thanked them for the free out.
   16. CFBF's Overflowing Pathos Posted: October 10, 2019 at 10:20 AM (#5888783)
Sorry, Misery Index. If I'm going to re-live this catastrophe I'm really going to need Jameela Jamil to make it go down easier.

I mentioned this in the omnichatter, but the funny thing about that inning is that the Braves could have almost completely short-circuited it just by holding on to a foul tip strike three to the first batter of the game or turning the double play off Molina's ground ball.
   17. wjones Posted: October 10, 2019 at 10:23 AM (#5888785)
Esp. since they ripped it off from the FSU football team.

You may not realize this (or care,if your intention is to pile on), but it got started by a FSU alum, who had played football for the Seminoles. Deion Sanders, I think was his name. Deion is long gone but left a lasting legacy, FWIW.


STRIKEOUT (REACHED ON WILD PITCH)

A wild pitch that hit McCann in the chest. Guess Fried fooled Ozuna and McCann both.
   18. filihok Posted: October 10, 2019 at 10:29 AM (#5888791)
So whose day was worse? Braves fans or Dodgers?

Think it depends on the type of person you are

I'm the type that strongly believes that finding pleasure is more important than avoiding pain. I, as a Dodger fan, loved the tension of last night's game. Even as I watched Roberts make obviously bad bullpen choices knowing there was a high probability of disaster.

I would have rather won, for sure. Coming back to win after Kershaw have up the two homeruns might have been a more enjoyable (because it was more intense) experience than if he (or a different pitcher) had gotten Rendon and Soto out.

Losing like the Braves did would have just been boring. And boredom is even worse than pain.

Give me 10 consecutive World Series game 7 late inning losses to not making the playoffs.

I understand other peoples' internal wiring may make them see it differently.
   19. salvomania Posted: October 10, 2019 at 10:36 AM (#5888795)
It the midst of that mess, how about how stupid it is the put down a sac bunt by the 2nd batter of the game?

As was mentioned in another thread, Wong, who's very fast and who led the majors in bunt hits, appeared to be attempting to bunt for a base hit.
   20. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: October 10, 2019 at 10:59 AM (#5888811)
They haven't met in the postseason since the '64 World Series, which was a classic.

It's in the running for the worst World Series to go the full seven games.
   21. Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: October 10, 2019 at 11:11 AM (#5888820)
Sorry, Misery Index. If I'm going to re-live this catastrophe I'm really going to need Jameela Jamil to make it go down easier.
Atlanta is the Bad Place!
   22. salvomania Posted: October 10, 2019 at 03:20 PM (#5889028)
They haven't met in the postseason since the '64 World Series, which was a classic.

It's in the running for the worst World Series to go the full seven games.

I'm a Cardinals fan, they won in 7, it's a classic.

EDIT: Also, from a ranking on Viva El Birdos of all the Cardinals' World Series, using Leverage Index, 1964 ranks No.2 behind the 2011 humdinger:
The series included a walk-off home run courtesy of Mickey Mantle, and the Yankees even managed to be dramatic in what turned out to be a 8-3 Game 2 victory—four of the Yankees’ runs were 9th inning insurance runs. It was a well-rounded series which included an objective classic in Game 3 and it went the distance.
   23. Jeremy Renner App is Dead and I killed it Posted: October 10, 2019 at 03:27 PM (#5889033)
20--Two one run games. Extra inning game. Game 2 was close until Yanks blew it open in 9th. Game 3 won by a dinger in the bottom of the 9th. Game 6 Yankees down 2-3 in Series and score big late to take the game and even series.

Seems like a pretty good series. Sucks because??
   24. Jose is an Absurd Time Cube Posted: October 10, 2019 at 03:34 PM (#5889038)
In fairness Dag didn't say it sucked, just that it was the worst seven game series. Presumably that's a pretty high bar. The one I always think of in my lifetime is 1997, it wasn't a bad series but really have much to offer in the way of great games (save game seven itself).
   25. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: October 10, 2019 at 09:14 PM (#5889156)
About a decade ago, I did a series of articles for THT on the best World Series games.

10 Best Game Ones, 10 Best Game Twos, 10 Best Game Threes, etc. All the way through the Ten Best Game Sevens.

I hardly remember the '64 Series entering into the list at all.

Looking it up, two games were blowouts - Games 2 and 6, both of which the Yankees won by identical scores, 8-3. Post #23 notes that the Yankees blew both games open late.... yeah, but they had a decent lead in both games prior to then. Nothing huge, but the games were safely in hand. And in both cases, the Cards got some cheap runs late, after the game was out of hand. Neither were very interesting games.

Game Seven had a close final score, but that's only because the Yankees scored twice in the ninth. St. Louis a 6-0 lead midway through the game and cruised from there.

Game One -- for a contest that ended with a 9-5 score it was competitive, but that's a heckuva qualifier.

The middle games of the Series were pretty good. It's definitely a better series than I remember - but it's a classic for the storyline of the young, hungry and notably African-American team taking on the old, heavily white team about to decline. It isn't really a classic for the games.

There were good games in it. But a lot of seven-gamers had better contests.
   26. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: October 10, 2019 at 09:34 PM (#5889163)
Actually, I just looked up some formula I jerry-rigged for a different column trying to determine the best postseason series ever. And by that formula, the 1964 World Series ranks... pretty much right smack dab in the middle. Shows what I know. Nevermind me then.

(Worst? 1920. But that hardly counts - it was a best-of-nine that went seven games. Worst best-of-seven to go the distance? 1987. Yeah. OK. Second worst is 1965. So the two worst are both Twins-related. Then 1940, 1968, and 1931. So the Cards were in three of the bottom five.

My memory just plain got this one wrong.
   27. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: October 10, 2019 at 10:18 PM (#5889180)
They haven't met in the postseason since the '64 World Series, which was a classic.

It's in the running for the worst World Series to go the full seven games.

Two great games in that Series were games 3 and 5, and game 4 wasn't too bad. If not for Gibson's unbelievable fielding play on Pepitone's liner off his butt in the bottom of the 9th in that game 5, Tresh's subsequent game-tying homer would've won the game, and the Yanks would've won the Series in 6.

Not the greatest 7 game Series, but hardly the worst. Sacreligious as it may be to Dodgers' fans, 1955 didn't have but one game with any real late inning tension, and that was game 1. Once Amoros made that play on Berra in the last of the 6th in game 7, Podres was utterly dominant after that.

The truly great 7 game Series were 1912 (8 games with a tie), 1924, 1952, 1958, 1962, 1972, 1975, 1991, 2001 (if you can overlook the fact that 3 of the games were lopsided), 2014, 2016 and 2017 (though game 7 there was a snoozer). I was there for every one of them, so my opinion on this matter rules. 1934 and 1956 might have qualified except that in both cases game 7 was lopsided. Which was too bad, because in narrative terms 1934 might have been the best Series ever.

Oh, and 1991 was the best, even if both teams were basically forgettable. But how in the hell are you ever going to beat 4 walkoff wins in the last 5 games, including 3 in extra innings, and including both games 6 and 7?

Worst best-of-seven to go the distance? 1987. Yeah. OK. Second worst is 1965. So the two worst are both Twins-related. Then 1940, 1968, and 1931. So the Cards were in three of the bottom five.

1940 and 1968 at least had game 7's that were decided in the late innings, and 1968 featured the Tigers coming back from the dead after the 1st inning of game 5. Can't argue much with the others, though I'd add 1955 to the list. Only its historic nature makes it memorable in any way whatever, because the last 6 games were pretty much decided by the middle innings.
   28. Rusty Priske Posted: October 11, 2019 at 09:45 AM (#5889224)

As was mentioned in another thread, Wong, who's very fast and who led the majors in bunt hits, appeared to be attempting to bunt for a base hit.


Ah... yes, that is very different.
   29. Howie Menckel Posted: October 11, 2019 at 09:58 AM (#5889232)
If not for Gibson's unbelievable fielding play on Pepitone's liner off his butt in the bottom of the 9th in that game 5, Tresh's subsequent game-tying homer would've won the game, and the Yanks would've won the Series in 6.

you do know that's not how life actually works, I hope? Tresh would have been batting under different circumstances, which would affect how Gibson pitches to Tresh, which.....

[then again, if you've planted your flag on that hill for 55 years, no sense in me trying to talk you out of it now!]
   30. ajnrules Posted: October 11, 2019 at 02:12 PM (#5889391)
The truly great 7 game Series were 1912 (8 games with a tie), 1924, 1952, 1958, 1962, 1972, 1975, 1991, 2001 (if you can overlook the fact that 3 of the games were lopsided), 2014, 2016 and 2017 (though game 7 there was a snoozer).

Why no 2011? Even the one blowout in the series featured a historical moment.

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