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Series Recap: Braves Lose 2 Of 3 To Marlins

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This was a strange series. A lot of things went wrong for the Braves--each of the starters gave up at least 4 runs, the bullpen had some issues, and the offense had trouble hitting with runners in scoring position--but a lot of things went right, too. In particular, several of our regulars had excellent series with the bat, we got some big pinch hits, and we came back from two-run (or greater) deficits in all three games. The resiliency and on-base ability that the Braves showed in this series was encouraging, even if in the end those were not enough to win the series.

In the end, I think this series taught us a few things. The first is that Nate McLouth should not be allowed to bat in a crucial situation (though we really should have known that by now). The second is that we've been so spoiled by our pitching lately--starters and relievers--that it is almost shocking when they do not perform well in consecutive games. The third is that Chino Cadahia should take a lesson from B.F. Skinner and shock Bobby Cox whenever Bobby thinks about pinch-running. The fourth (and perhaps most important) is that Jason Heyward is back to his normal, dominant self.

Here are links to the TC Recaps and FanGraphs pages for each game in case you missed them (check out the FG game graphs; they were very interesting for all 3 games):

Game 1: Marlins win 7-6  (TC Recap / FanGraphs Page)
Game 2: Braves win 10-5  (TC Recap / FanGraphs Page)
Game 3: Marlins win 5-4 in 11 innings (TC Recap / FanGraphs Page)

Despite the disappointing result, it's important to note that the Braves still have a nice 5-game lead in the division and have still only lost 2 of their last 22 series (16-2-4). Things didn't quite go our way this time, but it's hardly cause for panic or discouragement.

Stat of the Series, Part 1
The Marlins blew 4 saves in the series but still won 2 out of 3.

Stat of the Series, Part 2
Jason Heyward reached base as many times in this series (12 times in 16 PA) as Nate McLouth has since May 23rd. In 21 games and 66 PA for McLouth in that time, he has 6 hits, 5 walks, and 1 hit-by-pitch. That's good for a .102 / .185 / .119 line.

Those of you who selected Jason Heyward in the pre-series poll were correct. He had the most hits by a Brave in the series, edging out Martin Prado 7 to 6.

Series Awards after the jump...

Series Awards

Braves' Pitching MVPs
Takashi Saito-- 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 5 K (yup, 6 batters faced, 5 strikeouts), and a 0.185 WPA
Jonny Venters-- 3 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 K, 0.177 WPA

Braves' Hitting MVPs
Brian McCann-- 4/11, 2 BB, HBP, HR, R, 6 RBI, 3 K, 2 GDP, and a huge 0.745 WPA
Eric Hinske-- 4/10, 3 BB, HR, 2 R, 3 RBI, 2 K, 0.471 WPA
Jason Heyward-- 7/11, 5 BB (good for a .750 OBP), 4 R, SB, CS, K, 0.197 WPA
Martin Prado-- 6/16, 2 HR, 2 2B, 4 R, 2 RBI, K, 0.206 WPA
Chipper Jones-- 2/8, 3 BB, 2B, 3 R, 2 RBI, 2 K, 0.357 WPA

Braves' Clutch Plays
Brian McCann's go-ahead hit in the 9th inning of game 1 (0.387 WPA)
McCann's 3-run, game-tying homer in the 7th inning of game 1 (0.319 WPA)
Brooks Conrad's pinch-hit grand slam in the 8th inning of game 2 (0.281 WPA)
Chipper Jones' game-tying double in the 7th inning of game 3 (0.242 WPA)
Eric Hinske's 2-run, game-tying single in the 8th inning of game 2 (0.210 WPA)

Marlins' Pitching MVPs
Clay Hensley-- 3 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 1 K, 0.307 WPA
Jorge Sosa (yeah, that's right)-- 2 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 1 K, 0.299 WPA
Brian Sanches-- 2.2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 2 K, 0.210 WPA
Anibal Sanchez-- 6 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 1 HR, 3 BB, 7 K, 0.148 WPA

Marlins' Hitting MVPs
Gaby Sanchez-- 5/15, HR, 2B, 3 R, 2 RBI, 2 K, 2 GDP, 0.436 WPA
Dan Uggla-- 5/14, BB, 2B, 2 HR, 4 R, 5 RBI, 4 K, GDP, 0.268 WPA
Wes Helms-- 2/5, 2 BB, 3B, R, 3 RBI, K, 0.318 WPA

Marlins' Clutch Plays
Donnie Murphy's walk-off single in the 9th inning of game 1 (0.359 WPA)
Emilio Bonifacio scoring on a passed ball immediately prior (0.357 WPA)
Gaby Sanchez singling earlier in that inning (0.333 WPA)
Dan Uggla singling to put the winning run on 3B in the 11th inning of game 3 (0.217 WPA)
Wes Helms tripling in two runs in the 4th inning of game 3 (0.205 WPA)


Series Unawards

Braves' Pitching LVP
Billy Wagner-- 0.2 IP, 2 H, 2 R (1 ER), 2 BB (1 IBB), 1 K, BS, -0.779 WPA

Braves' Hitting LVP
Nate McLouth-- 0/9, 0 BB, R, K, 2 GDP, -0.799 WPA
(Nate had the lowest hitting WPA on either team in all three games, which is quite a difficult feat, especially considering he didn't even start game 3.)

Braves' Unclutch Plays
Nate McLouth grounding into a bases-loaded double play in the 11th inning of game 3 (-0.360 WPA)
Troy Glaus doing the same in the 7th inning of game 3 (-0.277 WPA)

Marlins' Pitching LVPs
Jose Veras-- 1.1 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 4 BB, 3 K, BS, -0.781 WPA
Taylor Tankersley-- 0.0 IP, 2 H, 5 R (4 ER), 1 BB, 1 HBP, BS, -0.574 WPA; 5 batters faced-- all scored
Burke Badenhop-- 2.2 IP, 3 H, 4 R (2 ER), 1 HR, 1 BB, -0.278 WPA
Jhan Marinez-- 0.0 IP, 1 H, 2 R (1 ER), 1 BB, BS, -0.355 WPA

Marlins' Hitting LVPs
Jorge Cantu-- 1/8, 2 K, -0.133 WPA (he also made 2 key errors in the field)
Hanley Ramirez-- 4/13, 2 BB (1 IBB), 2 R, 5 K, -0.117 WPA
Mike Stanton-- 1/10, IBB, HR, R, RBI, 5 K, -0.090 WPA

Marlins' Unclutch Play
Uggla striking out with the bases loaded and 1 out in the 9th inning of game 1 (-0.266 WPA)

There were so many high-leverage situations in this series that there were tons of high- and low-WPA plays, meaning lots of crooked numbers in the WPA column.