Keith Law did NOT like “Moneyball”

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Aaron had his review of “Moneyball” yesterday, and if you didn’t read it, you should. Today I link a counterpoint review: Keith Law’s.  It’s on his own site, not ESPN, so it’s free.

I won’t give it away, but Law didn’t like it. At all.  And it’s not just some insider baseball geek takedown. He reviews it as a film on its own terms, as he should and finds it seriously lacking.  Anyone who has read Law’s book reviews on his personal blog will be familiar with his tough-but-fair reviewing style.

Less interesting than the review of the film itself, however, is Law’s discussion of a scene from late in the movie in which a John Henry stand-in is offering Beane a job with the Red Sox.  I touched on this concept in a post the other day, and it rings resoundingly true:

Beane is sitting in what was then called the .406 club at Fenway Park with John Henry, who is about to offer him a record-breaking deal to become the Red Sox’ new GM. Henry expounds on how Beane’s method of doing things is going to sweep through the industry, and how critics within the game weren’t just trying to protect the game, but were expressing their own fears about their livelihoods. That speech applies just as well to any industry undergoing the kind of creative destruction ushered in by Bill James, Sandy Alderson and Billy Beane. Remember that when you see the next written attack on “stat geeks” who are ruining the game along with a defense of RBIs or pitcher wins.

Which, Law’s unfavorable review aside, may stand as a good reason to see the movie. Not so much for the baseball, but for the story of the price that is exacted from anyone who tries to change any hidebound organization.

Braves miss chance to clinch NL East, lose 4-0 to Marlins

Atlanta Braves v Miami Marlins
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MIAMI – Jesus Luzardo struck out 12 in six innings, Bryan De La Cruz hit a two-run homer and the Miami Marlins prevented Atlanta from clinching its fifth straight NL East title by beating the Braves 4-0 on Monday night.

After sweeping the rival Mets at home over the weekend, Atlanta arrived in Miami needing one win or a New York loss to wrap up the division crown and a first-round playoff bye.

The Braves were unable to solve Luzardo or slow De La Cruz – and the Mets were rained out at home against Washington. New York is 1 1/2 games behind Atlanta heading into Tuesday’s doubleheader versus the last-place Nationals, while the Braves will play the second of three games at fourth-place Miami.

“You just can’t go out and win a baseball game. There are a lot of moving parts in it,” Atlanta manager Brian Snitker said. “These are dangerous teams, there are guys out there with talent. It’s hard to win a game. We’ll go get a good night’s sleep, come back and do it again.”

Dansby Swanson had two of Atlanta’s four hits, all off Luzardo (4-7). Braves sluggers Austin Riley and Matt Olson struck out three times each against the left-hander, who walked one in his first win since Aug. 7.

“It’s extremely satisfying,” Luzardo said. “Just wanted to go out there and do the same thing I’ve been doing: give us a chance to win, go long into a game. The result was great and definitely wanted to keep the train going.”

It was the fifth time the Braves were shut out this season, and the first time Miami blanked them since Sept. 8, 2020.

“Tough last three days, then night travel, we just couldn’t score runs,” Riley said. “There’s no panic. Come back (Tuesday) and lock this thing down.”

De La Cruz also doubled and singled, finishing a triple shy of the cycle for the third time in his last nine starts. Jesus Sanchez doubled twice and singled as Miami snapped an eight-game losing streak to the Braves.

“Hopefully next time I have that opportunity needing a triple, I’ll try to hit one out and perhaps the outfielder will dive, miss it and the ball will bounce around,” De La Cruz said.

Atlanta starter Bryce Elder, who threw a shutout against Washington in his previous outing, was lifted after giving up four runs in five innings. Elder (2-4) allowed six hits, walked one and struck out five.

“Would have liked to keep it closer than four,” he said.

Swanson doubled leading off the sixth before Luzardo fanned Michael Harris II, Riley and Olson. It was Atlanta’s final hit, as relievers Jeff Brigham, Bryan Hoeing and Richard Bleier each tossed a perfect inning for Miami.

Run-scoring doubles from De La Cruz and Sanchez in the first gave the Marlins a 2-0 lead.

De La Cruz’s two-run shot in the third made it 4-0. The second-year outfielder drove Elder’s sinker over the wall in center for his 13th homer this season. He raised his batting average to .390 with five homers and 22 RBIs since being recalled from Triple-A on Sept. 7.

“That’s who I am, the player they brought in last year,” De La Cruz said. “And that’s how I will continue to be the rest of my career.”

CLOSING STATEMENTS

Luzardo’s dominant final start of the season followed similar performances by teammates Sandy Alcantara and Pablo Lopez against Milwaukee last weekend. Alcantara, a top NL Cy Young Award contender, threw his major league-leading sixth complete game in a 1-0 loss, while Lopez tossed seven scoreless innings and got a no-decision.

“Our guys have kept us there and given us chances,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. “If you look at the whole season, it’s been a pretty strong suit. For the most part, they’ve been pretty solid.”

DIFFERENT SITUATION

When Elder made his previous start in Miami on Aug. 14, he was a one-day call-up from Triple-A to take the 27th roster spot for the doubleheader. Now, he could figure in Atlanta’s postseason plans after his third outing since being recalled a fifth time Sept. 19.

“He’s definitely going to be in the conversation,” Snitker said. “He’s pitched his way into it.”

FAMILIAR HONOR

Harris accomplished in September what he had previously done in June and August. The 21-year-old center fielder earned his third NL rookie of the month award. Harris hit .324 and finished with six homers and 19 RBIs in September.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Braves: 2B Ozzie Albies (right pinkie fracture) traveled with the club to Miami, where he will continue his rehab.

Marlins: SS Miguel Rojas will undergo surgery to repair cartilage damage in his right wrist Wednesday.

UP NEXT

Braves RHP Jake Odorizzi (5-6, 4.53 ERA) will start the middle game of the series Tuesday, while the Marlins go with LHP Braxton Garrett (3-6, 3.56).