Atlanta 9 Chicago 4

ESPN.com – MLB – Recap – Cubs at Braves

Productive day. Even without a dominating start from Smoltz, the Braves got runs off the sagging Cubs bullpen, six of them in the eighth inning. Andruw hit his 27th homer; Jeff Francoeur his first for his first hit.

While those players will be the story, the hero of the game was Marcus, who went 4-5, tripled off the top of the wall and Jeromy Burnitz’s glove to start the rally, singled in a run to finish it, and is now hitting .302. After Marcus’ triple, Andruw fell behind, then pulled the ball into the seats to give the Braves a 5-4 lead. After LaRoche singled, McCann sacrificed, but Aramis Ramirez tried to get the lead runner (stupid in this situation) and so both reached. Francoeur followed with a long AB, at the end of which he homered to center to blow the game open. Orr doubled, then the Cubs finally got two outs, but Marcus singled him home.

Furcal had two hits and a walk and hit a two-run homer in the fifth. Johnson also had two hits and a walk, and scored on LaRoche’s groundout in the fourth. The Braves had fourteen hits in all.

Smoltz didn’t have his best stuff, striking out only two and walking three, and allowing four runs including a two-run homer. He also may have sprained his toe slightly on defense, but seemingly was well enough to stay in the game. I wouldn’t be surprised if he took the All-Star Game off, but he really wants to play in Detroit. John Foster pitched a perfect eighth to get the win, and Reitsma a perfect ninth in a non-save situation.

The Brewers now come in for three, all on Turner South. The Braves, suddenly, have a five game winning streak, are 2 1/2 down in the division, and 3 1/2 up on the Marlins for second and the wildcard.

40 thoughts on “Atlanta 9 Chicago 4”

  1. I’m still pessimistic on Francoeur (at least this year – he’s got a great-looking future, to be sure), but Atlanta is ready to love him. What a hand he got!

  2. Standing O before the first at bat … and then the homer in the 8th … wow … he may not really be ready yet, but I don’t want to intellectualize this right now … enjoy the best day of your life Jeff Francoeur!

  3. I agree that our expectations of Francoeur should not be too high this year, but I was impressed by his approach in his fourth atbat. He said after the game that he was trying to do too much with some outside pitches by trying pull them. He went with the pitch in his last atbat into center/right center. I hope he can ride this momentum into the future and avoid a Kelly Johnson type start.

  4. He’s always talked the talk, and I mean that in a good way. If his body can adjust as well as his head appears to, that’ll be great. I just don’t know how fast that’s going to be since he’s been saying that he needs more patience since the beginning of the year and hasn’t shown much of it in AA. Of course, he’s apparently been told since then that plate discipline doesn’t matter.

    a
    g-g
    r-e-s-s-i-v-e

    And that’s probably enough downing the young prospect from me. I’m expecting this to be fun even if it doesn’t work out.

  5. I will just enjoy what happened tonight as much as I can. There will be a whole new ballgame tomorrow with Ben Sheets coming to town pitching on Saturday!!!

  6. No intellectual analysis here, either. Did everyone see Francoeur take a shaving cream pie right in the kisser? The game was great enough with a comeback win, but watching Marcus creep around the field with that thing and smash it ALL OVER the kid had me on the floor. Welcome to Atlanta, Jeff! Learn some patience at the plate (not from the guy who pied you, believe me) and you may be here to stay.

    I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many timely home runs in one game, for both sides. The score kept teetering back and forth. It was exciting until the 8th, when it got out of control, but we’ve really had some good baseball these past few days. I’m a little worried about Smoltz, but he’s usually okay.

    The one thing I will say is, I feel terrible for Cubs fans. They seem really, really down. I don’t think any of us were quite like that a few weeks ago when the team was collectively slumping. I hope they go to Florida and pick themselves up, because it’s really kind of sad.

    Maybe when I actually see the tape tomorrow I’ll be more insightful. But it is possible to get excited watching Gameday!

  7. I felt so bad for them I went over and posted an encouraging thread. Everybody who responded thanked me and was really nice. But Patterson’s demotion was inevitable. So, I think, is Dusty’s departure, sooner rather than later. This is their second sweep in as many series. Something has to give.

  8. After seeing the way the Braves fans and the Braves players were treated by Cubs fans in the 2003 playoffs, I have ZERO sympathy. Our fans act with class…their fans whine & moan and act obnoxious to the opposition when they are up.

    Still, would love to see them go in and take it to the Marlins seeing as it will help us. I actually have a lot of family and in-laws who are from Chicago and Cubs fans, but still, I have a long memory when people show up MY TEAMS.

    Well, I am off to Houston, Texas tomorrow morning with my wife to see family & friends so I may not post much on the series this weekend but hopefully we can keep the momentum going strong. Let’s just pray that Ben Sheets isn’t help by thae horrible umpire who helped him to 18 K’s against us again.

    I may try and catch the Astros-Dodgers game this Saturday as I continue my goal of hitting every Major League Park. I have seen our Braves whip up on the ‘Stros in the old Dome but looking forward to Minuit Maid/Enron. I took a tour there once but not during a game–should be fun.

    On that note, still have to say my favorite park (so far) to see a game at is Fenway and Safeco for various reasons. But I will always take the TED because it’s our team!

  9. Just got back from the games. A couple things:

    Horam was awesome.
    The cubs looked completely lost in the fist game.
    In the second it looked as if they had some life, but andruw completely extinquished what life there was.
    Why did they not put in dempster ealier? Really that would of helped, a bit.
    #27
    Francoeur’s debut was amazing. Overly hyped, but it all played into the home run and just how perfect a cap it is on what this season has been.
    The crowd was really into it tonight, they love seeing the young guys. Over the past 2 years or so I’ve seen a dramatic change. This crowd was one of the better ones in the past two years. Maybe this is a good sign for us.

  10. Great game but the one thing that hit me and won’t go away was that besides our pitcher, Smoltz, Andruw Jones was the OLDEST regular we had on the field. If that doesn’t age everybody then I don’t know what will.

  11. A fascinating look inside Bobby’s mind at the end of the game tonight. After Francoeur’s homer blows the game open, Bobby gets Kolb up in the pen to join Reitsma, who’s already been throwing, in an apparent move to save his closer since the game has become a blowout. The Braves add yet another run after that and lead by five with the 6-7-8 spots in the Cubs order coming up. The ninth starts and on the mound…Reitsma! Even a five run lead against a dead team walking wasn’t enough cushion for Bobby to trust the ninth to Kolb. That’s got to be a confidence boost for old Dan-o.

  12. Always wondering what the old man is thinking sometimes, maybe we should start calling the old man Master Yoda…

  13. Holy Cow!! That was such a special moment in Braves baseball; as Francoeur jacks one in front of family and friends and then gets the standing O. It just makes you feel proud to be a Braves fan.

  14. Jordan’s on the 15-day DL. I’d be surprised if he’s reactivated before September 1.

  15. Now I’ve been called a conspiracy nut about this, but if someone could provide me with anything in writing on how this injury became so severe Wednesday afternoon that he couldn’t even pinch hit and/or anything that addresses treatment options or recovery timetables, then I’ll believe this is just a typical DL stint for an injured player. That’s a request, not a challenge… I haven’t seen anything remotely resembling such things anywhere, and there’s always something to say about all that. I’m not saying his knee isn’t a problem, I just don’t know why (apparently) nobody has bothered to say why it’s suddenly more of one now than it was last Thursday or when it might get better.

  16. This is the closest thing I’ve seen. From the mlb.com notebook:

    “Francoeur’s accelerated rise to the Majors was necessitated by the fact that Brian Jordan’s left knee continued to provide him discomfort. He will be placed on the 15-day disabled list on Thursday — retroactive to July 4 — in hopes that rest will prove therapeutic.”

    There’s no actual indication that the DL move was retroactive (but that doesn’t mean it ain’t true), and the rest isn’t particularly convincing. And I can’t find one quote from Jordan himself.

    Lone gunman, my eye… um… I mean, involuntary DL stint, my eye.

  17. I have been watching the Braves for sometime now and I must say this is the most fun team I can remember watching, not the best, but they are fun to watch.

  18. I like to propose a new name for the team we’re about to catch and pass: Gnatspos!

  19. i like wilson betemit, but i am somewhat glad to see him slide a little lately. that way it wont be as hard to see him go to the bench again when chipper comes back. i cant wait for the 2nd half of the season. i think its going to be an incredible time to be a braves fan. any1 else like to see a braves/w.sox w.s.?

  20. So I guess he can do more than just look good in jeans. Seriously, I loved those shots in the dugout following that home run. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen youthful exuberance like that.

  21. A tip from hitting coach Terry Pendleton clued Francoeur into Rusch’s repertoire.

    “T.P. pulled me aside and said, ‘He’s got a real slow curve and he tails his fastball,”‘ Francoeur said. “So it was neat.”

    -A good hitting coach pays off.

  22. That was a fun game to watch. We had thunderstorms in our area all evening, so I couldn’t post until this morning. Francoeur looked overmatched in his first 3 at-bats, way too aggressive. But, he finally showed a little discipline in his last one, and fouled off a couple nice breaking balls until he got a hip-high fastball, which he nailed. It was great to see the crowd’s enthusiasm for him. I honestly didn’t think it was going out, but as soon as Patterson’s head turned, I figured it was off the wall for a base-clearing double, or just out. It hit the top of the yellow line and went over – what a way to get your first hit!

    Since I mentioned the reverse-lock yesterday afternoon, I was a bit uncomfortable watching the game in the early stages, and then after watching Smoltz hang a breaking ball right into the middle of the plate for Aramis, I was thinking maybe the Cubs had woken up a bit. But when Burnitz couldn’t hang onto the Giles drive at the wall (which gave him his first triple of the season), I just *knew* the Braves would come back. The Cubs just have too much bad karma right now. And when I saw that pitch going into Andruw, I said to my wife, “He’s gonna crush that one.” :) Sure enough, it got deposited in left center. Happy days! Oh, and my wife’s remark after Jeff’s homer and the croud reaction? “He’ll get laid tonight.” ;)

  23. Just a thought: in past years I’ve always thought one of the braves postseason problems was the lack of fire they seemed to have. They always seemed to just be going thru the motions. With this breath of fresh air the youth are providing, maybe we’ll see a little more fire from this team.

  24. Joshg, I agree totally. Now teams will have to pitch to Chipper. Last year Houston pitched around him and made LaRoach and Adrew beat them. They played well, but J.D. Drew killed us. I like our line-up this year even better. What will it be when Chipper comes back?
    I like;
    Furcal
    Giles
    Chipper
    Andrew
    LaRoach/Franco
    Estrada
    Johnson
    Langerhans/Francoeur/Jordan/Hampton (ha ha ha)
    pitcher/Jordan (if he is playing when Hampton pitches)

  25. All I’m asking for is a group of guys who are hungry for a WS Title. Not a group that just seems apathetic and seems to go about things as business as usual. You could see last night that these young guys love playing the game and they leave everything out on the field.

  26. Great day to be a Braves fan.. Francoeur needs a little more discipline I agree, but that comes with experience. Gammons said on Baseball Tonight that the Braves have defined their team for the next 5 years..This is what teams like the Yankees,Mets,Phillies and others have yet to realize, if you build from within and not overspend for talent it’s alot more exciting win or lose.
    Kudos to Skip for taking a shot at the Cubs in the 4th for Chip who responded tongue in cheek ,”Now back to the game.”
    I hope Maddux does well but the rest of the Cubs and the fans I could care less about.

  27. Crasnick has Bobby Cox talking about making lineups today, requires ESPN Insider. An interesting read, perhaps explains why he keeps Furcal at the top. He basically says if Furcal is hot, the Braves win. Of course, that doesn’t address what happens when he isn’t. He also talks about KJ, and shuffling players up and down the lineup.

  28. Someone posted part (or all, I don’t know) of the Crasnick article in todays Primer Dugout, so you can read it there if you care.

  29. Yeah, that’s the whole article. I thought the paragraphs about what he thinks about hitters thinking they should bat in a particular spot are the best.

  30. You don’t catch him coming so close to addressing player complaints often, but all I could think when I read that was “Don’t even start with me, Larry. You’re batting fourth between Giles and Andruw when you come back whether you like it or not”.

  31. It’s an Insider article, and I won’t post the text, but here’s the link. Brief excerpt:

    You know what I think? You ought to be happy to have a uniform on, and if you’re in the lineup, you should be thrilled and you shouldn’t worry about where the manager hits you. That’s my philosophy. Because we’re not trying to lose the game. We’re trying to put a lineup out that wins.

  32. Here’s the link to today’s Primer Dugout, the bulk of the article is pasted in about halfway down.

    Or Mac, do you not want us to do that? I’m confused, but I don’t want to offend. I pay for ESPN Insider, but I understand why a bunch of people don’t want to.

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