Braves 5, Cubs 3

Atlanta Braves vs. Chicago Cubs – Box Score – August 20, 2010 – ESPN.

When Rick Ankiel beats you with a two-out, two-strike, bases-clearing triple in the ninth inning, that can mean only one thing: You are the Chicago Cubs.

The Braves blew a chance to take a first inning lead when Infante doubled and was for once moved to third on a groundout by Heyward, only for Prado to hit a groundout to the third baseman, freezing Infante, and Derrek Lee just missing a homer in his first Braves AB. The Cubs then took the lead in the second with one of those really annoying rallies, getting three consecutive singles to right field with two out by the bottom of the order. That’s the sort of thing that’s going to happen sometimes, but it doesn’t make it any less annoying.

Jair Jurrjens was not as sharp as he’s been since returning from the DL, but he wasn’t that bad, going seven innings and allowing but three runs on nine hits. He had a lead, for a while. Omar hit a solo homer in the third (after a bizarre play in which Bobby had Jurrjens swing away — into a double play — after Ankiel reached on a leadoff single. With two out in the fourth, Gonzalez split the gap with a ground-rule double, scoring Prado.

But Aramis Ramirez, a Braves-killer for forever now, hit a solo homer in the fourth to tie it, then hit a one-out double in the sixth to score Marlon Byrd, making it 3-2. The Braves were meanwhile in a particularly long stretch of Hibernation Mode. After AAG’s double, they didn’t get another hit until the ninth, and from the fifth to eight innings had only one baserunner, on a walk by Heyward.

After Jurrjens left the game, Moylan — who seems to have righted the ship — needed just eight pitches to get through the eighth. Cubs closer Carlos Marmol came in to pitch the ninth, and he had what I can only term an Episode. He walked Prado leading off, and after getting Lee to strike out walked McCann and AAG. He was all over the place. But he got Melky to swing at three borderline pitches, then got ahead of Ankiel 1-2. At 2-2, he hung a pitch, and Ankiel pulled it into the right field corner, scoring everybody. Billy Wagner came in and after getting ahead 0-2 himself allowed a leadoff single. He then struck out the next two (tying Jesse Orosco for a fairly meaningless record of most career strikeouts by a lefthanded reliever) and got a popup to end it.

Lee had a pretty rough day in his first Braves game, going 0-4. Hey, they can’t all be Fred McGriff, and at least he looked ambulatory.

65 thoughts on “Braves 5, Cubs 3”

  1. Regarding the Jurrjens DP, it looked like Bobby was pretty pissed about it leading me to believe JJ did it himself.

  2. Lee’s lineout in his first at-bat, while decently struck, was nowhere near a homer. He hit it right at the left fielder, who was playing him deep but not at the track. He hit the ball hard, but he didn’t scald it.

    On the other hand, he appeared in full possession of all four of his limbs, which is a good sign.

  3. I think Bobby called for the swing-away. I can’t be sure, but on the pitch before (a ball) JJ pulled his bat back early — he was going to swing. If he was doing it on his own, he would have been told to stop it.

  4. I’d just like to point out that with O’Flaherty being activated today, we currently have as deep a bullpen of any team I can remember.

    Wagner, Venters, Saito, Moylan, Farnsworth, O’Flaherty is six deep of legit late innings guys. Even the Lisp hasn’t been terrible.

    Really think this is going to help combat the Bobby Burnout Disease our bullpen tends to get around this time of year.

  5. @3 There are two ways to look at being near a homerun, distance or swing. The distance wasn’t close, but his swing just barely missed connecting on the sweet spot. I give Mac the benefit of the doubt that he meant the latter.

  6. Fair enough. Jim Powell got too excited on the Lee liner too, so that’s probably what I was reacting to. I think Powell wanted Lee’s first Braves AB to be more of a moment than it actually was.

    He looked pretty good and put some good swings on the ball, but he wasn’t McGriff.

  7. But then the ballpark wasn’t burning either, although it might be after Cubs fans finish drinking.

  8. @12, Ankiel is the first person I’d call resilient. Think of what he’s been through.

    I admit, even when Ankiel fails, it’s easier for me to continue rooting for him, as opposed to someone like McLouth.

  9. On why I think Ankiel deserves a break on his horrible first week:

    The Braves players have been saying for years that the lights at Turner Field are very hard to get accustomed to. Obviously it’s a small sample, but after the adjusment week, Ankiel has put up some pretty impressive numbers. Over his last 7 games, Rick has went 8-21 with 4bb. That’s good enough for a .381 avg and .480 obp. No real power to speak of, with his only XBH coming today, but he’s making solid contact.

  10. Even more important, I think, are the walks. He’s already drawn more walks in a Braves uniform than he did with the Royals — 8 BB in 59 Atlanta PA, against 7 BB in 101 Kansas City PA. Whatever, small sample and so on, but I think we can all agree that more walks is most definitely a good thing.

    Since he became an outfielder, he’s been known as a guy with legitimate power but too little OBP to be a starting player. So far this year, he’s posting a career-high walk rate. His 2008 campaign was basically Ludwick lite, and if he can repeat that for us he’ll be an eminently worthy player.

    He got lucky today — Marmol made him look silly on the 1-1 pitch in the dirt he waved at, but then hung a slider on a tee for him to bang for a triple. He probably will have to keep feasting on mistake pitches because of his below-average approach at the plate. But as long as he can keep drawing walks, he can continue to justify his existence in the lineup.

  11. Ok, I’m convinced. Rick Ankiel is the most resilient of a resilient team. Better lucky than good.

  12. I’m happy tonight for Ankiel, who I’ve said before I really like, however let’s hope Farnsworth stays out of games.

  13. I was thrilled to come out of class and see the recap. Go Nats!

    Also, the car selling experience is nearly as bad as the car buying experience!

  14. #25, Reds and Cardinals played 25 of their remaining games against the Central or a last place team, it’ll be a while before we can rule them out.

  15. Well, happy day! I had Yahoo gametracker on and (as others said in the game thread), it had Ankiel striking out. I shut it down and left the house, and I’ve just returned to find….WHAAA?!?!

  16. Charlie Manuel is going to kill Roy Halladay… I think he’s taking his ‘He’s a horse,” reputation a bit too far. How many times has he thrown 110 plus pitches this year? 3/4 of his starts? He’s at 116 so far tonight.

    EDIT: To answer my own question, he averages 109.7 pitches per start.

  17. You wouldn’t think you could play a 1-0 game in that ballpark in August but there you go.

  18. 35- But it didn’t quite happen. Phillies win 1-0, even though Marquis did outpitch Halladay.

  19. Slick Rick Ankill-the-Cubs.

    Love it.

    If you were watching the game. There was one obnoxious, drunk old man Cubs fan right behind the plate that was going nuts in the 9th. Of course, if I was an old man Cubs fan, I’d be drunk and going nuts at all irrational times too.

    But he, along with the rest of the bad luck Cubbies, had little to say when Ankiel ripped the trip.

    One other note: Chip Caray sang “Take Me Out” during the 7th inning stretch. And he inserted “Go Bravos” instead of the typical “Go Cubbies”. I bet that really reminded Cubs fans of why they didn’t mind to see him go.

  20. dang, I just saw Desmond’s double off Lidge there in the ninth. It was a bullet that hit about a foot below the top of the wall. Wouldve tied it

    btw, Brett Farve needs to go away

  21. Future generations will look at Omar’s 2010 line and will not think twice about his being an All-Star. I love that.

  22. Caught the King Felix Show in The Bronx tonight. (Russell Branyan with 2 bombs in an easy 6-0 M’s win.)

    He bent knees with his hook, got check swings with the slider & blew guys away with the heat. You could tell early that they had no chance. I think there was one hard-hit ball.

    Hernandez vs NYY in 2010: 3-0, 0.35 ERA, 26 IP, 1 ER, 16 H, 31 K, 8 BB

    Totally bad-ass.

  23. Jayson Stark says the Mets could be the first team since 1909 to go through a season without winning a road series against a team from their own league.

  24. AFN shows a lot of MLB’s “thank the troops” clips during games. Just saw one with Prado. That made me happy.

  25. Another reason to love Marteen.

    Bethany’s right – Prado’s best position does seem to be 3B. So if next year we go to war with this:

    C – McCann
    1B – Freeman
    2B – Omar
    SS – Gonzalez
    3B – Prado

    and an outfield collection of:

    Heyward, Diaz, Melky, Ankiel

    Not enough power. Much work to be done.

  26. @50:

    I can live with that infield, but surely we can upgrade The Gonz. That outfield needs a lot of work, though.

  27. yasser gomez at mississippi this year:
    23games 84PA 25 hits 12bb 1xbh .347avg .440obp

    he is basically as advertised with absolutely no power, but man can he get on base.

  28. freeman’s ops is up to .877 on the year. after last night, he has exactly 50xbh.

    barbaro is putting up a slightly better ops at .884, but with a little less slugging and a better obp.

    matt young has a .773 ops with 27 sb and only 5 caught stealing. i hope he gets a roster spot next year.

    @50 i hope we explore trading aag in the offseason. with a poor ss market and a very affordable contract, aag could be a hot commodity. if chipper can’t come back, i’d like to see omar get a full-time job at ss, with us upgrading 2nd base and left field with some much needed power. trading aag for uggla might not be out of the realm of possibilities.

  29. I agree, Ryan C. I’m starting to think Uggla might be a good player to get for next year. But the Marlins already have a SS who is sort of incredible.

  30. @56
    what i was getting at…then they’d have a cheap, overly qualified 2nd baseman (or 3rd baseman) in aag. my perfect, semi-realistic offseason would involve moving 2 players (aag and kawakami)and adding magglio and uggla. if seattle would be willing to take kk and mclouth for figgins, then i’d do that to and put him in cf. it would be a GLORIOUS lineup. why is it i always do this crap to myself?

  31. I’m perversely excited to see how the Kawakami situation resolves itself. I bet it will be entertaining, and then we shall have some cash to spend.

    2011 FA LF:
    Garret Anderson (39) (for lulz)
    Carl Crawford (29)
    Johnny Damon (37)
    David DeJesus (31) – $6MM club option with a $500K buyout
    Jonny Gomes (30)
    Jerry Hairston Jr. (35)
    Willie Harris (33)
    Reed Johnson (34)
    Jacque Jones (36)
    Jason Kubel (29) – $5.25MM club option with a $350K buyout
    Jason Michaels (35)
    Manny Ramirez (39)
    Fernando Tatis (36)
    Marcus Thames (34)
    Randy Winn (37)

    Alfredo Amezaga (33)
    Rick Ankiel (31) – $6MM mutual option with a $500K buyout
    Willie Bloomquist (33)
    Endy Chavez (33)
    Coco Crisp (31) – $5.75MM option with a $575K buyout
    Jim Edmonds (41)
    Jody Gerut (33)
    Jerry Hairston Jr. (35)
    Willie Harris (33)
    Reed Johnson (34)
    Andruw Jones (34)
    Mark Kotsay (35)
    Jason Michaels (35)
    Corey Patterson (31)
    Scott Podsednik (35) – $2MM club option with a $100K buyout, can be voided with 525 PAs
    Willy Taveras (29)

    Willie Bloomquist (33)
    Gabe Gross (31)
    Jose Guillen (35)
    Brad Hawpe (32)
    Eric Hinske (33)
    Gabe Kapler (35)
    Austin Kearns (31)
    Xavier Nady (32)
    Magglio Ordonez (37) – $15MM club option
    Jayson Werth (32)
    Randy Winn (37)

  32. You know, if only this team had that “Can-Do” Spirit… if only they had that feeling, you know, like the next guy is gonna pick them up. If only they had some kind of bond, some kind of camaraderie, that special something.. some… chutzpah… If only they had some character, then we might start winning games like this.

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