Cubs 5, Braves 1

Atlanta Braves vs. Chicago Cubs – Box Score – May 07, 2012 – ESPN.

So after all those runs at Beer Bandbox, the Braves go to Chewing Gum Microfield and are held to one run by a converted wide receiver and a bullpen that was falling apart. Nothing to be done about it, really.

It started out okay, as Jason Heyward hit a solo homer — it’s been awhile since he hit one out — in the second inning to give the Braves the lead. Tommy Hanson continues his transformation into Jair Jurrjens, pre-implosion, as he threw six innings, allowing two runs, but both on solo homers, and only struck out three while walking two. The homers came back-to-back in the fourth.

He got the loss because the offense didn’t show up, chalking just five hits and striking out eleven times, and the two struggling relievers, Eric O’Flaherty (6.55 ERA, one run allowed in the seventh) and Chad Durbin (8.25 ERA, two-run homer in the eighth) were Fredi’s choices to try abd stay in the game. (Fredi was actually ejected in the seventh, before Durbin entered, but it was his call, don’t worry.)

170 thoughts on “Cubs 5, Braves 1”

  1. I’m still thinking of O’Flaherty’s struggles as regression to the mean from last year. I just hope he finds the mean sooner rather than later….

  2. I’m not worried about EOF. He has had some weird luck mixed imn with his. That said, Durbin is terrible.

    Durbin is only fooling himself and Fredidiot. He is a terrible pitcher.

    Lots of tough luck tonight. I would rather get it all out in one game and dominate the rest of the series.

  3. Hinske really got screwed on his line drive that was caught by the 1B.

    Still think it’s dumb to have Chip/Heyward hit 6/7 when you’ve got two guys in front of them who strike out a ton.

  4. it’s been awhile since he hit one out

    He hit one on May 5th. Actually 2 that day, but they called one foul.

    I really dont think Uggla and Bmac are our biggest issues right now. Other than Beachy and Hanson, our SP’ing has been awful. Granted playing in Colorado didnt help Hudson, but Beachy managed.

  5. True, I’m flabbergasted by our pitching woes. We have a team OPS+ of 107. Our ERA+ is 85.

    These numbers were basically flipped last season–OPS+ 90, ERA+ 109.

  6. I didn’t get to watch the game, but Pitch F/X tells me Tommy gave up back-to-back home runs on upper 80’s fastball down main street. Also looks like he was kinda all over the place with his control. That pretty much tell the story?

  7. Tommy gave up a lot of hard hit fly balls. Bourn and Prado ran down a few for him and he did struggle with location. The two that were hit out were knee high over the middle of the plate. Reed Johnson, I believe, was about 5 feet away from making it 3 straight. However, he still pitched good enough for the team to win.

  8. I fear we’re about six weeks away from Hanson’s appointment with Dr. Andrews.

  9. Dr. Andrews doesn’t fix shoulders.

    He did a pretty good job with Drew Brees and John Smoltz.

  10. @10 – He also has completed shoulder surgeries on these guys.

    Molitor, Emmit Smith, Barkley, Clemens, Sheffield, Posada, Schmidt.

    For some reason he’s only known for being the “elbow” guy. But he’s the best for knees and shoulders also.

  11. @10,

    Even if that’s true, having to go to Dr. Andrews, especially for a shoulder, would not be good news for a pitcher, at least not for this year.

  12. To be honest, the Braves win that game if Hinske’s line drive goes through and the one by the Cubs player in the bottom of the inning got caught. That’s baseball!

  13. Team Stats

    3rd – Runs Scored
    1st – RBI’s
    5th – Average
    6th – OBP
    7th – OPS

    23rd – ERA
    26th – BAA
    25th – WHIP

  14. Yeah, hard to get too upset. Sometimes it’s just not your night.

    Cap tipping accomplished.

  15. Of the people mentioned @11 and @12, only three are applicable to Hanson: Smoltz, Clemens and Schmidt. The rest are either hitters or play other sports entirely.

    John Smoltz had his shoulder surgery in winter of 2008. He posted a 69 ERA+ split between Boston and STL in 2009 before retiring.

    Jason Schmidt had his shoulder surgery during the 2007 season. He missed all of 2008, posted and ERA+ of 83 in 2009 and then retired.

    Only Roger Clemens managed to return from his shoulder surgery. His surgery was in 1985. It’s safe to say he made the recovery.

    The question of the day is, is Tommy Hanson like Roger Clemens (who is quite literally the only pitcher I can think of who successfully rehabilitated a shoulder/rotator cuff injury/surgery) or is he like every other guy in the game who’s ever had the problem? I wouldn’t bank on the Clemens track, personally.

  16. Hey folks, I don’t usually do this kind of thing–in fact I never have before–but since I’ve seen many discussions of baseball and music on this site, here goes . . .

    My band, Milton and the Devils Party (it’s an egg-headed literary reference–call us MDP if you like) is doing an R.E.M. set this Saturday night (May 12) at the North Star in Philadelphia. We’ll be playing songs from their I.R.S catalog–so I guess the show will be, in effect, MDP I.R.S R.E.M. If you live close to Philly and have the time, energy, and inclination, come out and celebrate the work of a great band with us. If you do, you’ll also get to see my newly acquired Rickenbacker 1988 360JG, pretty much the same guitar that Peter Buck used as him main instrument throughout his years with R.E.M.

    We’ve worked really hard preparing for this special gig, and we’ll be good. I promise!

    As it happens, not that long ago The Baseball Project played this same venue, with Mike Mills standing in for Peter Buck. Here’s a clip for you to enjoy and get the vibe of the place.

  17. Quote from Tim Hudson re Cole Hamels/Bryce Harper:

    “You don’t ever have to hit somebody, but there are a lot of times where it warrants something like that,” Hudson said. “It depends on what happens. But you should never hit somebody just because you don’t like them or the way somebody plays. That’s personal.”

    That seems extremely reasonable to me. But I guess Tim didn’t get the message that everyone in baseball understands the unwritten rules.

  18. Jim Leyland: “That ball could have missed, hit him in the head or something else like that … and you come out and admit that, I think five games is way too light, in my personal opinion.”

    Jim Leyland must not have enough post-little league baseball experience, if he doesn’t know about the “He looks like an asshole on Sportscenter” addendum.

  19. You guys really need to stop citing baseball players that nobody’s ever heard of.

  20. Yup, looks like we have a poster child for the wussification of today’s baseball, and it’s Jim Leyland.

  21. There was distressingly little talk of Cole Hamels and Bryce Harper through the first 23 posts of this thread.

  22. At least, if they are going to suspend a pitcher, make him miss at least one start.

  23. @24 “there are a lot of times where it warrants something like that,” Hudson said. “It depends on what happens.”

    And yet, when anyone here makes the same argument, it’s absurd and deserves incessant needling and unfunny mocking.

  24. You and I have very different standards of funny. I see a lot of whining, very little of it funny.

  25. Two days on a subject that has nothing to do with the Braves. Its the Phillies and Bryce Harper. We dont like either.

  26. Well, I certainly don’t have anything against John, who took a position and argued the hell out of it (other than the fact that I fell behind in my work yesterday by spending so much time here). I do reserve the right to mock the lazy generalizations and troglodytic name-calling of others.

  27. I have nothing against mockery. But there are a few folks using it to mask deliberate straw-manning, and their own inability to form cogent arguments based on facts and reason.

  28. So Gattis has already hit 13HR’s in 106AB’s this year. He’s hit 4 in Mississippi. I hope he’s athletic enough to play LF.


  29. Two things to love/hate about internet arguing:
    -People generally act like getting the last word is the most important thing. I love how the internet has turned arguing into an endurance match. There are no real social bonds to strain, and there’s no real way to persuade people either. Instant slugfest.

    -Others winging in from the sides with such gems of moral philosophy as “Cole Hamels can do whatever he wants!” or “Cole Hamels did what he did, get over it!” There’s something so deliciously frustrating about how two people could be having a great discussion, then a third person decides to let loose with some Kindergarten-level stuff without reading any of it, and just poops all over the whole thing.

    Thank you, internet.

  30. I thought the Hudson quote was interesting and relevant to something which we had been discussing. I did not mean to be mocking what anyone else said and perhaps my comment was unnecessary. If so, I apologize.

    As for it not being about the Braves, it’s about baseball. How many times can you comment on Durbin sucking or on Fredi’s stupidity?

  31. @45, you can’t reason someone out of a position they haven’t been reasoned into.

  32. How many times?

    Durbin sucks – 123,632,109.5 times.

    Fredi’s Dumb – Infinity – 1 times.

  33. Can we talk about the idiocy of a 5-game suspension for a pitcher? That’s just an extra day’s rest between starts. Maybe the team has to call up someone from AAA to make a start if there are no off days, but with the appeals process, Hamels can time the suspension to where that’s not even necessary. Should be a minimum of 9-games for a SP if they are going to be suspended.

  34. @44 – I’m really pulling for that kid. My new favorite Braves minor leaguer.

    Just to get everyone off the Bryce Harper thing:
    ‘Elvis Andrus is making his case for best shortstop in the American League, combining great plate discipline, terrific defense and improving on base skills during the first portion of the season.’
    From Sports Illustrateds Power Rankings.

  35. @47, I don’t disagree.

    Gattis is going to be 26 by the end of the season. What are the odds that he’ll be the next Nelson Cruz? I’m not going to get my hopes up.

  36. Should be a minimum of 9-games for a SP if they are going to be suspended


  37. Look how long it took LaHair to get his shot. I wonder why an offensive starved team like Seattle never gave him a chance.

  38. Doesn’t look like Hamels will even miss a start – but if I were the Phils, I think you are tempting fate to run him out there on day 6. Looking back on it, I sure as hell wish Harper had blown him a kiss after stealing home.

  39. Poor Cole – the hits just keep on comin’ – Phormer Phillie Curt Schilling…

    Responding on his Twitter (@gehrig38) to the portion of Hamels’ quote where he said “the league is protecting certain players and making it not that old-school, prestigious way of baseball,” Schilling tweeted:

    “What the hell does that even mean? I’m old, I’m a former player, I don’t get it.”

    A fan responded by asking: “Can’t believe you said Hamel doesn’t have control [editor’s note: we’re not sure when he said this]. He has twice the control that you had. And you threw at people. Why can’t he?”

    “Cole Hamels couldn’t hold my jock in the control department, check the numbers. He can throw at anyone he wants, in my opinion it was stupid.”

  40. Cal Ripken too –

    “Usually there’s a spark for why you do it. Somebody bunts when you’re up eight runs, or you’re stealing third base when you’re up 10 or 11 runs in the seventh inning. There are real reasons on how you play the game, and embarrass the game. That’s old school. But just to come up and drill somebody for no reason, I don’t remember that being old school.”

  41. Ripken makes the case succinctly. While good reasons can exist, Hamels didn’t have one and shouldn’t have done it. But he still shouldn’t have been punished by the league. His fellow player are more than capable of policing his conduct, as we can see.

  42. He absolutely should be disciplined by the league. MLB should not be encouraging vigilantism. What it boils down to is that Hamels hit Harper because he didn’t like him and said so. MLB cannot let that go on. I don’t think there are any good reasons for hitting someone on purpose.

  43. >Same lineup as yesterday.

    How stupid can Fredi be??/ Running Hanson out there AGAIN???

    What? Delgado, not Hanson?

    Never mind.

  44. A five game suspension means calling up someone to start or getting a Livan a start

  45. Not really related to anything revolving dick contests, bean balls, or Codes, but Heyward has been some kind of fantastic so far.

    The numbers:
    .381 wOBA, 144 wRC+
    1.4 fWAR in 28 games (7.5 wins/150 games)

    Great defense, great base running, very good hitting – if he keeps it up for a whole season he’d be an excellent MVP candidate. Such a pleasure to watch.

  46. @70
    Heyward’s putting up a great season thus far, that’s no lie. However, his stat-line, if it were to continue, wouldn’t even put him in the top 10, because his defense in RF won’t hold any weight in an MVP vote.

    Projected: 21 hr 57 rbi 74 runs 39 sb

  47. The defense might not get him any MVP attention (though he’ll hopefully get some Gold Glove love for it), but the base stealing should carry plenty of weight, especially if he keeps his success percentage sky-high. But you’re right, he’d probably be a lot more deserving of MVP than his vote totals would show.

  48. Correct me if I’m wrong, but you can’t call up a replacement for a suspended player–you have to play a man short. So if Hamels was suspended for a longer time–10 games, say–it would either mean the other starters pitching on short rest, or a reliever getting a spot start. In other words, the punishment would fall on the entire pitching staff, not just the individual pitcher. Now maybe that’s OK, maybe the whole team should suffer for one player’s stupid decision. But I suspect the reason for only 5 days suspensions is so only the player is penalized, not the whole team.

  49. Just looked at Bourn’s numbers for the first time…holy crap. He’s been unbelievably good and is looking even more like a rightful MVP than Heyward.

    .367 wOBA, 134 wRC+
    1.9 fWAR in 30 games (9.5(!!!) wins/150 games)

    That is ridiculous. Glad to have him! Like Heyward, a lot of the value is in base running, defense, and position, so there’s pretty much no chance of him actually getting votes, but that’s still phenomenally valuable. We could get 20 wins from the outfield this year, which would be as many as what, the last 5 or 6 years combined?

  50. < em>Smart, articulate people sniping back and forth is always funny.

    Guildenstern: I think I have it. A man talking sense to himself is no madder than a man talking nonsense not to himself.
    Rosencrantz: Or just as mad.
    Guildenstern: Or just as mad.
    Rosencrantz: And he does both.
    Guildenstern: So there you are.
    Rosencrantz: Stark raving sane.

  51. Thus far, fangraphs hates Pastornicky’s numbers and I can’t say I disagree. In fact, their stats indicate that Tyler has already cost the team 10 runs on defense. That’s a shitton.

  52. Yeah, he seems to make only routine plays. I haven’t been watching religiously, but I have yet to see him make what I would call a “plus” defensive play. Last night’s grounder in the hole was the closest I’ve seen, but his throw was just short of good enough.

  53. Well Andrelton is doing fine up at AA – .320/.385/.417. Perhaps he can force the issue a bit by the ASB.

  54. Chad Durbin (8.25 ERA, two-run homer in the eighth)

    Good thing he leads the Atlanta Braves in appearances.

  55. My buddy and I were watching the game and he happened to be out of the room when Fredi was ejected. He came back and asked if anything had happened and I said, “Bobby got tossed.” Old habits die hard.

  56. 1. Curt Schilling is the biggest jackass in the last 20 years of baseball.

    2. The Phillies are getting Cliff Lee off the DL right before Hamels’ next start, so he’s actually on the same rotation he was on previously.

    3. Mike Schmidt could kick Cal Ripken’s ass.

  57. Jim Leyland? Carcinogenic, senile old fool. Isn’t he in the Alzheimer’s ward with Bobby and Jack McKeon by now?

  58. Andruw Jones post-ATL:

    357 G, 214 H, 55 HR, 143 RBI, 429 TB, 152 BB, 300 SO, .213/.320/.428, 96 OPS+

  59. Bet the Royals are loving that two-year, 13.5 million extension for Francoeur right about now:

    .250/.304/.337, .640 OPS, 79 OPS+, zero home runs.

  60. Pastornicky keeps impressing me with his hitting (given my expectations at the start of the year). If only his glovework would come around.

  61. I’m going to insist that Delgado needs seasoning in the minors more often.

  62. Are we really hitting a lot of line drives that are being caught tonight? (says gameday)

  63. 18 total bases ties with Joe Adcock from the 1954 Braves for most in 5 PAs. Adcock also had 4 HRs and a double.

    Shawn Green has the overall record with 19 in 6 PAs. Odd that the three highest totals have all come in 9 inning games (assuming Texas holds the big lead tonight).

  64. Seems like EOF has pitched a lot lately. This tells me Venters isn’t as okay as they keep saying he is, and that’s not good…

  65. I watched Mike Cameron hit 4 HRs in the first five innings of a game in 2002. Then they plunked him in the seventh (imagine that), and in the ninth he hit a ball to right that I thought was out, but it died on the track.

  66. Kerry Wood warming up for the Cubs. Not sure if he’ll make it in the game before injuring himself.

  67. Bourn was on first and Soto is like 3-25 on basestealers, and that’s counting Uggla. I guess it worked out the same with the walk, though.

  68. Glad to see Medlen getting some high-leverage innings, even if it’s evidence that something is wrong with Venters.

  69. Well, what do you know…Venters is in! Hopefully that rest was all his shoulder needed.

  70. Brian McCann wasn’t aware that you’re allowed to throw baserunners out even when the ball hasn’t been hit.

  71. I wonder if Medlen is the new ‘7th inning guy’, at least until EOF rights the ship.

    Come on Jonny…woo! Nice DP!

  72. I think after Wilson got plowed into on the previous play at 2B, no umpire was going to call him on being too far away from the bag on the neighborhood play.

  73. There are 7 teams in the NL playing .500 ball and above. 4 of them are in our division.

  74. Washington comes back in the top of the ninth to take the lead, then blows the save in the bottom half of the frame.

    We’re only percentage points back now.

  75. Good night for Atlanta. Drew finally figured out he doesn’t need to play the bench much in the playoff.

  76. EOF was going to pitch 7th if Delgado had been able to dinish 6th. He got pinch hit for in top of 7.

  77. This basically confirms that our infield defense seriously sucks (poor Huddy) and the our outfield defense is very decent.

  78. Pastornicky is currently hitting .271/.311/.376. I’ll WAG that a consensus prediction for Andrelton would be around .275 OBP and .325 SLG. That’s about two more times on base and five more total bases. Do I really need to make the rest of this point explicit?

  79. Sansho – Andrelton is also hot as fire in AA – 2 for 3 yesterday, bringing his line on the season to .330/.397/.425. Given how well he’s played this year, it’s likely he could outperform Pastornicky if he were called up today.

    That said, Tyler hasn’t been terrible, and it benefits the Braves to keep Andrelton in the minors for a bit longer 1) to learn how to hit against higher-level pitching; and 2) to delay his service clock. It’s a win-win, really.

  80. Fredi quote (from DOB’s blog) on Durbin:

    He’s fine,” Gonzalez said. “He fits in that role. Obviously if it’s a one-run game or a tied game, somebody else would have pitched there. But in that role he fits.

    “He’s come up with some big outs for us, some big innings.”

    In other words, he fits in the role of crappy back-end bullpen arm that gives up lots of home runs. Every team needs that.

  81. Timo, thanks for posting that. That’s fascinating, and scary. I had no idea we were that bad.

    I still hope that the Braves hold off on promoting Andrelton, but I tend to be overly cautious about prospects: I wanted them to keep Jair Jurrjens and Jason Heyward in the minors, too, rather than put them on the opening day rosters in 2008 and 2010.

    We clearly need Andrelton’s defense. I actually have kind of liked Tyler’s approach at the plate — I like that he’s seeing 3.9 pitches per plate appearance — but he isn’t really walking, he doesn’t really have power, and his defense is visibly crappy.

    I think he earned the job in spring training, as much as anyone can, and deserves the chance to prove himself, and the majors ain’t easy; I would want the Braves to stick with him for another couple of months, at least, to see if he can make adjustments.

    Also, Simmons has been having a great year offensively, but please note: his BABIP is .361, and last year it was .334. He may be a naturally high-BABIP player, but even still, the odds are very good that his batting average is inflated. It’s also very heartening to see that Simmons is walking a lot more this year than he did in rookie- or A-ball. But his ISO is still under .100, which is lower than Pastornicky’s ISO in the majors.

    Anyway, if Tyler continues to suck at the plate and in the field, and Andrelton continues to hit well, then the Braves will have to make a change. I’d give Tyler at least two more months to improve his defense to passable and his offense to mediocre.

    I’d do this for two reasons. First, I think he’s earned it, and he deserves a fair shot — he’s barely got a month in the majors under his belt. Second, I’m still not convinced that Simmons is ready offensively, and if Simmons comes up and hits like Yunel Escobar in 2010, then he’ll be a drag on the team even if he plays good defense, plus it’ll be harder to turn around and replace him with Tyler Pastornicky.

    If Tyler loses the job, fine. I just want to give him more time to prove he sucks and Andrelton more time to prove he can hit.

  82. I think Tyler is hitting just enough currently to make him serviceable. Over the last 15 days he’s hitting .348 with a .380 OBP. Unfortunately for Tyler, his strongest skill set (speed/baserunning) isnt going to be utilized batting 8th. The downside is he’s probably one of the worst defensive SS’s in MLB so far this season. Braves really need a very good defensive SS when they are putting Uggla/Fransisco on either side of that position.

    The other unfortunate thing is Fredi probably likes Wilson so much that they would just reverse roles.

  83. Well, someone did pitch Durbin in the bottom of the 8th down two the other night. Being down two is still manageable with Chipper/Heyward due up in the top of the inning. Durbin immediately turned that into a 4 run deficit. Yes, I know Fredi had already been tossed, but he’s still making the decisions.

  84. Consider Durbin the confidence booster in the bullpen…
    “Boy, I sucked today but at least I’m not as bad as Durbin!”

  85. @158 Amen to that. I would further say that the Braves’ decision with respect to Delgado and Teheran seem to be working out pretty well too – just like with Simmons/Pastornicky, they’ve kept the higher-ceiling prospect in the minors to work things out and allowed the more MLB-ready prospect an opportunity to succeed in the interim.

  86. Why does anyone think Simmons would be hitting better than Pastornicky in the majors right now? After a truly awful start, Pastronicky’s actually been pretty darn good. I’ll grant that his defense often looks spotty, but I think that’s at least in part to getting to see Alex Gonzalez pick it for the past two years. (May also be why I’m so ready to defend his bat. Hmmm….)
    Anyways, let Simmons play and succeed more in the minors, and unless Pastornicky just gets awful, we’ll have a nice competition next Spring.

  87. I don’t think anyone thinks Simmons would be hitting better. I think the assumption is that Pastornicky’s bat advantage would be outweighed by Simmons’s glove advantage.

  88. Bourn

    Will Wilson get most of the starts with Huddy on the mound?

  89. I agree, Alex. I understand why Pastornicky was given the first shot — he was higher on the org. depth chart, so Andrelton needed to win the job in no uncertain terms in spring traning, and he didn’t manage to do that. And you don’t want to discourage Pastornicky by leapfrogging him.

    But, aside from taking unnecessary injury risks with a young player, I think a team that’s on the playoff bubble (as we seem likely to be) has to put individual player development second to winning ballgames. If Pastornicky ends up giving up 30 runs on defense and we miss the playoffs by a couple of games, while our defensive whiz catches everything in sight in AA….

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