Cubs 1, Braves 0

Atlanta Braves vs. Chicago Cubs – Box Score – May 09, 2012 – ESPN.

Where’s this great offense people were talking about? We’re all the way back to the opening Mets series now. A fine outing by Tim Hudson was wasted.

The Braves were limited to four hits (and four walks). They had a couple of chances, but couldn’t take advantage. In the fifth, they had Heyward at second and David Ross at first with one out, but the inexplicable Jack Wilson fouled out and Hudson grounded out. In the sixth, they had Martin Prado at second with one out, and Prado at third and Dan Uggla at first with two out, but Chipper lined out.

In the seventh, the Cubs got a leadoff single followed by a bunt and a groundout. Hudson should have been out of it, but the hapless Wilson let the inning-ending groundout go off his glove for the game’s only run. They called it a hit. Kris Medlen got through the eighth with no problem.

76 thoughts on “Cubs 1, Braves 0”

  1. Scump said “Every time I see that minivan commercial where the family of assholes sings “Crazy Train” I imagine Chipper taking a bat to all their heads. I should be in marketing.”

    Thank you. They really are a family of assholes, aren’t they? I thought I was the only one who thought that.

  2. According to Joe Simpson on the televised broadcast, the Braves were playing a shift against LaHair; otherwise, it would have been a routine grounder to short.

  3. The Braves lost because of two things today. The first, the Cubs defensive shift robbed Chipper of two hits, one with runners on that would have scored 2. The other, the Braves defensive shift against LaHair pulled Wilson a step away from being there to make the out and prevent the 1 run.

    Sometimes you win. Sometimes you lose. Sometimes it rains. Today’s was the pinnacle of a game that just got the wrong breaks.

  4. Speaking of taking bats to people’s heads…

    Bryce Harper just popped out with the tying runs on second and third for Washington in the top of the 9th. Then Ryan Zimmerman struck out, and the Pirates won, 4-2. So we’re still tied for the division lead, going into our visit to the… gag… world champions.

  5. Still speaking of bats to heads, I thoroughly enjoyed watching the highlight of Shane “Life to Flying Things” Victorino just flat-out misplaying a catchable line drive into a “triple.” I have no idea why he tried that slide move on the play and I even less of an idea how the scorer called that a triple. Regardless, suck it Victorino you bug-eyed freak.

  6. I can accept if we were hitting against Lee or Halladay or Santana…but we are talking about Maholm and Blanton…

  7. It really goes without saying (which is why I’m gonna say it anyway), but you really have to tip your cap to the Cubs.

  8. Paul Maholm is major league pitcher. So is Joe Blanton. Some days, they’re on. And if a pitcher is on, he’s *on.* That’s just the way it is. This team also seems to be stacked with hitters who have some difficulties with off-speed, finesse types. That happens too.

    Somewhere in Cubs land there’s a group of fans who are complaining loudly that they should have had the sweep, but the sorry-ass Cubs couldn’t get a hit off a 20 year old *rookie nobody* in Game 2.

    Sometimes it rains, man.

  9. The Cubs are a team that doesn’t suck, and you’re going to lose some games to teams like that. But Maholm isn’t just a big league pitcher who pitched an incredible game: he is an archetype of a guy that we haven’t been able to hit for years, a left-handed slop thrower who doesn’t really have a fastball who somehow manages to keep us off-balance and make us ground out on the first or second pitch of the at-bat.

    My least favorite thing about yesterday’s game? Maholm’s 7-pitch 7th inning. 3 up, 3 down: pop-up, foul pop-up, groundout. When the offense isn’t clicking, ideally, you’d like them to be grinding out at-bats and trying to get the starter out of the game. Instead, our guys did the opposite.

  10. I tend to lean more towards Sam’s end of things here, as I don’t think we’re in the habit of giving the opposing team’s players as much credit as we sometimes should. But the truth is probably somewhere in the middle on this.

    It’d be good to compile some ‘pitches taken’ stats for getaway vs non-getaway days, player by player, and then also compare us to other teams.

  11. Cory Gearrin in AAA: 0.54 ERA, 0.90 WHIP, 10.8 K/9, 1.1 BB/9, and 10 K/BB.

    Disturbin he can’t find a spot on the ML Roster…

  12. @12 Thanks, Alex

    On the one hand, I understand public statements like “tip your cap to ’em” or even “some days it rains.” It sounds like the team is putting the day behind them. It’s a long season.

    But things with insight like Alex’s last paragraph should be discussed in the clubhouse. Because they are not “just one of those things.” They’re something that can be adjusted.

  13. @12

    Seems a bit chicken and egg to me. When the offense is clicking, they *are* grinding out at bats, and thus scoring more runs. When the offense is not clicking, they’re not seeing the ball well, so they’re not grinding out at bats.

  14. One of the features of “grinding” seems to be spoiling the pitcher’s best pitches. But that requires swinging, which carries the risk that sometimes you’re going to hit the ball poorly, but in fair territory. Those short innings don’t necessarily represent a temporary abandonment of the grinding philosophy, but rather an unfortunate grouping of poorly hit fair balls in the process of trying to grind it out.

  15. Ehh, I just thank the vagaries of Fate that we went 1-2 over our last three games despite scoring only four runs.

    Now, if we can win 2 of 3 in Redbirdland, we’ll have a 6-3 roadie, and that’s never anything to sneeze at.

  16. @19 – very good point.

    Maybe against a “slop” pitcher (good characterization, btw) the best approach is to look for a very specific pitch in a very specific location until two strikes.

    Oddly, setting up to go opposite field with two strikes often yields good results against these type of guys. (Sure has worked for Jeter all these years.)

    Speaking of the Cardinals – where the hell did this Lance Lynn come from?

  17. Mark McGwire is still in STL’s clubhouse. I assume his suppliers are still there too.

  18. Lance Lynn was heralded to some degree. I think the Cards got him in the first round.

    It’s what they do with the Allen Craigs and the Kyle Lohses of the world that make them so infuriating.

  19. Lance Lynn is the lone overperformer on my fantasy team (unless you count Johan Santana staying healthy as overperforming), so you hush your mouths.

  20. Also, the Cubs’ defensive shift against Freeman was very effective. He didn’t get a hit until the third game.

  21. Didn’t someone on the Braves catch a guy in a rundown on that play recently? But they only got him back to first because of the guy on third.

    Also I’m pretty sure I saw Chipper get faked out by that last year.

  22. I’ve seen it work about a half-dozen times in, like, 40 years.

    Depends on what your definition of “work” is. I can’t even recall ONE successful pickoff, but pitchers do keep runners honest like that.

    Still, I hate the play because it delays the game.

  23. I have seen it work a few times, where the runner on first was actually picked off, in the same way that I have seen an occasional wild pitch on an IBB. Get rid of it; it looks like Little League. I don’t even remember seeing this play this until maybe the last 20 years.

    It’s also strange to me that baseball allows a play that is clearly designed to deceive the base runners, yet calls balks on inadvertent movements that only the umpires can see and that have almost no chance of deceiving the runner.

  24. Acccording to what the rulebook says is a balk, it’s a balk. They carved out an exception for some reason. It definitely existed more than 20 years ago because I remember it as a teenager. It should be banned.

  25. Didn’t Harper’s “steal” of home occur on a fake to third throw to first pickoff attempt? Seems like that is far more likely to happen than actually picking someone off.

  26. Regarding “grinding out” at-bats: I am infuriated when we are losing, and our best players put breaking balls in play with less than 2 strikes. I’ve seen Uggla do this repeatedly and it absolutely drives me nuts. If there’s 1 strike, he can’t get you out unless you swing.

    There’s no reason to “spoil” a pitcher’s pitch with 1 or 0 strikes. If you foul off that pitcher’s pitch, it’s strike 2. If you take it, it’s strike 2. That can’t explain a 7 pitch inning.

    Regarding Fake-to-first, throw-to-first: Coulda sworn we got caught on one of these in the last couple years. I want to say it was actually Chipper?

  27. I found May 16, 2009, Max Scherzer picked Chipper off 1st, with Yunel Escobar on 3rd… can’t find if it was a fake-to-third move.

  28. Talking Chop says it was.

    “Of all the players to get fooled on the fake-to-third-throw-to-first trick, Chipper Jones is not the one any of would have expected. But hey, Ricky Henderson got fooled by it once too. It was all downhill after that first inning double play, where Chipper and Yunel Escobar were eliminated by a move that Bobby Cox believes is a balk…..”

  29. Someone is pushing DOB’s buttons today.

    •You’re something else “@ColTroutman: Lowe was 4 yrs, 60 mil; CC was 7 yrs, 161 mil same offseason. RT “@ajcbraves: They paid top-tier cash”” 1 hour ago

    •Whether they spent wisely, they spent top-tier FA cash. RT @cooksoo7: “@ajcbraves: Wrong. Lowe.” I believe he said top tier, not too expen. 2 hours ago

    •Lowe was. RT @ColTroutman: Thats not free agency RT “@ajcbraves: Braves also traded for Uggla, then made him highest-paid 2B 2 hours ago

    •They paid him top-tier cash. RT @bordentownBen: @ajcbraves @ColTroutman what do u consider “top tier” lowe got paid but last in ASG in 02 2 hours ago

  30. Chipper Jones fell for that fake to third, throw to first move a couple of years ago. And then Cox complained about it in the media as a “balk” when Hudson was doing it about every start.

  31. DOB’s buttons are so easy to push. I tweeted a few weeks back that I had just seen him and Bowman on a “romantic man date” in Houston and he replied with a rebuttal almost immediately.

  32. DOB is such a shill for the Braves it is not even funny. I don’t want him to act like the New York media, but I wish he would actually ask a tough question or two and not actively participate in the defense of some of the inexplicable moves made.

  33. DOB is what he is but he gives an inside look into the clubhouse that most other beat writers do not. Rarely do I see him get the credit he deserves around here.

  34. DOB used to get credit here a lot, but he’s turned himself into a self-righteous, condescending, beat writer. All he needs to do is treat people with respect and be informative.

  35. Here is some psychobabble: Deep down, I suspect that people here kind of want DOB’s job.

    We all write about the Braves. We all want people to take our opinions on the team seriously, whether that means advocating for trading for Manny Ramirez at the 2010 deadline or any of our other so very brilliant and well-informed ideas. We all have sometimes-not-so-latent aggression towards other Braves fans who want to trade Chipper, etc.

    Admit it. You want it all. The twitter followers. The rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle. The leather jacket. The motorcycle rides with Fredi. You’re all just jealous!

  36. My only issue with DOB is the music crap he puts at the end of his blog posts. Yeah, yeah dude, you’re “hip”. We get it.

    I can’t complain about his twitter behavior because I’m sure if I had that many people interacting with me (and oftentimes unintelligently and argumentatively) I would be snippy too.

  37. Minor has hinds hands full tonight against the Cards. He’s really struggled since his great start on the road against Arizona. Last 3 starts…

    17.1IP 26H 18ER 5HR 7BB 15K

  38. You would have to pay me hundreds of thousands of dollars to take DOB’s job. It is a terrible job.

    Now, Wren’s job, on the other hand…

  39. Wren’s job is a pretty terrible job, too, in many ways. It’s like working a banker’s hours with less than a banker’s wages, while, most of the time, being considered scum by your own fan base.

    That said, I like Wren. I just wish he would release Durbin already.

  40. #57 – Only if we can take care of business within our own division. There’s no chance that I would take DOB’s job.

  41. I’ve scanned the music bit on the end of DOB’s columns. Trust me. He’s not hip.

  42. The problem with “grinding” at bats is that it’s easy to talk about but not necessarily so easy to do. If a pitcher is on, taking pitches just puts you in a hole. IN general, it’s a good idea to take a lot of pitches, but sometimes the situation doesn’t allow it. Last night, for example, Stephen Strasburg was throwing nothing but strikes; what else can a hitter do but swing?

    On the other hand, it always seemed that when the Braves were in the playoffs, especially the World Series, teams would run up the pitch counts on the Big 3 (especially Maddux and Glavine). They didn’t necessarily score a lot of runs but they would get into the bullpen earlier.

  43. To Mark’s point @60, in Wednesday’s game the last scoring opportunity we had was in the 6th. With one out, Prado doubled and moved to 3rd on a Freeman ground out. Dan Uggla then fell into an 0-2 count but then fouled off pitches until he coaxed a walk out of a 9-pitch at bat.

    The next batter, Chipper, smoked the first pitch he saw back up the box…and right into the teeth of the Cubs’ shifted defense. One-pitch line drive out, end of inning.

    Chipper came up looking for Maholm to try to get ahead of him with a first pitch fastball, got that pitch to hit, hit it on the button, and got unlucky with the shifted defense. He did everything right that at bat. If he had gone up there not being aggressive* and trying to work another walk or “grind the at bat” he would have been down 0-1 and probably 0-2 very quickly. The proper approach for his at bat after that walk by Uggla was to look for the pitch to hit on the first pitch and drive it. It just didn’t work out. Sometimes it rains.

  44. Yep, a lot of people get frustrated with hitters trying to hit the first pitch after a walk. Big league pitchers dont want to fall behind early in the counts after walks and usually its going to be a good pitch to hit. Of course the hitter needs to be looking for his pitch and not just hacking away at anything in that situation. BTW, on 0-0 counts, Chippers hitting .358/.379/.589 for his career. Its ok for him to be swinging there in a tied ball game.

  45. I wanted DOB’s job once upon a time. But while I enjoyed writing, I had no knack for interviewing, and even less desire to spend that much time in locker rooms. So yeah, he can have it. I don’t have a problem with his stuff, generally, but I had to get him off my Twitter feed due to his daily carpet bombing….

  46. Bill James says that he got press credentials, back in the late seventies I guess, and the “real” media people made him feel like “John Rocker at a NAACP convention”.

  47. csg

    I’m always skeptical of first-pitch stats, because there’s no possibility of a strikeout at 0-0. I assume the .021 of OBP is from first pitch HBPs? So I removed K’s from Chipper line all together to get basically a result of every pitch put into play and his average is .361 and slugging is .632 so both higher than 0-0 counts. Hopefully I did the math right. Also, the first pitch stats don’t take into account the result of putting yourself in an 0-1 hole if you fail to put the ball in play. Getting behind 0-1 turns Chipper from a .304/.402/.533 hitter into .263/.331/.455.

    Not saying he shouldn’t swing at a first-pitch just that the good-looking stats are misleading.

  48. Not saying he shouldn’t swing at a first-pitch just that the good-looking stats are misleading.

    You know who knows when Chipper should be first-pitch swinging?


  49. Amaro’s admission that the Phils could be sellers is very interesting. To me it probably means that Howard and Utley are going to be out much longer than the story given to the press. I’ve often wondered about Utley’s injury, what is it exactly? If they know, they aren’t saying.
    But this means some players could be available. It’s probably tough in the same division, but I’d love to see Pence in Atlanta.

  50. #67 – Yeah, true. Regarding being behind, there’s no way to tell, but how do we know that Chipper didnt “take” that first pitch strike to fall behind 0-1? There’s a lot that goes into those stats, but Im sure Chipper is looking for his pitch there and if he doesnt get it then he’s taking.

  51. @68

    I agree. If you combined everyone on this boards knowledge of hitting and added every blog post stat to it, then multiplied by 90. Chipper Jones would still know more about hitting.

  52. Ted Williams once said that he generally took the first pitch but that every once in a while the first pitch was so fat he had to swing. I assume that there were some times where Williams swung on the first pitch and made an out. It happens.

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