Cubs 5, Braves 1

Courageously proving beyond a shadow of a doubt that yesterday’s game was a fluke, the Braves faced a soft-tossing lefty and treated him like Sandy Koufax. The offense wasn’t even the worst part. That was Jonny Venters, who gave up a 2-run homer and a wild pitch and probably should have been on the DL weeks ago.

The only good thing in the game had nothing to do with our hapless, hopeless hometown team. It was Mac, commenting on his continued recovery. He continues to be in our prayers.

119 thoughts on “Cubs 5, Braves 1”

  1. Not that it matters, but Venters first run scored when he threw ANOTHER wild pitch with a man on third. The very next pitch was the homer, but it was a solo shot.

  2. I watch most every game (well at least parts of them) and I’m having a hard time remembering the last time Uggla did something at the plate to help us win. He had a good game in Miami a few weeks ago. Other than that I’m drawing blanks. The middle of our order freaking sucks.

  3. I hate to say it, but a team that is unable to win a series at hone against the Cubs is going nowhere. Too bad.

  4. This is sure an elite organization; I would hate to see what would happen if they didn’t known what they are doing.

  5. Is it weird that I’m talking myself into Sheets’ box score? “6 strikeouts is encouraging…..4 runs isn’t abysmal…..”

  6. First time facing hitters in like, 20 months, 18 months? He threw 5 innings and only needed 75 pitches, so he was terminating ABs… 4 runs, but all in the first two innings. Extra base hits tell me he might have missed his spots, but he didn’t walk the ballpark and he wasn’t getting hit to death. Plus six k’s.

    I’d say its a great first outing.

  7. Luis Avilan called up to the bigs. I’m guessing Venters goes on the fake DL or has accepted an assignment to Gwinnett.

  8. 8- No, because there’s at least something to build on there. Venters, Durbin, and Varvaro don’t leave much room for optimism. Neither does our current lineup.

  9. After the Braves lost to Houston in the playoffs in 2005, I said I hoped they didn’t win the division the following year because who needs this? I guess sometimes you don’t know when you have it good. Winning 100 games and losing in the playoffs is frustrating but at least you have several good months. Watching today’s mediocre Braves sucks.

  10. Watching this offense must be what it would be like to have a team chocked full of Kelly Johnson’s. When they’re on, they’re the best in the league. When they’re off, TVs get broken.

    Not confirmed, but it sounds like the corresponding move to Avilan’s arrival is Delgado down due to not needing a 5th starter til after the break.

  11. Its sad, but the Braves are fooling themselves by still thinking the rotation is their only problem. The pen and offense look like crap. This team has looked really bad ever since Chipper returned from the DL stint and Livan blew that last game.

  12. One thing to remember: A mediocre team can still make the playoffs. We’re only 2 games back of the 2nd wild card spot.

  13. I think that’s a key point and a major reason why Wren would probably not consider becoming a “seller” (as some suggested)unless the team really collapses. Even the Phillies, as poorly as they have played, aren’t completely out of it. You could see a team making the second wild card with 84 or 85 wins. And, if you make it, who knows?

  14. Speaking of Kelly Johnson, Uggla is doing a pretty good impression right now with a horrific .122/.316/.189 over his last 28 days. So I guess he’s going to have his 100 game slump in the middle of the season this year.

    @17 – I like a glass is 1/4 full guy.

  15. @14, Yeah, to me, the post-2003 Braves have been in a sort of slow Roman empire-type decline. Wondering if 2010 was the fluke.

  16. @ 18 – Very true, welcome to the NHL where everybody is in the playoffs. Wren just has to resist the temptation to go all on a trade to try to win this year. With the team’s solid nucleus if he decides to trade a prospect the guy he gets should have some years left on his contract.

  17. I’m sure I’ll hate myself for it later, but I can’t help but be optimistic either.

    I just can’t fathom both Uggla and McCann tanking for the rest of the season. It would go against their whole entire careers to date. Replacing Minor with Greinke, again, is like adding four wins to our total. If by some miracle Sheets can force Delgado to the ‘pen, then maybe we have something.

    @20, Decline is inevitable for any team that once had five or six HOFers on it at the same time. (Yes, I think Gary Sheffield should be in the Hall of Fame, and I’m also counting Bobby.)

  18. @22,

    Agree about Sheffield and agree that the run was unsustainable even if the payroll had not declined. But, if the Braves had had the same ownership as now, the run would have ended long before because they never would have been able to keep Glavine/Maddux/Smoltz together. That was really the key to staying on top for so long.

    But I’m skeptical that they are actually going to get Greinke. It really doesn’t make any sense unless Greinke-as was suggested the other day-really wants to play in Atlanta and is willing to take a discount to do it.

  19. #Braves Venters on DL with “elbow impingement” that was not mentioned at any point in last month, last night, ever. Avilan up from minors. 8 mins ago

  20. #22
    I tend to agree about McCann & Uggla. FWIW, optimism is always what keeps me watching. Otherwise, what’s the point?

    Too bad Sheffield didn’t play like a HoFer when we needed him most.

    I suppose I’m not shocked that something isn’t right with Venters.

    BTW, good luck & good health, Mac.

  21. 26- Venters and Fredi were probably the last two men on Earth to admit what we all knew.

  22. I look at the roster and think there’s every chance they can stay in the race, and that they’re one piece away from looking pretty darned good. Every team has issues, except maybe the Rangers. You can’t watch this stuff like it’s football — that’s like signing up to have your day ruined 70 times a year, minimum. That, in essence, is what “tip your cap” is all about.

  23. I hate that Venters is hurt, and I hate that (as is so often the case) he seemingly felt compelled to hide it — but in a way it’s good to know there’s a reason for his struggles.

  24. Just read in DOBs story that Krishna Medlen is tied with Venters for 5th worst inherited runners stranded percentage, at 53.3%.

    That’s just barely better than chance. That’s terrible.

  25. “elbow impingement” is code for sucking ass. did venters have any options? If he did then this is a roster move using the DL.

  26. The Mets released Chuck James today. I always kinda liked him, in spite of his soft-tossing-lefty suckyness.

  27. I thought that was just a cleverly insulting nickname!

    In fairness, as a saberist, I should point out that strand rate — let alone inherited runners stranded, which is an even smaller sample — is largely a product of “luck,” and so having a crappy strand rate may mean that you’re unlucky rather than actively bad.

    Of course, the thing that was worrisome about Venters wasn’t so much the dinks and doinks as it was the homers and wild pitches and frequently having no idea where the ball was going.

  28. ‘as a saberist’ I prefer the foil myself.

    Ok maybe elbow impingment means just flat worn out. I have high regard for Jonny Venters. I hope that some R&R does him some good.

    I know that we are disgusted right now but as someone pointed out if Uggla, McCann, Jurrjens, Medlen can get it going we could be alright as long as we can hang near the Nationals et al.

  29. Where was Wren in all this? Shouldn’t the GM have been looking at Venters and wondering? If Venters and Fredi were the last to admit it, why did Wren keep him on the roster?

    It is very true that baseball is a very long season and that a lot of things can happen in the second half. Let’s just hope good things happen for the Braves because I’m getting tired of this.

  30. The standard pattern is for the team to give a player, especially a player that has achieved what Venters has a long leash. A mechanical adjustment here a few days rest there a postive matchup to build psyche. I know they were wondering but I’m sure Venters said he was physically fine and the team believed him.

  31. I’m sure the players’ union — not to mention other teams in the division — would take umbrage if a team just started DL’ing every player who went through a prolonged bad spell.

    We don’t talk about Matt Harrison much, but his success really aggravates me.

  32. I find it difficult to believe that anyone can go from Venters to suck without being legitimately hurt.

  33. However, going from Kolb to suck without being hurt is quite easy. For example…Chris Reitsma!

  34. I looked at tonight’s pitching matchup and had the thought that this is a start too far for Minor, and a start too far for not having someone like a Garza in his place. The wild card chase will likely be decided by one game. I believe Wren has waited too long.

    Mac, stay strong and get better. There are many people praying for you.

  35. #47 – I was hoping that also, but now I wouldnt expect much to happen until the day of the deadline.

  36. Teams that are so far out of it that they’d be willing to sell now are probably in the situation they’re in because of a lack of quality pitching.

    Even if a team — like the Cubs — is losing despite having decent pitching performances, it’s in their best interests to hold on to their assets so as to maximize the desperation of potential buyers. There’s obvious risk that comes with sellers holding for too long, but Theo seems to have found a way around that (DL’ing Dempster).

    That’s not an argument for starting Minor over Medlen. But Wren can’t be faulted in this instance. I’d say differently if a solid-to-great starting pitcher had been dealt already, but clearly that’s not the case.

  37. Adam, there is no faulting your reasoning. However, I do believe it’s Wren’s job to evaluate the team and, once areas of deficiency become obvious, to then make changes to address them before all the cows are out of the barn. With the benefit of hindsight, I believe the time to make a move was when we decided to stretch out Medlen.

    Perhaps, Theo rebuffed Wren’s proposals expecting the market to get even hotter. Perhaps Frank just crossed his fingers and hoped all would be better with a little more time. If it’s the latter, I’m afraid it is too late now to talk to anyone.

  38. @49

    Medlin and Minor should change rolls. Minor is usually goo for an inning or two then comes a part.

  39. How can it be too late to talk trade when the non-waiver trading deadline isn’t until the end of July? If that doesn’t sum up the presumed knowledge mixed with fatalism that dominates the discussions here….

  40. “JIM BOWDEN ‏@JimBowdenESPNxm
    Chipper Jones just told us he thinks the Braves HAVE to acquire another starter in addition to Ben Sheets in order to get to the playoffs”

  41. I’m sure the Cardinals were glad they didn’t decide it was too late right before last year’s All-Star Break. After all, the team we’re chasing could end up wracked by injuries and under-performance.

  42. Is it completely unrealistic to think the Braves could get Grienke for something like Minor, Gilmartin, and Bethancourt? Because otherwise its going to take Teheran, and I’m not sold that that’s the right move.

  43. Heard Fredi on the radio pregame. It sounds like Venters actually had a little discomfort in his elbow. In normal cases they would give him 2-3 days off and then see how he does. Given how he’s been pitching and the All Star break being close, they just decided to give him a break. Let’s hope it works.

  44. We have Mike Minor taking the hill tonight in the hope that we can earn a split against the Chicago Cubs at home. Prior to landing at Hartsfield-Jackson, the Cubs had won 10 road games all season long. Does that thought make me a little fatalistic? I’m afraid it does.

    Mike Minor, who forgets how to pitch when there are men on base, is facing Matt Garza, who could likely be acquired for the right package of prospects.

    The Braves, as of July 5, (according to a man named Jones) do not have enough pitching to make the expanded playoffs. My only thought is, I believe that waiting to make a move until at least July 5 and most certainly July 31, is a mistake that will not be correctable.

  45. I think all the innnings and overuse on Venters finally caught up with him.

    Mike Minor actually had this line in Chicago – 6IP 7H 3ER 1BB 12K

  46. I remember that game. I remember Kyle Davies beating the Red Sox in Boston. I had hope then, I have hope now.

    I do not see the point in trotting Minor/Delgado out there with the stated goal of making the playoffs. If the plan is to develop them for the future, then we should be sellers, not buyers.

    Has anyone else noticed how quickly it seems we’ve moved from catching the Nats to a drive to the one game wild card match up?

  47. I mean, gawd, what is the deal with Wren not just waving his magic wand and getting a pitcher already? Doesn’t he want the Braves to win and stuff?

  48. The role of Jonny Venters will now be played by Kris Medlen. The role of Kris Medlen will now be played by Chad Durbin. The role of Brandon Beachy will now be played by Zack Greinke.

    That could work, right?

  49. Well, I was thinking maybe Moylan could eventually play Medlen and Durbin could keep playing Durbin, but yeah.

  50. The role of Craig Kimbrel may need some expansion, then, while the role of Mike Minor hopefully will be filled by Ben Sheets. Now if our offense can get someone to fill the roles of Jason Heyward, Dan Uggla, and Freddie Freeman (hopefully with Heyward, Uggla, and Freeman, but I’m flexible), then the role of happy fan will be filled by me.

  51. So if he doesn’t go away, our hitters will have to taunt him a second time.

  52. I hope one of our division rivals trades for Garza. It would be great to see this in a critical late season game.

  53. Wow. No matter the outcome, a twelve-pitch AB for Francisco is a major victory.

  54. Twenty-eight pitches in two plate appearances! Juan Francisco may have found a purpose in life.

  55. i just turned on to find a 5-0 lead and Mike Minor holding the Cubs hitless through 4 innings.
    so since the world is clearly coming to an end, if you need me i’ll be in my basement hiding from the Zombies.

  56. Walking Minor on four pitches? I think that’s what the kids today call “epic fail.”

  57. Good Lord, was that ball crushed! Who is this guy and what has he done with Juan Francisco?

  58. Giants are about to blow it in the 9th to the Nats. Bases loaded no outs.

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