Braves 6, Cubs 5

ESPN Box Score

… huff, huff…

Sorry, just catching my breath after my victory lap. This was getting ready to be an all-too-predictable Braves loss, where the Braves let a not-very-good pitcher off the ropes in the first inning and then cruise to a disspiriting loss, and then all of a sudden it wasn’t.

First, Teheran. Teheran was throwing strikes, touching 93 with his fastball and showing a changeup and curveball. But as before, he had trouble putting batters away on a two-strike count. Teheran needs to work on a go-to pitch for those circumstances.

Teheran looked decent through four innings. He gave up a two-out run in the first and a solo shot in the fourth, but otherwise the Cubs hitters weren’t able to do much with him. But the wheels came off in the fifth. He got a two-strike count on Starlin Castro and appeared to strike him out on a low fastball but the ump didn’t give him the call.

Then Castro fouled off four pitches and reached on an infield single. Teheran appeared to lose his focus, and his very next pitch was a hanging curveball to Anthony Rizzo that Rizzo hammered for a two-run shot. After getting a groundout, he gave up a long double to Schierholtz that almost went out of the park, and an RBI single to the catcher. The mental lapse was more of a rookie mistake than a problem with stuff, but Teheran is going to need to work on maintaining his focus and his confidence while also repeating his

The offense was pretty much named Upton tonight. Andrelton Simmons was out because he sprained a finger on a headfirst slide, so BJ Upton — 0 for his first 14 with nine strikeouts and zero walks — was the leadoff hitter. He lead off with a walk, but immediately erased himself on a caught stealing. (“Oh, Melvin!”) Then his brother Justin followed with yet another home run. That was about it till the 8th inning, though BJ got his first hit in a Braves uniform with an infield single in the 7th.

Then the Cubs went to their bullpen and the Braves woke up. Justin Upton led off with a double and Freddie Freeman doubled him home. Then a miracle happened. Uggla singled, and after a Francisco strikeout, Gerald Laird walked and Ramiro Pena hit a two-run single. All of a sudden this wasn’t looking like a loss.

In the ninth, the Cubs brought in Carlos Marmol. B.J. Upton led off. And parked the ball. Jason Heyward hit the ball hard but right at the left fielder. And that brought up Justin Upton, who destroyed it. Walk-off.

Tonight, the Uptons went 5-9 with a walk and three homers in the first three spots in the batting order. That’s a pretty good way to win ballgames. God, I love these guys.

221 thoughts on “Braves 6, Cubs 5”

  1. Did Teheran throw his split-finger tonight? He’s supposed to have developed a pretty good one, but I don’t remember seeing it.

  2. so Ramiro Pena = [blank space] ?

    [blank space] hit a two-run single. Haha, somehow it works.

  3. I didn’t watch the game, so this is completely conjecture: could the discrepancy in the previous thread regarding Teheran’s velocity have been the result of him throwing different fastballs? Perhaps some of those 87 mph deliveries were just poorly executed split fingers that Remy asked about @2?

  4. Teheran doesn’t throw a splitter. He’s added a two-seamer and this spring he was also throwing a hard slider to go with his usual curveball, four-seamer and change. The two-seamer is a sinker, usually 89-91. I didn’t see any mid-80s fastballs. Those were probably sliders that Gameday didn’t recognize.

    Speaking of pitching, tonight Alex Wood threw a five-inning one-hitter with six Ks (and one BB). 73 pitches, 50 strikes. Not bad for a guy who jumped a level.

  5. Apparently, All five of JUpton’s homers have come with two strikes.

    Suck it, Joe Simpson. There’s you two strike approach.

  6. @7

    Sorry. He is taken. Freddie and Chris Johnson bromance:

    Freddie is hilarious. They’re loving life.

  7. Just a hunch, but I think Justin Upton *might* possibly win the NL Player of the Week award.

  8. My MLB app was calling the 85-87 mph pitches a slider, so I’m guessing that’s right.

  9. I’m pretty sure Bossman’s highest career OBP when broken down by spot in the batting order is leadoff. And he even said after the game that it’s his job to get on base as the leadoff hitter. I think hitting from that spot changes his approach for the better. I say leave him there and put Simmons lower in the order. That and teach Simmons to slide feet first.

  10. [Then a miracle happened. Uggla singled, and after a Francisco strikeout, Gerald Laird walked and hit a two-run single]

    So, is the miracle that Laird managed to get a walk and a two run single in one at bat?

  11. @19 – true. My bad. What I remember was looking at his stats from the last three years. And it is true for the last three years. For whatever that is worth. I still say give it a shot for a while at least.

  12. But Simmons is fast and SEEMS like the prototypical leadoff hitter. How can you not hit him leadoff?

  13. I was there. The stadium was shaking. It was nuts.

    On antoher note. The parking people are total assholes. Take MARTA

  14. I’m still not entirely convinced last night was real.

    I want to be sure I give kudos for Laird for his two bloop hits and very timely walk.

  15. People suitably chastened for not wanting to give Minor a chance to work through his struggles last year should cut Teheran some slack.

  16. I should also point out that I do agree it’s way too early to give up on Teheran and it’s easy to forget how young he is. If he can figure out how to put people away with 2 strikes he’s set.

  17. @33 Lots of pitchers had to learn how to get batters out with 2 strikes. It takes experience. Hanson never learned, though.

  18. And he’s not very happy about the DL decision, apparently.

    Those warm fuzzies sure didn’t last long.

  19. Per Bowman: “To say Freeman is mad they placed him in the DL, is an understatement. He hurt the oblique during last Sunday’s workout.”

    Keeping injuries from management doesn’t make them particularly happy either.

    Who do they call up?

  20. Freeman probably thinks he can play through it NP, the Braves probably just want to make sure there’s no recurrence of the issue. I’m fine with it, though it means I won’t be able to see him next weekend when they come to DC. :-(

    With Chris Johnson and Gattis hitting well, they’ll probably make starts at 1B, though a Francisco/Johnson corner infield combo worries me defensively. I feel like Freeman covers up a lot of Francisco’s throwing difficulties. And when you start both Gattis and Johnson, the lineup becomes very righty-heavy.

    I expect Pastornicky to get called up and make a few starts at 3B in the interim. Be good to see if his Spring success at the plate can translate to April.

  21. @41 I think he must have tweaked it last night in the 8th. It’s a shame, even if it has been bothering him he’s still hitting well.

    Now, does Jason have an excuse for his poor start?

  22. They’re calling up Blake DeWitt, but I agree, I think they’re more likely to try to turn Johnson or Francisco into a 3B than Gattis. Though I’m afraid they might just make DeWitt the 1B because he’s a “supersub,” or something.

    But actually, I think this is close to an ideal sequence of events. I like Freeman’s desire to play for his team and his initial anger at being DL’ed a few hours after playing in such a great win. But I am glad that the team isn’t letting him play through injury in early April. Jason Heyward played hurt in 2011 while people on the team — like Chipper Jones — seemed to make the issue of playing through injury a question of manhood. If DL’ing Freeman now will help him get healthy to play more games on the back end, then I think it’s all to the good.

    Obviously, this makes the injury to Simmons loom even larger. I hope that he isn’t out for much longer, but I also hope they don’t rush him back. The last thing he needs is chronic hand injuries.

  23. I’m going to the game tomorrow in Miami. I’ll definitely miss Freeman, Simmons, and McCann. Here’s hoping the Uptons can pick up the slack for a few weeks.

  24. Remember in the 8th last night when we was in pain after hitting the single? He might have made it worse and that’s what spurred them to take action.

  25. That makes a lot of sense. Anyway, I’m not too worried about him being pissed at the team. I don’t mind him being pissed — I’d rather that he wants to play and the team wants him to heal, than the other way around. I don’t think he’ll stay pissed. He just needs to focus on getting healthy.

  26. “This has really put a damper on my relationship with the Atlanta Braves,” Francoeur Freeman told the AJC.

  27. @44

    It sounded to me (based on Jim’s radio calls) that Heyward was hitting the ball solidly last night but *just* missing. Unless Jim has gone full Chip Caray, I’d say Jason’s just been a bit unlucky so far.

  28. Still furious about the decision to put him on the DL, Freeman is in the outfield shagging balls during batting practice. As per Mark Bowman

  29. Obviously, this makes the injury to Simmons loom even larger. I hope that he isn’t out for much longer, but I also hope they don’t rush him back. The last thing he needs is chronic hand injuries.

    Yeah, just take a look at 2011 & 2013 Jupton (no hand injury) vs. 2012 (nagging hand injury). Hell, that’s why we were able to trade for him in the first place.

  30. What’s ironic about that is you have to wonder, “what’s grittier than playing with a broken thumb?”

  31. Why would we put Gattis at first? He has never played first in his life.

    I don’t know if Larid has played first before of not, that might be where they go. But I have a feeling it will be Johnson.

  32. I’m not sure Freddie’s argument of being on deck holds much weight, considering he was the only available 1B left after CJ pinch hit. I admire his enthusiasm, but I’m sure he understands that we need him healthy at the end of the year.

  33. Freddie’s tweet

    Freddie Freeman ‏@FreddieFreeman5 27m
    Thank you to all the @Braves fans for there love and well wishes. Obviously I am upset but I will use these 15 days to get fully healthy

  34. Blake Dewiit provides a LH bat off the bench…according to Fredi. Here’s his career OPS against RHP: .680. Those pitchers are filling up their pants in fear as we speak.

  35. Lineup:

    Bupton cf
    Heyward rf
    Jupton lf
    Gattis c
    Uggla 2b
    Francisco 3b
    CJohnson 1b
    Pena ss
    Hudson p

    Remember, since they’ve been alternating, this was Gattis’ day behind the plate anyway.

    Well, we wanted him moved up in the lineup, didn’t we?

  36. @59 Just to be clear, Freddie did and and would not say that. That’s Francoeur’s quote from being sent down. I’m not sure what point that poster was trying to make.

  37. Fuck me.

    WGN is showing the White Sox game.
    TBS is showing the Yankees vs. Detroit.
    I’m in Florida visiting my folks so Fox Sports South is showing Miami vs. the Fucking Mets.

    No Braves anywhere. Ugh.

  38. “Thank you to all the @Braves fans for there love and well wishes. Obviously I am upset but I will use these 15 days to get fully healthy”

    My 8th grade English teacher’s head just exploded.

  39. I know! The use of the word “obviously” is a barbarism. It is a shorter way of saying “it is obvious that,” but it is an adverb lacking a verb or adjective to modify. Much like the astonishing overuse of introductory adverbs like “happily,” “fortunately,” “luckily,” and so forth.

    (Maybe your English teacher was just pissed off when people spelled “there” wrong; I had a high school teacher who gave me a freaking earful about never starting a sentence with “unfortunately.”)

  40. John R.
    My cable provider is running a free preview of the MLB Extra innings package. You might be able to find it there.

  41. #76: YESSSSS!!!! THANK YOU!!!!

    Just in time to see DeJesus bounce a double off the right-field wall! Woo hoo!

  42. @73 It’s interesting Alex as I’ve had journalism coaches say I could get away with starting a sentence with unfortunately in a sports story. My 95-year old grandmother in Texas still calls me to complain I’m using words in the wrong place in sentences when she reads my stuff.

    I’m pretty sure the English teachers and Journalism teachers are pretty close to having a back-alley rumble with chains, tridents, flame-engulfed nets, that sort of thing.

  43. @73: Gratefully, I fully accept (while entirely rejecting) your irrationally conceived anti-adverbial grammar lesson.

  44. He’s lucky he dialed that pitch up to 97 because he missed on the location and it was right in JUpton’s wheelhouse.

  45. Gattis batting clean up doesn’t make much sense to me. I know the options are limited but it seems like a lot of unnecessary pressure on a guy playing his third major league game.

  46. Adverbs are well and good, when they are modifying a verb, adverb, or adjective. But when they modify nothing at all, they are an abomination!

    Also, um, the Cubs are hitting the ball awfully hard off of 37-year old Tim Hudson.

  47. It might be too much pressure on Gattis, we’ll see if he can stay patient at the plate, but on the other hand batting Uggla/FatJuan/Johnson cleanup might also burst some blood vessels.

  48. No no no no, you guys. I though El Oso Blanco was going to hit 65 HR playing third, first and catcher all at the same time. On his off days he was going to take Tehran’s spot in the rotation and he was going to buy umpires beer.

    Now there is too much presure on him to hit fourth?

  49. There you go, Samardzija, see how you like getting struck out. Maybe you will think twice about K’ing everyone!

  50. I wish BJ wouldn’t slide into second with his feet. I just don’t feel he’s going as fast as he could be.

  51. Heyward swinging and missing at EVERY low and inside pitch again. Old habits he should better get rid off soon.

  52. In unrelated news, I made the switch from Xbox’s underwhelming MLB 2K games to PS3’s “The Show” two weeks back. The difference in quality is unreal.

  53. Samardzija is looking strong – Braves would be well-advised to try to work some walks and play small-ball.

  54. All the strike out run up the pitch count on Samardzija. Serbian is a
    Cyrillic language. It must be a transliteration in Croatian. They sound the same, just use different alphabets

  55. Samardzija’s a really good pitcher. I think the strategy’s the same as last night: wait for the bullpen and then carve up Carlos Marmol. Hopefully they can work some counts along the way to striking out all the time. Samardzija has only thrown 62 pitches for his 10 strikeouts, which is actually hard to do.

  56. They hit Fujikawa well enough yesterday, so maybe they can smack him around for a couple of runs and win.

  57. Yeah, ok, you can score like that too.

    Edit: I think he might be tiring some. Looks like he’s overthrowing a bit and pulling it into the ground.

  58. A blast from last year — walk em on, walk em over, then a couple of wild pitches.

  59. The guy has gone completely mental and Jason bails him out.

    Fredi should have put on the take sign.

  60. Right now, Heyward sucks at the plate. Automatic out. Going for the Golden Sombrero today.

  61. I’m not sure it’s good that Johnson quite possibly looks better at third over first.

  62. If Pena was really Machiavellian, he’d go to Fredi and say, “Hey, coach, I don’t slide into second with my hands.”

  63. @153 Pena has had a lot of ABs where he’s looked completely awful. Thankfully those ABs haven’t come in “clutch” moments and OMG TIM

  64. Samardzija’s a whole lot of fun to root against. Those looks of disgust in the dugout are hee-larious. Samardzija schadenfreude!

  65. Straburg only got one out in the 6th, gave up 6 ER on the day. That Reds lineup is nasty.

    And the Phillies are losing too. Shaping up to be a fine afternoon.

  66. Plus, he played football at Notre Dame. That’s the sort of loathing that should bring everyone together!

  67. @169 in Samardzija’s defense, that was a really frustrating inning for him/ the Cubs, especially the phantom HBP of Chris Johnson. On the other hand, though, go Braves.

  68. I’m gonna wait until May before crapping on one of our boys. The season is young.

  69. You’re right Rob, but it’s awfully hard not to watch Uggla and just see more of the same.

  70. I think NL East solidarity suggests everyone root for the Phillies, Nationals, Mets, and Marlins at every opportunity. Royals? Disgusting.

  71. Dan Uggla’s at an .874 OPS right now. Can we grant that that’s acceptable batting performance for the season? Isn’t .874 what we’re paying for?

  72. Adding to the encouraging start to the season on the field, we are getting some big crowds to start the season. Obviously, opening day day is a given, but it’s been sustained throughout the homestand.

  73. In arrears as far as I’m concerned. Even without the dropped popup that was fortunately harmless, it’s still just one step on the long road to ambivalence.

  74. They said over 211,000 for the six games, including about 117,000 against the Cubs and 94,000 for the three against the Phillies. Pretty good considering the weather earlier this week.

    There are not a lot of holes on this team, except for the strikeouts.

  75. Yep, good game.

    Hudson surprised me after looking shaky in the first. I was having Derek Lowe nightmares of a guy who gives up 3 or 4 and destroys the bullpen every 5 days.

    Offense wasn’t pretty, but they found a way.

  76. Only a few of the fan-submitted nicknames have even reached the “cringe-worthy” bar.

  77. @208, just for comparison –

    Last years avg attendance – 29514
    Last year after 6 games – 27500
    Current avg – 35166

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