Braves 11, Cubs 6

So in the top of the second, Chris Johnson hit his first of two home runs to tie the game at 2-2, and some Cubs fan did the most Cubs fan thing ever. Dude caught the ball near the top of the left-field bleachers, wheeled around, switched a ball he later claimed to have caught during batting practice out of his glove while his back was to the crowd, kept the home run ball, and threw the alleged batting-practice ball back onto the field to the approval of the unknowing crowd.

See, this is why the Cubs can’t have nice things. Their fans mythologize their own long-suffering fandom, but ultimately they can’t be arsed to actually participate in their own chosen rituals. Baseball is sort of ancillary to the experience there, so actually putting effort into being a “long-suffering Cubs fan” seems entirely beside the point, so I get that this dude really just wanted to keep his home run ball while placating the crowd.

I’ve been to Wrigleyville, and it’s fun the way Buckhead Village is fun; if you enjoy watching douchebros who are completely hammered by 4:30 p.m. jumping into the fountain at a patio bar, you’ll have a good time. (For the record, I totally enjoy watching this sort of thing, so I totally enjoyed that afternoon in Wrigleyville.) But yeah, it’s a party scene that happens to host baseball games, so they’re liable to cut corners as fans and not really be all that concerned about the on-field product. (See also: Miss, Ole.)  The Bartman thing, when you think about it, was the inevitable fight when the kegger has gone on for too long. It’s good for everyone that the party typically gets cut off before it gets late enough to go downhill like that.

Anyway, baseball. Mike Minor, despite the fact that I traded my 2015 10th-round pick in a keep-your-top-eight keeper league for him, continued a month-plus of really not having it. He left a bunch of balls up in the zone, got whacked around in the first inning and gave up two runs. It would have been worse but for Christian Bethancourt big-arming an out on a throw down to second; as much as I like to say a plus catcher’s arm is overrated as a runs-prevention tool, point for you, Mr. Bethancourt.

Minor did settle down long enough to keep the Braves in the game until they broke it open in the fourth with a batting-around inning featuring Johnson’s second homer of the game (caught by a Braves fan who declined to even pretend to throw it back)  and a bases-clearing Justin Upton double. As whackable as Minor’s pitches were, Edwin Jackson‘s were whackabler. And Minor helped his own cause with a home run in that fourth. The wind was blowing out today, for better and for worse. B. J. Upton at one point got completely bamboozled by a ball that appeared to catch some sort of jetstream toward right-center, and there were a frightening number of popups that seemed like they might split a Bermuda Triangle of Braves fielders, only for someone to figure it out at the last second.

But after taking a 9-3 lead, the Braves could weather Minor giving up three more runs in the fifth. That was all the Cubs would get, and quite frankly that’s where I stopped watching this game and went running, and so that’s where this recap ends. I see that apparently the Braves tacked on two more in the ninth for good measure, and that there was some sort of continued silliness involving the replayability of the neighborhood play at second base. I didn’t see it. I’m running my first 5K tomorrow morning and I wanted to get out there before dinner and take a warm-up run and so I wasn’t really acting the part of the committed baseball fan. I get you, Cubsbro. Maybe that’s why we can’t have nice things either. I’m sorry, guys.

112 thoughts on “Braves 11, Cubs 6”

  1. Was at the game. Johnson’s and Minor’s homers were smoked, as was JUp’s 2b and, troublingly, virtually every hit off Minor. Agree with WCG that Minor’s pitches were fat and in the zone. I’ll say though that the fourth was perhaps the most fun inning to witness as a Braves fan this year.

  2. So, one game left in the 1st half of the season. Well, not really the first half, but the accepted half before the all star break. Talk about an up and down season. We do have some things to look forward to in the second half though.

    B.J. is not what you would call an ideal lead off, but the guy has been giving us more since taking over the role recently than he has the entire rest of the time with the team.

    Simmons has settled into the 2-hole nicely. He is batting .324 on the season with 14 runs and 9 RBIs from the spot. I know most of you all do not buy into the clip that position in the batting order matters on a persons overall performance, but seriously, look at Simmons’ career numbers from the 2-hole. It is still a small sample size, but we might as well leave him there until he fails at it.

    Batting order after the break when we get Gattis back should look something like this:

    B.J. Upton
    J. Upton
    La Stella

    It isn’t ideal, but it doesn’t exactly look horrible. Let’s all just hope for a couple of bench players that can come in and play and another sure arm out of the bullpen before the trade deadline.

  3. ryan asked earlier if it did not seem that Justin’s defense had improved this year.

    Perhaps, but we were actually scoring runs last year so lapses are more glaring this year.

    I think the 2014 Braves are actually a .500 team. Perhaps it’s true that every .500 team has days where they seem to be a lot better than .500. Then there are days when we look like breaking even is a bridge too far.

    What do you guys think we are? I have no clue.

  4. Word on the street is Phil Gosselin has been recalled. Not sure what the corresponding move is. Could be Alex Wood going down to stay stretched out.

  5. Gosselin has been tearing it up in Triple AAA this year. Does he play anywhere other than 2nd base? It would be great if the guy could cover some more position in the IF and possibly the corner OF spots.

    I know this will sound funny, but do you realize how much more improved our bench will be by just giving Uggla the DFA? I mean the guy has been nonexistent. We have basically become a 24-man team while everyone else is playing with 25.

  6. Why does everybody keep making trade suggestions for starting pitching? We are 1st in the league in quality starts people. Outside of Mike Minor, our starting pitchers have been pretty consistent. If we want an upgrade to Minor, all we have to do is send Hale down to get stretched out, and he is ready to go. With that scenario, we do not have to give up anything for what would be a rental pitcher in Price or any other suggestions on the market.

    We need bats and bullpen. These are the areas we should focus on before the trade deadline. Even Price can’t win when he isn’t getting run support or having his leads held onto due to bullpen mishaps.

  7. @9 from DOB:

    Gosselin, 25, batted .338 with a .375 on-base percentage and 35 extra-base hits — including five triples and five home runs — in 86 games for Gwinnett, and was selected to play in next week’s Triple-A All-Star game. He’s played 20 or more games at second base, third base and shortstop, along with eight games in left field and four as designated hitter.

  8. My guess as wells Woods and/or Hale going down to pitch with the break coming up.

  9. This would be an opportune moment to DFA Uggla, in the personnel management sense (as opposed to the on-field sense, the moments for which such action have been opportune for quite a while). He’d get to say goodbye to his teammates, and then go back and clear out his locker in peace.

  10. Bowman saying that the braves have made it clear they can’t release Uggla this year.

    I don’t recall that being made clear at any point this year… And I usually remember reading things that make me throw up in my mouth a little.

  11. “Can’t”? Must be an accounting thing, because I’m pretty sure no player is contractually entitled to a 25-man roster spot. Troy Tulowitzki could get DFA’ed tomorrow. In other words, “can’t” sounds an awful lot like “won’t” to me.

  12. MLB Network interrupted QuickPitch this morning to mention the Gosselin thing. I’m optimistic that we’ve seen the last of Lieutenant Dan.

  13. @18,19

    This is 100% speculation on my part, but the impression I’ve gotten from the crumbs Bowman has given on the subject is that this is related to ownership. You would think a multi-billion dollar company would understand the term “sunk cost” so maybe I’m wrong!

  14. Players ought to be at the ballpark any minute for today’s game. Someone’s going to be told in person that they’re not on the roster today.

  15. Ryan Doumit, if I’m guessing. Something like “Bethancourt has earned his spot behind the dish, we’re gonna let Doumit go and play Gattis in LF more, with Gosselin up as a Prado-lite super sub.”

  16. I just don’t understand the Uggla situation. They’re clearly not playing him because he’s ineffective, and unless they think there is no one attainable that can perform better as the 25th man, they’re just content to not use him and have a 24 man roster. It’s just very bizarre and makes you think there’s just something else going on behind the scenes. I couldn’t imagine what, though.

  17. Wow. Isn’t it obvious by now that not only does Fredi want him gone, but that Uggla doesn’t want to be there either? Is ownership daring him to retire?

  18. Tardiness?

    Hahahahaha. This is hilarious. Someone needs to photoshop Uggla’s face into an old-timey cartoon strip about truancy.

  19. He’s like that ex-girlfriend you just can’t delete from your phone and say goodbye to. Wren, unfollow him on Twitter and move on.

  20. @15

    I had no idea such empathetic sensitivity existed on these metricious pages…

    (if that adjective is not yet in your favorite dictionary it will be soon)

    and as for Dan thoughtfully allowed to empty his last locker away from prying eyes, no schadenfreude, none, how apropos – vae victis.

    Rereading that last sentence it may be a first – four languages. For Dan’s farewell nothing is too good.

    Double header today – Wrigley/Rio… played at the same damn time…which live/which DVR? …that will tell you something about your priorities…we play again in a few days, they, four more years to wait.

  21. Not sure if this fits into the puzzle, but apparently Uggla has been wearing a “play me or trade me” shirt under his uniform.

  22. Speaking of players who shouldn’t be Braves…

    Chris Johnson is tied for the lowest BB% in the majors, has the 18th highest k%, is tied for the most GIDP, plays defense like a statue, and, despite yesterday’s home runs, does not hit for power–his .093 ISO, which includes yesterday’s outburst, is the lowest of every regular Brave except Tommy LaStella.

    He has been a worse offensive player than Andrelton Simmons across the board. Literally, he has taken a walk half as often as Simmons (5.3 BB%) so far this year.

    And Johnson’s defensive contribution sits at 0 Defensive Runs Saved.

    I’m starting the Trade Chris Johnson campaign. He needs to be dealt to the Blue Jays, who can, get this, platoon him with Fat Juan. I hope it happens today.


  23. When in doubt consult the team stenographer. DOB (in the paper, not the Twitter):

    “The Braves have kept Uggla on the roster hoping another team might suddenly have a need and agree to pay at least a small portion of Uggla’s remaining salary. Even if he’s not moved now, it would be surprising if Uggla were still a Brave in 2015.”

  24. @40

    That’s pretty lame, but not nearly as offensive as Chris Johnson’s “Walks are for pussies” undershirt.

  25. I cannot wait to hear what Chip, Joe, and Tom have to say about this whole suspension thing. Should make for some awkward broadcast moments.

  26. Chip: “I hear they suspended Dan because he offered to retire and pay back the money he already made this season, and Braves’ management said that isn’t the way a teammate should talk.”

    Joe: “I know. Dan has been such and inspiration to us all. He has made sure every teammate had a full glass of water as they made their way to the bench.”

    Tom: “Chip, your kids just bought me another hot dog. Thanks Carey Family.”

    Chip: “Those kids don’t look anything like me. Man, I wish Dan Uggla was my son.”

  27. When did the Braves suspend Dan’s bat? Couldn’t have been later than 2012, so that suspension’s gotta be over soon.

  28. It does sound like they were getting Gosselin ready to be a supersub player. I think he will be seeing some regular playing time between 1st, 2nd, SS, 3rd, and the OF corners in the second half of the season.

  29. Well, it’s a really good thing the Braves challenged the call at second. Justin looked ridiculous there.

  30. It’s every team’s duty to contribute some clips to the blooper reel that plays between innings at each MLB park.

  31. It’s fun just to have the chance to say “LAIRD!!!” even if only in one’s mind.

  32. Always nice to score runs and then shut the other guys down; it’s awfully dispiriting to keep giving the runs back.

  33. Do you think BJ was confused about how many outs there were? Or do you suppose it was just a regular, run-of-the-mill bad decision?

  34. Jason has proven that if you keep hitting the ball on the ground in the same direction game after game, one will eventually sneak through.

  35. Do you think the Cubs will share their stadium with us in the second half? Johnson might drop 40 bombs if he gets some regular playing time here. Better yet, maybe the Cubs will give us there top tier 3B prospect Bryant in exchange for Johnson since he likes hitting at Wrigley so much.

  36. If some alien body snatcher has inhabited Chris’ body, I’m perfectly ok with that continuing.

    But it’s probably just the Cubs…

  37. jj: It looked like he wasn’t bunting for a hit, but I also wouldn’t bet against a bad decision.

    Also, the Cubs are working a deal to get Chris Johnson. Wow.

  38. So Uggla was suspended for showing up 1 hour before game time. Should have suspended him for longer.

  39. Wow, did Joe just say that the way Uggla’s been playing has handcuffed Fredi and basically forced him to play with a 24-man roster? Uggla really doesn’t have anyone left in his corner anymore.

  40. 7-0. Nice. Quick update from the soccer finals. Germany 0, Argentina 0 in a very good game. Go Deutschland!

  41. Without looking, can anyone guess who was the last 20 game winner for the Braves?

  42. Tyler Clippard is replacing Teheran on the All-Star roster. I know his stats are good against everybody except us, but I just can’t him seriously.

    Tim Hudson was named an All-Star today, too.

  43. Last time the Braves scored 10+ runs in two straight games: April 18-19, 2012, hosting the LolMets and at Arizona.

  44. Well, that’s a bummer for Julio. He’s pitched well today, but I’m glad we’ve scored 10 runs.

  45. Not sure how LaStella wasn’t charged with an error in the 7th. That costs Teheran 2 runs.

  46. Avilan being Avilan. Go get him before we have a Kimbrel save situation in the 9th

  47. 10-4 in the eighth and I’m worried. This bloody bullpen. 1.75 WHIP for Luis. Woof.

    At this point I will happily take a Triple Grybo, as long as we stick the landing.

  48. My heart just stopped. For a fleeting moment that looked like it was gone. Walden, don’t make me get mad at you.

  49. Why are the Cubs challenging this? No part of the baserunner ever even touched the plate.

  50. Don’t they have someone looking at the play for the Cubs? That’s not even close to safe in any capacity.

  51. Thank goodness for that gift out at the plate by the Cubs and ten runs by our offense.

  52. Hopefully the break will do wonders for the bullpen, because they’ve been shaky to put it mildly the last two series.

  53. Always can count on Avilan to let a team back in. He should be dfa’d just as quickly as Uggla. At least Uggla just takes up a roster spot and doesn’t cost us runs like Avilan does

  54. So, I feel comfortable with La Stella as our second baseman for the future. He won’t give us many HRs, but he is a valuable bottom of the lineup bat. Maybe one day he will be a leadoff or 2-hole hitter, but for now, he keeps me from dreading it when we actually have people on base with the bottom of our lineup coming up.

  55. ASG week is very strange. What does one do when the Braves don’t play for more than one day in a row?

  56. @101, I plan on catching some of this world cup thing people keep talking about.

  57. @103 – Don’t worry. Afterwards, they always show the highlight.

    Seriously, congratulations to Germany.

  58. @101 Sit around and complain about four straight days without Braves baseball. That’s what I do.

    Edit: Oh, that and keep my fingers crossed and breath held for the next two days that if Kimbrel pitches in the ASG he doesn’t blow out his elbow or get hit with a comebacker or something sinister like that.

  59. Jose Peraza has the only hit in the Futures Game so far.

    And congratulations, Germany. They were the best team throughout the tournament and again in the final.

  60. I don’t think the Rays are going to trade Price. They are not out of the race. The AL East is incredibly bad and the way the Rays are playing, they certainly have a chance.

  61. If Wren thinks he’s got a playoff team here–I’m still not sure he does–he has simply got to get Luis Avilan off the team, out of the organization, preferably out of organized baseball. The guy cannot throw a strike to save his life, and to have him as the only lefthanded option is not acceptable.

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