Atlanta 4 Chicago 2

ESPN.com – MLB – Box Score – Braves at Cubs

Chipper! He opened the scoring in the fourth with a two-run homer, and after the Cubs tied it, broke the tie with another two-run homer in the ninth. In between, strong pitching from Tim Hudson.

Both pitchers took perfect games through three. Furcal broke open Carlos Zambrano’s attempt with a double leading off the fourth. Marcus bunted him to third, and Chipper followed with a line shot to right. Andruw followed with a single, but the Braves wouldn’t get another baserunner off Zambrano.

Hudson’s perfect game bid was broken up by a hit batsman leading off the fourth. (Side note: the batter didn’t really try to avoid the ball. Actually, he turned his leg to maximize the surface area. The rulebook clearly states that you have to make an effort to avoid getting hit, but often batters do not. The pitch should have been ruled a ball.) The next hitter doubled, and Hudson semi-intentionally walked Derrek Lee to load the bases. Then he got a DP to score a run but minimize the threat, and then settled down until the seventh, when Lee hit a solo home run that would have been a routine flyout anywhere else but Fenway Park, where it would have been a single off the Green Monster.

Hudson gave up two more hits in the inning. The Cubs had an opportunity, sort of, to score, but Michael Barrett was thrown out at the plate trying to score on a line single to Kelly Johnson.

Marcus singled with one out in the ninth off of Kerry Wood, now a reliever. Chipper followed by looping — that’s the only word for it — a homer to right center. It might have been a double in a real park. Hudson pitched the ninth, allowing a leadoff single but then getting three consecutive groundouts. Giles couldn’t turn the first one, pulling LaRoche off the bag, and the second one to first really wasn’t a double play ball. The third one was, but it was no longer necessary at that point.

The Marlins won this afternoon. The Natspos are idle and the Mets and Phillies are on the west coast… Thomson versus Jeriome Williams tomorrow.

The Road From Bristol: SportsCentury And Beyond: Skip Bayless

Voting for Smith vs. Bayless tomorrow.

57 thoughts on “Atlanta 4 Chicago 2”

  1. Ok, since I’m held hostage by TBS I finally get to see a win. Hudson, electric stuff, Chipper in one of those carry the team kind of streaks. After blowing a golden opportunity to stretch the lead against the NL Worst a nice win against the Cubs best pitcher.

  2. I’m just glad we finally found our closer.

    Kidding, kidding….

    Seriously though, tomorrow is a real test for Thomson and I really hope he passes with flying colors. Go Braves!

  3. I could be wrong, but I think Zambrano pitched a perfect game except for the 4th inning. Is that right?

    Huddy looked as good as I have ever seen him through five, and then gritted out four more innings even without the same location he had earlier (80:40 strike:ball ratio even so, I think).

  4. Chipper seems like he’s on one of those hot streaks like the one that carried us in 1999. Given the games in the division down the stretch, that could be crucial to helping up open up some breathing room into September and allowing us to rest Estrada a bit more.

    Random question of the night: does Andruw get to 50 HR this season? Thoughts?

  5. How come when Chipper is hot, Andruw isn’t? Thun if Andruw can turn it on in about two weeks, we may run through October even with laRoche hitting into 55 double plays

  6. Well I am glad we got our weekly Cub update from Mr Cub himself, Chip Carry. I bet he has talked more about the Cubs this year than the Braves.
    My buddy Scott is a huge Cub fan and called me and said, “All TBS needs to do now is hire Steve Stone and start showing the Chicago News at Ten followed by ‘Blind date’ and it will be WGN 2.”

    We can call it the ‘Duce’

  7. Clark,

    If he gets hit by pitches 2 more times I’ll take the over on 50 HR’s for AJ. 19 home games, 4 away games at Philly, etc. A fan can dream, right?

    Count it!

  8. I think Chip Carey is trying real hard, maybe too hard, not to be a jerk to the Northsiders. I don’t really hold him at fault for that because it’s the professional thing to do. Sadly, I suspect that WGN shows more Cub games than TBS shows for the Braves. A sure sign of the pending apocalypse. We might be better off having TBS being WGN South, as shameful as it is to say.

  9. Meaning that WGNS shows the Braves 130 times a year instead of this crap TV schedule that we get now.

  10. Great start by Hudson after another gem by Smoltz on Sunday. I think heading down the stretch, we can feel good when our top 2 pitchers take the mound.

    The problem is we should be scared to death by the rest of the rotation and the lineup, save for Chipper, is in one of those cold streaks…particularly our boy Andruw. I don’t get it either…why can’t he keep just doing the things he was doing and have both Jones boys hitting? We can’t just keep hoping Chipper is going to get all 4 ribbies by himself each night plus hoping that the other 3 starters will keep the other team from scoring.

    It’s too much to keep hoping for and that’s why winning 2 straight is a mirage because Hudson & Smoltz CAN’T pitch every night.

    I am at the point that if we get 2 more back-to-back BAD starts by Thomson & Hampton, we need to think very hard of pulling Sosa BACK OUT of the pen. I was the biggest proponent of putting Sosa back IN the pen, sure…but we need to give ourselves a CHANCE to win when someone besides Hudson and Smoltz pitches. Right now, having only 2 starters to trust is scary, especially if the offense is a giant black hole again save for one player.

    One other subject…JOHNNY FUCKING ESTRADA. This turd, like Adam “DP” LaRoche, should be a fucking back-up. Why is Johnny “0 for 4” Estrada even PLAYING? Why are we not using Brian McCann as the regular…better offense, better defense…what’s the problem? Estrada and LaRoche in a lineup together is certain death.

  11. Calm down, Alex. McCann’s been catching a ton of games lately, and catchers need the occasional day off. I’ll still take Estrada over Pena every day of the week,

  12. Last night Davies walked 6 with 2 wild pitches in 5 innings for Richmond. Looks like they’ve got him working on something.

  13. Yeah, he was having trouble hitting a major league fastball. I hope it’s because he kept guessing off-speed and never saw it, but he should have been able to at least make contact at some point.

  14. Thomson’s looked bad since coming back, but he was aces for over a year before that. Personally, I think that speaks to him recovering. Even if he gives up a couple of dingers at Wrigley, I still think he’ll be good to go for the rest of the season.

  15. Francoeur has a big swing, which didn’t match up well againt Zambrano, who was en fuego.

    One could just the inevitable “Boo, Francoeur !” comments coming. Has Francoeur ever faced Zambrano before?

    Lots of Braves looked bad against Zambrano.

    As for the remarks about Estrada: you sound like a huge tool.

  16. Before we all go freakin out about our starting pitching, lets wait and see how thomson and hampton pitch the next couple of days. I think in the long run our pitching problem is not going to come from the starters. We’ve still got that dynamite bullpen!!! I can’t wait to here the announcement over the PA in the 7th game of the WS ‘now in to pitch the bottom of the ninth Dan Kolb’
    Now that is a nightmare worth discussing.

  17. Oh yeah, and sure Estrada is no Hall of Fame catcher, but I think it is an advantage to be able to rotate him and McCann.

  18. Heh. I think Big Z could have thrown Jeff a hundred fastballs down the pike and he still wouldn’t have caught up to one. As Joe Morgan once astutely pointed out, usually guys from the minors can hit good fastballs because there are a lot more guys in the minors with good fastballs than with good offspeed stuff. Wonder if that’s not the case for Mr. Francoeur?

  19. Don’t you know that you’re not a real fan if you question a player’s weaknesses or think that another player may be better than the usual starter!?!? Goodness, Kyle :)

  20. Let’s chill over one performance against a fastball pitcher that he has never faced. Zambrano can make just about anybody look bad from time to time. Why don’t we get back to overreacting about LaRoche putting up numbers equivalent with a 300k first baseman? (I say this, but of course would love to see him shipped off or made back-up this winter)
    Francouer is going to have nights like this a lot more often than those miraculous ones we’ve been getting. He is a rookie!!!

  21. Alex, you can assume Andruw is getting pretty tired when he asked for a day off on the day Pedro Astacio pitched! He said his hands are tired, which is the reason why Andruw has been missing pitches and failing pitches straight back.

  22. Now this is too easy…

    Five women on Saturday night = tired hands on Sunday.

    I promise I would’ve resisted if I were capable. Sadly, I am not.

  23. I always wonder about guys with 5 girls on their arm. Reminds me of the Budweiser ad with Cedric the Entertainer about what he wanted on the desert island with him. Seems to me that one beautiful woman is plenty (and I’m sure my wife would be happy to hear that!).

  24. I didn’t mean to criticize Francoeur – of course he’ll have nights like that and Zambrano had great stuff. But I could see the strikeouts coming from a mile away.

    I’m interested to see how Frenchie will adjust now that he is cooling off a bit.

  25. Zambrano seemed to know he could just reach back and throw it right by Wonderboy. I think it’s going to be fun as a fan to watch this kid adjust and grow.

  26. Zambrano was great. Calling his fastball “major league” is akin to calling Smoltz’s slider “major league”. Zambrano touched 99 a couple of times on the ESPN gun, in the 7th inning, and K’ed 10 for the game. I wouldn’t worry to much about Francouer, LaRoche on the other hand concerns me.

  27. Hell, we only had 5 hits! The big Z was great last night. With the wind blowing in and we score 4 runs, not too bad if you ask me.

  28. Prior to Estrada’s activation from the DL, McCann had caught 14 straight games. I understand your frustration, Alex, because Estrada is largely a waste offensively right now and his “blocking the plate” on the throw from KJ last night was pretty wimpy, if you ask me. I understand that he’s gun-shy and his back hurts, but if he can’t do the job, he shouldn’t be out there. However, McCann badly needed a break last night, and probably for the next few nights. I just hope he gets the majority of the playing time down the stretch.

  29. Hey wait, didn’t we win last night? No one, outside Chipper, really did anything with the bat. Estrada did call a good game behind the plate. I wonder if that is why our pen has struggled latley. Maybe McCann isn’t calling the best game right now.

  30. I agree Smitty.. I think McCann needed a break because we have seen his numbers go from around .315 to .280. Lets face it who really expected Estrada to have a great night batting against Zambrano. There is not many batters who can catch up with a 99 mph fastball much less one who is coming off the DL.

    Estrada did call a great game from behind the plate and I think thats all Bobby expected form him. Well probably see Estrada behind the plate again tonight, if his back is okay, and McCann will get another night off. Lets face it, even when Estrada is hurting he’s still better than Pena.

  31. Let’s face it, even when Estrada is hurting he’s still better than Pena.

    No arguments there.

  32. I think McCann calls a decent game, but Estrada calls a much better one. I could call a somewhat good game with a guy like Smoltz on the mound. McCann is still learning what pitches to call, Estrada really calls a great game, we don’t give him any credit for that.

  33. I don’t really have an opinion on Johnny’s game-calling abilities, but he seems to be much worse than Brian at framing pitches and at setting up after the pitcher begins his delivery. The fact that he can’t wait longer to set up inside or outside is baffling to me, as it seems like something other teams would be able to notice.

  34. I’m sure there are others, but it seems like a pretty depressing group to choose out of:

    – Sign Alex Gonzalez (FLA)
    – Sign some one-year stopgap like Royce Clayton
    – Trade for some one-year stopgap like Bill Hall
    – Trade for a young guy who may have some potential, like Maicer Izturus
    – Throw caution to the wind and try to get Nomar in a one-year deal (which I assume is what the Cubs will do, so that seems highly unlikely

    The pickings certainly appear slim.

    I still don’t get the flat-out assumption that some people have that Betemit can’t do it. Maybe he can’t… I don’t know. I just don’t get why this is a forgone conclusion for so many folks.

  35. It depends on what “it” is that you want Betemit to do. When I advocate re-signing Furcal, it’s because Betemit can’t replace his defense or speed. Betemit can’t be the leadoff hitter Furcal is. He’s a solid defender, but he’s not Furcal (nobody is). I’d be okay with Betemit if we could bat him somewhere besides leadoff and insert a good leadoff hitter from another position, but we don’t have anyone right now (not anyone like Furcal, anyway). This seems pretty jumbled, but to sum it up: Betemit is a fine player, but he doesn’t give us the unique things that Furcal does. At least not in my opinion.

  36. I say drop Kolb/Thompson’s salary into the Furcal/Farnsworth bucket for another 2 or 3 years. Davies and Sosa (or James) can fill in for Thompson and Ramirez in the rotation next year. Also lets go ahead and sign Franco until he’s 50.

    I dont want to see Thompson leave, but I dont think we can keep him and Hampton and unfortunately no one will pick up Hampton’s salary.

  37. I would be very happy to see Davies & James at the back of the rotation, it it meant we were able to keep furcal and farnsworth.

  38. We need to get tonight’s game because Prior goes tomorrow. It would be a huge lift if we could sweep the cubbies. I would love to see a Sosa & Farnsworth combo in the 8th and 9th. If those two could pitch up to there capabilities, then we would look a whole lot tougher come the postseason.

  39. Actually now that I look at it we should have plenty of money to keep Furcal and Farnsworth.

    Salaries:
    Kolb 3.4 mil
    Thomson 4.25 mil
    Gryboski 875K (glad to see this gone)
    Tom Martin 1.9 mil
    MOndesi 1 mil
    Jordan 700 K

    I dont really see any of these guys back next year, if any it would be Thomson. We should have enough to sign Farns and Furcal for a little more.
    If thats what they want, but who knows!

  40. Don’t forget that Giles will get a substantial raise next year. I think re-signing Furcal is a possibility in terms of our budget, but I suspect that the organization may decide to go another way for reasons that have nothing to do with the budget.

    Hopefully we can clear out a spot on the 40 man roster to get James some starts this September so we can get a look at him. I’m not willing to give him a starter role yet despite his outstanding minor league numbers. I really can’t imagine him not making the team next year though, just because anyone who is lefthanded and breathing can hold down a major league reliever job.

  41. yeah I just can’t see James spending another season in the minors. If kolb can hold a job in the majors, then I have no doubt this kid would be able to help us next year.

    Kyle S – “but I suspect that the organization may decide to go another way for reasons that have nothing to do with the budget”

    What reasons are you talking about (furcals off field stuff maybe?!?!)

  42. I suspect Kyle is referring to Furcal’s off the field issues.

    Another possibility could be making a run at B. Giles with any money the organization can scrape together. He could be a major bargain depending on how serious one takes the Giles’ talk of wanting to play togehter (or not, who really knows right now). That would neatly solve any leftfield and leadoff problems the team has (assuming M. Giles hits 1 and B. Giles hits 2) while giving Betemit a year to prove himself at short…

  43. If we lost furcal, I think it would be great to add B Giles. This would allow Betemit to bat toward the bottom of the order without so much pressure to replace Furcal’s bat.

  44. while I could handle a Giles, Giles combo at the top of the lineup. I dont see the Braves spending 8 mil a year to get Giles. They would probably continue to let Johnson and Langerhans platoon for the money. So the question is who would you rather have for 8 million a year Giles or Furcal?

  45. My gut reaction is that I would rather have furcal. There is no other SS options that get me too excited. I also would like to see what Johnson/Langerhans can do with another year. I think if we kept furcal, we would still find out a lot more about betemit because he would get a lot of time at 3B still.
    The problem I see is that furcal is going to want more years than the Braves may be willing to offer. I think they could pony up the money per year, but won’t want to go 4+ years. That is why B. Giles is intriguing. I think you could get him for a 2 or 3 years.

  46. I wonder how much Marcus and Brian really want to play together. They’re pretty far apart in terms of age (Marcus would have been 11 when Brian was a senior in high school) so they might not have been too close growing up.

  47. I think Joe West was the guy calling a good game out there last night. Zambrano had great stuff, Hudson pretty good, but Joe West was calling pitches at or below the knees and a foot outside either way last night. There were so many pitches that Estrada got crossed up on that ended up being called strikes it was silly!

    We got the good end of that though, so that’s all that matters.

    Oh, and Zambrano hit 100 on one strikeout pitch to Frank the Tank. There are less than one major leaguers who can catch up with that kind of speed from a starting pitcher on a consistent basis.

  48. Kyle, Brian and Marcus have repeatedly discussed how much they’d enjoy playing together. They are very, very close, despite their age difference.

  49. I don’t know, of course, and I believe Sandy Alderson is a pretty shrewd guy, but I would expect San Diego to be more than willing to blow away anything Atlanta could offer. Considering what they gave up for him, you gotta think they’re pretty desperate to keep him. And since San Diego is home, and he’s not quite old yet, that appeal of playing with Marcus in Atlanta may not be so much that he’d take a 2-3 year deal for under $10 million per.

  50. I completely disagree that 100mph heat is hard for major leaguers to catch up to. Of course, if he was sitting on a sinker or slider, then yeah it’ll be tough. I can think of plenty of people who throw 100 and see it fly by going even faster: Cappellan, Farnsworth, Billy Koch, Bobby Jenks, etc.

    I agree that those were tough pitches to hit, but Zambrano wasn’t doing anything sophisticated with Jeff – he was just throwing his fastball as hard as he could right down the pipe. I’m surprised that even after 8 swings or so he still couldn’t catch up with it.

  51. Zambrano wasn’t doing anything sophisticated with Jeff – he was just throwing his fastball as hard as he could right down the pipe.

    On the first at bat. After that he alternated fastballs up and in with sliders that started on the bottom left corner of the plate and slid off, which seems to me the ideal way to pitch Francoeur.

    Jeff has shown signs lately of laying off some pitches that he might have swung at during his first week, so he’s trying to adjust to. It’s just going to take him a little while.

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