Cubs 2, Braves 0

Chicago Cubs vs. Atlanta Braves – Box Score – April 08, 2010 – ESPN.

You can’t win them all. However, it would have been nice to score, at least.

Tommy Hanson only gave up two hits in the first five innings. Unfortunately, they were both solo homers, one in the second and one in the fourth. Given a chance to maybe get the lead in the third thanks to a throwing error by the pitcher that loaded the bases, the Braves couldn’t capitalize, with Glaus — who admittedly had two hits on the day, but unfortunately couldn’t get them at the right time — grounding into an inning-ending double play. The team wouldn’t really threaten again until late.

Hanson let the first two men on in the sixth before getting a flyout, but Eric O’Flaherty came on and got five outs on nine pitches while stranding two inherited runners, which is pretty impressive. Jesse “Spring Schming” Chavez then came on and was even more impressive, with two 1-2-3 innings, each ending on a strikeout.

The Braves got a couple of baserunners on with two out in the eighth, but Glaus grounded out to end that threat. They got the leadoff man on in the ninth, but Heyward — who went 0-4 — had his first really bad at-bat, striking out on three swings. McLouth walked to bring the winning run to the plate, and Hinske just missed a walkoff pinch homer but it was caught on the track, and then Melky struck out to end the game.

41 thoughts on “Cubs 2, Braves 0”

  1. One of our three problem children — Glaus, Melky, or McLouth — has to start producing. And how long can Bobby go without starting Diaz?

  2. Hanson was hitting 96-98 mph consistently early on, and was still at 95 when he left. If that wasn’t just a one time, adrenaline-fueled showing (or a juiced gun), then watch out.

    His problems today were mostly release point and pitch selection, I think. He was too predictable early on (get to two strikes with the fastball, then throw the slider off the plate). I would also like to see him work inside a bit more (I think he realized this as the game went along). He kept *just* missing to the same spot. But those are things that should be easily correctable.

  3. The play the Cubs RF made on Glaus’ second hit of the night was really a beautiful play. Even though it cost the Braves a run, it was a gorgeous play.

  4. At this early stage the outfield concerns me more than Glaus.

    Heyward is going to have his struggles. Hopefully he relaxes and works counts, but until then expect him to get junk balled to death. Melky looks like a 4th OF, and I think McClouth will be fine but he’s about as uninspiring as they come. We’ll eventually get a dynamic offensive player out there when Heyward gets more experienced, but it could be awhile. I think we’ll eventually start seeing Diaz and Hinske getting more AB’s to get some punch out of LF.

  5. Glaus not getting to second on that play changed the game. I really don’t understand how he didn’t.

    I had hoped Chipper would last more than three games.

  6. I would also like to point out that the ump made a couple of HORRIBLE first strike calls on Glaus in more than one at-bat (maybe forcing him to swing at pitches he might have otherwise taken). I think I can remember 3 at-bats like that – it was pretty bad.

    @2 – McClouth hasn’t been bad. Has Melky hit a ball that wasn’t a little bleeder to an infielder yet? I’m serious. It seems like every time he gets wood on the ball it’s a little dribbler.

  7. What did Yankees fans see in Melky Cabrera again? I swear I remember seeing his name over the past couple of seasons mentioned in packages for Johan Santana, Mark Teixeira, etc. And the Yankees did end up getting the Braves’ ace from 2009 for Cabrera.

  8. our problems are over….per mlbtr

    Braves Claim Cristhian Martinez
    By Mike Axisa [April 8 at 5:51pm CST]
    The Braves have claimed righty reliever Cristhian Martinez off waivers from the Marlins, tweets Dave O’Brien of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The team then optioned him to Triple-A.

    Florida designated Martinez for assignment on Saturday to free up a 40-man roster spot. The 28-year-old posted a 5.13 ERA and a 6.2 K/9 with a 2.7 BB/9 in 26.1 innings of relief for the Marlins last year. He’s never spent a day in Triple-A, but his minor league walk rate is impressive at 1.8 BB/9.

  9. oh and BTW, its the 3rd game of the season. Give it till MAY before we start this “the sky is failing” attitude. We just won the series

  10. Knee Jerkish reaction:

    The braves are no different than they were last year offensively. They are still slow (more on this later) they still pull off of the ball too much. They only half heartedly work the count, Chipper is still frail, an ex-angel is still sucking the life out of the lineup, and there is no leadoff man on the roster.

    This team is painfully, painfully, LaRoche, Estrada kind of slow, have been for years now. Not that they are going to go all Whitey Herzog out there, but this team cannot create anything on the bases. They do not make enough contact to hit and run. If the braves beat out just ONE of those double plays at any base, they probably win the game tonight.

    How many times do you see teams like the Yanks and Phils beat out a DP ball to keep an inning alive and pressure on the D and the pitcher? When is the last time the braves did that?

    One positive note, the pen does look like it has more command of the strike zone than in years past. It appears that there is more than 3 guys who can throw strikes. That is a good thing I guess.

  11. Numbers lie stat of the night.

    Reading this excellent blog with all the smart people on here has taught me to look beyond the obvious numbers in baseball.

    The outburst on Monday was fluky at times, and the end of the game rally came against the cub’s version of Manny Acosta and Jeff Bennett.

    Much like last year, this team went on long droughts without scoring anything in this series.

    Yes the braves won the series, but they only scored in 2 innings since Monday, and have only scored in 6 of 25 offensive innings all year.

  12. @ 2-3: I was wondering the same thing during the game. I can’t even imagine what Diaz thinks on the bench, although it’s probably something like, “Well, I could go 1 for 13.”

  13. @ 16: He’s been living the platoon life for awhile now, so I understand. He’s a good teammate and an unselfish player. I, however, am a selfish fan.

  14. Diaz will get back in there. I’m not worried. Three games. We’ll see a LHP tomorrow (Sanchez). I’ll guess he starts.

    What did Yankee fans see? Yankee fans saw Melky Cabrera, a player who puts up fairly underwhelming numbers every year.

    Some Yankee fans liked him because he was homegrown, played pretty good OF, was speedy & had several big hits last year, a season that saw lots of comeback/walk-off wins & ended with a title. It was a super-talented team, but he contributed.

    But he is who he is, a 4th outfielder, and certainly not a leadoff man.

  15. It would have been nice to have a sweep, but 2 out of 3 is still a good way to start the season. Heyward will have some bad games and, yes, Melky is not a leadoff hitter….

    Otherwise, Minor got lit up at AA and Cody Johnson continues to prove that there is an essential order to things: 2-4 with a HR and 3 RBIs and 2 strikeouts….

    Nice start by Randall Delgado at Myrtle Beach; it is good to see Milligan get off to a strong start in the Carolina League….

  16. Okay, we lost. But our pitching will keep us in a lot of games, that’s obvious. We won’t have to score much all year, so let’s not panic over offense.

    What really hurts though is yet another injury to Chipper Jones. They list him as day-to-day, but Chipper said on the official site that in the past it took his oblique “from 3-4 days to 3-4 weeks” to heal. We’ll see how his replacements do.

  17. I’m afraid Bobby’s going with a strict LF platoon, even though Diaz is a better player. Cabrera will see more time with more right-handers out there.

  18. @23, I would imagine that, since we face a lefty next, Infante will play third and Glaus will stay at first. Next righty we face, though, will probably go down as you describe.

  19. I dont think the Braves will shuffle Glaus around. He’ll stay at 1st, cant Hinske play a corner OF position? If so, why not platoon him and Diaz if there is going to be a platoon

  20. I guess it’s good to get our first miserable Braves loss index type loss out of the way early. The most significant thing is Chipper’s injury. If that lingers, the team is in real trouble. Cabrera is as ever a 4th outfielder. Now that McLouth seems to be returning to his normal self (hitting .250 which is about what he hits normally and with a .500 OBP) Bobby should probably put him back at leadoff when Cabrera is in LF.

    Langerhans wouldn’t be better than Cabrera but he couldn’t hurt as depth at Gwinnett. He has more upside than Blanco for sure.

  21. So the Braves’ staff ERA is 2.33? With a ‘pen ERA of 0.00?

    Hope that continues.

  22. The Braves are not a great hitting team–to say the least. But they weren’t a great hitting team during the championship run either. How many times did they get shut down for five/six innings, but were able to win because Glavine/Maddux/Smoltz did the same to the other team? The difference, I guess, is that those teams had more power and, at least were able to put a bunch of runs up occasionally. Also, this might be a bad analogy, but, remember, the 1998 Yankees started off 1-3; the point is, whether they were 3-0 or 0-3 (or 2-1), it’s only three games. The Nats are only one game out of first place. I also don’t see why this is a “miserable Braves loss.” The Cubs pitcher pitched well; even the best teams lose 60 games a year–if they had lost 9-2, people would be crying about Hanson.

  23. I went to yahoo sports standings page and, I know it’s meaningless, but it was nice to see Braves at the top of the NL East, and Mets at the bottom.

  24. @ 28: Everyone in the bullpen has looked sharp. In former Braves news, I saw Mike Gonzales got lit up in his first save opportunity in Baltimore the other night.

  25. I was looking ahead on yahoo sports at the Giants page, and nobody has stolen a base on their team so it’s rotating through their entire team to show the “leader” at 0 SB. The first time I loaded the page it had Lincecum listed as their SB leader, which made me chuckle.

  26. One of our three problem children — Glaus, Melky, or McLouth — has to start producing.

    McLouth has an OBP of .500, and Glaus has an OBP of .385. And it’s 3 freaking games!

    Melky does not, if he’s going to be in the line-up, need to be leading off, but I imagine that will change soon enough.

    The only big concern at this point is Chipper’s health. And, I’ll admit, that’s a big freaking concern.

  27. Stu, thanks. Everyone here is freaking out about Glaus and he’s only had 11AB’s. However, my biggest concern is still Bobby.

    Wagner/Saito/Moylan all pitched in a game where we won by 11. Melky is playing over Diaz. Melky is leadoff and Nate is 8th. All of these things could be corrected, but again, its 3 games and we won the series

  28. Parish, from the last thread about AJ, I don’t think he’ll be taken in the first round, either, although I guess stranger things have happened. I just think he’s ready to be done with college.

  29. Mac, I would be in your debt if you used this for one of your game threads:

    I know ububba would appreciate it, and I’m sure there are others.

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