Braves 4, Cubs 1

ESPN Box Score

I didn’t see most of this one so I’m mostly going by the box score. One thing I did see was Justin Upton’s home run, which — goodness. That guy is incredibly good. This is a game in which the following things happened:

1) Mike Minor pitched seven innings, gave up one run, and struck out seven while walking nobody
2) Justin Upton hit his third home run in his fourth game as a Brave
3) Juan Francisco drove in two runs with an RBI single on a nice piece of hitting
4) Evan Gattis got three hits and threw a guy out for good measure
5) O’Flahbrel got five outs in order to lock down the win

And that’s really it. When you’re winning 4-1, it’s hard to complain about anything, but the Braves got only six hits, so a lot of the offense went ohfer, most troublingly Andrelton Simmons (though he walked, stole a base, and scored) and B.J. Upton, who went 0-3 and struck out two more times.

Bossman Junior is 0-14 in his Braves career with nine strikeouts. He’s not going to go 0 for the season — just like the Braves aren’t going to go 162-0 — but he’s clearly pressing already, and it’s important for him to figure out what’s going on with his head, because he has a horrible approach right now. In the one at-bat where he didn’t strike out, he arguably had an even worse result. After Justin Upton hit a laser beam home run, and Freddie Freeman beat out an infield single against the shift, B.J. came up and fouled out to first base on a 3-0 count.

Clearly, something is messed up, and it’s almost certain that he’s pressing and that’s making it worse. I’m sure that Justin is doing everything he can to help out. But if you were going to complain about something from this game, that’s the complaint you’d make.

29 thoughts on “Braves 4, Cubs 1”

  1. OK. I’ve recalibrated my predictive model and I’m kind of stuck. The Braves will finish either 125-37 or 83-79. The difference depends on the “umpire rapport” variable whose final value is still in flux. More to come as the data develop.

  2. Someone last night (Chip?) said that BJ starts slowly, but his monthly and first half splits don’t show that. If anything his April splits are a little better than average. He seems to show some more power second half, but a large part of that comes from his usual second half last year.

    @2 – looks like you’ve lost a step on statistical skill and wit.

  3. Alex, thank you for the recap!

    I’m not sure if it was a tremble in the camera or not, but I watched the game in HD last night and it almost looked like BJ was literally shaky while he was at the plate. I’m sure he feels a lot of pressure and Justin’s success is probably making it even harder on him.

    If another month goes by and Uggla continue to walk and Andrelton continues being Bad Yunel at the plate, would you guys switch things up? Honestly, if Gattis continues hitting, I’d like to see them try this:

    J Upton

  4. BJ – Small Sample Size Alert!

    Once he gets a few knocks he’ll settle down. And if His brother keeps hitting like this then I’ll deal with it.

    Now if Teheran can show his skill tonight we’ll be sitting pretty.

  5. Is Fredi just letting Gattis catch the lefties? Who was catching most of Teherans starts this spring? I also doubt we will see many more lasers from Gattis since people will eventually stop trying to run on him. I’ve watched both of his starts also and the only issue I see is some foot work problems. Pitchers may want more of an open target from him, but that’s an easy fix. He’s doing a decent job framing pitches. There’s a lot more to like than dislike right now.

  6. Bowman….• Evan Gattis was back in the Braves’ lineup as the starting catcher for Friday’s series opener against the Cubs. Gonzalez has alternated his catchers every other game through the early portion of the season. He will continue to do so on Saturday when veteran Gerald Laird will be behind the plate to catch rookie Julio Teheran.

  7. Fredi has said that only Laird will catch Teheran, which makes sense. But I bet Gattis catches both Hudson on Sunday and then Maholm, setting up a pattern where Gattis starts three out of every five games.

  8. I think letting Larid catching Tehran isn’t a bad idea. I wanted to see El Oso Blanco tonight, but oh well.

    Is it just me or does BJ kinda look like Otis Nixon?

  9. I’m certainly liking this early schedule. Getting to start the season with series against the Phils, Cubs, then Marlins is a good way to ease into major league competition.

    @12 – totally! I kinda had a feeling that he looked like someone familiar, particularly at the plate but I couldn’t put my finger on it. Otis Nixon is right on.

  10. I thought McCann would be better off last year catching 3 of 4 games rather than 4 or 5. Ross never played as well when he had to be first team catcher. Catching wears people down.

  11. Clearly, it’s time to give Success a start in CF. (ducks)

    Minor may not be Ernie Banks when it comes to personality, but I sure love the way he just decided one day to be a bad ass and attack the hitter.

    Go Shockers!

  12. Didn’t take Phillies fans long to turn on Durbin (recap from a Phillies blog):

    “Horst loaded the bases with no outs, and then Charlie Manuel brought in Chad Durbin. Because in that situation, why would you want a strikeout guy? Oh wait, that’s exactly what you want. Unless you’re a moron. Yeah, Durbin’s outing didn’t go very well. He allowed all three of Horst’s baserunners to score, and then tacked on one of his own. Durbin also walked Jeff Francoeur. I’m going to type that again to make sure it sinks in. Chad Durbin walked Jeff Francoeur.”

  13. Watching Gattis’ unfamiliarity with the etiquette of catching really drives home the point of how many little rules there are, and how long it must take for them to become second nature. It’s understandable if he feels a bit overwhelmed with the details at the moment.

    Roger is calling the pitches for him, right?

  14. Choo is a fantastic leadoff hitter. He just got hit by a pitch for the fourth time in fewer than five games. He’s going to make a boatload of cash as a FA.

  15. 21- So there’s a chance that even if he doesn’t turn it around, we can trade him to Kansas City?

  16. A couple observations from the ballpark last night:
    1) Not only is Minor throwing lots of strikes, he works really fast. He was set as soon as he got the ball back, ready to throw. He and Gattis (or possibly Fredi or Roger) were also clearly in sync on what to throw.
    2) The Cubs were using one hell of a lot of infield shifts while the starter was pitching. Almost every batter – even when there was a runner on first and a right hander batting.

    Oh , and I’m sure you all want to know that the hammer won the tool race.

  17. Simmons sprained thumb on head first slide into 2b and has been scratched from lineup. New leadoff hitter? BJ Upton! New SS? The sub-.600 career OPS of Ramiro Pena.

  18. Nats blew a four run lead but are about to win it in the eleventh. If he plays, Wilson Ramos is going to get drilled tomorrow.

  19. Eerily similar to my Braves franchise in my MLB2K13 game.. Simmons hurt his hand diving for a ball and was out for 3 weeks.

    What’s not similar is that my franchise has not allowed a run over 25 games because pitching is ridiculously easy in that game.

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