NL East Championship secured! #Natitude (Also Braves 5, Cubs 2)

ESPN Boxscore

Braves win! The NL East! Because the Marlins beat the Nationals.

Also, there was a game in Chicago where the Braves actually played.

Julio Teheran pitched a great game and made you feel pretty comfortable handing him the ball in a playoff series. His line (6IP ER, 7K, 6BB) actually understates how effective he was. The Braves started a lineup that, to me, looked like a playoff lineup. That meant Jason Heyward in CF, Evan Gattis in LF and Justin Upton in right. And while I like this setup, today we got to see the downside, with Upton not quite making two plays that Heyward would’ve, and Heyward losing a ball in the sun out in center. This resulted in a ton of extra pitches for Teheran as well as the “earned” run. Regardless, Teheran was fantastic.

And the offense showed up in enough force to Freddie Freeman gave him a lead in the first inning with a two-run shot, and Andrelton Simmons, in addition to doing your standard Simba things throughout, homered twice for 3 more. This put the game out of reach despite multiple weak ground balls that resulted in lots of Cubs on base in the 8th and 9th. Luis Ayala actually gave up another run, but Craig Kimbrel didn’t.

The Magic Number is -1. Up 1 on the Cardinals for home field. It’s good to be the champs again.

65 thoughts on “NL East Championship secured! #Natitude (Also Braves 5, Cubs 2)”

  1. @1 – Although I know we’re just being cute, no. Head-to-head does not determine division winners. There would be a game 163 if any two teams end tied for their division lead, even if one team was 16-0 against the other.

  2. @6 – Ah. I think Mavery was saying the magic number is -1, as in negative 1, referring to the division.

    Regarding the Cardinals, I think our magic number is 6 to clinch best record.

    EDIT: For the Dodgers, I think that number is 4.

  3. I would like to officially declare Braves Journal to be strongly opposed to any hashtagging of Braves posts with “#choptober.” Avoid this terrible thing, people.

  4. Falcons should change their name to the Atlanta Fieldgoals. Gonna be a long season. Help us Barves, you’re our only hope.

  5. Another reason to take homefield advantage: being assured of not facing Clayton Kershaw and Zach Greinke multiple times in a 5 game series.

  6. Go Barves!

    What does one make of Alex Wood’s relief appearance? He just pitched on the 18th, so I don’t know if there’s anything to read into that.

  7. I think that the Braves are not expecting him to start a game in the playoffs, so they want him available out of the pen.

    The playoff rotation is going to be Minor/Teheran/Medlen in some order based on handedness, and if we decide we really need a fourth starter, I’m guessing it will start off being Maholm and if he gets into deep trouble then they might bring in Wood as a long man.

  8. @15. I guess we’re leaving Zeptember if we’re doing that hack classic rock radio thing…

    Seriously though, I watched today with my 11 year old daughter who didnt really remember the last Braves division win but who has gone nuts for the Bravos the last two years (I have sent her to this site with an admonishment that she might read some things she shouldn’t but the benefits in the end outweigh the costs….). We had a great talk about how many years it has been and how nervous / exciting / awesome it isto see your team in a playoff series so she’s fired up and so am I.

    As a side note, I came back from a recent trip overseas to find she had tried to keep score of games while I was gone. Made a dad pretty proud. On her Christmas list… A Freeman jersey.

    Go Braves ! Let’s win it all this time.

  9. I think of October as the month of manifest destiny. Of course, that destiny is only manifest in retrospect. #ManifestDestiny

  10. @26

    Yeah, we no longer have to pay attention to the Nationals. They can win a bunch of games, for all we care now. It’ll be too little, too late.

    EDIT: By the way, good to clinch the division. It’s been a long time, longer than it seems to me (probably because we’ve been competitive in all but two of the intervening years). Good to end the eight-year drought, and very good to not have to deal with that wild-card playoff mess. We can set everything up to our liking and have a proper series. Now let’s go win home-field!

  11. It’s good that the Nationals won tonight – gives them a reason to send their starters out against St. Louis this week.

  12. I remember it actually being called “Rocktober” in a lot of the media back in 2007, when the Rockies did that amazing run at the end of the regular season and swept both the NLDS and NLCS.

  13. Braves clinch while I’m at Yankee Stadium & I got to see Metallica play Rivera Day. Cards lose & we inch closer to hosting a WC team, instead of playing LA in the first round. Not a bad day at all.

  14. @33. Yeah that’s funny. Good luck revisiting that this winter

    As for the division title, my girls don’t understand the whole “magic number” thing, but they do get having a happy dad as opposed to an overly nervous one

    Next stop home field advantage, followed by trying to find imaginative ways to watch playoff baseball in the UK – all suggestions from you guys most welcome

  15. @18—I read somewhere today that Fredi said Wood would not be starting any more this season, and that he would be the third lefty out of the pen for the playoffs. I guess now the big question becomes who our bench will be in October.

  16. G(uffaw)OL at 33. What a terrible offer. A FA-SP-to-be, a set-up man, and David Murphy!

    21—File under: Excellence In Parenting.

    38—I get using him out of the ‘pen, but third? Come on. He should at least be ahead of Downs — he can actually get righties out, too.

  17. It’s really comforting to know that 1b, SS, 3b, LF, CF (we can only hope BJ can become what the Braves thought he was when we signed him), RF, 2 catchers, the rotation, 4 of 5 bench spots (alt. catcher, Pena, R. Johnson, Terdoslavich)and at least 5 RP will be with this team for at least 2 more years. I expect the Braves to try and pull a Lowe with Uggla this offseason and dump him by eating 8 million or so of his salary.

    As I see it now, the Braves are going to be able to keep, basically, the same team they have right now, for the next 2 years, minus McCann and Uggla, adding La Stella and Bethancourt. That’s pretty frickin’ awesome!

  18. They’ll probably add a starter this offseason, as well as a left-handed reliever or two.

    And consider me skeptical that that Texas trade offer ever existed.

  19. I was trying to decide what would make the trade make sense. Maybe if they also took Uggla and added Profar or Andrus (not that we need a SS)?

  20. Yeah, I have more faith in Wood than Downs. Maybe Fredi is thinking of him more as a long man?

    So we’ve got:

    Minor
    Teheran
    Medlen

    Are we going to be giving Freddy Garcia starts in October?

  21. Is their a place to see stats on the first batter faced by a reliever? I feel like Downs always lets the first guy on which is really bad for a LOOGY type, but my perception may be wrong.

  22. Medlen, Teheran, Beachy, Minor, Wood? Why get another starter? And there’s still other arms in the Minors that’d be capable of starting. Unless its Hudson at a serious discount, I don’t see the purpose.

  23. I looked up Downs game by game since he arrived in ATL. bRef does list first hitter results, but I couldn’t find it broken down mid-year.

    In 23 appearances, Downs has allowed the first man to reach 10 of 23 times and keep in mind, this is more often than not a lefty he was brought in to get out. He has also allowed 6 of the last 8 first men to reach.

    23 hitters is a terribly small sample size admittedly, but to me it seems even when he makes an out, he’s battling back from falling behind 3-0 to the hitter. Even the celebrated first out he made in his ATL debut was that liner right back to him with the based loaded, a pretty lucky out. I just don’t feel he needs to be the guy counted on to a get a tough lefty in the playoffs and he certainly doesn’t need to be called upon with men on base.

  24. Other arms in MS or Gwinnett that could take a rotation spot should someone go down: Hale, C. Martin, J.R. Graham, Ian Thomas (might be the 2nd coming of Brandon Beachy), Northcraft, Schlosser. Seriously no need to get a starter.

  25. Just win the last game you play this year, Braves; and let Wren and the boys worry about next year once you hoist the flag.

  26. Medlen, Teheran, Beachy, Minor, Wood? Why get another starter?

    Because of Hudson, Beachy and Maholm this year. Depth is not something to take for granted.

    Other arms in MS or Gwinnett that could take a rotation spot should someone go down: Hale, C. Martin, J.R. Graham, Ian Thomas (might be the 2nd coming of Brandon Beachy), Northcraft, Schlosser. Seriously no need to get a starter.

    That’s the sort of thinking that led us to Jorge Campillo, starter. You don’t want to dump a gazillion dollars into a major FA signing, a la Derek Lowe. But an established back of the rotation starter would be very smart investment. Me personally, I’d offer Tim Hudson a low-rate two year deal to retire a Brave.

  27. Tim takes a performance/innings related 2 year deal that suits all sides as per @58 – if you’re him, why up sticks and move when the future looks bright for his timeframe

    As for trading Justin, he’s not going anywhere

    For one, he’ll have to answer to my 8 year old who think’s it’s cool to have her age and his number be the same

    And he doesn’t want to mess with her, believe me

  28. @58

    I stated that scenario with Hudson in the first post and yes, I’d be comfortable with something along those lines. However, seeing all the young guys becoming arb-eligible and wrapping none of them up long-term is concerning and could be addressed if the Braves don’t spend money on players that aren’t necessary, i.e. starting pitchers.

    Comparing Jorge Campillo to any of those guys listed is, at best, a disgraceful comparison. He, like all Jorge’s that played for the Braves, was a fluky pitcher that found SSS success. The guys listed above are young and aren’t flukes. The one exception may be Ian Thomas due to him being a converted starter coming from the Indy leagues and going undrafted. However, he’s shown a serious power arm and high K rate in his short time.

  29. @53 “And there’s still other arms in the Minors” Since minors was capitalized I read that as Mike Minor’s arm and I was trying to figure out how exactly a pitcher’s arm could have more arms in it… when I figured out my mistake it made me laugh… so thanks for that ;-)

  30. Comparing Jorge Campillo to any of those guys listed is, at best, a disgraceful comparison. He, like all Jorge’s that played for the Braves, was a fluky pitcher that found SSS success. The guys listed above are young and aren’t flukes. The one exception may be Ian Thomas due to him being a converted starter coming from the Indy leagues and going undrafted. However, he’s shown a serious power arm and high K rate in his short time.

    Fine. Let’s talk about Tommy Hanson and Bruce Chen and Kyle Davies instead, then. You don’t go to war assuming every kid on the farm is going to be ML ready whenever you need him. You build depth. I realize Paul Maholm types aren’t sexy or terribly entertaining, but they’re fundamentally necessary to building a division winning ball club.

  31. Paul Maholm was traded for because he was needed in the rotation after Beachy went down and Hanson and Jurrjens were ineffective and/or injured. That’s a completely different scenario. With 5 above-average starters ready to go in ’14 and numerous pitchers to fill the 5th spot should someone go down, what’s the point in signing a surplus starter, especially if that starter costs 6m+? There isn’t one. Use that money to start locking up some young talent.

    Now, if Beachy goes into the offseason with questions, I’d change my stance.

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