Baseball’s back! Braves 4, Cubs 2

The second half of the year started off last night much like the first half did – with Julio Teheran pitching into a lot of deep counts and leaving early, with the Braves working some two out magic with runners on base, and with a win.

The top of the first started off with Kelly Johnson misplaying Dexter Fowler’s grounder. Kyle Scwarber singled hum to third, and the Cubs seemed to be in business. But Teheran struck out Kris Bryant, who was going after low and away sliders like a hungry grizzly going after the salmon run, and Anthony Rizzo lined to second (great diving stop by Jace Peterson) and Jorge Soler popped out to end the threat.

The Braves statrted the scoring off in the bottom of first. After a Cameron Maybin single, and Nick Markakis fielder’s choice, Markakis stole second and went on to third after Scwarber showed off why as a catcher he’s a top hitting prospect. KJ then atoned for his error in the top of the inning by singling home Cakes.

In the top of the third, Julio couldn’t navigate the tightrope. Fowler walked with one out, and Scwarber again singled him to third. Bryant again flailed at Teheran’s slider, and with two outs, there was a chance, but a walk to Rizzo and a two out single by Soler stifled the chance to get out with the shut-out intact. Soler, inexplicably, tried to take second and Maybin alertly threw him out by several city blocks.

The Braves answered in the bottom of the inning. After two quick outs, Maybin walked and Markakis doubled him home. And it would stay 2-2 for a while.

In the fifth, Teheran got two quick outs, but Scwarber doubled and Bryant must have had a snack in the dugout because he quit swinging at the sliders and walked. With Rizzo looming, Fredi came out and brought the hook. Julio appeared to be pissed at the decision, but he had thrown 90 pitches in 4 2/3, and hadn’t looked sharp. Ross Detweiler, the 29th man to pitch for the Braves came in and retired Rizzo to salvage the tie. You have to tip your hat to Fredi for that call. It would have been easier to leave your starter out there, but at least to my eyes, Julio was tapdancing on a landmine and it was just a matter of pitches before it exploded. So, good job Fredi for tonight, at least.

The bullpen wasn’t perfect, but was pretty good. Ryan Kelly pitched the sixth, Luis Avilan the seventh, Arodys Vizcaino the eighth (and did something no other Atlanta pitcher did – retire Scwarber).

In the bottom of the eighth, the Braves finally got around to winning the game. After a one out KJ double, AJ Pierzynski was walked intentionally with two outs, then Andrelton Simmons was walked unintentionally. Eury Perez then singled to right scoring two for the final margin.

Jim Johnson pitched a perfect ninth for his sixth save. Good start for the second half, so let’s keep it going tonight.

37 thoughts on “Baseball’s back! Braves 4, Cubs 2”

  1. I know that the best move for the Braves long term may be to sell high on KJ, JJ, Uribe, Pierzynski, and Maybin. However, I really like the team as is. I know it will take a miracle to finish at 500, but this team is a whole lot easier to watch than last year. My vote is to stand pat unless you can dump CJ’s contract for a bag of baseballs.

  2. We have to trade JJ. Maybin we could keep another year. The others may not fetch anything.

  3. I know “playing the game the right way” can be overplayed (and over-said in a John Hart interview), but Soler not trying to get in a rundown with a guy on third was pretty weak. There are pitchers that would’ve tried it with a run on the line.

  4. I can think of at least 2-4 guys on the Braves that would’ve ripped Soler in the clubhouse for that play – Gomes, Pierzynski, and maybe Markakis and/or KJ. Who on the Cubs is going to take Soler out peer to peer and let him know he screwed the pooch?

  5. Great recap, Seat Painter. You do good work.

    The Cubs look like a team on the rise, but I think they need Jonny Gomes to teach them how to play the game THE RIGHT WAY. Perhaps we could send ol’ Jonny to them for one of their young bats. How could they possibly refuse?

  6. @1: “a miracle to finish at .500” I’m pretty sure that sets a low bar for miracles. I’ll give you “a bit of good fortune” but miracles have us at 88 wins (and the NL East) at least.

  7. Here lies a baseball player
    Many records were set in his day
    He was once on a team that lost every game
    But they played it THE RIGHT WAY

  8. Here lies a baseball player
    Many records were set in his day
    He was once on a team that lost every game
    But they played it THE RIGHT WAY

  9. Thanks coop, I’d be even better if I could spell Schwarber and Detwiler correctly.

    I’m thinking of something special for next week, but may need to ask blazon some advice….

  10. I enjoyed listening to Byrd last night. If either he or Joe Simpson can handle the play by play, I’d gladly send Chip back to the Cubs. Heck, even if they can’t, send Chip back.

    Go Braves.

  11. Just considering 2016 and beyond, would it be more beneficial overall for the team to put Peraza at 2nd and use Jace as our own version of Brock Holt? Jace just seems like he could handle almost every position on the field with his speed, defensive instincts, and overall hustle. Also, we would basically have a starter filling in anytime one of our players got the night off. The only two positions I can’t see him playing is 1st and C. Basically 3-4 starts a week with a good left handed bat with speed off the bench on nights he’s not playing in the field.

  12. I hope the players are more optimistic on a night-to-night basis than I am. The Cubs scored their second run in the 4th inning, and I immediately thought, “well, being undefeated in the second half was fun while it lasted.”

  13. @1

    Are they really more fun to watch? Granted, it’s a lot of fun to watch Jace and Andrelton turn double plays.

  14. @16

    Though the Braves media has obviously gone overboard with it, this team definitely plays a less irritating brand of baseball than the team of the last few years. Winning is obviously preferable to losing, but there’s no doubt that last year’s strikeout-heavy team that couldn’t score a run with a sacrifice fly or move a runner over with a groundout to the right side on a bet grated on the nerves, especially as it started circling the drain.

    It’s been overblown because at the end of the day, winning is what is important. Nobody’s complaining about the same team winning the division the year before, for instance. At the same time, this team is refreshing in this regard, and I think anybody who doesn’t see that is willfully ignoring it. I’d rather have the 2013 team than this year’s team, without a doubt. If we’re not gonna make the playoffs, though, I’d much rather watch this year’s team than last year’s team.

  15. Changing that hit to an error this late in the game seems to cheapen a no-hitter some. Lester didn’t have to think about it until now. Of course, I fully expect this team to be no-hit at least once this season, and tonight would be as good as any other night to have that happen.

  16. If 2 games are an indicator, it looks like Fredi is going to have a much faster hook in the 2nd half. So far it’s worked pretty well. Still a little surprising that he’s pulled his starters two times in a row before they got through the 5th inning and they only gave up 2 runs. At 88 pitches, pulling Bananas today was a little more expected.

  17. @16

    That’s fair. But I’m watching this team get no-hit right now, and Heyward is 6 for 7 since the all-star break with a double, a triple, and a stolen base while playing the best right field in the game, and I’m just sitting here Saturday night stewing. Stupid 2015. The last thing I want to hear about is how much fun we’re having.

  18. How Chip Caray could continue to have this great affinity for the Cubs after they unceremoniously fired his ass for simply doing his job is beyond me. It’s never made any freaking sense.

    And on the scoring change, yeah, it’s kind of goofy that Lester arbitrarily attains a working no-hitter in the top of the seventh. On the other hand, though, it should’ve been ruled an error in the first place. It was a clear error and if it had been called correctly, this whole mess would never have happened.

  19. This has been a well-pitched game. Let’s break up the no-hitter and win this thing.

    A.J.!

  20. Paul Byrd on CJ: “Well, he is a third baseman.” He’s being very generous by referring to him as such. I would have gone with “stump” or “mannequin in a baseball uniform.”

  21. Chris Johnson obviously loves Atlanta, because with every game he makes it less likely anyone else could even want to cover $1 million of his contract.

  22. This game hasn’t been fun at all. On the bright side, maybe this is the last game CJ will start.

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