It was a magical night in Atlanta as just prior to game 1 of the series against the visiting Arizona Diamondbacks, a ceremony was held before 48,282 fans to retire Chipper Jones‘ number 10 for all time. Plenty has been written today, and will be written in the days to follow to remember and pay tribute to likely the most beloved player in Braves’ history, so I’ll keep my comments short about the ceremony. Suffice it to say that nothing in the ceremony could possibly be enough to adequately pay tribute to Chipper Jones. In fact, Chipper Jones paid tribute to himself day-in, day-out, as he gave his all to the team he loved for almost 20 years. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again… we love you Chipper Jones, and you will forever be missed. Every time I go to a game at the TED and see that 10 on the wall, I’m going to remember my favorite player, and just one of the many reasons I’ve been a Braves’ fan for forty five years.
The way the Braves played was apt on such a magical night, as Julio Teheran took the mound, facing off against former Brave, Randall Delgado. Teheran just continues to improve with each outing, and tonight was no exception. Julio went six innings, giving up no runs and just 4 hits, while striking out 10 batters and walking just 1. He most likely would have went further than just six, except that Fredi Gonzalez elected to have Tyler Pastornicky pinch hit for Julio in a spot where the Braves had a good opportunity to score. As I mentioned, Teheran has improved every month since the beginning of the season, and his command seemed to be spot on tonight, fooling hitters with slippery sliders, spot on fastballs, and confusing change-ups. He looked fantastic. Atlanta relief was fantastic as well, as Luis Avilan came in and pitched 1.1 scoreless innings, Jordan Walden came in for 0.2 scoreless innings, and Craig Kimbrel came in for the scoreless save.
If Teheran and Atlanta relief were fantastic though, former Brave Randal Delgado struggled, going six innings himself, but giving up 2 runs (both earned) on 8 hits, walking 3 and striking out just 3 batters’ faced. After Delgado left, the Braves weren’t able to score on Arizona relievers Will Harris and Tony Sipp, but late in the game former Brave Zeke Spruill came in and Atlanta was able to score a third run on a squeeze bunt by Reed Johnson that drove in Dan Uggla. Atlanta hitters raked on Delgado and company with 3 runs on 11 hits, including 2 hit nights for Jason Heyward, Dan Uggla, and B.J. Upton. All three are hitters that have struggled this year, so it was great to see Heyward single and double tonight, Uggla single and triple, and especially great to see B.J. double twice in the game. Add to that Andrelton Simmons going yard, and hits by Justin Upton, Freddie Freeman, Julio Teheran, and a bunt single by Johnson, and the Braves appeared in complete control of the game throughout for the shutout 3-0 victory. It was a nice win on a night the Braves’ organization and fans were able to honor Chipper Jones.
It was an emotional night, a memorable night, and even a comical night. At one point during a visit to the broadcast booth by Chipper Jones, they played a pre-game video of reporters asking former Brave and now Arizona Diamondback, Martin Prado, if he remembered a special moment with Chipper. Martin, looking all serious, said, and I paraphrase….
We were playing a 120 degree game against Washington, and he [Chipper Jones] told me like, man, like I don’t feel good. It’s too hot out there. And I [Martin Prado] said, yeah I feel the same way. So, and he [Chipper Jones] was like, I’m a Hall of Famer. So, I [Martin Prado] was like, okay I’ll play.
Right after the video, cut to Chipper back in the broadcast booth, and he was cracking up with all the guys, and going on about how all that was, to quote Chipper, A Load of Crap! He said, I will tell you without a doubt, that that conversation never happened. It was hilarious, and a great moment in what was a great evening for Braves’ fans and Chipper Jones fans. (They are one and the same!)
PROBABLES FOR GAMES 2 and 3
Ian Kennedy, RHP (3-4, 5.21 ERA)
Kennedy is making his first start since June 16. He just completed a 10-game suspension for his part in a melee with the Dodgers on June 11. He allowed one run over six innings his last time out against San Diego.
Tim Hudson, RHP (4-7, 4.10 ERA)
Despite compiling a 1.82 ERA through his first five starts this month, Hudson is seeking his first win since May 5. His only loss in 10 career starts against Arizona occurred on May 15, when he was doomed by a four-run fifth
Trevor Cahill, RHP (3-9, 4.29 ERA)
Cahill has suffered through a miserable month of June, going 0-4 with a 9.30 ERA in five starts. Last time out against the Nats, he allowed six runs on eight hits and lasted just five innings.
Paul Maholm, LHP (8-6, 3.75 ERA)
Since allowing four home runs through his first 10 starts, Maholm has given up one homer in each of his past six outings. The veteran southpaw has compiled a 1.80 ERA in six home