Morning Chop – Summary of Braves’ News
Cubs 3, Braves 1: Braves remain on brink, lose to Cubs
CHICAGO — The Atlanta Braves were in position to celebrate a division championship. Instead, they left themselves with another wait.
Dioner Navarro hit a tiebreaking single in a three-run eighth inning, and the Chicago Cubs beat Atlanta 3-1 Saturday to keep the Braves on the brink of the NL East title.
Atlanta’s magic number remained at one to clinch its first division title since 2005. Second-place Washington hosted Miami later Saturday in a game delayed by rain at the start.
“Waiting game again,” Gerald Laird said. “It’s kind of weird.”
The Braves found themselves again hoping the Marlins would beat the Nationals. Had Miami done that on Friday, the title would have been assured.
Instead, the Braves were trying to wrap up the division themselves. Then, the Cubs staged a late rally.
“It was nice not to have
to see (a celebration) in person,” Chicago manager Dale Sveum said.
Atlanta Braves’ Dan Uggla and B.J. Upton Should Ride Bench in Playoffs
[Editorial Note: I've been saying the above headline for weeks, if not months now.]
The Atlanta Braves were unable to win a close game on Saturday and send themselves celebrating at Wriggly Field against the Chicago Cubs. We learned a few good things during this loss about the Braves. First of all Kris Medlen is on absolute fire right now and might make the case to be the number one starter in MLB postseason. Scott Downs’ broken finger on his glove hand has clearly affected his previously stellar work from the bullpen. Most of all we learned that Dan Uggla and B.J. Upton should enjoy being the highest paid bench players in postseason history. I admit that we all probably have suspected this but the difference between Friday and Saturday makes the fact clear. Jason Heyward returned and played center field on Friday. He went hitless but walked and scored a run with the Braves putting a 9-spot on the board. Saturday he rested so Upton got the start in center and went hitless. The best part was how he and Uggla ended the game with consecutive strikeouts. That is the biggest problem they cause.
The Mendoza Brothers
In the history of baseball, only three other teams have had regulars (at least 400 plate appearances) finish with batting averages below .200.
- 1917 Cleveland Indians: Steve O’Neill (.184) and Joe “Doc” Evans (.190)
- 1901 Philadelphia Phillies: Bill Hallman (.184) and Monte Cross (.197)
- 1886 Baltimore Orioles: Milt Scott (.190) and Mike Muldoon (.199)
The Bravos will be the first of those teams to finish in first place.
By the way, the Brothers combined to go hitless in 6 AB’s Saturday, with four strikeouts.
Magic number stalled at 1, Braves turn to Teheran
Cubs counter with Jackson as Atlanta renews its march toward playoffs
The Braves can help themselves, or get good news from the result of a division rival.
The Braves can clinch the National League East on Sunday by beating the Cubs, and they can also earn the crown as the result of the next Washington loss. Rained out Saturday night, the Nationals and Marlins will play a day-night doubleheader Sunday in Washington. The first game is scheduled to begin at 1:35 p.m. ET, 45 minutes before the first pitch between the Braves and Cubs at Wrigley Field.
Atlanta has led its division for 174 days, tops among all big league teams, and can still clinch home-field advantage in the playoffs. The Braves, who have led the NL East by at least four games on every day since May 21, will joust with St. Louis down the stretch for the league’s best record. The Reds, Pirates and Dodgers also have a shot at the best record, increasing the urgency for the Cardinals and Braves to play well until the end.