Sorry, just catching my breath after my victory lap. This was getting ready to be an all-too-predictable Braves loss, where the Braves let a not-very-good pitcher off the ropes in the first inning and then cruise to a disspiriting loss, and then all of a sudden it wasn’t.
First, Teheran. Teheran was throwing strikes, touching 93 with his fastball and showing a changeup and curveball. But as before, he had trouble putting batters away on a two-strike count. Teheran needs to work on a go-to pitch for those circumstances.
Teheran looked decent through four innings. He gave up a two-out run in the first and a solo shot in the fourth, but otherwise the Cubs hitters weren’t able to do much with him. But the wheels came off in the fifth. He got a two-strike count on Starlin Castro and appeared to strike him out on a low fastball but the ump didn’t give him the call.
Then Castro fouled off four pitches and reached on an infield single. Teheran appeared to lose his focus, and his very next pitch was a hanging curveball to Anthony Rizzo that Rizzo hammered for a two-run shot. After getting a groundout, he gave up a long double to Schierholtz that almost went out of the park, and an RBI single to the catcher. The mental lapse was more of a rookie mistake than a problem with stuff, but Teheran is going to need to work on maintaining his focus and his confidence while also repeating his
The offense was pretty much named Upton tonight. Andrelton Simmons was out because he sprained a finger on a headfirst slide, so BJ Upton — 0 for his first 14 with nine strikeouts and zero walks — was the leadoff hitter. He lead off with a walk, but immediately erased himself on a caught stealing. (“Oh, Melvin!”) Then his brother Justin followed with yet another home run. That was about it till the 8th inning, though BJ got his first hit in a Braves uniform with an infield single in the 7th.
Then the Cubs went to their bullpen and the Braves woke up. Justin Upton led off with a double and Freddie Freeman doubled him home. Then a miracle happened. Uggla singled, and after a Francisco strikeout, Gerald Laird walked and Ramiro Pena hit a two-run single. All of a sudden this wasn’t looking like a loss.
In the ninth, the Cubs brought in Carlos Marmol. B.J. Upton led off. And parked the ball. Jason Heyward hit the ball hard but right at the left fielder. And that brought up Justin Upton, who destroyed it. Walk-off.
Tonight, the Uptons went 5-9 with a walk and three homers in the first three spots in the batting order. That’s a pretty good way to win ballgames. God, I love these guys.