Put away the shovels: Braves (13 runs) not dead yet

It's party time again. Troy Glaus is greeted in the dugout by teammates after hitting a three-run homer in the Braves' 13-1 win. (Curtis Compton/AJC)

It's party time again. Troy Glaus led a 13-run assault with a three-run homer. (Curtis Compton/AJC)

With Chipper Jones on crutches, Jason Heyward on the bench and Rick Ankiel batting second despite hitting .083 over his previous eight games, the Braves once again played out that final scene from “Carrie,” when Sissy Spacek’s hand punches through the dirt of her grave site.

They scored four runs.

In one inning.

Three times.

As Don King once opined, in all of his promotional glory: “I have risen from the great media pallet of death!”

At some point, it’s not just smoke and mirrors. There must be a third element involved with this team. Eye of newt, perhaps?

The Braves, having accounted for all of two runs and nine hits in the two games following Jones’ season-ending knee surgery, punched through the dirt Sunday. With their divisional lead down to a near hiccup, they drilled the Los Angeles Dodgers, 13-1, at Turner Field, once again elevating this spare-parts team to a new level of resiliency.

Not dead yet.

There are still 45 games left in the season, so this isn’t a time for grand proclamations. But at the very least, the Braves fired a warning shot in the direction of anybody who believes they’re about to fade.

Bobby Cox knows he won't have Chipper Jones in the lineup the rest of the season.

Bobby Cox must do without Chipper Jones the rest of the year.

When Jones showed up Sunday, the day after his surgery, he said he still believed the Braves were a postseason team, while punctuating his remarks with a seemingly obvious observation: “We’re not going to blow anybody out 10-1.”

When the Braves scored the first of four runs in the eighth inning to take a 10-1 lead, his quote looked like a setup line.

Alex Gonzalez had this two-run triple and drove in four runs.

Alex Gonzalez had this two-run triple and drove in four runs.

“As a hitter, you can’t think, ‘Oh we didn’t hit because Chipper’s not here,’” Brian McCann said.

Still, consecutive one run performances figured to be close to the norm the rest of the season. This wasn’t the ‘27 Yankees even before Jones’ injury.

Jones reaffirmed he believed the Braves were still a playoff team, saying: “Our pitching can keep us in 90 to 95 percent of the games. It’s just a matter of somebody coming up with the big hit whether we win or not. We’re not going to blow anybody out 10-1. We’re going to play a ton of 3-1, 2-1, 4-2 ballgames in the next month and a half and we’re going to have to win our fair share of them.”

He watched Saturday’s 2-1 loss to the Dodgers at home with his family and found himself playing the role of an anguished fan.

“Every pitch we took down the middle, I was like, ‘Oh, just swing the bat,’” he said.

“I was just sitting there, saying, ‘It’s gotta happen right here. This might be our last shot.’ I know the struggles we were having even when I was in the lineup. Not having me in there [to help], I really saw it on some of the faces of the guys that they’re pressing. You’ve just got to relax and do what makes them successful.”

They did. Once again. The 13 runs was the second most of the season. The 16 hits tied a season high. Every spot in the order had a hit. This was minus Jones, Heyward, Martin Prado and all of the fizzled projected starters not worth recounting right now.

Forget the tomahawk. This team’s new logo should be a turnstile.

Troy Glaus: Also not dead again. He drove in four runs (including a three-run homer).

Rick Ankiel: He entered the game in a 2-for-24 slump but reached base three times with a single and two walks.

Alex Gonzalez drove in four runs. Omar Infante had three hits and scored three times.

Jurrjens had one hit. Slacker.

OK. He also threw seven strong innings. Then he probably spoke for all Braves’ starting pitchers: “We’re just trying to put zeroes on the board. We know we’ve been having some trouble scoring runs the past couple of games and we’re just trying to keep the game close.”

Maybe 13 runs and 16 hits will prove to be an aberration. Maybe 2-1 games will be the norm. But there’s still a pulse.

Follow me on Twitter @JeffSchultzAJC and Facebook.com/JeffSchultzAJC and it will bring you fame and fortune. (Don’t break this chain.)

92 comments Add your comment

Here we go again

August 15th, 2010
6:37 pm

snellvillejacket

August 15th, 2010
6:44 pm

Great article, maybe sum of the whole is better than the parts for the next 45 games.

Ben

August 15th, 2010
6:52 pm

Let’s see how many runs they’ll score when they face the two ROYs in Phillies….This is not a championship-caliber lineup..the Braves will lose 2-1 way more than they’ve win 13-1.

Jedi Falcon

August 15th, 2010
6:53 pm

Thirdish

August 15th, 2010
6:55 pm

It takes all 25 with or without Chipstick. Hope he comes back for one more year but in the meantime, how about Prado in the 3-hole and at 3B? Keep Infante at second full-time. We lose the flexibility of a switch hitter and it depletes the bench but Sep 1 is right around the corner. The pitching is too good not to stay in it.

Josh

August 15th, 2010
6:59 pm

The Braves could have the best record in baseball and still people would have something to complain about on here. Roy Oswalt is a good pitcher but he’s no Roy Halladay… Certainly is beatable. I’m sure everyone thought a lineup that included Rafael Belliard was not a “championship-caliber” lineup either.

"Chef" Tim Dix

August 15th, 2010
7:00 pm

Scoring today was impressive but even more impressive was no errors.

Pitching , defense and timely hitting is the recipe the “Chef” recommends.

Josh

August 15th, 2010
7:03 pm

95 WS team: 95 OPS+ . 2010 team: 99 OPS+ … but this isn’t a “championship-caliber lineup”

John L

August 15th, 2010
7:04 pm

Off the subject,but this Martinez seems to do a good job as a mop up.Now i’m not saying he’s an ace or anything, but as a mop up he’s doing the job.

Chief Nock A Homa

August 15th, 2010
7:19 pm

It’s great, but sure wish we saved some of those hits and runs for some other games….

Nick

August 15th, 2010
7:36 pm

nice to watch them blow somebody out – still missing Chipper – these guys have a lot of heart!

Matt

August 15th, 2010
7:38 pm

Dooooooooooooomed! What were they before today, sub-.150 with RISP and two outs? It’s an ever loving miracle that this bunch of “Mendoza” clones is still in first place.

Braves Fan

August 15th, 2010
7:42 pm

Certainly a Chipper fan and hope he comes back next year but there is a silver lining here. Now Bobby has to find a way to get one of our two best players, Infante, in the line up full time. I am not convinced that Chipper’s injury is season ending for the Braves with all the depth we have.

Resign or Resign?

August 15th, 2010
7:42 pm

Perhaps Bobby should play his “Sunday” line-up during the week and save the “regulars” for Sunday. Every Sunday the bloggers dump on Cox for resting everyone on the same day; yet it seems they have done OK the past few Sundays.
Agree with the other commenters that we wish they could have scored a couple of those 13 runs last night and saved a few for tomorrow.

GO BRAVES!!

Dawgs2010

August 15th, 2010
7:42 pm

Chipper is not the chipper of 1999. His production was way down. He can contribute better by being in the dugout and playing coach. He can get in players faces and tell to swing the darn bat in person.

We will be fine with Omar and Brooks. They are younger and fresh.

St. Clarkston

August 15th, 2010
7:45 pm

Who is so pollyannaish that they thought the braves wouldn’t slump a little.
Btw…this is the first time pollyannaish has been used on a sports blog.

Resign or Resign?

August 15th, 2010
7:50 pm

Commenters like Ben & Matt criticize the team play, but not the results. These “Mendozas” are in first place on August 15th, whether by “miracle” or whatever. I think Cox still deserves a lot of credit for the over-achievement of this collective buch of “hacks”. And excellent pitching still wins out; what are the Braves over the last 10; like 7-3 or 8-2? What do you want? Just appreciate the results without complaining; do you realize you are griping that they could be playing better than .700 ball if BC and FW would only act upon your uninformed opinions?

Resign or Resign?

August 15th, 2010
7:53 pm

Dawgs2010:

Do you HONESTLY think that the Braves are better off with Chipper on the bench? Have you read his stats for the past month? …or even Dave and Carroll’s articles about how much his performance has improved lately? Does Dawg2010 mean you just graduated this year?

Joker

August 15th, 2010
7:54 pm

Didnt the Braves lose 2-1 Saturday. I was at the game.

ATLien

August 15th, 2010
8:16 pm

True enough the offense has been dreadful until today. But these boys are tougher than leather and are ready for any opponent especially phillie, they havent shown me anything to think they are going to bypass us in the standings. Weve demolished Oswalt over the years and it going to continue. No fear here were ready this is our year. Our pitching is the ish and Glaus will get his streak at the right time in the PLAYOFFS. Prado will be back soon man its going down. Lets get it!! (A championship ring that is) This one for you Bobby and Chip. PS I hate Phillie i cant wait until we crush them later on in the season. OFF WITH THERE HEADS!!!

Dnice

August 15th, 2010
8:19 pm

I say we get with Chicago and bring back Andruw because we are getting no production from center and at least he hits homers and still can play defense especially after losing weight.

Heath

August 15th, 2010
8:36 pm

I’d say they’ll win more games between now and the end of the year than Ben will have posts with correct grammar.

Reid Adair

August 15th, 2010
8:42 pm

I think it’s far too early to say Troy Glaus isn’t “dead yet.” He’s had more miserable months at this point than good ones. One good Sunday afternoon does not a good week, let alone a good month, make.

Gene

August 15th, 2010
8:42 pm

The Braves are not better off with Chipper out. He is not my favorite player, but he certainly deserves to go out with another ring as does Bobby Cox. This team is definitely not the most talented team in the NL, but they keep winning when they’re not supposed to. When the post-season tickets go on sale, I will be in line.

jj

August 15th, 2010
8:44 pm

Hey Matt, The team you call Mendoza clones are not only still in first…they’ve been there for several months. Don’t you just hate it when prophecies of doom won’t come true? But keep trying they could fail yet and make you happy.

eddiedawg

August 15th, 2010
8:46 pm

Jeff-

Don’t get this article-who pronounced this team “dead” in the first place? Have you watched this team at all this year? They have proven over and over they know how to overcome adversity, and they did it again today after a tough loss last night. When Prado gets back, we will only get better. This team knows how to win.
Go Braves-and for tonight only, Go Mets!

Pal Joey

August 15th, 2010
8:53 pm

Great win. Wish they could save some of those runs for later. But we’ll take what we can get. I’m still really worried about Glaus. Despite the home run today (and it was great) his penchant for hitting into double plays is troubling. He is hurting and cannot contribute in a way he could if healthy. And it hurts the team as it becomes a rally killer much more than a productive at bat. Braves have to start scoring more than one or two runs per game. Hanson has pitched brilliantly of late but gets no run support at all. Ankiel seems to be following in McLouth’s footsteps, We need a HITTING center fielder. Looks like our pitchers (present game excluded) will have to give up no more than one or two runs to insure we can win more games than we lose for the balance of the season. Don’t expect there is much hope of upgrading our offense at this late date.

Braves Run This Division

August 15th, 2010
8:56 pm

If Prado is playing 3rd and batting 3rd, and Infante is a full timer the rest of the way at 2nd the lineup will lose nothing but Chippers switch-hitting bat. He is on the bench providing leadership.

Jeff Schultz

August 15th, 2010
9:02 pm

Snellvillejacket — Thank you, kindly.

Jeff Schultz

August 15th, 2010
9:03 pm

Ben, you could be right about. But regardless of the opponent or opposing pitcher, 13-1 is pretty darn impressive after what this team has been through.

Jeff Schultz

August 15th, 2010
9:04 pm

Chef– Yes, defense was impressive and that included, I must say, Glaus at first base.

Jeff Schultz

August 15th, 2010
9:06 pm

Reid Adair — He could be dead Tuesday. He’s just not dead yet. Better?

Jeff Schultz

August 15th, 2010
9:08 pm

Eddiedawg — Maybe not you, and maybe not me, but I think it’s safe to assume many folks believed the Chipper injury spelled doom. And who knows, maybe ultimately it will. But for now what they’re doing is impressive.

eric the elder

August 15th, 2010
9:10 pm

Not having me in there [to help], I really saw it on some of the faces of the guys that they’re pressing.

Along the lines of his “I’m a rare commodity” and “I’m a tough out” remarks. Yes, Chipper, you have been a spectacular player, and I mean that, but you don’t need to keep reminding us.

Jack

August 15th, 2010
9:13 pm

Seriously??????????
They were never dead. How can you be dead if you are still in 1st place. The only sports in Atlanta that is dead in the water is the Hawks.

Whatever

August 15th, 2010
9:17 pm

Where is Phillies Phan? It’s yet another weekend and the Braves are still in 1st. I’m sure the Phillies are going to be in first by NEXT weekend now, though, right? HAHAHAHAHA

beauvighn

August 15th, 2010
9:36 pm

I think we have won 4 out of 5 since you know who got hurt..I will miss Chipper’s bat and leadership as much as the next guy but we have the people in place to win the division.

Glad to hear someone else yell for them to swing the bat when the pitch is right down the middle..

Resign or Resign?

August 15th, 2010
9:51 pm

Beauvighn:

How right! They are standing there “taking” 70mph hanging sliders down the middle; either someone is giving them bad advise or they misunderstood what was said!

Resign or Resign?

August 15th, 2010
9:51 pm

How about “ADVICE”?

Bob Horner

August 15th, 2010
10:00 pm

I’m still in panic mode…the Phillies are getting healthy…but the Braves seem to have “mojo”…go Braves…this will be a stressful 7wks…

not so sure

August 15th, 2010
10:06 pm

I still think Gonzalez, Ankiel, Farnsworth and Glaus should be picking splinters out of their backsides.

Navigator

August 15th, 2010
10:55 pm

Shultz: Why do you promote the Braves when they do what they did today, but when Glaus and Ankiel go 0-week (or month) you are leading off with the fact the Brave signees so far have been a complete bust (save Glaus’ one month of the season) and Ankiel’s one big game. These are not good pick ups, but maybe with Chipper down for the count, Cox and company will be forced to use more kids rather than a bunch of old guys drawing their big pay checks. Speaking of Chipper, he will be back next year to pick up the big checks. I thought maybe if he had two bad years, his conscience would stop him, but we see here that the money is his only incentive.

thunderbull56

August 15th, 2010
11:12 pm

Enter your comments here

thunderbull56

August 15th, 2010
11:13 pm

thunderbull56

August 15th, 2010
11:14 pm

Damn funny how my original post got lost in your chicken poop blogoshere

Big Bravos Fan

August 15th, 2010
11:54 pm

Sounds like Chipper is slamming the rest of the Braves hitters. I for one would like for him to sail off, with total respect, into the sunset. He will not be worth the $15 or $16 mil that we will have to pay him next year. Come on Chipper, go out now with style now. Your fans, including me, will love you forever!

Kneecap

August 16th, 2010
12:02 am

What a relief.

Now go kick their dodger blue azz back to left coast.

JASon

August 16th, 2010
12:05 am

“Not dead yet” would be a description befitting the dodgers, the mets, or the angels. Have you even looked at the standings recently, Jeff? I can’t believe someone who writes for a living would write something so blatantly inappropriate and out of place.

ArkyTech

August 16th, 2010
12:19 am

JASon, I think he’s referring to the ESPN talking heads and other “experts” who predicted the Braves demise the day the Phils traded for Oswalt. Then pronounced them dead when Chipper went down.

Idot

August 16th, 2010
12:50 am

Wow Shultz, you wrote all of that about the Braves, and didn’t manage to trash Glaus one single time.
Well, maybe he’ll go 0-4, or make a play that you don’t like tomorrow, and then you can get on his back again.