Live from Braves-Rox: Unassuming hitless wonders try again

Great news! Ubaldo Jimenez isn't scheduled to pitch again today. (AP photo)

Great news! Unyielding Ubaldo isn't scheduled to pitch again today. Whew. (AP photo)

The Braves did two remarkable things Saturday night. They became the first team ever to be no-hit by a Colorado pitcher, and they became the first team in big-league annals to be no-hit by a pitcher whose first name begins with the letter “U.”

That’s correct. Urban Shocker, who pitched for the Browns and Yankees about 90-some years ago, did not throw a no-hitter. (Neither did Urly Wynn — heh, heh.) But Ubaldo Jimenez did the deed Saturday night, and here was what Terry Pendleton, the Braves’ hitting coach, had to say about the Colorado pitcher’s first name: “It’s unique.”

Ubaldo. Unique. An uncanny bit of alliteration!

Asked how Ubaldo’s no-no compared to Randy Johnson’s perfecto of 2004, Chipper Jones noted: “I didn’t even foul a ball off against Randy.” (For the record, Chipper put three balls in play against Jimenez.)

Eddie Perez, now the Braves’ bullpen coach, recalled how he’d ended the perfect game by striking out. Then he also noted Brian McCann had made the final out Saturday. “A catcher both times,” Perez said.

While the Braves were obviously overwhelmed by Ubaldo, this no-hitter — hey, we’re looking for bright spots, OK? — wasn’t nearly as dominant as the one of six years ago. Johnson struck out 13 and ran the count to three balls only once. Jimenez walked six, striking out seven.

Perhaps you’ll recall that Jimenez was the hot young arm on the Rockies’ team of 2007 that won 21 of 22 games in September/October to claim the National League wild card and then reach the World Series. Back then he couldn’t throw anything but a fastball for a strike. On Saturday he was throwing his breaking ball for strikes with the count 2-0. Big difference.

What, Pendleton was asked, can a hitting coach do when a opponent is dealing like that? “Nothing,” he said. “Hope he makes a mistake.”

And here we must note that Ubaldo undressed — more alliteration! — a lineup that included Nate McLouth, who’s hitting .148 with no extra-base hits; Melky Cabrera, who’s hitting .125 with one extra-base hit, and Troy Glaus, who’s hitting .216 with one extra-base hit. The Braves are hitting .230 as a team, 15th-best in a 16-team league.

This needs to improve forthwith. Philadelphia comes to town for three games beginning Tuesday night. Just sayin’.

And with that, we’ll open the floor for questions, comments and advice for Terry Pendleton. I’ll be here all day, and I have the utmost — another “u”-word! — confidence the Braves will muster at least one hit before nightfall. Join me, won’t you?

UPDATE: McLouth is taking a well deserved day off. Matt Diaz, hitting .136, will bat first and play left field. Cabrera starts in center, batting eighth.

358 comments Add your comment

Geezer

April 18th, 2010
12:14 pm

Don’t hold your breath………

Mark Bradley

April 18th, 2010
12:15 pm

Such negativity so early in the day, Geezer. You sound like me.

AZbravesfan

April 18th, 2010
12:25 pm

As a team that has been no-hit ever made it to the post season.

Mark Bradley

April 18th, 2010
12:32 pm

Oh sure. The Braves themselves did it in 2004.

Steve

April 18th, 2010
12:33 pm

Mark, unreal game last night. Total opposite from opening day. There was no excitement in the park at all. Hope people wake up for the Phillies games. Going to Paper Mill Grill after the game today with Pam and Bobby and the family. I have plenty of questions for Mr. Cox after last night.

Steve

April 18th, 2010
12:36 pm

Mark, unreal game last night. Total opposite from opening day. There was no excitement in the park at all. Hope people wake up for the Phillies games. Going to Paper Mill Grill after the game today with Pam and Bobby and the family. I have plenty of questions for Mr. Cox after last night. Lets hope they win today!

Mark Bradley

April 18th, 2010
12:37 pm

It’s hard to get excited, Steve, when nobody hits.

Bruce Mac

April 18th, 2010
12:45 pm

Wake up for what, the six walks and two almost hits. Better off going to Alabama Spring Game if you want excitement and 81K fans to boot.

carlchamblee

April 18th, 2010
12:45 pm

Mark – Don’t you think the Braves have far too many guys who have poor OBP? Not just for the first two weeks of season but in their careers? McLouth, Cabrera, Glaus – all have never had a good record of getting on base in their careers. You fill your lineup with impatiernt .250 hitters, you get performances like the ones we have been seeing. Also, at what point does Bobby Cox stop batting Heyward 7th and move him up? What, he is ready to play everyday but moving up a couple spots in tyhe order is gonna rattle him? He is second on team to Prado in AVG, leads in all power stats and has an OBP around .400. So naturally Bobby keeps him low in the order so he can be left on base by the 8 and 9 hitters. How about putting him between prado and Chipper or between Chipper and McCann? I guess booby will figure that out by August like he figured out Prado can realy hit after 1 1/2 seasons.

carlchamblee

April 18th, 2010
12:46 pm

sorry for the typos – I’m not stupid just rushing so I can mow the grass before the game starts!

Mark Bradley

April 18th, 2010
12:48 pm

Carlchamblee, I think opponents are about to stop pitching to Heyward given who’s hitting — or not hitting, as the case may be — behind him. That’s when he gets moved up.

balismith aguy

April 18th, 2010
12:48 pm

what aru u rrrrrrrrrrrrrrreexpectattions for the Braves this year and Heyward in particular this year

Mark Bradley

April 18th, 2010
12:49 pm

I picked the Braves to finish third behind the Marlins and the Phils, balismith. I would expect Heyward to be rookie of the year.

Chief Pitchanono

April 18th, 2010
12:55 pm

Ok, Ok, we get it, you have no belief in this braves team at all. Not saying that you are not correct that a few players have room for improvement, but it has been only 11 games! Their above 500 and are about half way through a brutal April schedule and only 2 games outa first place. Their has been allot of good things going on too so far, but for some reason it seems to get overlooked. Since i’ve said since winter – if their are no major injuries this team will make the post season as it is right now. No it won’t be pretty some nights, but in the end they will be their. Like you said their are some pitiful numbers in the lineup right now, but unlike last year they are finding ways to get the wins and so far aviod long losing streaks. Main reason being, the pitching is better that it was this time last year, including the bullpen.( yes even without Vazquez) When the offense does start clicking this team will be hard to beat. Its not reasonable to believe that Melky and Nate will both hit under 200 all year, one or probably both will get it going and theirs allways Shafer as the wildcard. Anther thing that gets overlooked is this team has depth that looks perfectly capable of taking over if some of these early slumps do turn into trends. Six weeks from now if the Glaus expieriment doesnt pan out, Hinske looks very capable at taking over or at least forming a platoon at first. Back to my point as long as their are no major injuries to the starters or the bullpen, with just a little offensive improvement, this team can win allot of games.

Bruce Mac

April 18th, 2010
12:58 pm

Okay Mark, when do they bring up a kid to play first base and one to lead off. Might as well see what they can do. Looks like their new pitcher pick up is twice the pitcher as KK, huh?

Mark Bradley

April 18th, 2010
12:59 pm

Bruce Mac, I don’t think the Braves want to rush Freddie Freeman. He might be here in August, but not before, I wouldn’t think. And who would the leadoff hitter be? Jordan Schafer?

Bruce Mac

April 18th, 2010
1:03 pm

I am not sure who but if McClouth and Glaus are gonna strike out 200 times each who cares who. Surely to goodness we have somebody in the minors that can put the ball in play.

Steve

April 18th, 2010
1:04 pm

Very true Mark. Even from the start though it was dead. Sorry about the double posts. I guess my computer was having issues.

todd grantham

April 18th, 2010
1:06 pm

Mark, creative little ditty about Early Wynn. Kudos.

Mark Bradley

April 18th, 2010
1:07 pm

Thanks, Coach Grantham.

Steve

April 18th, 2010
1:07 pm

Chief, take a deep breath man. Mark would obviously love to see the Braves win it all. He is a sports writer and has to be objective. The Braves are 6-5, not 9-2. However like you said it is early in the season. Lets see what happens. Today through Thursday is pretty big. Need to go 3-1.

todd grantham

April 18th, 2010
1:08 pm

Maybe the Braves should start a new ad campaign along the lines of “Today might be the day to see history at Turner Field!!”

Mark Bradley

April 18th, 2010
1:09 pm

It would be history. No team has ever been no-hit two games in a row.

todd grantham

April 18th, 2010
1:10 pm

The Braves players could use a little advice from the Georgia Lottery :P lease play responsibly.

todd grantham

April 18th, 2010
1:11 pm

i’m thinking in terms of a season long ad campaign. What, roughly 70 more chances the Braves can be no hit at Turner Field.

todd grantham

April 18th, 2010
1:14 pm

“See baseball history in the making as Bobby Cox pursues an untouchable number of ejections!!! Braves bats promise to help in his endeaver”!!!

Steve

April 18th, 2010
1:16 pm

Todd, why are you on here if you hate the Braves so much?

Mark Bradley

April 18th, 2010
1:19 pm

I believe Coach Grantham is just having a bit of fun, Steve. He’s all about fun.

Bat Masterson

April 18th, 2010
1:25 pm

According to many I have seen here before, and on BOD’s blog, it’s all T Pendleton’s fault. It seems he could have screwed up Babe Ruth’s swing. I have some advice for TP, don’t read these blog comments. Of course, he should read the blog itself Mark, goes without saying, but since I have had 4 cups of coffee, I’m saying it.

Cousin Vicker

April 18th, 2010
1:26 pm

Couldn’t help but note just a bit of sarcasm with your whole “well-deserved off-day” regarding Mclouth. But if the Bravos win today, they will have won 3 of their first 4 series. That wouldn’t be bad with the team to beat coming to town next.

Steve

April 18th, 2010
1:26 pm

Gotcha. Bobby is due for an ejection for sure. Hope not today though, would ruin dinner. Ha.

East Atlanta

April 18th, 2010
1:26 pm

Who do you think will have more hits this summer: Nate McClouth or Ike Turner?

Steve

April 18th, 2010
1:26 pm

Cousin Vicker, good point!

Mark Bradley

April 18th, 2010
1:28 pm

Yeah, it’s been more than a week since Cox got tossed, hasn’t it?

Bat Masterson

April 18th, 2010
1:30 pm

Well if Ike Turner has a hit it will be post mortem.

Steve

April 18th, 2010
1:31 pm

Like 10 days! I am shocked that there are more people at the ballpark today then last night. Pretty weak crowd for a Saturday but I guess there was a lot going on.

curtis jones

April 18th, 2010
1:32 pm

As long as the HOF manager continues to pencil in Cabrera and Glaus, he’s proving his incompetence. Two MUCH better bats ride the pine again today. Infante should be in the outfield (and leading off), Hinske should be at first.

todd grantham

April 18th, 2010
1:32 pm

Steve, Mark is absolutely correct about my comments. No one would be happier than me if the Braves win the World Series and Bobby is immediately enshrined in Cooperstown.

Based on what has transpired so far, I just dont see that happening though.

Mark Bradley

April 18th, 2010
1:33 pm

I should probably note that Ike Turner’s guitar work — and also his piano-playing — before he met Tina is some of the greatest musicianship I’ve ever heard. Seriously.

East Atlanta

April 18th, 2010
1:34 pm

Oh, I know Ike Turner is dead. My question remains the same.

Steve

April 18th, 2010
1:35 pm

I hear ya Todd. Had lots of beer at the game yesterday watching the misery. Lets hope for the wild card. No way they can win the division.

Mike S

April 18th, 2010
1:35 pm

Mark, any chance the Braves give J Dye a call if the outfield continues to struggle? I don’t see any help close in the minors.

todd grantham

April 18th, 2010
1:35 pm

I would suggest, however, that for legal reasons the Braves have a disclaimer before every ballgame.

Something like “The Surgeon General has concluded that being a Braves fan can cause anxiety, high blood pressure, migraine headaches, and may lead to alcohol abuse.”

Bat Masterson

April 18th, 2010
1:37 pm

East Atlanta, oh I figured as much, still Nate is likely to have a few. I guess after Ike met Tina he was no slow hand.

eric the elder

April 18th, 2010
1:38 pm

Mark, who in the dugout has the leadership influence to organize the “silent treatment” prank? Suely not a rookie, and I doubt it would be Bobby or a coach. So who has the veteran muscle to get everyone to go along with the gag? (I’m guessing Hudson.)

todd grantham

April 18th, 2010
1:38 pm

But Steve, the Braves did give you the unforgetable experience of watching a no hitter in person.

We must always look on the bright side of things, :)

Mark Bradley

April 18th, 2010
1:38 pm

There’s a chance, Mike S. But the Braves have quite a bit invested in McLouth and Cabrera.

Bat Masterson

April 18th, 2010
1:39 pm

Ya know Mike S, the last time Dye was seen in the big leagues he could not hit a lick, right.

Steve

April 18th, 2010
1:39 pm

Very true! I have never seen one in person. Would have been a lot cooler if it were a perfect game.

Mark Bradley

April 18th, 2010
1:39 pm

Jurrjens’ first pitch is a strike. That means he’ll win.