Tonight’s Game: Cubs RH Carlos Zambrano vs LH Mike Minor (1-2, 4.85 ERA) at 7:35 on SportSouth.
The Cubs have an awful record but they are hot right now, having won 9 of 11 and 2 in a row. Alfonso Soriano and Aramis Ramirez have been hitting alot of home runs lately and their closer Carlos Marmol has gone 5 for 5 in saves in August.
It would be nice to see Turner Field packed with Braves fans (not Cubs fans) tonight for 2 reasons. One, to see the Braves honor former manager Bobby Cox. The Braves will have a ceremony at 7:00 prior to the game to unveil his retired “No. 6”. Second, to cheer on Dan Uggla as he attempts to extend his hitting streak to 32 games to hold the record alone for the Atlanta franchise.
Standings: The Braves are 69-49 and remain 8 1/2 games behind the Phillies in the NL East. We are the wild card leader by 5 games over the Giants and by 6 games over the Cardinals. The D-Backs have passed the Giants and now lead the NL West by 1 game.
We need to continue taking care of our business by winning each series. Do not look past the Cubs. Then really bear down as we face important games vs wild card foes, the Giants and D-Backs. If we don’t, it could get really tight in a hurry.
Injury update: As expected, the Braves are taking it slow with Brian McCann. He’s expected to play in Gwinnett this weekend and, if all goes well, be activated for the Giants series that starts Monday.
Tommy Hanson is missing his start tonight due to recurring shoulder soreness (tendinitis). A MRI showed no structural damage and he was given a cortisone shot in his pitching shoulder for the second time in 2 months. The Braves hope he will be able to avoid the DL and make his scheduled start on Tuesday vs the Giants.
This and That: You have to check out Jose Constanza. I know he won’t continue to hit .413 but right now he is fun to watch. He spent 7 years in the minors (mostly as an Indian) and he’s taking full advantage of his opportunity with the Braves. He has hit a home run but he is also using his speed to slap several infield hits (something I wished Jordan Schafer would do more). Once on the base path, he has been stealing bases. With Constanza and new Brave Michael Bourn, the Braves have suddenly become speedy. And we haven’t been able to say that since Otis Nixon, Ron Gant, and Neon Deion. One more thing about Constanza–he has a Monk compulsion. Every time he hits a foul ball he licks his bat to taste the hot spot. You gotta love a good quirk.
I’m a little peeved that Shane Victorino only received a 3 game suspension for his part in the Giant/Phillies brawl. Not only that but his appeal is just hanging out there so he is continuing to play. After being struck by the pitcher, he made a move toward the mound which set off the brawl. Then when things had really started to settle down, he tossed aside the umpire and his own manager to dive in the middle of things and tackle a Giant player. I sincerely hope that he doesn’t win his appeal because he should have received more than 3 games in my opinion.