Delgado is off my list. The last two starts have really proven the kid can hack it at this level. I would love to see him get a little more run support, but last night we got enough. Also, I give Delgado a lot of credit for keeping things even through the first 3 innings. That's a key factor for the Braves mentality when we play against tough opposing pitchers. It gives us time to settle in, work counts, and get pitches we can handle.
Jason Heyward has done a lot to spark this team against the Cubs. Last night, his ripped triple down the right field line gave us the first run and lead of the game. That was a big hit considering we were getting shut down by Dempster to that point. Dan Uggla also bounced back with 3 hits in the game, one of which was the game-winning two RBI shot in the 8th off Kerry Wood with the bases loaded. That was the one hit we got with RISP. Not great, but good enough to win because of some great pitching and great defense.
Speaking of great defense, this game's MVP goes to an unlikely candidate. In the 8th we needed a shut down inning to keep the lead. Venters was struggling. He gave up two singles and only had one out on a bunt that went awry for the Cubs. We were literally one swing away from their cleanup hitter, LaHair, giving them the lead. Instead, Johnny induces the slow roller to Uggla, who flips to Jack Wilson, who makes one of the best turns to get an inning-ending double play you will see this month. Wilson, who had just come in the game as a defensive replacement, made sure that the Cubs had no chance at a comeback with that excellent play. Then, he went out to bat in the next inning and got a base hit in his only appearance of the game. Kudos to you Jack, you get the MVP for this game.
The bullpen bounced back from yesterday's mess with 3.1 innings of 2 hit, no run pitching. Prado got in on the base stealing act by swiping 2nd off Dempster in the third, in addition to having two hits and a walk. With a .275 average so far on the season, Prado is showing signs of the .300 hitter we knew and loved from 2010 and 2009. I like to see him at the top of the lineup working with Bourn to create havoc for pitchers in front of Freddy Freeman. The more ducks on the pond we have for Special Fred right now, the better. He's slugging over .500 and can really get a hold of the ball. So many times in this series he's slammed a liner right into the teeth of the Cubs shift. I have a feeling that won't last very long if he keeps making solid contact.
This afternoon, it's Huddy v. Maholm for a day game battle. Make sure to tune over your work radios to the rubber game so you can send hear all the action at 2:20 EDT.