The Braves' sweep of the Cubs this week puts them at 16-5 in their last 21 games and gives them their second five-game winning streak in the last two weeks. Sticking up the Cubs' doodiemaker (and specifically those of Wood and Prior) was especially nice as revenge for 2003, which remains one of the most painful series losses for the Braves in recent years because that Braves team was better than that Cubs team.
Last night's capper after allowing one run in the first three games was beautiful. First, Andruw "He'll never hit in the clutch say the middle-aged dumpy sportscasters of the city" Jones hit an absolute rocket to put the Braves up 5-4 and then uber-prospect Jeff Francoeur unloaded on a Glendon Rusch offering to put the game away. If that hit was any indication of Francoeur's future, he has some serious power because he didn't hit the ball that well and yet it left the yard in centerfield. You would have to be Attila the Hun (or a miserable Cubs fan) not to be emotional about a young guy from the area hitting a homer in his first game in the bigs and then TBS cutting to his parents going crazy. (I was a little annoyed that they didn't include his girlfriend in the shot. TBS' recent focus on titillation apparently doesn't extend to their baseball coverage. Too bad.)
Francoeur's call-up brings up an interesting problem for the Braves. Assuming there are no significant changes in baseball's labor structure in the next six years, they are going to have an enormous crop of good players hitting free agency after the 2011 season because they have brought up so many major prospects in one year. Think about how much they'll have to pay Francoeur, Andy Marte, Kelly Johnson, Brian McCann, Kyle Davies, and Ryan Langerhans when they all become free agents at once. On second thought, it's likely that they'll have traded about half of them by that time, so the effect won't be huge, but even if the Braves only keep the top three on that list, that's still a significant future commitment that will have to be factored into their financial decisions in the latter years of this decade.