Archive for June, 2010

Jurrjens to start Wednesday against Nationals

By Ray Glier

Special to the AJC

Jair Jurrens got to the sixth inning of his third rehabilitation start Thursday night and felt settled and ready for his comeback. The Braves right-hander threw a change-up that got a bad swing from a Buffalo batter. He threw a slider that had some bite.

Best of all, after six innings, Jurrjens said he had some gas left. He has not pitched for the Braves since April 29 because of an injured left hamstring. Jurrjens feels ready to get back in the rotation, which is just what manager Bobby Cox has planned.

Cox said Friday that Jurrjens will start Wednesday against the Nationals. Kris Medlen, who took Jurrjens’ spot in the rotation, was listed as the probable starter.

“The best I felt was the last inning,” said Jurrjens, who will have a bullpen session Sunday to make sure all is right. “The first day [first rehabilitation start] I felt the soreness right after the game, the second one I didn’t feel anything. And today I feel good, …

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Kawakami (0-9) faces Tigers’ Scherzer

Who: vs. Tigers

When: 4:05 p.m. Saturday

TV; radio: SPSO; 680 AM, 100.5 FM

Saturday’s matchup: Braves RH Kenshin Kawakami (0-9, 4.78 ERA) vs. RH Max Scherzer (4-6, 5.67 ERA).

* Kawakami is 2-15 with a 4.09 ERA in 30 games (23 starts) since the 2009 All-Star break, and might get bumped from the rotation after this start to make room for Jair Jurrjens coming off the DL. Kawakami lasted just two innings in his last start Sunday against Kansas City and was charged with six hits and five runs (four earned) after being staked to a 4-0 lead in the first inning.  He hasn’t faced the Tigers.

* Scherzer won his past two starts and has a 3.10 ERA in his past three. The former Diamondbacks pitcher went 1-2 with a 6.75 ERA in three starts against the Braves, all in 2009. He also pitched 3-2/3 scoreless innings in two relief appearances against them in 2008. Chipper Jones is 4-for-8 with a homer against him, and Yunel Escobar is 5-for-11.

* DAVID O’BRIEN

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Braves glad to be home, where they’ve won 14 of 15

Wouldn’t you know, the Braves get a couple of high-profile newspaper stories written about them in the New York Times and USA Today, and they come just as they absorb their first series loss in 14 and are swept for the first time in two months.

Speaking of photos of Troy Glaus, if soem Bravos fans allow themselves to wonder what he might look like in a convertiable headed down Peachtree....

Speaking of photos of Troy Glaus, if Bravos fans allow themselves to wonder what he might look like in a convertiable headed down Peachtree….

At least they’re finally getting noticed though, right? I mean, they’ve had the majors’ best record for nearly two months, at 34-17 even after being swept in three games by the White Sox this week.

Still, the timing of today’s USA Today cover story must look odd to anyone who isn’t aware of how long ahead such stories are usually planned. That’s the problem that editors run into when they try to plan baseball stories well in advance. Because unlike football, where a team only plays one game per week, in baseball they play six or seven games a week and a lot can change in the week to …

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Braves quotes after being swept by ChiSox

CHIPPER JONES

“We played well. With the exception of Tommy’s start, we played a good series. Today, Floyd was tough. He was taking advantage of a huge strike zone. D-Lowe did the same.

“You can’t fault the effort. You can’t fault the play. We just ran into a hot team on the road. Now we get to go back home for a while and try to continue doing what we’ve been doing all year.”

On White Sox: “That team right there if they’re swinging the bats, they’re the best team that we’ve played thus far. The back end of their bullpen is dynamite. We didn’t even see Santos. When you can run Putz, Thornton, Santos and Jenks out there in the seventh, eighth and ninth innings…They’re the first team that I’ve seen that can really shorten the game to six innings. That’s going to greatly aid their cause in the second half.”

on Gavin Floyd: “I think his only two wins are against National League teams [actually, only one was against NL team, Florida].  So that …

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McLouth still experiencing concussion symptoms

CHICAGO — Two weeks after his June 9 outfield collision with Jason Heyward, Braves center fielder Nate McLouth was still experiencing concussion symptoms this week.

McLouth has been on the disabled list for two weeks and stayed behind in Atlanta while the team traveled to Chicago. He was administered a CT scan, the first such exam he had since he collided with Heyward when the two outfielders were pursuing a fly ball.

A Braves official said Thursday that McLouth was doing OK, but couldn’t say when he’d return because of the unpredictable nature of head-injury recovery periods.

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This winless trip nothing like last one

CHICAGO — Before being swept in three games at Chicago, it had been nearly two months since the Braves were swept, or even lost back-to-back games against one team.

That was when they lost all seven during an April 23-29 trip against the Mets and Cardinals, at the end of a season-high nine-game skid that left them 8-14. That’s when Eric Hinske and others said how crucial it was to get turned around – and quickly.

The Braves did, reeling off 34 wins in their next 48 games before dropping three in a row against the White Sox, who’ve got a nine-game winning streak.

“With the exception of Tommy [Hanson's] start [on Wednesday], we played a good series,” third baseman Chipper Jones said. “You can’t fault the effort. You can’t fault the play…

“Teams are never as good as they are when they’re streaking like this, and they’re never as bad as they are when they’re going through a nine-game losing streak like we were. It’s just a situation where we caught a …

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Heyward’s slump not worrisome to Cox

CHICAGO – The phenom’s slump is well into its fourth week, but Jason Heyward is doing enough for Braves manager Bobby Cox to keep playing him every day.

Heyward was 1-for-12 with three strikeouts and one RBI in the series against the White Sox, giving him a .179 average with one homer and 14 RBIs in 23 games since May 31.

The rookie right fielder has 32 strikeouts, 13 walks and three doubles in 95 a-bats over that stretch, with a .284 on-base percentage and .249 slugging percentage.

“He lined out [Wednesday] night, hit a bullet,” Cox said before Thursday’s series finale.

After going 2-for-5 with a two-run triple May 30 against Pittsburgh, Heyward had a .301 average and stunning 1.017 on base-plus-slugging percentage (OPS).

It’s 3-1/2 weeks later and he’s down to .255 with an .833 OPS, although Heyward still leads National League rookies with 11 home runs and 45 RBIs.

He’s still on pace for 24 homers and 100 RBIs, and had the fourth-most All-Star votes among all …

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Medlen vs. Tigers lefty making MLB debut

Who: vs. Tigers

When (TV): 7:35 p.m. today (WPCH), 4:05 p.m. Saturday (SPSO), 1:35 p.m. Sunday (FSSO).

Radio: 680 AM, 100.5 FM

Probable pitchers:

Friday: Braves RH Kris Medlen (4-1, 3.33 ERA) vs. LH Andy Oliver (major league debut).

Saturday: Braves RH Kenshin Kawakami (0-9, 4.78 ERA) vs. RH Max Scherzer (4-6, 5.67 ERA).

Sunday: Braves RH Tommy Hanson (7-4, 4.17 ERA) vs. RH Justin Verlander (8-5, 3.94).

Friday’s matchup:

Medlen is 3-0 with a 3.83 ERA in his past seven starts, and the Braves have won six of them. He’s issued just three walks in 26-2/3 innings over his past four starts. He’s never faced the Tigers.

Oliver makes his  big-league debut after going 6-4 with a 3.61 ERA in 14 starts at Double-A Erie, where he had 70 strikeouts with 25 walks in 77-1/3 innings.

* DAVID O’BRIEN

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Braves trying to hold off storming Mets

CHICAGO — The Braves hadn’t lost back-to-back games against one team in eight weeks before running into the sizzling White Sox the past two nights. Now, the Bravos need a win today to avoid being swept for the first time since their nine-game skid in late April.

Hello again, everybody. We’re live in Chicago, where I’m apparently channeling the late, great Skip Caray with this intro that has me literally reading it to myself in his voice while I type. That’s what lack of sleep can do, I guess.

That, plus having Harry Caray’s steakhouse near my hotel and Chip Caray here doing the game. And for those who know Chip and believe he’s hopelessly stuck in an 1980s musical time warp where Rush was and is the greatest band of all time – he doesn’t understand why I disagree strongly – you’ll be glad to know that I’ve procured an extra copy of the terrific CD from the San Diego band The Soft Pack, whose lead singer was a former University of Richmond pitcher whose dad now lives in …

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Braves quotes after Wednesday’s loss

BOBBY COX

On Hudson: “I thought Huddy was going to throw a shutout tonight, the way he started. I really did. Quentin’s ball to right field was a rocket; I thought it was a line-drive out or a double, and it went out. But he scalded that ball. And the other one was really hit, so…

“He had great stuff. I really thought he was going to throw a shutout.”

On missed opportunities: “Yeah, we left some guys on tonight. I mean, we hit the ball. I think we out-hit them. We swung the bats super tonight. You don’t always get the RBIs every time, but we swung the bats great.

On Ross: “He got a foul tip right here [on right hand]. He almost hit a home run on his last at-bat, but I don’t know. It’s going to be sore tomorrow, I know that.”

On Chipper being held up at third on McCann double: “He couldn’t have scored on that. I thought the ball might be caught, too.”

On Saito: “For the first time in 17, 18 days, I thought he threw the ball well.”

On losing series: “Well, you’re not going to …

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