Archive for August, 2010

Braves, Hudson trying to halt four-game losing streak

Tim Hudson is 0-0 with a 4.15 ERA in two starts with the beard

Tim Hudson is 0-0 with a 4.15 ERA in two starts with the beard

(Staff writer Carroll Rogers is filling in for David O’Brien today.)

In case you don’t know it by now, or are going by your magnetic schedule, today’s game is not at 4:10 anymore. Fox dropped it. So go out and spend some quality time with someone you care about and come back around at 7:10.

Or just hang out with lowly types like me who have to work on a Saturday, and stay on the blog.

In case you didn’t know it Part II, the Phillies won last night on a 12th inning game-winning hit by Placido Polanco to score Jimmy Rollins. This was after Brad Lidge balked in the trying run with the bases loaded to blow a save in the ninth. For the first time in 10 days where both teams played, the Braves finally gave ground. Their lead in the NL East is down to two games.

The Phillies just snapped their four-game losing streak, the Braves could use a little of the same. They’ve got the guy going tonight they’d probably hand pick …

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Stat of the Day: Hanson and the long ball

Tommy Hanson gave up a career-high four home runs in a 7-1 loss to the Marlins on Friday, one more than he allowed in his major league debut against the Brewers last June.  It was also a season-high in home runs allowed in a Braves game this season.

Hanson had gone 49 2/3 innings without allowing a home run when Cameron Maybin lead off the game with a solo shot to the left field seats. Logan Morrison followed six pitches later with a shot to center. The Marlins went back-to-back again in the sixth inning, on solo home runs by Dan Uggla and Gaby Sanchez.

Until Friday, the last home run Hanson had allowed came on July 16 against the Brewers. You have to go back farther than that to find his last win. Hanson has not won a game since July 3 against the Marlins. He’s on a career-high five-game losing streak over 10 starts. Until his past two starts he could blame a lack of run support, but he’s given up 12 runs in his past 10 innings against the Marlins and Cubs, both losses.

Continue reading Stat of the Day: Hanson and the long ball »

Braves postgame comments after Friday’s loss to Marlins

BOBBY COX

On Hanson’s outing:

“Tonight he wasn’t up, he wasn’t down, he was right in the hitting zone. And he’s got to get the ball down more, it’s as simple as that.”

On what he said to Hanson as he was taking the ball:

“Yeah, I said you’ve got to get the ball down….Every 3-2 count, every 2-0 count, they’re all right there.”

On Hanson (this is what Cox said first, which I’m including so you know it was still Bobby, saying something nice):

“He got too many balls, not up, not down, he does that occasionally, but if you check nine out of his last 10 starts have been on the excellent side. We haven’t gotten him any runs. He’s given up almost nothing.”

TOMMY HANSON

On his outing:

“It pretty much came down to me. I went out there and gave up two homers off the bat and never really got in a groove.”

On his location:

“I’m out there trying to keep the ball down and trying to make pitches and at the same time be aggressive. I left pitches up and they hit them out.”

On what’s been …

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Chipper Jones back in uniform in Braves dugout

Chipper Jones returned to the Braves’ dugout in full uniform Friday night for the first time since undergoing season-ending knee surgery less than two weeks ago.

Tired of watching the Braves from home and healthy enough to move around in the dugout as necessary, Jones said he wants to do whatever he can to support the team.

“Sitting all week on the couch and watching games is not conducive to me staying sane,” said Jones, who watched the Braves go 2-4 on this past road trip in Chicago and Colorado. “I’d rather have my finger on the pulse of what’s going on, talking to guys and helping any way I can.”

Jones has been off crutches since shortly after his surgery for a torn anterior cruciate ligament, but he has progressed to the point where not only is he walking around well but riding a stationary bike. On Friday was to have his stitches removed.

“I’m moving around, feeling good,” said Jones, who will attempt a comeback with the Braves next spring training.

Jones was mobile …

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Aaron reunited with “kid” baserunners who joined him for 715th

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Cliff Courtney sits to Aaron's right, Britt Gaston to his left. Courtesy of Atlanta Braves

Cliff Courtenay and Britt Gaston flanked Hank Aaron Friday afternoon, like they infamously did running around the bases when he hit his record-breaking 715th home run.

Gone were their thick dark hair, sideburns, bell-bottom jeans and wide-eyed looks of 17-year-olds. Now aged 53 and 54, Courtenay and Gaston wore khakis, white hair and have teenaged kids of their own.

The two old high school friends who ran down on the field on the night of April 8, 1974 were reunited Friday on an invitation from Aaron, who wanted a chance to sit down and chat with the two he helped make famous.

“Every place I’ve gone no matter where I’ve been, the picture follows me around,” said Aaron, who said he even saw it once in Japan. “I didn’t know you guys spent that kind of night in jail. It was a lot of fun really. Time really does fly by.”

Gaston’s father, who had been at the game, bailed them out of jail …

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Next for Braves: Hudson vs. Nolasco on Saturday

Next for Braves

Who: vs Marlins

When: 7:10 p.m. Saturday

TV; radio: SPSO; 680 AM, 100.5 FM

Probable starters: RH Tim Hudson (14-5, 2.28 ERA) vs. RH Ricky Nolasco (14-8, 4.22)

Saturday’s matchup:

• Hudson gave up four runs in six innings in Colorado to break a streak of six outings allowing two or fewer runs. He is 8-3 with a 3.02 ERA in 17 starts against the Marlins. He lost to them July 4, allowing three runs in eight innings including a Dan Uggla homer.

• Nolascao is pitching through a cartilage injury in his knee, but has thrown six shutout innings in his past two starts. He outpitched Hudson in a 3-2 win July 4, allowing two runs in seven innings with 11 strikeouts. He struck out 16 in a win over the Braves last Sept. 30.

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Minor optioned, Kimbrel recalled for temporary bullpen help

The Braves optioned left-hander Mike Minor to the Gulf Coast League Friday in a strategic roster move to bring in an extra bullpen arm for the next couple of days.

Minor will make his start as scheduled Tuesday against the Mets, but in the meantime the Braves recalled Craig Kimbrel to add to the bullpen.

Because the Gulf Coast League season ends on Saturday, Minor won’t have to wait the requisite 10 days to return to the major league roster.

Kimbrel was recalled from Triple-A Gwinnett for his third major league stint this season. He went 2-0 with a 1.08 ERA in eight games out of the Braves bullpen.

Kimbrel has gone 3-2 with a 1.74 ERA with 22 saves for Gwinnett in 44 games. He has a .153 opponents’ batting average.

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Braves looking for that Turner Field magic vs. Marlins

(Staff writer Carroll Rogers is filling in for David O’Brien today.)

OK, there has been enough has been said about the Colorado game for the last two days solid that I should leave it alone here, right? But what if one thing popped into my head that wants to get out?

Too bad, I’m saying it. As the Rockies comeback was happening, which I saw bits and pieces of in and around Coolray Field in Gwinnett, I thought back to what the Braves did the Reds on May 20. Remember Brooks Conrad and a certain walk-off grand slam? How demoralizing must that loss have been for the Reds? And they didn’t have wide gaps and weird conditions of Coors Field to blame, just stinkin’ ol Turner Field and the raw-dogging Conrad.

Conrad watches his grand slam vs. Reds

Conrad watches his grand slam vs. Reds

But the Reds kept trucking along. They won three of their next four games and seven of their next nine. Now, they’re in first place in the Central, four games ahead of the Cardinals, with an identical record as the Braves at 73-54.

Good teams …

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Next for Braves: Hanson vs. Volstad on Friday

Series preview: vs. Marlins

When (TV): 7:35 p.m. Friday (SPSO); 7:10 p.m. Saturday (SPSO); 1:35 p.m. Sunday (FSSO).

Radio: 680 AM, 100.5 FM

Probable starting pitchers:

Friday: RH Tommy Hanson (8-9, 3.53) vs. RH Chris Volstad (7-9, 4.82)

Saturday: RH Tim Hudson (14-5, 2.28 ERA) vs. RH Ricky Nolasco (14-8, 4.22)

Sunday: RH Derek Lowe (11-12, 4.33) vs. RH Josh Johnson (11-5, 2.36)

Friday’s matchup:

• Hanson is winless despite a 1.89 ERA in five August starts. He allowed five runs (four earned) in five innings Saturday vs. the Cubs to break up the run of five starts with one or no earned runs. He is 3-0 with a 2.19 ERA in four career starts against the Marlins.

• The Marlins have won four of Volstad’s past six starts including July 25, in a 5-4 win in extra innings against the Braves. Volstad gave up three runs in six innings, including an Eric Hinske homer. He’s pitched six innings once in five starts since, Saturday in a win over Houston.

Continue reading Next for Braves: Hanson vs. Volstad on Friday »

Kawakami says he’s not disappointed by move back to pen

With the emergence of Mike Minor in the Braves rotation, Kenshin Kawakami is headed back for the bullpen in September, Braves manager Bobby Cox said this week.

That meant Kawakami was stretching back out in Triple-A Gwinnett for an emergency starter role, not a return to the rotation.

The move didn’t seem to faze Kawakami much, after a summer in which he’s lost his starting job to Kris Medlen, pitched only once in a six-week stint in the Braves bullpen, and then did not immediately return to the rotation after Medlen went down with a season-ending elbow injury.

“I have to do my job, whatever position I’m given,” Kawakami said Wednesday through his interpreter.

When asked if he was disappointed, Kawakami said, “No, I’m not disappointed. It’s another important job.”

Just before Medlen’s injury, Kawakami had told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, “I didn’t come over here to be a reliever.” But he said on Wednesday that his meaning might have gotten lost in translation.

“I might …

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