Archive for September, 2010

Next for Braves: Beachy vs. Kendrick

Series preview: vs Phillies

When (TV): 7:35 p.m. Friday (SPSO); 4:10 p.m. Saturday (FOX); 1:35 p.m. Sunday (FSSO).

Radio: 680 AM, 100.5 FM

Probable starting pitchers:

Friday: RH Brandon Beachy (0-1, 2.89) vs. RH Kyle Kendrick (10-10, 4.76)

Saturday: RH Tommy Hanson (10-11, 3.41) vs. TBA.

Sunday: RH Tim Hudson (16-9, 2.76) vs. TBA.

Friday’s matchup:

• Beachy makes his third major league start in place of the injured Jair Jurrjens (knee), including his second against the Phillies. He held them to three runs (one earned) in 4 1/3 innings in his surprise debut. Lefties are hitting .316 off Beachy and righties only .176.

• Kendrick, who is pitching in place of the resting Roy Halladay, has owned the Braves this season, holding them to one run in 15 innings (0.60 ERA) and a .184 opponents’ average but the Braves rallied to win both those games in extra innings. He is 1-3 with a 5.06 ERA in September.

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Video: Braves move closer to postseason berth

The AJC’s David O’Brien and CineSport’s Noah Coslov discuss the Braves’ sweep of Florida and Atlanta’s chances of advancing to the postseason.

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World Series set for earlier starts

Continuing a trend of returning to earlier start times, the World Series schedule released Thursday features the earliest start time for a game since Game 6 in 1987: Game 3 will have a first pitch at 6:57 p.m., one hour earlier than last year’s start time for the Saturday game.

The series, set for FOX, will have 7:57 p.m. starts for Games 1, 2 as well as Games 5, 6 and 7 if needed. Only Sunday Oct. 31 will have a late start with the first pitch set for 8:20 p.m.

“The changes we made with FOX last year to start the World Series games earlier helped increase viewership including more young fans and we are optimistic that the earlier start time for Saturday’s Game 3 will keep us moving in the same direction,” Commissioner Allan H. (Bud) Selig said.

“We’ve said over the years that if advertisers were willing to support earlier starts at prime-time levels, we’d be able to begin games earlier,” said FOX Sports president Eric Shanks, noting that Chevrolet has stepped up support as a …

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Braves quotes after sweep-completing win over Florida

BOBBY COX

On Lowe

“His last four starts or so have just been dominating. He’s striking out guys. That’s his 16th win today. [Short rest] didn’t affect him at all. He was fired up, and he could hit with that breaking ball anytime he wanted to.

“Our bullpen did another magnificent job, and Conrad again, back-to-back nights, the big blow.”

“And Rossy had a great day. Three doubles, caught a great game. It was a good ballgame for us, good start to the homestand. We need to keep winning.”

On this weekend’s series against Phillies, emotions of his last regular-season series, etc.

“Well, these games are so important, I’m going to put that on the back burner.”

On how the team responded after disappointing road trip

“It was a tough road trip for us, knowing we had to win a few. We played Philly tough, we just got beat. But they responded very well [against Florida].”

Overcoming yet another injury, to Prado

“Well, we started with a good bench, and that’s why we can do that. And we had …

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First person Cox tribute: John Holland

Braves visiting clubhouse manager John Holland, who’s worked for the organization for more than four decades, on retiring Braves manager Bobby Cox:

“Bobby treats everybody with respect. Everybody Bobby meets is a friend.

John Holland has worked 42 years in the Braves organization, starting out as a 15-year-old batboy in 1968, and later as an equipment manager and clubhouse manager. He counts Cox among his closest friends in the game.

John Holland has worked 42 years in the Braves organization, starting out as a 15-year-old batboy in 1968, and later as an equipment manager and clubhouse manager. He counts Cox among his closest friends in the game.

“Being around him so long, we’re good friends. We’ve done things outside of baseball; we’ve cut wood together. Yeah, he’s one of my good friends. Someone I look up to, always have.

“When he was managing [the Braves] the first time, he made everything fun. He still makes everything fun. He makes you want to improve yourself. He makes you want to do a good job, not just for him but to take pride in what you’re doing and go after what you want to do.

“When he was general manager, we had so much fun because when the team was on the road. He’d come …

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Standing-room only tickets available for Phillies series

The Braves are selling standing-room only tickets for all three weekend games against the Phillies, the final three regular season games of manager Bobby Cox’s career.

Only a few hundred reserved seats remain for Friday night’s game. All the reserved tickets have been sold out for Saturday and Sunday’s games, including the Bobby Cox tribute game Saturday, first pitch at 4:10 p.m.

Standing-room only tickets are available for $20 apiece at braves.com, the Turner Field Ticket Office, the Braves Clubhouse Store at CNN Center, any Publix ticket center or by calling 1-800-745-3000.

The Braves are asking fans to be in their seats no later than 3 p.m. for the Bobby Cox tribute on Saturday. They can pre-purchase parking at www.braves.com/parking or take MARTA.

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Braves would have home-field advantage for wild card playoff

If the Braves are forced into a one-game playoff for the wild card with either the Padres or the Giants, the Braves will have home field advantage by virtue of winning season series against both teams. The Braves went 4-2 vs. the Padres and 4-3 vs. the Giants.

If the Giants or Padres clinch the NL west and the other team is in a tie with the Braves, a one-game playoff for the wild card would be played on Monday at Turner Field. If the Giants, Padres and Braves end in a three-way tie, the Giants and Padres would play a one-game playoff for the NL West on Monday. The loser would fly to Atlanta for a one-game wild card playoff at Turner Field on Tuesday.

If the Braves advance to the Division Series, they would play Thursday and Friday, Oct. 7, 8 at Cincinnati, San Francisco or San Diego. They’d be off Saturday, Oct. 9, then host Game 3 at Turner Field on Sunday, Oct. 10. They would host a Game 4, if necessary, Monday Oct. 11 at Turner Field and then travel for Game 5, if …

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Prado knew right away hip injury was serious

Martin Prado had a feeling long before Tuesday’s MRI that his hip injury was more than simply a hip pointer.

He was diagnosed with both a hip pointer and a torn external oblique muscle Tuesday, which will require two months of inactivity and therefore end his season.

“I was in so much pain; I never experienced a lot of pain before like that,” Prado said. “I knew there was something wrong with me.”

Prado had been playing through a broken pinky finger and a strained groin muscle. But this injury was much more serious after two diving plays at third base on Monday and a pop as he swung at a pitch in the fifth inning.

“It’s tough to swallow,” said Prado, who was still walking gingerly on Wednesday. “I was battling all year, finger and groin, all the injuries. I was hoping that I’d finish my season.”

Prado said he normally spends six weeks during the offseason in Orlando. This time around he’ll be doing his rehabilitation at the Braves complex there.

“I’ll do as much as I can to …

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Saito says he’s ready for return after encouraging bullpen

After a weekend set-back with his right shoulder, Takashi Saito was not only back in the bullpen Wednesday but trying to plead his case to get into Wednesday’s game.

Saito, 40, has been out of action since leaving a Sept. 17 game in New York with what was diagnosed as shoulder tendinitis. He felt good after throwing 27 pitches in the bullpen Wednesday.

He didn’t get into Wednesday’s game, but he might before the weekend series is out.

“We can use him,” Manager Bobby Cox said. “We’ll have to be careful because we’re not sure. But I think we can get him in there to see.”

If there’s anything that concerns Saito, he said it’s his command after such a long lay-off.

“I’m worried about – because I missed 12 days – just getting right back into the game,” he said through his interpreter.

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Conrad: Mr. Late Innings now thrust into starting role

So how does a guy who spent nearly a decade in the minors, and entered this season as a 30-year-old with a .192 average in 73 major league at-bats, wind up having the Braves’ highest average and OPS in the late innings of close games?

To hear Brooks Conrad tell it, it’s mental more than anything else.

After nearly a decade in the minors, journeyman infielder Brooks Conrad has become a  clutch performer with the Braves, and a cult hero as popular with fans as he is with teammates.

After nearly a decade in the minors, journeyman infielder Brooks Conrad has become a clutch performer with the Braves, and a cult hero as popular with fans as he is with teammates.

“That’s what’s helped me this year in those situations, just staying confident,” said Conrad, whose seventh-inning triple Tuesday night drove in the tying run and woke the Braves’ offense.

Eric Hinske followed two batters later with a two-run, two-out pinch-hit homer and the Braves beat the Marlins 3-2 for their 45th come-from-behind win, second-most in the majors.

Melky Cabrera had led off the inning with a single, making some amends for his early poor defensive play on a flyball-turned-double that …

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