Braves need to do damage in Pittsburgh

View from the press box at PNC, from yours truly
View from the press box at PNC, from yours truly

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

Pittsburgh – Happy Labor Day, folks. Greetings from a gorgeous afternoon in a lovely setting, atop PNC Park looking out over the Allegheny River and downtown Pittsburgh and the Braves trying to get back on track after losing two of three in Florida.

This is a good team to do it against. The Braves are 5-1 against the Pirates this season, including 2-1 at PNC Park.

The Braves need to take advantage of playing a team that’s down, and actually has the dreaded “X” by its name already in the standings, having been eliminated already from postseason play, along with the Baltimore Orioles.

The Pirates have lost seven of their last 10. They are a significantly better team at home – the Pirates are 31-38 at home this season, compared to 14-53 on the road – but the Braves need to rise above that. With Tommy Hanson going today against left Brian Burres, Tim Hudson tomorrow night vs. James McDonald and Derek Lowe vs. Zach Duke on Wednesday, maybe now is the time to think sweep.

Bobby Cox’s mantra is always win every series, but the Braves could use more than that, with the Phillies hot on their tails and the Cardinals coming into Atlanta this weekend.

The Braves won’t face Jeff Karstens today, he of the 3-10 record and 4.88 ERA, because he was scratched with arm fatigue. Instead they get lefty Burres who is making his first start since facing the Braves on May 29 in Atlanta, when he allowed four runs in five innings of a 6-3 loss to the Braves, including Jason Heyward’s 10th home run of the year.

Burres was sent to Triple-A Indianapolis after that start. Since his return to Pittsburgh, he’s made four relief appearances, allowing six runs and nine hits in four innings. Burres is 2-3 with a 5.66 ERA as a starter this year.

Hanson will look to continue the good work he did one start ago when he one-hit the Mets for seven innings of a 4-1 win on Wednesday.

Lovely day for the Braves to get back on track, and a good time to do it. The Phillies host the Marlins for a doubleheader today, which means should the Braves lose and the Phillies sweep, the Braves could find themselves in second place.

Lowe is a go

Lowe just wrapped up his bullpen session, threw for about five minutes and reported he felt “really good,” continuing the positive vibes he felt Sunday in Florida after playing catch for the first time in five days.

The hop in Lowe’s step is back and that’s good news for the Braves a) because they weren’t sure what they were going to do if he couldn’t go, given Kenshin Kawakami’s struggles on Friday in his place and b) get a load of Lowe’s record against the Pirates. He’s 9-0 in nine career starts against them, with a 2.76 ERA against them.

The bullpen was the first he’d thrown in three weeks, and Lowe (who’s been diagnosed with a bone chip in his elbow) said he threw all his pitches and without any of that numbness in his right arm that had him shaking his hand during his last outing Aug. 29 vs. the Marlins.

“The only thing now is in between innings, that’s the only thing you can’t reenact,” Lowe said. “But with heat packs there’s all kinds of stuff you can do.”

Lowe said the bone chip first showed up on an X-ray a month ago, and they did the MRI last Thursday to make sure it wasn’t resting on a ligament. But he’s been reassured that he can’t injure it worse by throwing and he continues to see improvement after a cortisone shot and skipping the first start of his career.

More bullpen help on the way

The Gwinnett Braves close out their season this afternoon in Charlotte, which means relievers Cristhian Martinez and Craig Kimbrel will join the Braves tomorrow in Pittsburgh. Both have proven valuable arms in the Braves bullpen, and the Braves could use them after Sunday’s 10-inning game in Florida and in the midst of a stretch which sees the Braves play 20 straight games before a Sept. 16 off day.

On deck dangers

Word on the Marlins’ Logan Morrison who took an Emilio Bonifacio foul ball in the cheek yesterday in the on deck circle is that he is OK, made the trip with the Marlins to Philadelphia and hopes he can return to the lineup today. That wouldn’t be a bad thing for the Braves, who wouldn’t mind seeing him do the damage he did on the Braves last weekend to the Marlins.

Braves lineup:

1. Omar Infante 2B

2. Jason Heyward RF

3. Martin Prado 3B

4. Derrek Lee 1B

5. Matt Diaz LF

6. Alex Gonzalez SS

7. David Ross C

8. Nate McLouth CF

9. Tommy Hanson P

Cox on McLouth getting back-to-back starts: “He’s around familiar surroundings…He hit two bullets (Sunday, including being robbed of a grand slam by Cameron Maybin). His at-bats are real good right now.”

As you know McLouth spent parts of five years playing for the Pirates, including his 2008 All-Star team. Rick Ankiel has also struggled against lefties, going 4-for-14 (.167) with 14 strikeouts.

OK, got to file. Happy Birthday to Derrek Lee, who turns 35 today.

2,248 comments Add your comment

GTSteve

September 6th, 2010
1:35 pm

Isn’t it great to be in FIRST place on Labr Day

E.lo

September 6th, 2010
1:35 pm

E.lo

September 6th, 2010
1:36 pm

Enter your comments here Dang it sucks to be second on Labor Day!

GTSteve

September 6th, 2010
1:37 pm

If I would have spelled Labor correctly, you might have been first

horner's corner

September 6th, 2010
1:38 pm

horner's corner

September 6th, 2010
1:38 pm

Brava

September 6th, 2010
1:40 pm

Happy Birthday to Derrek Lee! Hope he hits a homer to celebrate.

Bartholomew (Bat) Masterson

September 6th, 2010
1:40 pm

Bring your nasty stuff today Tommy, damn these fools.

McFann ♥ Ô Ô

September 6th, 2010
1:40 pm

Thanks for the new Blog, Ms. Rogers!

Trey Of course, what can be more fun than to yank McFann’s chain!

Dang, I’ve had that all my life! I must have the longest chain in the world. :lol:

Trey

September 6th, 2010
1:40 pm

Last, so far?

Brave4life-1995 all over again??

September 6th, 2010
1:40 pm

Hey Derrek Lee has the same birthday as me :)

Trey

September 6th, 2010
1:41 pm

McFann, just long enough to reach the sun!

Brava

September 6th, 2010
1:41 pm

Well, Happy Birthday to you as well, Brave4life-1995 all over again?? !!

Brave4life-1995 all over again??

September 6th, 2010
1:42 pm

.577

September 6th, 2010
1:42 pm

He’s already all over the place.

C-3P0

September 6th, 2010
1:43 pm

We seem to be made to suffer, it’s our lot in life.

Trey

September 6th, 2010
1:43 pm

McCutchen needs a hair cut.

McFann ♥ Ô Ô

September 6th, 2010
1:43 pm

Happy Birthday!!

Trey

Maybe even another galaxy. :P

MIBraveeeeesFan

September 6th, 2010
1:44 pm

“Brave4life-1995 all over again??

September 6th, 2010
1:40 pm
Hey Derrek Lee has the same birthday as me”

Happy birthday!

Trey

September 6th, 2010
1:44 pm

Well that blows.

JonnyVenter'sLeftArm

September 6th, 2010
1:44 pm

To back to the other blog; I predicted this.

MIBraveeeeesFan

September 6th, 2010
1:44 pm

Why did this game have to start this way?!

.577

September 6th, 2010
1:44 pm

Ugh!

More of the same huh?

MFin04

September 6th, 2010
1:44 pm

I don’t even know why I thought today would be any different. Just pathetic.

McFann ♥ Ô Ô

September 6th, 2010
1:44 pm

He’s already all over the place.

So is Ro——

Trey

September 6th, 2010
1:44 pm

McFann, maybe! :)

DogsChuckedHisBrekky

September 6th, 2010
1:44 pm

GT Steve – if you’re not 1st you are last

Walks and more SB off Tommy and more errors from the catching staff……. gulp

JonnyVenter'sLeftArm

September 6th, 2010
1:45 pm

What is wrong with Gonzalez’s arm?

Brave4life-1995 all over again??

September 6th, 2010
1:45 pm

It wont be a great birthday if the Braves lose :(

Mitchell

September 6th, 2010
1:45 pm

We look worse.

We look like the team with 45 wins.

DogsChuckedHisBrekky

September 6th, 2010
1:45 pm

Zero hits, piss poor defence and it is 0-1

Brava

September 6th, 2010
1:45 pm

Oh Boy, here we go. Settle down, Tommy.

McFann ♥ Ô Ô

September 6th, 2010
1:45 pm

Trey

You don’t know the half of it. ;)

GTSteve

September 6th, 2010
1:46 pm

The Braves can’t loose to these clowns

Brave4life-1995 all over again??

September 6th, 2010
1:46 pm

The score should be the other way around

DogsChuckedHisBrekky

September 6th, 2010
1:46 pm

Ok, I am sounding like Bitchell, lets go Braves, win win win McGinn

Trey

September 6th, 2010
1:46 pm

McFann, I know that’s right. ;)

MFin04

September 6th, 2010
1:46 pm

Tommy Hanson has got to figure out how to hold runners. Brian McCann and Tommy Hanson have to be the worst combo in the majors for throwing out runners. Not that Ross has been much better today.

Trey

September 6th, 2010
1:47 pm

Dogs, Mitchell or Nick 2.0?

Braves One

September 6th, 2010
1:47 pm

Leadoff walks … millionaires who cannot throw a strike … amazing … sad thing is we have put the leadoff runner on more times than I can remember and usually the walks come around to score … throw strikes and give your defense a chance … they have no chance if the batter is walked … we have lacked pitcher discipline this year.

Braves73

September 6th, 2010
1:47 pm

Great lineup! Mclouth and Ross…guess McCann needs off every other day. Boob is at it again. He has no reasonable excuse for Mclouth (even though I like Nate) to be in the lineup. What has he done to deserve this spot in a playoff race.

I can’t wait until B.C. retires because this is beyond dumb.

JonnyVenter'sLeftArm

September 6th, 2010
1:47 pm

They have got to knock this Buress guy around.

Jeff

September 6th, 2010
1:47 pm

Here we go Losing already 2 batters into the game.. Omar Swings at 2-0, heyward looks bad and prado a lazy fly ball all against YET another spot Starter.. and what does mccutheon do doesnt swing at ball 3 and gets on and steals and scores on the Groundout. oh and Cox has the triple A lineup in again.

Mitchell

September 6th, 2010
1:47 pm

That Pirate pitcher has to know the Braves history against guys like him.

He should definitely feel no pressure.

The pressure is all on us.

Trey

September 6th, 2010
1:47 pm

Dogs, they both sound like five year old babies.

TNBravesFan79

September 6th, 2010
1:47 pm

I would like to think we could get 4 or 5 runs today at least. This guy has a high ERA for a reason.

I Miss Ted Turner (formerly I Love Derrek Lee)

September 6th, 2010
1:48 pm

Do these guys practice throwing the baseball to each other?

JonnyVenter'sLeftArm

September 6th, 2010
1:48 pm

OK, let’s go!

DogsChuckedHisBrekky

September 6th, 2010
1:48 pm

Trey = yes I just read my gripes, sorry, just ate my 1st solid meal in a week here in Africa, so will lighten up now

Lets go D Lee start a big inning

N8

September 6th, 2010
1:48 pm

Walk. SB. Error. Groundbal. Run.

Oh my.

MIBraveeeeesFan

September 6th, 2010
1:48 pm

At least he did settle down pretty quickly.

Bartholomew (Bat) Masterson

September 6th, 2010
1:48 pm

Brian McCann and Tommy Hanson have to be the worst combo in the majors for throwing out runners. Not that Ross has been much better today.

Johnny Bench would not have been any better either.

McFann ♥ Ô Ô

September 6th, 2010
1:49 pm

Trey

Haha!

Vino Fino

September 6th, 2010
1:49 pm

Why are the Braves the only team in the entire league that year in and year out don’t have speed at the top of their order. Look what McCutchen just did to create a run. Every single team has that element except the Braves- Phi/Rollins, Victorino; Fl- Bonafacio/Mayben; Wash-Morgan; NYM- Reyes (sometimes)- need I go on. It’s hard to understand how we don’t see the importance of that…

McFann ♥ Ô Ô

September 6th, 2010
1:49 pm

Bat M. Johnny Bench would not have been any better either.

Thank you.

Braves One

September 6th, 2010
1:49 pm

We are facing the pitcher with the worst ERA in all of baseball … lets not let this guy come away today looking like a cross between Bob Gibson and Tom Seaver.

Trey

September 6th, 2010
1:50 pm

Dogs, let me guess they had been giving you MRE’s? I’d be pissed too, so it’s understandable.

Efrim

September 6th, 2010
1:50 pm

When was the last time Hanson had more than 4 K’s in an outing? I guess it isn’t that big of a deal, since he has pitched well, but it’s a little bizarre to me. The whole “pitch to contact” thing to me is a little ridiculous. Missing bats is what makes pitchers aces or not.

Mitchell

September 6th, 2010
1:50 pm

Let’s face it.

I think Pittsburg owes us.

GTSteve

September 6th, 2010
1:50 pm

Morrison with another hit for the Fish……

Bravissimo

September 6th, 2010
1:50 pm

Why do you whiners watch the Braves?….If you were a fan back in the 70’s or 80’s you wouldnt think these hicups in the road to the playoffs were such a big deal.

MFin04

September 6th, 2010
1:50 pm

Do we lead the league in catchers throwing the ball to CF? We really should work on a play to throw the ball to Ankiel in CF and then throw the runner out at third. Might work better than what we are trying now.

.577

September 6th, 2010
1:50 pm

…The pressure is all on us. – Mitchell

Exactly.

Lawton

September 6th, 2010
1:51 pm

clearly, its time to freak out already.

Nova Scotia Steve -

September 6th, 2010
1:51 pm

Braves73 – He has no reasonable excuse for Mclouth (even though I like Nate) to be in the lineup.

So who would you like to see in CF????? Melky???? Ankiel???? No thanks. Not at the moment anyway.

McLouth is getting rewarded for his good play yesterday – he play good defense and hit the ball hard three times. What if he turns it around???

GTSteve

September 6th, 2010
1:51 pm

i thought that was a typo at first Mitchell…then it made sense

MIBraveeeeesFan

September 6th, 2010
1:51 pm

Good start D Lee

Bartholomew (Bat) Masterson

September 6th, 2010
1:51 pm

Great lineup! Mclouth and Ross…guess McCann needs off every other day. Boob is at it again.

Ross starts 22% of the games.

Tomahawkin

September 6th, 2010
1:51 pm

Like I said we will take 2 of three…

Vino Fino

September 6th, 2010
1:51 pm

MFin- that might work with Ankiel, but don’t forget McClouth is in center and he’s afraid to actually throw the ball!!!

.577

September 6th, 2010
1:52 pm

Do we lead the league in catchers throwing the ball to CF?

Oh Lawd!

:lol:

DogsChuckedHisBrekky

September 6th, 2010
1:52 pm

Yes BAT I think Jesus himself could catch Tommy at times and have a hard time catching someone as fleet of foot as even McHunny…. hi McFann !

Ryan

September 6th, 2010
1:52 pm

Send Hanson to AAA to learn how to hold runners on. Why do we try to throw runners out 60-40 chance of picking up error than trowing them out.

Carroll Rogers

September 6th, 2010
1:52 pm

McCann is not going to play every day, Braves73 just a fact.

Nova Scotia Steve -

September 6th, 2010
1:53 pm

Tomahawkin – Enjoy your Domino’s the other night??? :D

MIBraveeeeesFan

September 6th, 2010
1:53 pm

So Morrison is playing for Florida today – that’s good and surprising news. Hope he lights the Phillies’ pitchers up!

MFin04

September 6th, 2010
1:53 pm

Yeh, I notice McLouth was in CF when he hit the cut-off man from CF on that steal play (pretty nice 15 foot throw.).

.577

September 6th, 2010
1:53 pm

Good sign for Matty.

Nova Scotia Steve -

September 6th, 2010
1:53 pm

Nice Diaz!!! Let’s go boys!!!

Tomahawkin

September 6th, 2010
1:54 pm

We got to score here! At least 1, please?

MIBraveeeeesFan

September 6th, 2010
1:54 pm

Good job MatteeeD

Trey

September 6th, 2010
1:54 pm

Bravessimo, apparently you are new to the blog. If the team loses one game, even in first, it is the end of the world. ;) God forbid that the Braves are not 162-0.

Trey

September 6th, 2010
1:54 pm

Sorry, I misspelled your name, Bravissimo.

Tomahawkin

September 6th, 2010
1:54 pm

Trey

September 6th, 2010
1:55 pm

Bases loaded, no one out.

BamaDude @ CowCollege AL

September 6th, 2010
1:55 pm

bases loaded no outs …wheee

MFin04

September 6th, 2010
1:55 pm

Uh-oh the dreaded bases loaded no outs!

Tomahawkin

September 6th, 2010
1:55 pm

We Need a sac fly here and score 2…

Vino Fino

September 6th, 2010
1:55 pm

Send Hanson to AAA? That’s the most absurd thing I think I’ve heard in a while! One- the AAA season is over, but more importantly- who do we slot in his place- Kawakami? I’d rather have Hanson let every runner who gets on steal second on him than let KK get shelled all over the park!

Braves One

September 6th, 2010
1:55 pm

Yunel would have swung at that pitch.

N8

September 6th, 2010
1:55 pm

“McCann is not going to play every day, Braves73 just a fact.” Carroll

Which, Carroll, is why it sucks that he’s the best option for the cleanup spot in the order on this team. I appreciate that Ross is a fine backup and could probably start for at least 1/3 of the MLB teams out ther, but this lineup is different without Mac in there.

That being said, if the Braves don’t hammer this guy even without Mac, the natives are going to get restless.

Bravissimo

September 6th, 2010
1:55 pm

No Trey not new…just venting on the negatism…

Mitchell

September 6th, 2010
1:55 pm

I’m fighting the urge to say we’re going to hit into a double play.

Please don’t hit into a double play David.

DogsChuckedHisBrekky

September 6th, 2010
1:56 pm

Captain Cave ……………….. MAAAAAAAAAAAANnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn…… !

Bartholomew (Bat) Masterson

September 6th, 2010
1:56 pm

Just keepin’ it real , Mcfann

Carroll Rogers

September 6th, 2010
1:56 pm

not only do they list mph on the scoreboard here (not that i can see it from where i’m sitting – my angle is bad) but they list horizontal and vertical break of pitches. Wow.

Tomahawkin

September 6th, 2010
1:56 pm

Well Take That Rossy! Nice

BamaDude @ CowCollege AL

September 6th, 2010
1:56 pm

that’s one …

DogsChuckedHisBrekky

September 6th, 2010
1:57 pm

David Ross – nice hitting

N8

September 6th, 2010
1:57 pm

Good job of hitting by Ross there. Well done.

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