Archive for April, 2011

Next for Braves: St. Louis Cardinals

Series preview: vs Cardinals

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

Radio: 680, 93.7, 100.5

Probable starting pitchers:

Friday: Braves RH Tim Hudson (3-2, 3.57 ERA) vs. RH Chris Carpenter (0-2, 3.90)

Saturday: Braves RH Brandon Beachy (1-1, 3.68) vs. RH Jake Westbrook (2-2, 7.40)

Sunday: Braves RH Derek Lowe (2-3, 3.21) vs. LH Jaime Garcia (3-0, 2.08)

About the Braves:

• Batting: Brian McCann is hitting .688 (11-for-16) with runners in scoring position, which leads the majors. He has one home run and 13 RBIs in those situations. Chipper Jones has driven in nine runs in the past five games to surpass childhood hero Mickey Mantle in career RBI. Jones now has 1,512 and trails only Eddie Murray (1,917) for most RBIs by a switch hitter.

• Pitching: Hudson came one out from a complete game in his last start Saturday in San Francisco. He gave up only two runs on nine hits in 8 2/3 innings, before his pitch count ran to 112, including …

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Braves expected to announce decision on McDowell fallout Friday

The Braves met with pitching coach Roger McDowell on Thursday in the wake of allegations that he used anti-gay slurs and gestures in an argument with fans at San Francisco’s AT&T Park last Saturday. They are not expected to announce a decision on potential punishment until Friday morning.

The Braves were off Thursday before opening a three-game series against the Cardinals at Turner Field on Friday.

McDowell issued an apology on Wednesday, saying “I am deeply sorry that I responded to the heckling fans in San Francisco on Saturday. I apologize to everyone for my actions.”

Giants fan Justin Quinn, 33 of Fresno, Calif., accused McDowell of yelling “Are you a homo couple or a threesome?” to fans sitting in the left field seats and simulating a sex act with a bat.

Quinn, who was sitting nearby with his 9-year-old twin daughters, said he asked McDowell to watch his language in front of children.

Celebrity lawyer Gloria Allred, who is representing Quinn, said McDowell …

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Braves quotes after Wednesday win over Padres

***FREDI GONZALEZ

On Hanson

“He was really good. What’d he punch out, 10? He did a nice job. And we swung the bats. We got off to a nice, early lead and were able to preserve it. We were able to get Gearrin back in there again and also able to get Kimbrel some work, because if we hadn’t if would have been five days between outings.”

“Everything went perfect. Good end to a tough road trip. The first [four] games in L.A. didn’t go quite the way we wanted them to, then a nice three days in San Francisco and two out of three here. So it’s nice to go into an off day tomorrow and start the weekend at home.”

Win five out of six, feel like things are starting to click?

“Yeah, I think so. Offensively, we saw the bats start heating up and it’s always the dreaded off day. You start swinging the bats and here comes the off day. I think we should put in the manager’s off day – whenever we’re going bad, that’s when we could decide to have an off day. But it …

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Rookie reliever Gearrin makes good impression


SAN DIEGO — After pitching three perfect innings with three strikeouts in his first two major league appearances, rookie reliever Cory Gearrin has earned consideration to be kept around a while longer.

Gearrin worked the ninth and 10th innings Monday and the eighth Wednesday.

He was called up from Triple-A Gwinnett on Friday to provide an extra arm after the bullpen’s heavy workload in the Dodgers series to open the trip. The Braves plan to go back to 12 pitchers (they’ve had 13 for the past six games) before Friday and add another position player, but Gearrin won’t necessarily be the pitcher sent down.

“We’ve got a long [plane] ride back to Atlanta, and we’ve got to get together and talk about it,” manager Fredi Gonzalez said. “Because at the very least, he gives you a different look out of the bullpen. Gives you that little sidearm stuff, and he’s throwing strikes.”

Veteran setup man Peter Moylan is recovering from a bulging disc …

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Chipper moves past “The Mick” on RBIs list

SAN DIEGO — As a boy growing up, Larry Wayne Jones Sr. was such a fan of Yankees slugger Mickey Mantle that he later decided he would teach his own son to switch-hit.

Chipper Jones learned well.

With a run-scoring groundout in the first inning of a 7-0 win against the San Diego Padres on Wednesday afternoon, the Braves third baseman moved past Mantle into sole possession of second place on the career RBIs list for switch-hitters. He added a two-run triple in the second.

Jones, who turned 39 on Sunday, has 1,512 RBIs — second to Eddie Murray’s 1,917 among switch-hitters. Mantle had 1,509. He pulled even with Mantle late Tuesday with a two-run homer in the first inning of an 8-2 win at San Diego.

“It always feels good tying Mick,” Jones said after that game. “I just finally ran into one. Got into a predictable count [1-and-0] and got us off on the right foot.”

It was the third home run this season and 439th of his career for Jones, who is third on the …

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Ross has the Braves sh-sh-sh-Shakin’

SAN DIEGO – Damn you, Eddie Money and David Ross.

Not only can I not get Eddie Money’s “Shakin’” out of my mind, I actually found myself singing the unofficial team rally song aloud as I walked back to my hotel at midnight after Tuesday’s game. (Some of those unfortunate folks sleeping on sidewalks in San Diego’s Gaslamp Quarter must’ve thought, dude’s a dork.)

Ross (left) hugs Jair Jurrjens late Tuesday after Jurrjens pitched first complete-game win for Braves since 2009.

Ross (left) hugs Jair Jurrjens late Tuesday after Jurrjens pitched first complete-game win for Braves since 2009.

Since we’ve got a budding phenomena here, one that will likely last as long as the Braves stay reasonably hot, it demands to be addressed. So I went to the man at the center of it for answers. No, not the popular ‘80s rocker Eddie Money. Ross.

I’d noticed him singing the song in San Francisco last Friday, and each day since,. with the notable exception of Monday, when I did not hear Ross sing it in the clubhouse once before or after the game.

That night’s 13-inning loss is the only …

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Ross’ 2 HRs, J.J.’s CG, Chipper’s Mantle-matching RBIs lead Braves

SAN DIEGO – Braves backup catcher David Ross sang an Eddie Money ‘80s hit “Shakin’” as a good-luck ritual during a series sweep at San Francisco last weekend. On Tuesday, he and sh-sh-shook San Diego and Padres pitcher Aaron Harang.

Ross hit two homers to drive in four runs during the Braves’ 8-2 win against the Padres at Petco Park, where Jair Jurrjens pitched the first complete-game win for the Braves since 2009 and Chipper Jones matched a mark by the great Mickey Mantle.

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Braves quotes after 8-2 win over Padres

***DAVID ROSS

“That’s a nice way to get a game. Good thing Mac when 17 innings last night or whatever it was. I’ve got to think him for gutting it out yesterday.”

More comfortable facing guys you’ve caught a lot?

“Yeah, I think a little bit. I think you kind of know their tendencies a little more than other guys. And being a catcher, you know that guys will go to their strengths when they’re behind in the count or whatever, and if I know what that strength is… I think he was trying to go down and away and it was up. He didn’t make the pitch, both times. But he’s got good stuff. I’m fortunate to be able to get a couple off him.”

On Jurrjens getting it back after the long inning

“To be honest with you, I think with a seven-run lead, sometimes it’s kind of hard to get your concentration back after a long inning like that, and how locked in he was early on, making his pitches. For me, it was a little bit of a concentration lapse until they got some …

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Cristhian Martinez’s rough week got rougher

SAN DIEGO — Cristhian Martinez’s difficult week took another bad turn late Monday when the Braves reliever gave up a two-run, game-ending homer to San Diego’s Ryan Ludwick in the 13th inning of a 5-3 loss to the Padres.

It was the second extra-innings walk-off homer surrendered by Martinez in five days, and the third homer off the right-hander in three relief appearances over six days. His manager came to his defense a day later.

“That’s not his role,” Gonzalez said before Tuesday’s game at Petco Park. “His role is the middle of the game, long relief. And now we’re putting him in [late innings].”

Martinez gave up a game-ending two-run homer to the Dodgers’ Matt Kemp in the 12th inning of a 5-3 loss in Thursday’s series finale at Los Angeles. He didn’t pitch during the Braves’ three-game weekend sweep of the San Francisco Giants.

The slender Dominican was rested and back in late-innings pressure Monday, when he pitched perfect 11th and …

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After strong debut, Gearrin goes to work on Twitter

SAN DIEGO – Cory Gearrin made his major league debut Monday night seem easier than his next-day work on Twitter.

The Braves’ rookie reliever retired all six batters he faced and recorded two strikeouts during the ninth and 10th innings of Monday’s 5-3, 13-inning loss against the Padres.

“That was nice to see,” manager Fredi Gonzalez said of right-handed sidearmer’s debut, three days after Gearrin arrived from Triple-A Gwinnett. “That was a tough way to crack your first major league game. He did great. Didn’t walk a guy.”

Gearrin wasn’t quite as efficient trying to work through all the Twitter-follower messages he received in the hours after the game.

Gearrin, 25, had asked injured Braves reliever Peter Moylan, who’s wildly popular on the Twitter social-networking service, to spread the word and help get Gearrin (@CoryGearrin) more Twitter followers.

The result of Moylan’s “tweet” and a two-inning televised major league debut was more than …

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