O’Flaherty happy to be back in Seattle with Braves

SEATTLE — The last time Eric O’Flaherty pitched in Seattle, he had a 20.25 ERA and wore a Mariners uniform.

Things were quite different Monday, when the Walla Walla, Wash., native returned as a vital member of a Braves bullpen that had the best ERA (2.64) in the major leagues before Tuesday.

After securing 35 tickets for 35 friends and family members, O’Flaherty pitched a hitless eighth inning in Monday’s win. The left-hander trimmed his ERA to 1.24 – tied for second-best among National League relievers – and recorded his 15th hold, tied for third in the majors.

Not bad for a guy the Braves claimed off waivers from the Mariners after the 2008 season.

“I grew up in Eastern Washington, about 3 hours from here,” said O’Flaherty, a sixth-round draft selection by the Mariners in 2003. “But I bought a bought a place here [in Seattle] like, three weeks before I got put on waivers. I live here in the offseason.”

O’Flaherty relished the opportunity to come home during the summer, when Seattle’s 70-degree weather and sunshine are quite different than the chilly, rainy months he spends there during the baseball offseason.

He was waived after struggling with back problems and posting a 5.91 ERA in 78 relief appearances over parts of three seasons with the Mariners, including 20.25 in seven painful appearances in 2008, when it was feared he might need surgery.

O’Flaherty got on a strict conditioning regimen and made that same number of appearances (78) in just his first season with the Braves in 2009, posting a 3.04 ERA. He had a 2.45 ERA in 56 games last season, and this season he’s off to his best start yet.

He was slowed for a little more than a week this month by minor back stiffness, but O’Flaherty was healthy in time for this two-city trip to San Diego and his adopted hometown of Seattle. His 39 appearances were tied for fifth-most in the majors before Tuesday.

Coming back healthy and with a team in contention was what he wanted.

“It’s good to come in and get some wins, too,” he said. “We’ve got a tough couple of games ahead of us [Tuesday and Wednesday]. They’ve got some good pitchers — but we do, too.”

Asencio optioned

Reliever Jairo Asencio was optioned to Triple-A Gwinnett to open a roster spot for Tommy Hanson, who came off the DL to start Tuesday night’s game. Asencio had a 6.97 ERA in six appearances. He allowed 12 hits and eight earned runs in 5-1/3 innings over his past four games.

54 comments Add your comment

Lil Red

June 28th, 2011
9:54 pm

Great job for O’Flaherty.

Skip Caray

June 28th, 2011
9:58 pm

Heyward is killin me guys, starting to worry

Danthecone

June 28th, 2011
9:58 pm

Fredi was really playing with fire by letting O’ pitch for the 3rd consecutive night last night. Hopefully back issues don’t flare up again…

Younger Than That Now

June 28th, 2011
9:59 pm

Eric O is doing a great job for the Braves… not to mention that he’s a dead on look-a-like for Contemporary Christian music soloist Michael W. Smith!!

Pun patrol

June 28th, 2011
10:01 pm

I officially thumbs down the ‘Heyward is killing Skip Caray pun’. Poor taste

south georgia boy

June 28th, 2011
10:14 pm

Heyward: The second coming of Francouer, I’m afraid.

Ware Gator

June 28th, 2011
10:27 pm

I’ll 2nd that south georgia boy.

mathman

June 28th, 2011
10:28 pm

It looks like Hanson could have used a minor league stint before coming back. Having location problems in the first and throwing a lot of pitches. Grooved a fastball to Ichiro to lead off the game.

gcs

June 28th, 2011
10:34 pm

Was there an announced tape measure on McCann or Freddie’s HRs from last night? Those were some boomers.

.

Ware Gator

June 28th, 2011
10:37 pm

bombs away on hanson..you right mathman

Hinske Da Man

June 28th, 2011
10:43 pm

Please go back on the DL Hanson. At least there you can only handicap yourself and not the team. What a pathetic start to this game. Go figure, the Phillies already won and the Braves are getting beat again by a sub .500 team.

mathman

June 28th, 2011
10:48 pm

Whew. Close to a grandslam off Hanson. 2-0. His command is off. Fredi, also don’t send the runner (Freeman) when Uggla is at bat. You should know he is likely to K and Freeman is no speedster. Hanson is pitching, well like a guy who hasn’t ptiched in 15 days. Fredi is managing like, well Fredi. Looks bleak tonight. May be one of those nights where we tip our caps and Martinez is in, in the 4th or 5th inning.

Who me?

June 28th, 2011
10:49 pm

Dude can throw the rock.

NorCal Brave

June 28th, 2011
10:52 pm

Tommy’s a bit rusty, but there’ll be no help from our stellar lineup, on its way to another 2-hit night.

mathman

June 28th, 2011
10:52 pm

No hits for the Bravos after 3 innings. Walks by Schafer and Freeman. DP’s by Uggla and Heyward erased both of them. Chipper and McLouse swing and make outs on the 1st pitch. This team’s coaching is horrible. Going to have to tip our caps to this rookie pitcher.

Another Clueless Braves Blogger

June 28th, 2011
10:52 pm

Too early to call a no-hitter for the Mariners? This kid is electric.

mathman

June 28th, 2011
10:57 pm

Easy 3rd for Big Red. He knows if he gives up any runs, we are in trouble. Wait a minute, he has already given up 2 runs. We are in trouble.

mathman

June 28th, 2011
10:59 pm

Brave fans in Seattle look sad. They must know we are not going to score.

south georgia boy

June 28th, 2011
11:08 pm

Which are you the tiredist of seeing? Heyward bobbing up and down before the pitch or Uggla toe tapping before the pitch. Let me know.

mathman

June 28th, 2011
11:08 pm

We will not be no-hit. McCann gets a single. Hoss K’s.

Steve 34

June 28th, 2011
11:11 pm

Im not worrying at all about jason heyward…. hes 21 and will have some growing pains… he will definately turn it around.. just goin through the sophmore slump

mathman

June 28th, 2011
11:23 pm

Another homer off Big Red. 3-0. Hanson has thrown a lot of pitches. Sherrill warming up. In the 4th inning.

mathman

June 28th, 2011
11:24 pm

Uggla homers. Yes, Uggla.

mathman

June 28th, 2011
11:44 pm

Back to back hits by J Hey and McCann. Then, a run scores on E3 on Hoss grounder. 3-2. Freeman hits wicked liner to LF that is caught by the LF playing close to line.

mathman

June 28th, 2011
11:45 pm

No one else up in Braves country tonight? Bravos not done yet. Big Red still dealing in bottom of 6th. Can’t give up any more runs.

Who me?

June 28th, 2011
11:47 pm

gotta hit the hay. Here’s to the Bravos, 3-2 in the 6th. Needs to be 3-9 when I get up in the morning. How about that shot JHey hit back up the middle? You know Pineda’s life flashed before his eyes…..

mathman

June 28th, 2011
11:50 pm

Big Red strikes the side out in the bottom of the 6th. Quality start though it didn’t look like it would be in the first few innings.

mathman

June 28th, 2011
11:51 pm

Erik Cordier pitches 6 innings and wins tonight for Gwinnett. Cordier, too, throws in the low 90’s and is a major league prospect. Braves minors’ loaded with pitching.

mathman

June 28th, 2011
11:56 pm

Walk for Uggla. Need 2 run HR by Hinske. Walk to Hinske. Need A Gon to bunt. He seldom can or wants to.

mathman

June 29th, 2011
12:03 am

Fredi, you are an idiot. Didn’t even have Gonzalez attempt a bunt. He strikes out. Walk to McLouth. Bases loaded. One out. Schafer up.

zline

June 29th, 2011
12:05 am

I usually defend Fredi, but for
Gonzalez not to bunt is inexcusable.

zline

June 29th, 2011
12:09 am

Is this possibly the most annoying crowd ever? I had to turn the volume down.

mathman

June 29th, 2011
12:15 am

Schafer singles in tying run. Bases still loaded. J Hey whiffs. McCann singles in 2 runs. Braves up 5-3. Big Red leaves with the lead.

mathman

June 29th, 2011
12:37 am

Very shaky Sherrill, gives up 4 baserunners and a run. McCann threw out one trying to steal. Proctor strikes out one to end inning. 5-4 Bravos. Top of 8th. Probably no O’Flaherty tonight. Maybe, Linebrink, Venters, and Kimbrel can save it.

mathman

June 29th, 2011
12:48 am

Uggla gets hit by pitch, Hinske singles on hit and run to left. 1st and 3rd , 1 out. A Gon can’t get run home, grounding into FC, Uggla out at home. McLouse grounds weakly to 2nd. No runs. Venters coming in, bottom of 8th.

mathman

June 29th, 2011
12:54 am

Venters gets out of 8th. 2 Deep fly balls to RF and great catch by Heyward on the last one. Strikes out the 3rd batter. Venters looks like he needs a couple of days off. Hopefully, tomorrow and the off day Thursday. Batters are sqaring up a lot of balls and hitting them hard on Venters. Hopefully, Kimbrel can save this one.

mathman

June 29th, 2011
1:08 am

J Hey gets walk and McCann follows with his 4th single of the night. 1st and 3rd, one out. Chipper flies out to RF and J Heyward is thrown out at the plate on close call, which replays showed he was safe. Hand touches plate, before tag. Out says the ump.

mathman

June 29th, 2011
1:20 am

Ichiro strikes out on wicked slider by Kimbrel. One out. Ryan singles, goes to 2nd on WP. Kennedy K’s. 2 outs. Smoak pops up to A Gon. Braves Win. Braves win. 5-4

First half officially over. Braves project to 92 wins. That ought to win the wildcard. Kimbrel projects to 44 saves. Hanson projects to 18 wins and JJ to 20 wins. And, yet, we posters complain. A little more hitting in the 1st half would have produced 50 to 55 wins. Unheard of. Let’s hope Uggla is heating up. Get Prado back and all we need is a righthanded hitting CF to platoon with Schafer. Or, a SS for A Gon. He is as bad or worse right now than Uggla.

taudawg

June 29th, 2011
7:10 am

Sure are a lot of whiners and soft shelled fans on this board. Whine, whine and then realize the game is played for 9 full innings.

TH rebounded quite well tonight and lo and behold, the Braves scored 5 runs. That nine inning game always seems to come back and bite you in the chair cushion.

Smiling Jack

June 29th, 2011
7:34 am

I’m with you taudawg. The whinners and yakers offer pitiful play by play commentary. You think our pitchers get non support from the offense? Well, the non support from the whinners is even more gross and offensive. The game is a nine inning affair. A couple of defensive gems were recorded as well as timely hits by so called washed up, non performing players. Very good team! Go Braves!

KC Frenchy

June 29th, 2011
10:28 am

Hinske Da Man= Moron!!! How bout those Bravos!!! Bandwagon dummy, get off of here, you’re no Braves fan. Hanson is 1 of our untouchables you idiot! Mathman, get a life, you that bored you have to live on here, sad little dude! Smiling Jack=bingo! We dont want your play by play garbage, find something else to kill your time morons

The Lemmer

June 29th, 2011
10:32 am

OFlaherty would be 8th inning set up guy on most any other team, the dude has nasty stuff & were very lucky to have him as our 7th inning guy, lights out!!! Linebrink also would be 7th inning guy on most teams, not really concerned about Moylan coming back, were good in the ‘pen, just need to add a RH bat in the outfield FW?

John A.

June 29th, 2011
11:07 am

Frank & John should put together a package and bring Reyes here to take A Gon’s place. They have traded away most of our hitters (minors) so why not trade some of the excess pitching?

Mikey

June 29th, 2011
11:08 am

We have a RH for the outfield, his name is Martin Prado…was leading the team in hits prior to his injury and should be back next week…great come back win last night!

bball fan

June 29th, 2011
11:09 am

You should worry about Heyward. I think he is another Andrew Jones who thinks he’s the greatest thing since sliced bread and won’t listen to anybody.

Mikey

June 29th, 2011
11:13 am

J/A, Having “excess pitching” is like having excess money, you NEVER have too much…..just ask the Phillies how having 5 quality starters at the beginning is now down to 3.

The Lemmer

June 29th, 2011
11:27 am

Mikey, Prado is a good player but not a difference maker, he can come in to the infield & give Chipper/Uggly a break when Chippers hurt or Uggly sucks which we know both are gonna happen, he’s our LF now but not permanent, we STILL need to add a big RH bat in the outfield or maybe SS cause Gonzo aint gettin it done

Mikey

June 29th, 2011
12:04 pm

Lemmer, Agree we could use a RH power hitter somewhere in the lineup (Phillies would say the same) but SS is not the place you find them and I’m not willing to trade a “good young arm” like we did with Adam Wainwright and Neftali Feliz for another “rent a power hitter”

Come on now..

June 29th, 2011
12:29 pm

Mathman.. how many first pitches of games aren’t grooved?

J. Walter Lynch

June 29th, 2011
12:55 pm

David, it is different FROM, not different than.

Bag-O-Bats

June 29th, 2011
3:20 pm

Said it once, will say it again, Heyward is so over rated, it’s pathetic. I’m thinking that Hank has taken him under his wing and told him that he’s the best thing in baseball since Hank came along and the 21 year old kid believes him. If he has the talent everyone says he has, then he’s doing a doggone good job of hiding it.

[...] Atlanta Braves [...]

mark p

July 1st, 2011
11:29 am

Heyward is killing me. He has 18 RBI. His rate of travel for the year is 36. Bench/pinch hitters
have more than he does. Yes I understand the games missed, yes I understand the potential, yes I understand the abilities, but Chipper calling him out was more of a message than we gave it credit for. The Braves get this Ryan Klesko like infatuation with a player until it beats them into the ground. He is hurting the team, he looks “hurt” at the plate, and he would not tell you if he was ! Thats a problem. Package him up with a pitcher and trade for a quality outfielder. And none of that Uggla crap about see what you get….Heyward is a problem. Up too soon to the big club? Maybe….

Bama/Dog

July 1st, 2011
4:28 pm

Come on now,& Mathman! A little information for you to pass on to your baseball playing kids or any young prospective pitcher. In my opinion the best pitcher ever for the Braves was Greg Maddux. Here’s a quote by Maddux: “If a hitter has a tendency to swing at the first pitch, never throw him a strike on the first pitch” Pretty good advice(not from me) from a hall of famer.

There are a lot of opinions and advice from a lot of funny named writers in this blog. Some know, some think they know, and some don’t have a clue, but they are entitled to speak up. Do it while it is still the American way.

Mathman, evidently you watch the games. That’s a lot of bad ink for a team over .500 using 5 or more rookies.

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