(Carroll Rogers is filling in for David O’Brien today.)
So interleague play is over now, at least until the World Series, and the Braves finished their bumpy ride through the AL East at 8-10.
Safe to say we have our answer as to which division was more dominant, the A.L. East vs. the N.L. East. The A.L. East went 46-32 against the N.L. East during this interleague swing. The Yankees were the most dominant team, going 12-3 against the N.L. East, while the best the N.L. East had going was the Nationals who were 10-8.
The Yankees did do the Braves some favors, though, by keeping the Nationals and Mets in check, winning eight
of nine against those two, while the Braves dealt with their own ups and downs. Now the Braves enter this 10-game homestand starting tonight tied with the Mets in second place at only 3 ½ games behind the Nationals.
A.L. East N.L. East
Yankees 12-3 Nationals 10-8
Red Sox 9-6 Mets 8-7
Orioles 8-7 Braves 8-10
Blue Jays 8-7 Phillies 3-9
Rays 9-9 Marlins 3-12
So the Braves can gather a collective breath and get back to the National League. Two pretty formidable teams in their own right are headed to Turner Field, first with the surging Arizona Diamondbacks, then with the NL East first-place Nationals.
The Braves have lost six of their past seven games at home, to fall to only 15-17 at Turner Field overall this season, compared to 23-17 on the road.
While they were away, it got hot around these parts. Granted, it sounded like they got some hot days on the road, especially in New York in the day game on Wednesday, but summer has hit Atlanta for real, and it’s only going to get worse. According to weather.com, today and tomorrow will be pretty tame, with highs in the upper 80s, but from Thursday on, there are highs in the 90s for the rest of the homestand, and the high for Friday is actually 101 degrees. Oh…my….goodness.
The Diamondbacks will get one of those hot days on Thursday, and I have a little bit of a theory about West Coast teams coming here in the summer. I wonder if the heat gets to them. Yes, I know it’s hot in Arizona, but they close the roof at Chase Field and play in the AC, and I still argue that the dry heat ain’t as bad as when it gets so humid here and upper 90s. Out there, shade works.
Arizona is 22-26 all-time at Turner Field, and while there are quite a few other factors working, I wonder if the heat is at least one of them. Arizona has lost six of seven here too.
As for things that really matter – just in case I’m annoying anybody with this line of thinking – let’s go to the all-Hudson match-up tonight. Tim Hudson will be facing his cousin Daniel Hudson for the first time in his career. (OK fine, they’re not really cousins.)
Hudson is still bothered by the bone spurs in his left ankle and will likely be until he can have surgery in the offseason, but the Braves have still won three of his four starts since they first flared up before his May 30 start in St. Louis.
Daniel Hudson has had some injury issues of his own. He missed a month after being diagnosed with a right shoulder impingement and has struggled in his return. In five starts since coming off the DL, Hudson is 2-0 but with a 7.01 ERA. He’s allowed 34 hits in 25 2/3 innings over those five starts. Apparently he’s been wild in the strike zone only because he has only four walks compared to 22 strikeouts.
Daniel Hudson has faced the Braves only once, losing to Derek Lowe last Aug. 19 in a 4-2 game, after giving up four runs in six innings, including three home runs – to Michael Bourn, Brian McCann (two-run shot), and Chipper Jones.
D-backs shortstop and Hahira, Ga. native Stephen Drew, younger brother to one J.D. Drew, could return to
action as early as Wednesday after missing nearly a year with a broken ankle (July 20, 2011). He’s been rehabbing in the minors, played a couple of games in Mobile, and would reportedly join the team in Atlanta. He was hitting .263 (10-for-38) in 10 minor league games in Double-A and Triple-A.
The rotation has come back around to the veterans: Tim Hudson, Tommy Hanson and Jair Jurrjens to face the Diamondbacks, so the Braves have a little time to figure out what to do with the Randall Delgado and Mike Minor duo, who have either been really good of late, or really not.
The Braves could decide to make the move with Kris Medlen back into the rotation now, or they could try to hold out another few weeks, evaluate Jurrjens’ progress and whether he can continue his good work, and see if they can’t get the likes of a Ryan Dempster or Matt Garza on the trade market to bolster the rotation.
Since that Saturday night against the Orioles June 16, when Brandon Beachy left the game knowing something was wrong with his elbow, the Braves have gone 3-4, with the four losses coming in games pitched by Minor and Delgado.
Granted, that Sunday loss to the Orioles by Delgado was hard luck, after he pitched eight strong innings that day and took a 2-0 loss. But since then, Minor and Delgado have combined to give up 15 runs (12 earned) in 11 2/3 innings in three losses.
That same Sunday morning of the Orioles series, when it was pretty clear the news was grim for Beachy – who underwent Tommy John surgery on Thursday – I asked Chipper Jones talked about the importance now resting on the shoulders of Minor and Delgado:
“Yeah you’ve got to take the diapers off right now,” Jones said. “The learning curve is over. They’ve had 15, 20, 25 starts in the big leagues and it’s time that we get the Randall Delgado that we’ve gotten the last couple times out consistently. It’s time that we get the Mike Minor from the last two starts consistently. Mike Minor is not a .500 pitcher with a 7.00 ERA, I’m sorry, he’s not. It’s time that we start getting some consistency out of those guys. We’re going to need it now. With Beach going down, guys have got to step up and give us some good starts and give us the ability to keep us in the game until somebody can win it late.”
So far minus Beachy, it hasn’t happened.
This and that
The final All-Star voting updates in the National League are scheduled to be released this afternoon. The teams will be announced Sunday in a TBS show at 1 p.m. In-park balloting is over, but voting continues for starters online until midnight Thursday.
A couple of the Braves top draft picks have made their professional debuts and are off to great starts. Second-rounder Alex Wood, the left-hander out of the University of Georgia, made his pro debut last night in Single-A Rome, pitching two scoreless innings, allowing two hits, no walks, and four strikeouts. First-round pick Lucas Sims, the right-hander from Brookwood, followed suit this morning in the Gulf Coast League, throwing two innings, with no walks and three strikeouts.
1. Bourn 8
2. Heyward 9
3. Prado 7
4. McCann 2
5. Uggla 4
6. Jones 5
7. Freeman 3
8. Simmons 6
9. Hudson 1