Archive for August, 2012

Braves venture into September after loss to Phillies – updated

As much as the Braves want to distance themselves from last September, they keep finding ways to remind people of it.

Friday night was a prime example. The Braves blew multiple leads, including a one-run lead in the ninth by Craig Kimbrel, and lost to the Phillies in 10 innings 8-5.

The Braves headed into September conjuring up memories of last September’s wild card collapse, which they completed on the last day of the season with an extra-inning loss to the Phillies after a blown save by Kimbrel.

The reigning National League rookie of the year has blown only three saves since then, and two of them have come against the Phillies. This time a stray 0-2 fastball to Erik Kratz cost him a solo home run in the ninth – the first home run in six Kimbrel has allowed as a major leaguer on an 0-2 count.

“I was trying to elevate on him and it didn’t go high enough,” said Kimbrel, who blamed location on the 99 mph pitch, more than familiarity Phillies hitters have with him now. …

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Braves acquire utility player Baker from Detroit

Looking for more right-handed hitting to add to their bench, the Braves acquired utility player Jeff Baker after he’d been designated for assignment Friday by Detroit, for a player to be named or cash considerations.

By making the trade before midnight Friday, Baker would be eligible to play on the Braves postseason roster.

Baker, 31, has batted .254 (43-for-169) with four home runs and 24 RBI in 69 games with the Tigers and Chicago Cubs this season. He has hit .298 (189-for-634) in his career against left-handers, including .248 (29-for-117) with 10 doubles and three home runs this season.

“We’re a left-handed hitting dominant team,” Braves general manager Frank Wren said. “And one of the things we’ve been trying to do is get a little more balance and get another right-handed bat….We seem to get a lot of not only left-handed starters but left-handed relievers stacked up late in a game because of all our left-handed hitters. It gives Fredi (Gonzalez) another …

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Overbay, Moylan in first wave of four Sept. call-ups

Veteran first baseman Lyle Overbay and reliever Peter Moylan are among four players the Braves are planning to call up Saturday when rosters expand. This will be the first wave of September call-ups, as the Braves plan to bring up another wave when the minor league season ends on Monday.

Knowing something could change overnight, the Braves did not announce the four but they are also expected to bring up catcher J.C. Boscan and outfielder Jose Constanza.

Moylan will return to the majors for the first time in a year, after undergoing shoulder surgery on Oct. 3. Moylan has undergone three major surgeries in the past five years, including elbow ligament transplant surgery in 2008. He missed most of last season after surgery for a bulging disc before returning in September. He made only six appearances before his shoulder flared up, and he was diagnosed with a torn labrum and rotator cuff.

Moylan tweeted on Friday night: “I can’t thank the @braves enough for yet another …

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Simmons could begin rehab assignment Tues.; Wilson released

The Braves gave two pretty good indications Friday that shortstop Andrelton Simmons is progressing well in his recovery from a broken right hand – he was cleared by hand specialist Dr. Gary Lourie to begin all baseball activities – and they released veteran reserve Jack Wilson.

Simmons got a good report after being X-rayed and examined by Braves Lourie Friday, who will re-examined him again Sunday. If all goes well, he will likely head out on a minor league rehabilitation assignment beginning Tuesday.

“He’s making real progress,” Braves general manager Frank Wren said before Friday’s game. “We’re encouraged by how he’s progressing.”

Triple-A Gwinnett’s season ends on Monday so the Braves will likely send Simmons either to Single-A Lynchburg or low A Rome, both of whom are headed for the playoffs. The Braves have been targeting a possible mid-September return for Simmons, who is now eight weeks removed from fracturing his fifth metacarpal sliding into second …

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Spoiler alert? Here come Halladay, Lee and Hamels

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

Beware of the spoilers. The standings say the Braves have to feel pretty good about their schedule from

Doc is 0-1 with an 8.74 ERA in two starts vs. Braves this year

Doc is 0-1 with an 8.74 ERA in two starts vs. Braves this year

here on out. Of the last 31 games of the regular season, only six are against teams with winning records – three against Washington on Sept. 14-16 and three against Pittsburgh Oct. 1-3.

(The Nationals, by the way, have twice that number, with 12 games in their final 31 games against winning teams, including six more against St. Louis, three against Atlanta, and three against the Dodgers.)

But overall records can be deceiving. The Braves figured this out pretty well in San Diego after dropping two of three to the Padres to end their 10-game road trip. They scored only four runs in three games against a Padres team which is 10 games under .500 for the season but has now won nine out of its past 10.

(And after losing two of three to the …

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Braves say things are better as another September looms

SAN DIEGO – The Braves lead the National League wild-card race but have lost eight of the past 12 games as September approaches. Fans can be forgiven if this is starting to feel all too familiar.

Twelve months isn’t a lot of time to forget one of the worst collapses ever by a would-be postseason team.

The Braves’ mantra since spring training has been that last season’s meltdown – 20 losses in the final 30 games – was something they learned from and made them stronger, but was otherwise behind them. They still said something to that effect Wednesday, on the last day of a 4-6 trip that included series losses at Washington and San Diego and a four-game split at San Francisco.

“I’m not thinking about last year, I’m not thinking about yesterday, I’m not thinking about tomorrow,” third baseman Chipper Jones said after Wednesday’s 8-2 loss against the Padres, in which the Braves played uncharacteristically sloppy defense and got a rough outing from Tommy …

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Next for Braves: Philadelphia Phillies

Series preview: vs. Phillies

When (TV): 7:35 p.m. Friday (WPCH), 4:05 p.m. Saturday (FOX), 5:05 p.m. Sunday (FSSO)

Radio: 680, 93.7, 100.5

Probable starting pitchers:

Friday: Braves LH Mike Minor (7-10, 4.71 ERA) vs. RH Roy Halladay (8-7, 3.88)

Saturday: Braves RH Tim Hudson (13-4, 3.57) vs. LH Cliff Lee (3-7, 3.67)

Sunday: Braves LH Paul Maholm (11-9, 3.44) vs. LH Cole Hamels (14-6, 2.99)

About the Braves:

Batting: Jason Heyward went 0-for-his-last-10 on the road trip, after going 12-for-29 (.414) with four home runs and eight RBIs to start it. Michael Bourn went 5-for-35 (.143) on the trip. Brian McCann showed signs of regaining form, going 9-for-28 (.321). The Braves will face two more lefties in this series, extending their major-league lead to 53 games against left-handed starters. They are 24-27 in those games. They will have faced seven left-handers in 11 games.

Pitching: Minor won for the first time in four starts his last time out, 7-3 over the Giants, largely because …

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Braves quotes after Wednesday’s loss to Padres


On the sloppy 5th inning and the loss

“We dropped a fly ball; that’s going to happen. A little miscommunication there with Pauly [Janish] and Chipper. But we had a chance to get out of it. The bunt that they popped up to the infield, we’ve got to get an out there. At the very least catch it in the air. And we didn’t do that, and they scored two.”

“We put a number up [run in the fifth] and we just couldn’t do anything else until the home run by Rossy. You feel like we had a chance to win the series today with Tommy on the mound. Didn’t happen. We go back on the plane 4-6. We were shooting to go back 5-5. Take the off day and regroup a little bit, then get the Phillies at home.

“But we had some opportunities early and just couldn’t take advantage. I don’t think we put a crooked number up the whole series. What did we have, a solo home run and another run yesterday, and one run today in each [of two] frames? You’re not going to win …

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Braves blown out in San Diego, finish 4-6 trip with thud

SAN DIEGO – They didn’t win any of three series on their 10-game trip, and the Braves had plenty of time on a cross-country flight home to think about an opportunity wasted.

Braves bats stayed quiet and pitcher Tommy Hanson had another lackluster outing in an 8-2 loss to San Diego on Wednesday afternoon at Petco Park, where the Braves dropped two of three games to finish 4-6 on a three-city trip that left them right where they were when it began — five games behind  NL East leader Washington.

“Just a frustrating end to the road trip,” said third baseman Chipper Jones, who was charged with a two-base error in the fifth inning, when he and shortstop Paul Janish miscommunicated on a pop-up. “Especially a play like that. It looks bad. Then to compound it, we don’t field the bunt right after that, and all of a sudden a one-run lead is a three-run lead.”

A popped up bunt landed between catcher David Ross and Hanson (12-7), who then tried to field in on the bounce and grabbed …

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Versatile Prado appreciated by Braves teammates

SAN DIEGO – After starting games at four different positions during the long weekend series at San Francisco, Martin Prado made it five positions in seven games Wednesday when he started at first base against San Diego.

“Oh, man, that’s impressive because you know it’s tough,” Braves right fielder Jason Heyward said. “I mean, people say they just want to be on the field or they just want to be in the lineup. That’s true, but at the same time, your mind has to operate differently at different positions.”

Prado was an All-Star second baseman in his first year as a lineup regular in 2010, and the Braves moved the former utility man to left field after trading for Dan Uggla after the 2010 season.

He quickly developed into a quality defensive left fielder, while continuing to serve as a backup at third base and second base and occasionally at first base and shortstop – his least-proficient positions, but ones that he plays at least serviceably. His start at …

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