Braves beat Marlins 6-1, move to 6-1 on homestand

For parts of the past three seasons, the Braves loved the flashes they saw from left-hander Mike Minor, they just wanted consistency.

On a rainy Thursday night, they got a little of both. Minor pitched his fifth straight start allowing two or fewer earned runs but a thunderstorm cut short his night after only 3 2/3 innings in a 6-1 win over the Marlins.

“I think you’re looking at a kid who’s kind of realized what he’s capable of doing and he’s going out and executing,” said Chipper Jones, who helped stake Minor to an early lead with a two-run double in the first inning. “I thought he was not as sharp as he has been the last couple of starts, but was still good enough to pitch that lineup well.”

Between Minor’s work and two-run doubles by Jones and Freddie Freeman, the Braves made Wednesday night’s loss to the Marlins look like an anomaly.

The 6-1 win made the Braves 6-1 on this homestand, and they are looking for more of the same with the Astros coming in town for the weekend. The Astros (35-71) have the worst record in baseball. Jones has been calling for an 8-2 homestand.

“I didn’t want to go any worse than 8-2, and I said 9-1 would be really, really good,” said Jones, who was 2-for-4 with two RBIs. “Actually I’d like 10-0, but we can’t be perfect every day…The Astros have been playing a little better so. I don’t know what the pitching matchups are, but certainly I expect us to win the series.”

It’ll start with Tim Hudson taking on Armando Galarraga on Friday, followed by Paul Maholm’s debut as a Brave against Lucas Harrell on Saturday.

The one loss on this homestand Wednesday cost the Braves a chance to make up ground on the Nationals, who lost on Wednesday but won Thursday and remain 2 ½ games up in the NL East.

Thunder, lightning and a fourth inning downpour forced Minor to leave Thursday’s game after only 55 pitches. A 42-minute delay proved a shame for Minor, who opened August the same way he pitched in July, with solid work.

Minor allowed only two hits, walked two and struck out one but could not qualify for the win since he didn’t pitch the requisite five innings in a nine-inning game. It was the first time he failed to go six or more innings since June 30 against Washington. He is 2-1 since then with a 1.74 ERA.

“It’s unfortunate but as long as we got the win,” Minor said. “The guys in the bullpen picked me up.”

Rather than keeping Minor warm by throwing indoors during the delay, manager Fredi Gonzalez sent reliever Cristhian Martinez back out to pitch in the fourth. He pitched three innings allowing only one run.

“It’s a situation where you always try to do the best for the young man,” Gonzalez said. “And we didn’t think running him back out there was prudent.”

The Braves bullpen has had to cover 19 innings in the past five games, which included two rain delays and the first start of the season for converted reliever Kris Medlen. In that time, Braves relievers allowed only two runs, one of which was earned, since Minor made his previous start Saturday with eight innings against the Phillies.

“It’s unbelievable,” Gonzalez said of the bullpen. “They’re running on fumes right now. We need to get a couple starters to go (deep) and Mother Nature to cooperate a little bit. Tip your hat off to those guys because they did a terrific job holding the Marlins team in check when we needed them to.”

Marlins right-hander Nathan Eovaldi, 22, was making his second start since coming from the Dodgers in the trade for Hanley Ramirez. He gave up six runs on eight hits in two innings and left before the rain even came into play.

Reed Johnson and Jason Heyward each reached base twice against him and scored twice. Dan Uggla singled in a run in an eight-pitch at-bat, to give him RBIs in four of his past five games.

“(Eovaldi) wasn’t getting many of his secondary pitches over,” Jones said. “He wasn’t getting many swings and misses with them, so it allowed us to be able to get fastballs in good counts and we didn’t miss them the first couple innings.”

Heyward finished the game 3-for-5 for his first three-hit game since June 24 at Boston.

61 comments Add your comment

Brandon

August 2nd, 2012
10:57 pm

And a new winning streak begins!

JoshTown

August 2nd, 2012
11:12 pm

Thanks Carroll! Great win, even though it took a while to get there tonight. Contributions from all the guys, Minor’s on a great track. Let’s turn it up on Houston. Go Braves!

nolakid21

August 2nd, 2012
11:13 pm

Big series. They need to be playing 100% and not take any team lightly.

pastormackdaddy

August 2nd, 2012
11:13 pm

when will maholm get his first start?

RanMan

August 2nd, 2012
11:15 pm

Brandon was first, but forgot to recognize himself. So I’m doing it for him.

Laughing out Loud

August 2nd, 2012
11:22 pm

Just maybe Brandon is sick and tired of the stupidly of claiming “first” and sought to set a better example to be followed. Just sayin…However, it’s a great win for the Bravs tonight. I think Maholm is suppose to start on Saturday. It sure is fun watching the Braves win. We can all brage how “we won.” but really we didn’t havea thing to do with the win…

blackdog

August 2nd, 2012
11:24 pm

RanMan

August 2nd, 2012
11:26 pm

Ahh…so Brandon is taking the high road? My bad. It just didn’t seem like a blog without SOMEBODY mentioning the first thingy.

Bronke

August 2nd, 2012
11:26 pm

Great win tonight. Freeman is the man. Love the look of the team this year. Go Braves keep on winning. I hope this team can pull it all together down the stretch. Will be pulling for you here

PaulG

August 2nd, 2012
11:28 pm

0k fredi haters …come forward now…point out all the mistakes he made tonight that prevented the braves from winning 26-1

Who Me?

August 2nd, 2012
11:32 pm

Maholm starts Saturday. Minor had good command tonight and was able to throw off-speed for strikes, Eovaldi was pitching BP in the first inning.

Nice to see Chipper heat up and Freeman get hot at the same time, dangerous combo when that happens. Looking forward to the weekend, Nats have the Marlins and we get the ’stros. Would be nice to see Miami win one and we sweep to close to 1.5 by Monday. Gotta stay focused and when what we’re supposed to win.

Who Me?

August 2nd, 2012
11:34 pm

correct that – should read “win what we’re supposed to win”. looooong day, sorry.

lakebay

August 2nd, 2012
11:50 pm

Check out the line on Dempster’s start tonight: 4.2 IP, 9 H, 8 ER, 2 HR

Some of God’s greatest gifts are unanswered prayers

Blaze

August 2nd, 2012
11:55 pm

Check on Lowe’s latest for Cleveland. Chalk up another good move this year by Wren.

Pippa's hiney

August 3rd, 2012
12:28 am

Like this team. Freeman da man. Just think what he will become once he learns to spit.

Brandon

August 3rd, 2012
12:49 am

I am looking forward to saying “First” once the Braves surpass the Nats in the standings haha

John Lenin

August 3rd, 2012
12:51 am

PaulG, are you FrediG’s nephew or something? You sure seem to champion the cause of anti-Fredi bashing. He’s made enough mistakes over the last year and a half to last for 10 more, so get over yourself. He’s still not a good manager & likely never will be. The Braves win despite him…Chipper is more of a manager than FG is, and commands more respect from his teammates and fans.

Bravissimo

August 3rd, 2012
1:11 am

Im sure you could do better John Lenin,,,didnt u get shot by Mark Chapman years ago??

John Lenin

August 3rd, 2012
1:34 am

Not the same guy, sorry. Spelling is very difficult for some people…lotsa letters in our alphabet…very tricky…

Fearless Iranian Man From Hell

August 3rd, 2012
2:03 am

The Reed Johnson acquisition will go largely unnoticed since the Braves are winning but his play is infectious. This guy is a gamer and shows up every night, I think this was a gem of a deal for Wren and I’m especially glad Dempster isn’t in a Braves uniform.

Teddy B

August 3rd, 2012
2:28 am

How about Martinez? He’s been solid ever since that monumental extra innings game against Pittsburgh last season. He’s a work horse that’s for sure. Pitches as long as you need him to. I was thinking if Medlen ever does go full time starter, put Martinez in his role as set up guy for the closers.

Just wanted to say good game to my dude Heyward, he’s a beast. WTG Braves, keep winning!

Brandon

August 3rd, 2012
2:44 am

agree Teddy B, except I felt he was great even before that 19 inning game

Coach (2012 Fredi's Beisbol Fandango)

August 3rd, 2012
3:29 am

“It’s unbelievable,” Gonzalez said of the bullpen. “They’re running on fumes right now. We need to get a couple starters to go (deep) and Mother Nature to cooperate a little bit. Tip your hat off to those guys because they did a terrific job holding the Marlins team in check when we needed them to.”

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

This statement coming from the same manager who watched his bullpen melt down in September of 2011. The starters had better be going seven innings or else we could see a repeat performance in 2012.

DeepDiver

August 3rd, 2012
5:09 am

Always good when Fredi is cap-tipping to his own guys, instead of the other team.

Back off of Fredi

August 3rd, 2012
6:06 am

Fredi is doing fine. If we can stay healthy from here on in, unlike last year, we should make the playoffs no problem.

Fredi 'Bush' Gonzalez

August 3rd, 2012
6:24 am

“would’n be prudent.”

man and dog

August 3rd, 2012
6:28 am

Let me make one thing perfectly clear – no matter what, Fredie still sucks.

Tricky Dickey

August 3rd, 2012
6:32 am

Let me make one thing perfectly clear. I agree with man and dog.

Tricky Dickey

August 3rd, 2012
6:37 am

…….and I’m not a crook………….

BraveFan

August 3rd, 2012
6:49 am

Fredi has managed a mid level payroll to the top of the standings. He has developed arguably the best bullpen in baseball and has made some good lineup moves like batting Heyward 3. If he did this while being an idiot as you guys seem to think then all the more admirable. I guess I will applaud him overcoming his idiocy to lead the Braves to the World Series this year.

DeepDiver

August 3rd, 2012
7:34 am

Come on. Managers only make a difference of a few wins or losses in a year. They just don’t have that big an impact.

The Fredi effect is most certainly negative, but it can be overcome.

Chris Snow

August 3rd, 2012
7:45 am

Uggla is showing signs of snapping out of his funk. If we can get him going, we can get a force to be reckoned with here the last 2 months of the regular season.

CLT Brave

August 3rd, 2012
8:06 am

great win….sorry that Minor couldnt pick up the win but what a start… Uggla update: he went 1 for 4 last night with a RBI… average now up to .210 (since All Star break, 9 for 54 .167) It is good to seem him get a hit (especially with a runner in scoring posit.) I hope he continues his improvement against the ’stros…..

ijudgenot

August 3rd, 2012
8:15 am

“Uggla showing signs of snapping out of his funk”
I wish I could agree with you but the two hits he has gotten with runners on base the last two games were a result of pitchers mistakes(hanging sliders or letter high middle-in fastball). When the pitcher has enough command to pitch to the outer half of plate with his fastball and breaking pitches, Uggla will either strikeout or hit a pop up somewhere. It’s amazing that the headline reads “braves rest struggling Prado” but they keep running Uggla out there. Why not rest this guy a couple of days and let Prado play second and Johnson LF. Of the guys who have struggled t times this r at the plate Heyward, Freeman,McCann we have seen a different mental approach except from Uggla. It’s like he is saying the pitchers will forget how to get me out and start throwing me a lot of middle-in fastballs for me to hit just wait and see.

GTJoe

August 3rd, 2012
8:32 am

I think that is exactly what you will see this weekend…..if not tonight. Fredi rested Bourn first…..then Prado….Uggla is next….

Falcons Girl

August 3rd, 2012
8:45 am

chris

August 3rd, 2012
9:08 am

Thank you BraveFan! Fredi gets shelled on these boards. Look at what he has had to deal with this year: struggling 2nd baseman, JJ, Minor’s first 10 starts, Hanson on DL, Chipper playing every other day (maybe), 1st baseman who couldn’t see, a catcher who struggled the first half, Pastornicky’s defense, Simmons injury, Delgado struggling, Hudson missing the start of the year, etc. . . . .and yet all we hear is about how Fredi sucks. Everyone with “Braves” on their chest has contributed to our wins and losses, and we have a pretty good record.

Person

August 3rd, 2012
9:15 am

“….the two hits (Uggla) has gotten with runners on base the last two games were a result of pitchers mistakes…”

Good hitters hit pitchers’ mistakes, that’s always been true. Good pitching always beats good hitting – the ’90’s Braves are simple proof of that. If all Uggla does the rest of the season is smash pitchers mistakes, he’ll be just fine. Great pitching will continue to get him out, as it will the rest of the lineup.

Screwball

August 3rd, 2012
9:24 am

The pleasant recent results have come against very bad teams – and now here come the Astros. As Chipper said, 10-0 was possible on this homestand. Admittedly, you play the teams on your schedule and it will even out. But, let’s not start printing WS tickets just yet.

After Houston … the Braves play the Phillies Mets and Padres.

They should come out of this wih something like 17 out of 20.

They have nothing really testing until their W coast trip late in the month.

southern hope

August 3rd, 2012
9:28 am

Naive baseball question here but the statement about the bullpen ““They’re running on fumes right now.” — now why is that? They pitch one inning a night…sometimes 2…and sometimes not at all….and they’re 25-years-old. Again, I know I sound like an idiot writing that….and I know that I can’t even throw a ball across a room….but I guess I need a better understanding of how often a pitcher can work.

Ken Stallings

August 3rd, 2012
9:46 am

Apparently, facts mean little to some here. Go look up the data for yourself and you will discover that our bullpen appearances are down 20% from last season at this time. Appearances (not innings pitched) are the prime stat when it comes to worry about bullpen overuse. While I criticized the overuse of the bullpen last year, I also acknowledged it was a result of the stagnant offense forcing Gonzalez to use them to preserve one-run leads.

This year, the offense is scoring a lot more and whenever Fredi Gonzalez has had the chance to let a starting pitcher go a few more innings he has done so. The latest example was on Wednesday with Ben Sheets going 7 innings with the Braves trailing 4-2. The Braves hitters came real close on multiple occasions to breaking through and tying or taking the lead in that game, but could not get the key RBI hit.

Last night the weather forced Gonzalez to go early to the bullpen and that was his primary concern.

I don’t mind people criticizing the manager (or players or GM). I just wish people would show the wisdom to do it based on facts and not some urge to engage in sophomoric ranting.

Ken Stallings

August 3rd, 2012
9:48 am

SH,

To answer your question, a bullpen pitcher should be limited to about 3 appearances a week, perhaps 4. Anything more than that as an average runs risk of overuse. I am sure the team is counting on Moylan to return to form and take some of the load. The Braves have pitching depth and may end up using it by sending bullpen pitchers to the minors to sit a lot. It certainly won’t help the minor league team records, but it can be a wise method to get around the roster limits but at the same time limit appearances.

Ken Stallings

August 3rd, 2012
9:52 am

Screwball,

Yes, you are right that the winning streak is happening with a series of weak opponents. But, don’t forget that the Braves went to Washington and split a four-game series. Despite the time passed, those two wins against the Nationals remain a healthy chunk of their losses since then. The Nats haven’t lost a lot of games, so those two still stand out and indicate that the Braves are feasting on weak teams but are not capable of beating the best ones also.

Ken Stallings

August 3rd, 2012
9:52 am

Screwball,

Yes, you are right that the winning streak is happening with a series of weak opponents. But, don’t forget that the Braves went to Washington and split a four-game series. Despite the time passed, those two wins against the Nationals remain a healthy chunk of their losses since then. The Nats haven’t lost a lot of games, so those two still stand out and indicate that the Braves are feasting on weak teams but are capable of beating the best ones also.

Ken Stallings

August 3rd, 2012
9:54 am

Sorry for the duplicate post! Tried to edit the original and it then posted twice! Why cannot the AJC’s blog software facilitate editing of one’s own posts! Nearly all others allow it!

BrandonLee49

August 3rd, 2012
9:57 am

Another Solid Outing for Mike Minor. Somebody Wake up Mark Bradley. he’s still stuck on the same column he wrote 6 weeks ago. Braves Offense is improving, and the Starters are doing their job well, when Mother Nature can cooperate. FG is tipping his hat again, so he’s not worried in the least.

Kendell Jones

August 3rd, 2012
10:32 am

I have always believed that those people who are in the bullpen could pitch as well starting a game as they could come in and putout the fire. In days gone by, I will make reference to the Old Negro teams whose pitchers would start a game, win it, and turn around and pitch another game without any hamful effects. And the fact of the matter is they played for peanuts considering how much is being payed the players of today. The bullpen is whee the bulls should be and the pitchers all should be setting wiith the rest of the team, and if needed, let them warm up on the sideline, I say let them all be equal, and pay them a good salary, but millions of dollars is crazy. And the owners who pay that are also crazy.

DoninAcworth

August 3rd, 2012
10:39 am

I agree with Chris, if Uggla will bring himself back nice and easy to go with his fielding I too believe he will refind his stroke and then watch what happens to the Braves. As for Chipper… well look at him… he is in hog heaven. Now Chipper, while the others are doing okay, take Dan under your wing and prove to everyone you would make a good hitting coach. This team is looking like they want to take over first place!

southern hope

August 3rd, 2012
10:56 am

thank you Ken! super-interesting.

southern hope

August 3rd, 2012
10:58 am

Kendall, i hear you! Pitching has become so hyper-specialized….like race-horses….

RunninWithTheDawgs

August 3rd, 2012
11:00 am

What goes around comes around. GO BRAVES!

arizona brave

August 3rd, 2012
11:07 am

Uggla should be given some time off,no one can help him if he won’t listen not even Chipper.He keeps going back to the upper cut swing.

arizona brave

August 3rd, 2012
11:07 am

Uggla should be given some time off,no one can help him if he won’t listen not even Chipper.He keeps going back to the upper cut swing.

RunninWithTheDawgs

August 3rd, 2012
11:09 am

Kendell — I agree 100% with your opinion (10:32 am post) about bull pen pitchers. Also can you imagine what players like Hank Aaron and Willie Mays would be making today as opposed to what they made in the late ’60’s,and even these guys were highly paid compared to the players you’re talking about.

the truth...

August 3rd, 2012
11:14 am

When I see the babying of today’s pitchers, I am amazed at what pansies they are made into. I don’t agree with Leo Mazone on everthing he says, but one thing that stands out is his approach to the routine and training that pitchers practice.

If any of you have seen the “Boys In The Hall” series on old time Hall Of Famers, a great episode is one on Warren Spahn…one of my favorites as I was a kid in the 50’s. Spahn was and is the winningest left in history…363 wins against 245 losses.

13 times he won OVER 20 games in a season….
382 complete games….382…..do you hear that?
The longest game pitched….Spahn and Marichal..16 innings Spahn pitched…Spahn at 42 yrs old

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2011/writers/the_bonus/06/28/kaplan.spahn.marichal/index.html

So today we have an entire generation of pitchers that pitch 5 innings and get a win…..6 innings is a “quality start”…..

Nolan Ryan pitched into his 40’s…..Spahn…..

No Tommy John in that era….

Let the kid pitch in the tunnel and “run him back out there” and let him at least get 5 Fredi………

You keep running Uggla out there don’t you…..maybe he needs to go three and out….if you hit you stay in….if you don’t you sit….

Braint

August 3rd, 2012
11:27 am

The schedule evens out for everyone — although the Braves and the NL East could be considered a little tougher due to the fact they play the AL East in interleague. It’ nice to finally have a little breather in the schedule because there was a time a few weeks ago where it seemed all their games were played vs. 1st place or wild card contending teams.

alanfalcon

August 3rd, 2012
12:26 pm

Mike has arrived and based on his last performances will only get better, thanks Mike we need your arm in the rotation.

Brave New World

August 3rd, 2012
1:26 pm

Sometimes the best trades are the ones not made. Dempster didn’t look so good in his first Rangers start. BTW, where are all the “proud” Philly fans these days? Their team is back where it belongs – last place. GO BRAVES!

Patrick Romano WAR DAMN EAGLE

August 3rd, 2012
1:45 pm

Go Braves, Saw them sweep the pesky Phillies last W/End…Awesome..

Ken Stallings

August 3rd, 2012
2:02 pm

Interesting points raised about innings pitched by starters. True, we can point to immortal hall of fame pitchers for examples such as Warren Spahn or Satchel Paige. However, not mentioned is the way that people analyzed games played back in that era to discover how many runs were scored late in games when lesser pitchers caved in. Also, career ending injuries were more prevalent back then.

One more point, pitching velocity is so much higher today than back then. That causes more strain.

Today, managers are not willing to let a pitcher give up late runs. The game has changed in that respect and the changes started to happen in the late 1970’s. Billy Martin was one of the first managers to make extensive use of the bullpen and he had success doing it.

Leo Mazzone’s prime input to pitcher training is throwing simulated innings between starts. Leo believes it promotes arm strength and lessens chronic injuries. He may be right. The key was limiting the starting pitchers to about 70% effort during those simulated sessions. However, other people point out that other than the immortals Tom Glavine and Greg Maddux, that every other Braves starting pitcher ended up having arm troubles of various sorts, including John Smoltz.

The Braves did have a number of superstar pitchers flame out with chronic injuries, most notably Steve Avery, Pete Smith, and Kent Mercker. So, there is evidence to suggest that Leo benefitted primarily from being blessed with three hall of fame pitchers on the same staff vice anything truly innovative and beneficial in his philosophy.

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7:18 pm

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