Braves have one more vs. Dodgers before Big Trip

Good morning or afternoon to everyone out in Braves Country and parts beyond. In case you missed it earlier, the line of the day has already been uttered. It was in the clubhouse this morning, Tim Hudson announced to the rest of the players that chapel would be starting shortly.

Without missing a beat, Eric Hinske replied, “Take my bats with you.”

Ba-da-bum tcsh.

The Braves will leave town this afternoon to start a crucial 10-game road trip that kicks off with a marquee matchup against the NL East-leading Nationals at Washington, a series that will feature two of the three hottest teams in the majors over the past six weeks (Cincinnati is the other) and could go a long way in determining whether the Braves can realistically catch them.

Chipper Jones is resting his achy knees today, which means he might try to play all three games against the Nationals in the big series starting Monday.

Chipper Jones is resting his achy knees today, which means he might try to play all three games against the Nationals in the big series starting Monday.

After D.C., they’ll trek across the country for a four-game series at San Francisco and three at San Diego.

But first, there’s an important game this afternoon against the Dodgers, which the Braves need to win if they want to extend their streak of series wins – it’s currently at seven – and be assured of going to D.C. either three or four games behind the Nationals, instead of potentially five if the Braves were to lose and the Nats win today.

The Braves can’t afford to look ahead past today’s game, because they’re facing one of the majors’ hottest pitchers in Chad Billingsley, who is 5-0 with a 1.56 ERA and .209 opponents’ average in his past five starts, with only one homer and six walks allowed in 34-2/3 innings.

The right-hander is is a mere 1-3 despite a respectable 3.67 ERA in nine games (seven starts) against the Braves, and he’s allowed only one homer in 41-2/3 innings against them. Billingsley lasted just four innings (nine hits, five runs, three earned) in his last start against them, getting a no decision in that Sept. 2 Dodgers win in Atlanta.

He’ll face Mike Minor, who has pitched better lately than a lot of people realize, judging from the number of comments I get from people who think Minor should or will be the pitcher dropped from the six-man rotation at the end of the month.

Minor has a 2.45 ER and .219 opponents’ average in his past seven starts, with 35 strikeouts and eight walks in 44 innings. He’s only 2-3 in in that stretch, but that’s primarily because the Braves scored no runs while he was in three of those starts, and two and one while he was in two others.

• Uggla’s extreme season: Did you know that Dan Uggla leads the NL in walks (75) and is tied for the NL lead in strikeouts (137)? Well, he does and is. Uggla is on pace for 185 strikeouts, which would obliterate the franchise record of 156 that he set last season. No other Brave has ever struck out 150 times.

By the way, did you know Joe DiMaggio never struck out as many as 40 times in a season? Or that Hank Aaron never struck out 100 times? Or that Albert Pujols, in an era when strikeouts don’t seem like much of a concern to many, still has struck out as many as 70 times only twice in his career? Pujols has 472 career homers and 763 strikeouts.

Today’s remarkable stats: The great Ted Williams never struck out as many as 50 times in a season after the age of 23. And DiMaggio finished with almost as many homers (361) as strikeouts (369).

Anyway, getting back to Uggla: He’s on pace for 101 walks, which would be nine more than his career high set in 2009 with Florida, and would tie Chipper Jones’ 2009 total for 10th on the Atlanta Braves chart. Jones has three of the top 10 Atlanta walks totals, including 126 to equal Darrell Evans’ 1974 total for second behind Jimmy Wynn’s Atlanta-record 127.

The all-time franchise record for walks is 131 by Bob Elliott in 1948.

Problem is, Uggla is still hitting just .212 with 15 home runs, after hitting a career-low .233 with 36 homers last year in his first season with the Braves. Uggla had a .263 average in five seasons with the Marlins, including a career-best .287 with an .877 OPS in his final season with them in 2010, before the Braves traded for him that November and signed him to a five-year, $62 million contract extension that same winter.

Uggla is on pace for 20 home runs, after hitting 31 or more in each of the past five seasons. His career low is 27 as a Marlins rookie in 2006.

Etc.

Sheets gave up four homers and six runs Saturday, only the third time Atlanta has allowed more than four runs during its torrid stretch since July 3.

Sheets gave up four homers and six runs Saturday, only the third time Atlanta has allowed more than four runs during its torrid stretch since July 3.

Atlanta’s bullpen has a 1.63 ERA during the team’s majors-best 29-12 run since July 3. The Nationals are 29-14 during that same period, and the Reds are 29-13. Since returning from the 15-day DL, Jonny Venters has not allowed a run in 10 appearances, posting a .152 opponents’ average with five hits, six walks and 11 strikeouts in 9-2/3 innings….

Craig Kimbrel has 60 strikeouts, an 0.53 ERA and .081 opponents’ average in 34 innings over his past 34 appearances….

The Braves are 18-6 with a 2.08 ERA in their past 24 games, and Saturday’s 6-2 loss was just the third time an opponent scored more than four runs against the Braves during that period….

The Braves have two of the NL’s five lowest home batting averages, Uggla at .176 (second-lowest) and McCann at .220 (fifth)….

Three of the highest eight NL strikeout totals belong to Braves: Uggla (137, tied with Washington’s Danny Espinosa for the lead), Jason Heyward (sixth with 122 strikeouts) and Michal Bourn (eighth with 119)….

Juan Francisco’s walk-off single in Friday’s 4-3 win against the Dodgers was the first game-winning RBI by a Braves pinch-hitter this season. Reed Johnson had his majors-leading 15th pinch-hit three innings earlier. Braves pinch-hitters have a meaguer .155 average through July 27, but are 9-for-25 (.360) since then. Johnson came from the Cubs in a July 30 trade.

BRAVES LINEUP

  1. Bourn CF
  2. Prado LF
  3. Heyward RF
  4. Freeman 1B
  5. Uggla 2B
  6. Francisco 3B
  7. McCann C
  8. Janish SS
  9. Minor P

• OK, let’s get this up so you can read it before the game. Brian McCann is back in the lineup, as expected, after being held out the past two starts to rest his troublesome shoulder. And Chipper Jones, as he tweeted after last night’s game, is out of the lineup today to rest his achy knees.

We’ll close with one of my favorite tunes by John Hiatt, and a video that also features guitarist Sonny Landreth. Watch and listen to it by clicking here.

large_hiatt

“MEMPHIS IN THE MEANTIME” by John Hiatt

I got something to say little girl
You might not like my style
But we’ve been hanging around this town
Just a little too long a while
You say you’re gonna get your act together
Gonna take it out on the road
But if I dont get outta here pretty soon
My head’s going to explode

Sure I like country music
I like mandolins
But right now I need a telecaster
Through a vibro-lux turned up to ten

Lets go to Memphis in the meantime baby
Memphis in the meantime girl

I need a little shot of that rhythm baby
Mixed up with these country blues
I wanna trade in these ol country boots
For some fine Italian shoes

Forget the mousse and the hairspray sugar
We dont need none of that
Just a little dab’ll do ya girl
Underneath a pork pie hat

Until hell freezes over
Maybe you can wait that long
But I dont think Ronnie Milsap’s gonna ever
Record this song

Lets go to Memphis in the meantime baby
Memphis in the meantime girl

Lets go to Memphis in the meantime baby
Memphis in the meantime girl

Maybe there’s nothin’ happenin’ there
Maybe there’s somethin’ in the air
Before our upper lips get stiff
Maybe we need us a big ol whiff

If we could just get off-a that beat little girl
Maybe we could find the groove
At least we can get a decent meal
Down at the Rendez-vous

‘Cause one more heartfelt steel guitar chord
Girl, it’s gonna do me in
I need to hear some trumpet and saxophone
You know sound as sweet as sin

And after we get good and greasy
Baby we can come back home
Put the cowhorns back on the cadillac
And change the message on the cord-a-phone

But…

Lets go to Memphis in the meantime baby
Memphis in the meantime girl

– David O’Brien, Braves/MIB blog

1,487 comments Add your comment

flange1

August 19th, 2012
1:27 pm

Thanks for the new blog DOB!

phil

August 19th, 2012
1:28 pm

First!!!!!!!

Or second?

Third?

MIBravesFan

August 19th, 2012
1:28 pm

At least Skee still has his sense of humor. Thanks for the new blog, DOB. Interesting reading as always.

McFann :Ô: :Ô: :ô:

August 19th, 2012
1:29 pm

Thanks for the new Blog, Chief! Funny line form Hinske…

Sopheeee

Welcome back! You were the first one I thought of when Melky got suspended!… ;)

phil

August 19th, 2012
1:29 pm

Thank you, David.

And before anyone flips out, I’m kidding about the first thing.

nolie

August 19th, 2012
1:31 pm

Thank you DOB

nolie

August 19th, 2012
1:31 pm

That does not make it a good idea Hugo

Venice Jim

August 19th, 2012
1:32 pm

Thanks, DOB!!!

phil

August 19th, 2012
1:33 pm

Nolie polie kissin up to DOB…

jeffrey d

August 19th, 2012
1:34 pm

Animus

August 19th, 2012
1:34 pm

Kevin McAlpin @KevinMcAlpin

Charley Steiner (on Chipper): “He may not be in a class by himself, but it sure don’t take long to call the roll

Fantastic line and exactly how I view him. We’ve had the privilege of watching him here for years, and sadly many fans just don’t realize how lucky they were. Gonna miss him after this year.

Brava

August 19th, 2012
1:34 pm

Woohoo! Go Braves!!!

bravesgrl4life

August 19th, 2012
1:34 pm

thanks for the new blog, DOB!

Hi, McFann. Hope our boy knocks a couple out or at least doubles today :)

Sopheee

August 19th, 2012
1:35 pm

Thanks, DOB!

Haaa, thanks McFann. I did a celebration dance and everything especially after the nonsense he pulled in the Giants series here.

Bravefaninok

August 19th, 2012
1:35 pm

Thanks for the new blog

VaBravesFan

August 19th, 2012
1:37 pm

Dodgers overpaid Eithier for sure..

TuffShhhtuff

August 19th, 2012
1:37 pm

Interesting reading if you are a “stathound”!

Hugo Z Hackenbush

August 19th, 2012
1:38 pm

Nolie, don’t recall saying it was a good idea. Said it wasn’t unprecedented.

phil

August 19th, 2012
1:39 pm

A few umps aren’t fat butts….

A rarity.

BFChris27

August 19th, 2012
1:39 pm

Thanks for new blog 8-)

One-Eyed Mac

August 19th, 2012
1:40 pm

The Braves have to sweep the Nationals. Winning 2 of 3 only gains us a game and I don’t think that’s enough given how the Nats have played against everyone else.

If I were the Nats, after the Braves series, I would essentially shut Strasburg down for the rest of the regular season, maybe pitch him in relief just enough to keep him sharp for the playoffs.

nolie

August 19th, 2012
1:41 pm

meaning what then? I never said it didn’t happen B4

Mark

August 19th, 2012
1:41 pm

Man

Wish the Braves would back these Sunday start times up a bit. Tough to get in form church, eat, change and get comfortable before the game.

Been a grreat day so far = Hope the Braves can add to it!

nolie

August 19th, 2012
1:41 pm

neither did anybody else that i saw

DiamondbackMac

August 19th, 2012
1:42 pm

richbrave

And aren’t we pleased. Good afternoon D-BACK MAC

Yes, I was pleased. I like starting my day with a little humor. It was still morning here in NW FL.

VaBravesFan

August 19th, 2012
1:43 pm

Good start for Minor.

phil

August 19th, 2012
1:43 pm

Fine start.

Will the bats show up?

Venice Jim

August 19th, 2012
1:43 pm

Nice start, Mike!

Hugo Z Hackenbush

August 19th, 2012
1:43 pm

Sorry that I wasn’t more clear on that…I was replying to Efrim’s remark that paying Bourn more than 12 mil of a 90 mil payroll was insane.

Mark

August 19th, 2012
1:44 pm

Good inning but I hope he doesn’t throw that FB at 90 in that spot again to Kemp today!

bravesgrl4life

August 19th, 2012
1:44 pm

Melky needs to have his All-Star MVP revoked and be banned from the baseball. Earlier, people were giving him credit for admitting his “mistake” – now we find out he had a ruse to try to avoid getting busted. Idiot. Momma always told me it would be worse if I tried to get out of something.

nolie

August 19th, 2012
1:45 pm

aha. yeah I think they will offer min more than 12

JC Brave

August 19th, 2012
1:46 pm

Another web gem by Melky Cabrera; this time even the feds are involved…

LOL.

nolie

August 19th, 2012
1:46 pm

Defiance Ohio, in onea my many old stomping grounds

phil

August 19th, 2012
1:47 pm

That walk was Mattingly’s fault…

Animus

August 19th, 2012
1:47 pm

Good at bat from Bourn – from 0-2 to a walk. So, does he run? Very slow curves coming to Prado.

VaBravesFan

August 19th, 2012
1:47 pm

Great AB by Bourn, fell behind 0-2 but was able to work a walk.

Mark

August 19th, 2012
1:48 pm

Way to lay off those early strikes to start the game and make the guy throw some pitches Bourny.

JoshTown

August 19th, 2012
1:48 pm

…Is anyone else’s TBS not working? Is it blacked out?

Hugo Z Hackenbush

August 19th, 2012
1:48 pm

At any rate, a team can survive overpaying somebody…The Giants won it all two years ago even though Zito was getting 18.5 mil of a payroll comparable to the Braves’…

Mark

August 19th, 2012
1:50 pm

Trey

August 19th, 2012
1:50 pm

JoshTown, TBS here isn’t working. I thought it was my cable. However, I do have another channel to watch it.

JoshTown

August 19th, 2012
1:51 pm

Lol, wow. Copy that. Thanks Mark!

nolie

August 19th, 2012
1:51 pm

Marteen has looked terrible on low outside breaking balls lately

VaBravesFan

August 19th, 2012
1:51 pm

Great inning by the Braves, reminds me of last night.

phil

August 19th, 2012
1:51 pm

This game is over before the second….sigh.

No bats. Lifeless. Empty stadium.

But i have hope!!

TuffShhhtuff

August 19th, 2012
1:51 pm

“JT” it’s blacked out on TBS on DTV in SC. Get that?(Had to use all the alphabet there)

JoshTown

August 19th, 2012
1:51 pm

Thanks Trey. I had it up and TBS was blacked out, I couldn’t figure out why. Holler for Fox Sports.

McFann :Ô: :Ô: :ô:

August 19th, 2012
1:51 pm

bravesgrl4life

Hi! Yeah, that’d be great—I’d LOVE an RBI Double, of course!… :)

Sopheeee

Haha! Yeah, that was a lot of nonsense in that series—least we won’t have to worry about it next weekend…

JC Brave

August 19th, 2012
1:52 pm

The Braves offense in full force.

Animus

August 19th, 2012
1:52 pm

That’s why Bourn needed to steal during Prado’s AB. Let the pitcher off the hook – gotta make him pay for a leadoff walk.

Trey

August 19th, 2012
1:52 pm

Way to go Prado and Heyward

Tomahawk Mafia

August 19th, 2012
1:52 pm

I hate it when Heyward bounces weakly to the right side, especially on the first pitch.

Mark

August 19th, 2012
1:52 pm

Wish we’d hit and run there with prado. He saw 2 rfeally slow curves that would have gotten Bourn to 2nd and we’d stayed out of the DP, Bourn goes to 3rd on Jheys grtaoundball and maybe Freddi does some damage.

But, we choose to just wait it out
umm

VaBravesFan

August 19th, 2012
1:54 pm

Heyward still too aggressive right there.

Mark

August 19th, 2012
1:56 pm

Mikey

If he keeps calling it there don’t throw it anywhere else

bravesgrl4life

August 19th, 2012
1:56 pm

RBI double would be nice for Mac, I agree.

MIBravesFan

August 19th, 2012
1:57 pm

Nice first 2 innings, Mike!

Trey

August 19th, 2012
1:57 pm

Great, Freddie. Hopefully he will show patience.

Mark

August 19th, 2012
1:58 pm

Man Ethier gor reemed on two strike calls that AB

No wonder Glavine thought it was a good pitch. He made a career out of getting strike calls off the plate!

Mitchell

August 19th, 2012
1:58 pm

nolie, everyone knows all you’ve ever stomped on is your parents’ dream of you doing something productive with your life.

Ha! Just kidding.

It’s a joke. Just a little humor on a Sunday afternoon, huh?

Animus

August 19th, 2012
1:59 pm

Like seeing strikes called there for Minor, hope Billingsley can’t throw it there.

Glavine, saying to swing the bats, it’s getaway day, :lol:

Animus

August 19th, 2012
2:01 pm

I wanna see a race between FF, Mac and Hinske – I’ve got a free afternoon to watch them ‘blaze’ to first :

nolie

August 19th, 2012
2:03 pm

I stomped on a date’s foot once…..

Kat

August 19th, 2012
2:03 pm

Thanks for mentioning Albany Smoltzie!

Tomahawk Mafia

August 19th, 2012
2:04 pm

Too many outs being made by the Braves in hitters counts.

David O'Brien

August 19th, 2012
2:06 pm

Only 21 pitches for Minor in those 2 perfect innings to start.

Mark

August 19th, 2012
2:07 pm

If I were a decision maker with the Braves I’d have a concern, well more than one, but one would be confidentiality/professional trust.

Seems to me that we here much more about meetings(Freancisco losing weight, hustling) and whining by players about rehab starts or not playing than we ever did when Bobby and JS were running things.

That stiuff needs to stay between the players and coaches, IMO. Its one of those things that can go south quickly and cause problems.

JC Brave

August 19th, 2012
2:08 pm

Only 21 pitches for Minor in those 2 perfect innings to start.

And the jinx is in place.

snickerz

August 19th, 2012
2:08 pm

What kind of scam are the Braves trying to pull now with andelton simmons?

MikeInFl

August 19th, 2012
2:08 pm

That stiuff needs to stay between the players and coaches,

Not possible. Not with O’Brien on the beat…

nolie

August 19th, 2012
2:09 pm

hung that sucker :(

Hugo Z Hackenbush

August 19th, 2012
2:11 pm

Mark

August 19th, 2012
2:11 pm

That would be interesting to get DOBs take on that and other things – How it was with those guys as opposed to now.

TNScott

August 19th, 2012
2:11 pm

That’s brilliant!!!

nolie

August 19th, 2012
2:11 pm

BALLGAME!!!!!

Animus

August 19th, 2012
2:11 pm

OK, Minor needs to just stay within himself. Damage Control.

JC Brave

August 19th, 2012
2:12 pm

And the jinx is working wonders.

njbraves

August 19th, 2012
2:12 pm

Awful play by Mac. There’s just no reason for it.

sid

August 19th, 2012
2:12 pm

there’s your “all Star” catcher…..he’s so overrated it’s a joke.

Mark

August 19th, 2012
2:13 pm

Now you can with a DP.

That was one of our ABS last night. Bases loaded and the guy swingsa at one off the plate and low!

Trey

August 19th, 2012
2:13 pm

Come on, Minor.

JC Brave

August 19th, 2012
2:14 pm

Victorino’s at bat was kinda like what the Braves would have done in that situation… they need to sign him.

Mark

August 19th, 2012
2:14 pm

Change up now – low and away

Trey

August 19th, 2012
2:17 pm

MIBravesFan

August 19th, 2012
2:17 pm

Yeah, great DP!!!!

Sopheee

August 19th, 2012
2:17 pm

Sweet DP, boys.

nolie

August 19th, 2012
2:17 pm

not bad Mike

TNScott

August 19th, 2012
2:17 pm

Great pitching, Mike

Trey

August 19th, 2012
2:17 pm

He got extremely lucky!

Bravefaninok

August 19th, 2012
2:17 pm

Good comeback MIKE!!!!!

Animus

August 19th, 2012
2:17 pm

MAJOR DAMAGE CONTROL – brings a tear to my eye – little Mikey Minor growing up right before my eyes this year :)

bravesgrl4life

August 19th, 2012
2:18 pm

Mark

August 19th, 2012
2:18 pm

Nice, Lets not have to do that again though Mikey

JC Brave

August 19th, 2012
2:18 pm

Wow, that felt like watching the Braves at the plate…

1991 braves

August 19th, 2012
2:18 pm

McCant, maybe he should go cry and sit in the dugout some more. He is still the worst defensive catcher in N.L.

Tomahawk Mafia

August 19th, 2012
2:18 pm

That was good.

Hugo Z Hackenbush

August 19th, 2012
2:19 pm

Three minutes of nobody posting…guess the game got more important than the blog for a time…

Astral

August 19th, 2012
2:20 pm

He is still the worst defensive catcher in N.L. @1991

Wow, nly a complete tool would say that

Animus

August 19th, 2012
2:20 pm

Back to McCann going to third w/that throw. Somebody had to be yelling 3 3 3 for him to make the play. I’d like to hear a replay of it.

Can’t believe he did that all on his own.

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