(Staff writer Carroll Rogers is filling in for David O’Brien this series.)
Milwaukee – It’s going to be a super snappy blog this afternoon and I apologize for that, but while some of the Braves were touring the Harley-Davidson museum this morning, this gal was working ahead on some end-of-the-year Chipper Jones stories. Hopefully you’ll appreciate it on the back end?
It is Sept. 11, so first of all I sent out thoughts to those who lost friends or love ones in the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. We’ll never forget. Dating back to that first game back in New York in September of 2001, which was just a spine-tingling night at Shea Stadium (and yours truly butchered the lead of the game story because I was just too nervous and anxious and caught up in the moment), Major League Baseball has had a way of treating this occasion with real honor and grace.
I’m sure tonight will be no exception around baseball, when all 30 teams will commemorate the 11th anniversary of Sept. 11 in pre-game ceremonies, and all the players and coaches will be American Flag patches on their caps.
As for last night’s Braves 4-1 loss to the Brewers, it seemed pretty clear the Braves beat themselves, after Jonny Venters’ error changed the game with his throwing error in the four-run seventh, and the Braves got thrown out four times on the basepaths. But I wanted to share some of the things you couldn’t see simply by watching the game on TV.
Last night when the media was let into the visiting clubhouse at Miller Park, Martin Prado was sitting at the video machines watching replays of the two plays when he was thrown out trying to go from first to third on a single. On the other side of the room, sitting beside Mike Minor, one locker over, was Venters, waiting for us because he knew it was the right thing to do.
But not only that, Venters waited patiently, out at his locker, until after we had all talked to Minor first, and then he addressed us. I, for one, appreciated the professionalism. I’m telling you, other teams have players who run and hide in the break room or training room in situations like that….
So the Braves turn to Tim Hudson tonight against Marco Estrada, who has faced the Braves twice in relief this season but this is his first start against them this season. He made two starts against the Braves last season, giving up 11 earned runs in 11 1/3 innings, while going 1-1. He coming off a rocky outing too, having allowed four runs in five innings to the Marlins.
Hudson pretty much willed himself to seven shutout innings against the Rockies his last time out in the second of the Braves’ back-to-back 1-0 wins. At least in terms of results, Hudson has been on this weird stretch where he’s run into trouble every other start since he gave up six runs to the Phillies on Aug. 8. He pitched 6 1/3 shutout innings his Aug. 14 start against the Padres, then gave up four in six innings in a loss to the Nationals Aug. 20. He gave up only one run in seven innings Aug. 26 in San Francisco, then gave up five in five innings to the Phillies on Sept. 1.
So either Hudson gives up a big number tonight and the trend continues or by mentioning it here, it stops. There has been a history.
This and that
How oddball was it last night that Andrelton Simmons didn’t get one chance at shortstop in his return from two months out with a broken hand? That’ll change tonight with Hudson on the mound….
The Braves postseason tickets will go on sale tomorrow at 10 a.m. for a potential one-game wild card playoff and the first two games of the Division Series. Info is here….
You have to love Twitter for exchanges we can all see, like this one between Tyler Thornburg, a rookie pitcher for the Brewers who grew up in Atlanta, and Chipper Jones, who is Chipper Jones.
@TylerThornburg wrote: Being from Atlanta, growing up watching the Braves, and @RealCJ10 made tonight really weird. Gave me chills when Chipper got a standing O.
And then @realcj10’s response: @TylerThornburg Good luck with ur career my man!
Here’s a story I wrote about Thornburg when he made the Futures Game last year. He was recalled on Sept. 4 by the Brewers. He is in his third stint in the majors this season, after making his major league debut in a start June 19 against Toronto (five earned runs in 5 1/3 innings). He’s made two major league starts and three relief appearances overall.
A couple more Brewers tidbits, courtesy of Mike Vassallo, the very helpful Brewers’ media relations director: the Brewers (70-71) are trying to reach .500 for the first time since they were 9-9 on April 24. The Brewers have won 15 of their past 17 games at Miller Park and seven straight, including last night’s 4-1 win over the Braves.
Ryan Braun is sitting on career home run No. 199. Closer John Axford is unscored upon in each of his last nine games. Opponents are batting .038 (1-for-26) in 8 1/3 innings during this stretch.
Lyle Overbay is getting his first start as a Brave at first base against his former team tonight. This is after he collected his first hit as a Brave in a pinch hit appearance last night.
1. Bourn CF
2. Prado LF
3. Heyward RF
4. Jones 3B
5. McCann C
6. Uggla 2B
7. Overbay 1B
8. Simmons SS
9. Hudson P