Archive for the ‘Braves / MLB’ Category

LIVE: Braves close homestand (and about Brian McCann)

Brian McCann is back in lineup today after being sat for consecutive games.  (AP photo)

Brian McCann is back in lineup today after being sat for consecutive games. (AP photo)

According to CoolStandings.com, the Braves have a 29.5 percent chance to overtake Washington and win the National League East, a 63.5 percent chance to win a wild card spot and a 93 percent chance to make the playoffs.

I would go into more detail, but we all learned last season what these percentages really mean: bupkis.

The Braves, who start the day four games behind Washington, close a homestand today against Los Angeles. Then they’re off for D.C. for a three-game series against the Nationals. Even with the Stephen Strasburg saga hanging in the air, it seems more likely than not that the Nats are not going to collapse, and that the Braves’ best chance to catch them will hinge on the six remaining games between the two teams (three this week, three more at Turner Field Sept. 14-15-16.

I predict nothing. It’s safer that way.

The most intriguing thing may be how the Braves’ starting rotation …

Continue reading LIVE: Braves close homestand (and about Brian McCann) »

Hanson not buying into talk of decline, looks to win spot

Tommy Hanson will come off the disabled list and start Friday against the Dodgers. (Hyosub Shin/AJC)

Tommy Hanson will be activated and start Friday against the Dodgers. (Hyosub Shin/AJC)

(Hi folks. I’m ready to live blog off tonight’s Braves game against San Diego. It’s Tim Hudson vs. Clayton Richard. Following is a column I’ve written on Tommy Hanson, who will come off the disabled list after a back injury to start Friday’s game against Los Angeles. Hanson is in the unexpected position of trying to win a spot in the Braves’ five-man rotation down the stretch. The team currently is going with six pitchers.)


If there is one jolting reality about the blur surrounding the Braves’ pitching rotation these days, it’s this: Tommy Hanson is not a clear-cut No. 1. Or 2. Or 3.

This doesn’t mean Hanson is going to struggle over the next two weeks. It certainly doesn’t mean he’s not going to reaffirm his value to the Braves over time, nor that he isn’t destined to have a great career, presumably in Atlanta.

But there are doubts. There was the shoulder injury last year. The back …

Continue reading Hanson not buying into talk of decline, looks to win spot »

VIDEO: Why Braves need to keep Kris Medlen in rotation

When will Kris Medlen be cleared for takeoff with the Braves? (Jason Getz/AJC)

When will Kris Medlen be cleared for takeoff with the Braves? (Jason Getz/AJC)

Earlier today I reiterated in a blog why I believe Kris Medlen needs to stay in the Braves’ rotation, and why it makes sense for the team to go to a six-man starting rotation for at least the next couple of weeks.


Here’s a link to that blog.

Now, here’s me with Cinesport’s Noah Coslov on the subject. (I think Noah hurried back from vacation after hearing how much I preferred working with Tara Petrolino last week.)

Blogs on demand:
– Braves can’t sit Medlen, need to go with six-man rotation

– Danny Ferry made pitch for Dwight Howard but was stopped short

– VIDEO: This is what I think about Falcons (with Tara!)

– Lights, camera, action! Petrino wants you to know he’s sorry

– Expect Julio Jones to take over for Falcons

By Jeff Schultz

Continue reading VIDEO: Why Braves need to keep Kris Medlen in rotation »

Braves can’t sit Medlen, need to go with six-man rotation (UPDATED)

Kris Medlen gave up one run on five hits in 6 1/3 innings at New York on Saturday. (AP photo)

Kris Medlen gave up one run on five hits in 6 1/3 innings at New York on Saturday. (AP photo)

(UPDATE: The Braves have made the move: Manager Fredi Gonzalez announced Monday night that the team will use a six-man rotation until the next off day on Aug. 30. Obviously, I agree. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have written the following earlier . . .)

(Also, here’s a link to a video blog on the subject)

Tommy Hanson wasn’t happy when the Braves told him the other day to go to Gwinnett for a rehab start, and it’s easy to understand why. As much as the Braves may have legitimate concerns about his back and general health and want to be cautious before activating him off the disabled list, there are two underlying issues here:

Kris Medlen has just been too good since being elevated to a starter to send him back to the bullpen (2-0 with a 1.62 ERA in three starts).

– Manager Fredi Gonzalez and pitching coach Roger McDowell logically want to stall a little before making a decision on whether …

Continue reading Braves can’t sit Medlen, need to go with six-man rotation (UPDATED) »

Medlen should give Braves reason to consider 6-man staff

Kris Medlen has been too good in two starts to put back into the bullpen. (Curtis Compton/AJC)

Kris Medlen has been too good in two starts to put back into the bullpen. (Curtis Compton/AJC)

There is this problem with Kris Medlen. He is too good at everything he does.

He can pitch middle relief. He can start. He can come in at any time and rescue a teammate in full mound meltdown mode, or step in as the understudy for one who has been put on the shelf. He is equally adept at both.

It’s sort of like Kenshin Kawakami’s alternate universe.

Here’s the problem (sort of): After pitching his second solid start in a row (one run, five hits, 5 1/3 innings) to lead the Braves to a 6-1 win over Houston, Medlen is setting up a difficult decision for the Braves. What are they going to do with him when Tommy Hanson if eligible to come off the disabled list in a little over a week?

“I’ll walk in there and give my two cents if they ask,” catcher David Ross. “He’s a fun pitcher to catch. He’s so important to our team. He’s throws strikes. He’s not afraid to throw anything I …

Continue reading Medlen should give Braves reason to consider 6-man staff »

LIVE: Can Medlen stake his claim in Braves’ rotation?

Kris Medlen makes his second of at least three starts today for Braves, but will he stay in rotation? (Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)

Kris Medlen makes his second of at least three starts today for Braves, but will he stay in rotation? (Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)

Hello. It’s hot. (Old journalism training: Don’t bury the lead.)

The Braves close out what has been a successful home stand (7-2) against Houston, and what happens in today’s game against Houston could impact their starting rotation as much as it doesn’t the National League East standings.

Kris Medlen will make his second start after winning 7-1 over Miami last week. In his first start in two years — Tommy John surgery followed by relief work — Medlen allowed only one run and four hits and needed only 57 pitches to get through five innings. (A lengthy rain delay ended his night.)

He is scheduled to make at least one more start next Saturday at New York, but then the Braves will have a decision to make. The rotation currently looks like this: Tim Hudson, Ben Sheets, Paul Maholm, Mike Minor and Medlen. Tommy Hanson, who went on the disabled list …

Continue reading LIVE: Can Medlen stake his claim in Braves’ rotation? »

Braves look good now, but what can we expect next?

Kris Medlen represented another good sign for the Braves with five solid innings before the rain delay. (AP photo)

Kris Medlen represented another good sign for the Braves with five solid innings before the rain delay. (AP photo)

(Updated: midnight)

On this day a year ago, the Braves were 17 games over .500 (63-46), continued their ascent to 26 over in late August, flashing the look of a legitimate contender, and muted almost every remaining skeptic when even Dan Uggla rediscovered the art of hitting (the assumption being that his 33-game hitting streak had followed the laying of hands). Then came the fall.

After the Braves’ 7-1 win over the Miami Marlins Tuesday night, giddiness abounded once again. They have won seven straight. They are a season-best 59-44. Everybody is hitting. (OK. Not Dan Uggla. The hands thing wore off.)

So. Is it safe now to project something special?

Uh … no.

There is a lot to like about this team. They score runs. They deliver timely hits. They rank second to St. Louis in the National League in runs scored. The overall team batting average (.257) doesn’t look …

Continue reading Braves look good now, but what can we expect next? »

Video Blog: Talking ’bout Braves’ (non-)trades at deadline

If the Braves can't get Ryan Dempster, can they get Will Farrell? (Brian Kersey/Images)

If the Braves can't get Ryan Dempster, can they get Will Ferrell? (Brian Kersey/Images)

It’s the day before the MLB trade deadline, and here’s a few things worth mentioning before bringing you this week’s video blog starring CineSport’s dashing Noah Coslov and I. (See below: He’s the one with hair.)

The Boston Red Sox want to dump pitcher Josh Beckett, which isn’t surprising considering his fastball isn’t that fast anymore, he has two years and $31.5 million remaining on his contract after this season and he was one of the guys stuffing his pie hole with chicken and beer during Sox games late last season. They’ve reportedly phoned the Braves (and Texas) to gauge interest. I’m guessing it’s non-existent. Yahoo quoted an executive as saying Beckett is “too hittable,” so it doesn’t make sense that the Braves would want him, even if Boston agrees to pay a chunk of Beckett’s remaining salary.

Chicago STILL hasn’t traded Ryan Dempster to the Dodgers, so of course everybody …

Continue reading Video Blog: Talking ’bout Braves’ (non-)trades at deadline »

Braves win again, now hope fallback plan can carry them

Mike Minor pitched his fourth straight strong outing for Braves, giving rotation hope. (AP photo)

Mike Minor pitched his fourth consecutive strong outing for Braves, giving rotation hope. (AP photo)

(Updated: 9:35 p.m.)

When this season started, Ben Sheets was a youth-league coach in Louisiana and Kris Medlen had pitched 2 1/3 innings in 20 months, the byproduct of Tommy John surgery. They now comprise 40 percent of the Braves’ starting rotation.

So much for the blueprint.

The Braves made official Saturday what can best be described as the backup plan: Medlen, who has been impressive out of the bullpen, will return to the starting rotation Tuesday against Houston barring an unlikely turn of events (completing a trade for a starter). Medlen joins Sheets, who hadn’t pitched a game in two years before signing with the Braves and immediately becoming subject matter for a power point at the next AMA convention.

This is the rotation that likely will guide the Braves down the stretch. It’s not quite what anybody envisioned in the spring and may not be the ideal five to get the …

Continue reading Braves win again, now hope fallback plan can carry them »

Braves, Wren whiff on Greinke — and this is getting old

Zack Greinke is on his way to the Angels. (AP photo)

Zack Greinke: On his way to Angels. (AP)

Frank Wren is trying to swing a deal. (Curtis Compton/AJC)

Frank Wren: Looking for help. (Curtis Compton)

(UPDATED: 9:10 p.m.)

The first pitcher they went after (Ryan Dempster) said no. He prefers Los Angeles.

The second pitcher they went after (Zack Greinke) was traded to Los Angeles (no, not that L.A. team, the other L.A. team).

The Braves are trying to get better before Tuesday’s trade deadline. We think. But this journey is turning into some weird nightmare, or at least a Randy Newman retrospective. (“I Love L.A.!”)

Remember when the Braves used to get what they want? Remember when 90-plus-win seasons and playoff games seemed as plentiful as potato chips?

General manager Frank Wren said Friday night that he didn’t believe the Braves were close to a trade for a starting pitcher of significance. No kidding. I’m not sure how many are left.

When Wren was asked if he was balking at parting with a coveted prospect like Julio Teheran for a rental player like Greinke, he responded: “I …

Continue reading Braves, Wren whiff on Greinke — and this is getting old »