Posts Tagged ‘Bobby Cox’

LIVE: Braves’ improbable road to playoffs almost complete

Yes, Billy Wagner: The Braves are pointed up. (AP photo)

Yes, Billy Wagner: The Braves are pointed up. (AP photo)

THIS BLOG GOES LIVE WITH THE FIRST PITCH AT 7:35 P.M.

On the night the Braves can clinch their first postseason berth since 2005, Brandon Beachy is their starting pitcher. How perfect is this?

Beachy was signed as an undrafted free agent. He started this year in Double A Mississippi. He pitched in only eight games at Triple A Gwinnett before being recalled as a game-night emergency when Jair Jurrjens couldn’t make his start because of a knee injury. His first major league start: at Philadelphia.

The Braves open a three-game series against the Phillies tonight at Turner Field. By now, you know the ramifications. The Braves aren’t fighting for the National League East title, as they were going into that series at Philly, but they can clinch the N.L. wild card spot tonight/this morning.

The magic number for eliminating  San Diego is two. The Padres play at San Francisco, beginning at 10:15 p.m. EDT. How late will are you …

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Braves may get a helping hand to postseason — from Phillies

This was Roy Halladay throwing a five-hit shutout of the Braves back in April. (Curtis Compton/AJC)

This was Roy Halladay throwing a five-hit shutout of the Braves back in April. (Curtis Compton/AJC)

Did the Philadelphia Phillies just become the Braves’ best friend?

The expectation of the season-ending series against Philadelphia determining the National League East champion obviously didn’t happen. The Phillies don’t care that much about the weekend series at Turner Field, and manager Charlie Manuel is setting up his pitching rotation with the postseason in mind. That means instead of facing projected Cy Young winner Roy Halladay (21-10, 2.44) on Friday night, the Braves will go against Kyle Kendrick (10-10, 4.76).

There’s more: Roy Oswalt said he doesn’t expect to pitch this weekend and there’s a feeling in Philadelphia that if Cole Hamels starts, he will throw a limited number of pitches. This series may be playoff life-or-death for the Braves but it’s spring training for the Phillies. There also could be an obvious ripple effect thr0ugh the lineup, with the Philly …

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Braves still upright despite losing Prado (and so many others)

Eric Hinske (three-run homer) and Brooks Conrad (RBI triple) led the Braves to another unlikely victory. (Curtis Compton/AJC)

Eric Hinske (homer) and Brooks Conrad (RBI triple) led another Braves win. (Curtis Compton/AJC)

What exactly are the baseball gods waiting for? For Bobby Cox to scream, “Uncle?”

The question now isn’t just whether the Braves can drag themselves across the finish line of this regular season, the last spasm somehow getting them into the playoffs. It’s whether they’re going to bankrupt their HMO.

The clubhouse is a room of exploding body parts, and yet they endure. They are like Monty Python’s “Black Knight,” who had his two arms severed by King Arthur but responded, “‘It’s only a flesh wound. … I am invincible!”)

Are the Braves? They’ve received more than their share of flesh wounds. The latest came Tuesday, with the news that Martin Prado — who figured to be on the shelf for possibly the season any way with a hip pointer — suffered a torn oblique muscle.

Doctors have ordered Prado to not do too much more than sit on a couch for the next two months. So much for the post season, …

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LIVE: It’s time for the Braves (or is that the Black Knight?)

Do Omar Infante and the Braves have enough healthy bodies left to win the wild card? (AP photo)

Do Omar Infante and the Braves have enough healthy bodies left to win the wild card? (AP photo)

Welcome back to Turner Field for a game involving what remains of your Atlanta Braves.

To all of the injury issues the team has had in the season — not the least of which were losing Chipper Jones and pitcher Kris Medlen for the year and pitchers Jair Jurrjens and Takashi Saito for extended periods, we add this: Martin Prado is “definitely going to be out for a while” with a hip-pointer, manager Bobby Cox said after Monday’s game.

The biggest problem with that: There’s not “a while” left in the season. In fact, there are more letters in “a while” (six) than there are games left on the Braves’ schedule (five).

Prado might be toast, but the Braves aren’t, yet. They enter tonight’s game against Florida with a one-half game lead over San Diego and 4 1/2 over all-but-dead Colorado in the National League wild card race.

Prado is having an MRI and was not available for comment before the …

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Deja vu all over again: Braves, Hudson try to sweep Mets

This is Tim Hudson, a man not to be messed with right now. (Curtis Compton/AJC)

This is Tim Hudson — a man not to be messed with right now. (Curtis Compton/AJC)

There are some things in sports that never get old, like seeing the New York Mets reach new levels of humiliation. So you should like this.

If the Braves — who have Cy Young candidate Tim Hudson on the mound tonight at Turner Field — defeat the Mets, they’ll complete their first sweep of a four-game series since May of 2008.

And which team did they sweep that year? The Mets!

Wait, it gets better. The fourth game of that series in 2008 was won by Hudson. He beat Johan Santana. Pitching tonight for the Mets: Johan Santana. He remains one of the better pitchers in the league, with a solid ERA of 3.02 despite only a 10-9 record. But Santana is nowhere near Hudson right now.

The Braves’ right hander was just named National League pitcher of the month for August after going 4-0 with a 1.71 earned run average in six starts. He is 6-0 and 1.43 in eight starts since July 22. Overall, Hudson is 15-5 (and …

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Braves could lose Fredi Gonzalez to Cubs if they don’t hurry

If general manager Frank Wren wants to get Fredi Gonzalez back into a Braves' uniform, he had better hurry.

Fredi Gonzalez isn't back in a Braves' uniform just yet.

Two months ago, when Florida Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria outdid even his own usual moronic tendencies by firing manager Fredi Gonzalez, I wrote a blog suggesting the Braves needed to bring him into the fold immediately.

The obvious reasons: 1) He is the perfect candidate to replace Bobby Cox next season; 2) He would be in demand when other managerial jobs opened up.

Well, it just happened.

In the wake of Lou Piniella’s recent retirement, the Cubs reportedly have put Gonzalez atop their wish list. In fact, a story in today’s Chicago Sun-Times makes it sound like Gonzalez’ move to Wrigley could be imminent.

Here’s an excerpt:

Don’t be surprised if former Florida Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez winds up a leading candidate to replace Lou Piniella within the next few weeks.

Sources say that Gonzalez is at the top of general manager Jim Hendry’s wish list in the early stages of the process and that he prefers a manager …

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McCann’s homer helps Braves overcome Florida and Lowe

Brian McCann capped a six-run Braves' rally against Florida with a ninth-inning home run . . .

Brian McCann capped a rally with a ninth-inning homer …

To a Braves’ season long-since devoid of any logic or certainly a blueprint, we add this from Sunday:

♦ Starting pitcher Derek Lowe getting mangled for five runs in the three innings but somehow escaping a loss, even if possibly confirming his postseason fate as a $60 million long reliever.

♦ A team, down 6-1 and held to three hits in the first seven innings,  rallying for three runs in the eighth (two coming when Florida’s first baseman dropped a throw for the would-be third out of

but Derek Lowe may have pitched his way out of a postseason start.

… but Derek Lowe struggled and could be in bullpen in playoffs.

the inning) and three in the ninth (an opposite field, game-tying, two-run homer by pinch hitter Matt Diaz, and a walk-off winner by Brian McCann that few were certain of when seen live).

♦ McCann’s homer? It originally was called a double but changed to a homer after umpires consulted video replay and  saw the ball bounce off the right-field wall, just above the yellow line. …

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Prado has three hits in comeback — and why not N.L. MVP?

Martin Prado singles in a run in the seventh for his second of three hits Tuesday night. He's deserving of league MVP honors. (AP photo).

Martin Prado singles in a run in the seventh for his second of three hits Tuesday night. He's deserving of league MVP honors. (AP photo).

After missing 16 games with a fracture in his right hand, Martin Prado returned to the Braves’ lineup Tuesday night and led the team with three hits, three runs scored, a double and two RBI.

“Don’t you just want to punch him right in the stomach?” cracked teammate Matt Diaz.

Here’s another thought: How about just handing him an MVP trophy?

There’s little question that Prado is the Braves’ most valuable player. When he returned from the disabled list with a fracture in his right pinkie and led the Braves in their 10-2 victory over the Washington Nationals, he started at third base (vacated by the injured Chipper Jones) and batted third (also Jones’ spot). The significance was kind of obvious.

If this guy doesn’t get consideration for National League Most Valuable Player honors, something is wrong. Should Prado continue to hit at his normal …

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LIVE: Braves try to locate offense (with Chipper on crutches)

Chipper Jones showed up at Turner Field today, the day after having season-ending knee surgery. (Curtis Compton/AJC)

Chipper Jones showed up at Turner Field today, the day after having season-ending knee surgery. (Curtis Compton/AJC)

Chipper Jones was back in the Braves dugout this morning — on crutches.

“I thought if the guys saw me around, it might lift their spirits,” he said.

Yes, or depress everybody with the reminder of what the Braves need to accomplish without him. With their National League East Division lead over Philadelphia down to two games and the potential of a frenetic wild card race they would prefer to not drop into, the Braves face the Los Angeles Dodgers again today at Turner Field. They have managed to split the first two games of this series, despite scoring only two runs. (For the record, the Braves have lost only one home series all season: in April against Philadelphia, dropping games two and three to start the nine-game losing streak.)

Jason  Heyward (lingering knee bruise) also is out of today’s lineup, despite the Braves facing a right-handed pitcher (Vicente …

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Braves trying to keep it going with team of moving parts

Eric Hinske started at first base for Troy Glaus. He would've preferred if that was ball, not part of his bat, flying.

Eric Hinske started at first base. He would've preferred if that was the ball, not his splintered bat, flying.

This is meant as no disrespect to Martin Prado, who is the team’s best player, or Omar Infante, who seems to have no problem filling in for the team’s best player, or Eric Hinske, or Brooks Conrad, or David Ross — none of whom seems to be particularly well-known outside of homes with mailboxes that carry the names Prado, Infante, Hinske, Conrad and Ross.

But does it seem as if the Braves have taken this whole interchangeable parts thing to a new level? Baseball was built on themes like the Mudville Nine, not the Left Field Five or the Center Field Four or the — wait, has anybody not batted third yet?

The Braves made another lineup change Tuesday night. Eric Hinske replaced the slumping Troy Glaus at first base. Presumably, Glaus will return to the lineup if he starts channeling his former May self again because his April-June-July-August self is …

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