Who’s hot? Who’s not? Glad you asked, or else there’d be no reason for our Monday Heat Check. Which begins now.
The Braves’ pitching: Don’t look now — hey, I told you not to look – but the team that had the lowest ERA in baseball no longer has the lowest ERA in baseball. Fact is, the Braves aren’t in the top five. The team ERA, which hovered near 3.00 for the longest time, has risen to 3.36, sixth-best in the majors. The starters’ ERA is now the eighth-best overall; the relievers’ ERA is the fifth-best. Meaning: It’s not all Scott Proctor’s fault, though he has done his bit. Heat Index: Is that an autumn chill in the air?
The Braves’ hitting: It’s still terrible. Only three teams — Washington, San Diego and Seattle — have hit for a lower average. Only five — the aforementioned three plus Oakland and Minnesota — have a lower on-base percentage. If MLB had an award for the year’s best hitting coach, Larry Parrish would not be your leader in the clubhouse. Heat Index: Can’t hit for average, can’t reach base. Talk about a wintry mix.
The Braves’ trade outlook: They need to make one, preferably a good one. Heat Index: Frank Wren has burned through two cell-phone batteries in the past 36 hours.
Georgia Tech’s appeal of its NCAA sanctions: The Jackets apparently plan to file one, which means we get to hear them whine some more. Heat Index: Not sure about the wisdom of that blowtorch strategy — “First we’ll all line up to rip the NCAA, and then we’ll beg them to go easy on us.”
Mark Richt’s seat: A disconnect was witnessed at the SEC Media Days in Hoover, Ala. People who live outside Georgia were wondering who will be the Bulldogs’ next head coach. People who live in Georgia were wondering if Richt might be the 2011 SEC coach of the year. Heat Index: Richt’s job is not yet in question and won’t be until he loses another game.
Zaza Pachulia: The Z-man used his Twitter feed to announce he and the Turkish team Besiktas couldn’t agree on terms. So Zaza’s staying here to play for the Hawks. Who are locked out and therefore not playing. Good career move. Heat Index: Here’s a sizzling notion — trade Josh Smith to Bestiktas for Deron Williams. Would that be legal?
The NFL: The league is about to become unlocked-out. Everyone seems happy about this. Heat Index: Everyone will be less happy when training camp commences and it’s 98 degrees. Couldn’t the players’ association have held out another month?
The Atlanta Spirit: Having sold the Thrashers, that august body is in negotiations to sell the Hawks and Philips Arena. Heat Index: A cold chill just went down the spine of this correspondent as he realized he might not have these owners to kick around anymore.
By Mark Bradley