Posts Tagged ‘Kris Medlen’

What the #!@*! are the Braves doing ?

I was about to reply to a relative’s email asking if I could make any sense of the Atlanta Braves off-season moves. I have been asked that a lot lately so I thought it was time to revive my baseball blog.

Concerning the Braves…

I have been understanding, confused, excited, and angry at some of the moves the Braves have made this off-season. What we Braves fans have to keep telling ourselves that it is all for the greater good and it will all make sense in 2017, just in time for the new stadium. Now that they are on the verge of trading Evan Gattis the “building for the future” scenario is even more plausible. The trades of Jason Heyward and Justin Upton netted a lot of young talent, both position players and pitching but pitching seems to be the focus of the Braves front office right now. Who knows what they will get in return for Gattis but I am sure it will be more top prospects who are primed to see action within the next few seasons.

th-2

th-1

th

Now here is a die-hard fan’s over optimistic outlook for 2015. With no big bat in the lineup other than Freddie Freeman, the Braves are not seen as a threat. So what? They had what should have been a potent offense last season but look where it got them, a losing record and tied for second place with the lousy New York Mets in the National League East. The Braves have added a reliable on-base guy with RBI potential in Nick Markakis and a good utility infielder and pinch hitter in Alberto Callaspo. Now if they can add another contact hitter to play left field it might be these small additions that give them the magic that could never capture in 2014.

The pitching staff departures of Aaron Harang, Ervin Santana, David Carpenter, Anthony Varvaro, Kris Medlen, and Brandon Beachy were made easier with the addition of Shelby Miller, Manny Banuelos, and the too many to name young arms replenishing the Braves farm system. The veteran presence of newly acquired Jim Johnson, James Russell, and Jason Grilli in the bullpen should also help  a solid pitching rotation.

They aren’t getting as much attention for their additions as they are their subtractions but all in all I think the Braves look pretty good. The Nationals are still favored, the Marlins have gotten much better, and even if the Phillies and Mets suck they still put up a good fight so the Braves should enjoy their position as an underdog in their division for now. Once they have warmed up and worked out the kinks during Spring Training the Atlanta Braves might prove to be more than just a team building for the future but a real contender for 2015.

What else can I say when I really don’t know what the #!@*! the Braves are doing.

Advertisements

Pitching Pitching Pitching

Obviously you need to score runs to win a ballgame, at least one. Hits with runners in scoring position, home runs, manufactured runs, there are many ways to cross home plate and put a number on the scoreboard. You can keep runs off of the board with good defense but first and foremost you need great pitching.

The beginning of the 2014 MLB season has seen plenty of good pitching, especially in the National League. The Braves, Mets, Phillies, Cubs, and Cardinals all pitched shutouts this past Sunday. That is very impressive! Five different teams were unable to generate a single run during the course of nine innings, actually the Reds lost to the Braves in 10 innings.  The last time such a feat occurred was 2006 when there were seven shutouts thrown in one day.

I am particularly interested in this phenomenon because the Braves were involved and they have produced one of the best overall team pitching performances this season. Even more impressive is that their pitching staff was supposed to be one of the weakest aspects of their game coming out of Spring Training. Brandon Beachy and Kris Medlen both underwent Tommy John surgery so their season was lost. Enter Aaron Harang and Ervin Santana to take their spots in the rotation. Not only have these two veterans been an unexpected surprise but they are about to make things very difficult when Mike Minor returns to the rotation this weekend from Minor League rehabilitation.

Who does management replace?