The Braves have worked out a trade with the Pittsburgh Pirates to bring outfielder Matt Diaz back to Atlanta in exchange for a player to be named later. MattyD hit .305 with the Braves from 2006-2010. The Braves hope he can help out their dismal stats against left-handed pitching, where they currently rank last in average and OBP.
Diaz is signed through 2012 and is owed $2 million for next season. The Pirates are also sending some cash to Atlanta to help offset his remaining salary this season. The Braves made the trade before the deadline so that Diaz will be eligible to play for the Braves in the postseason.
Though in a little bit of a slump right now, I’m hoping Diaz can help fill some holes in the current offense. Welcome back to Atlanta, MattyD!
Tags: Matt Diaz, Pittsburgh Pirates, Trade
Posted in Roster Moves | 1 Comment »
In his latest “Fried Baseball” audio blog, Kent Covington takes an updated look at possible remaining trade targets and breaks down the performance of the red hot Matt Diaz. Throw in your 2 cents in the comments area below… or leave a message with your questions or comments for a future commentary at 888-669-5368 (ext.701.)
Tags: Fried Baseball, Matt Diaz, Trade Deadline, Trade Rumors
Posted in Speculation | 1 Comment »
In his latest “Fried Baseball” audio blog, Kent Covington analyzes the Escobar/Gonzalez trade and breaks down possible remaining trade targets. Throw in your 2 cents in the comments area below… or leave a message with your questions or comments for a future commentary at 888-669-5368 (ext.701.)
Here are a few key numbers to keep in mind for this discussion:
Matt Diaz got off to a very slow start and then of course spent a lengthy period of time on the DL. But his numbers last year against left-handed pitching were insane. And it was no fluke, as his numbers over the last 3 years clearly indicate. You will see those numbers below. We have also scaled his vs-lefties numbers out to 550 at-bats, just for perspective. It’s difficult to overstate how good he’s been against left-handed pitching.
|Matt Diaz||2009 v LHP||136||.412||.464||6||24||11||1.104|
|Matt Diaz||2007-2009 v LHP||396||.369||.404||17||58||27||.975|
|Matt Diaz||07-09 v LHP (550AB)||*550||.369||.404||23||80||37||.975|
|Eric Hinske||2010 v RHP||162||.272||.335||5||31||15||.804|
|Eric Hinske||2010 v RHP (550AB)||*550||.272||.335||17||105||51||.804|
Below are projected post-all-star numbers of potential Left-Field trade targets vs. a Diaz/Hinske platoon (based on first-half production – and 242 expected post-all-star at bats):
Tags: Eric Hinske, Fried Baseball, Matt Diaz, Trade Rumors
Posted in Roster Moves, Speculation | 3 Comments »
I cannot be the only one who is just shaking their head at this. It’s clear something IS wrong with the Braves and there needs to be a kick in the pants somewhere.
Bobby, I’ve got the fix. Just trust me and do as I say.
First of all, we’re going to bench Worthless and Strikeout. That’s right, Melky and Glaus are being benched for at least a week. Hell, let’s just drop Melky from the roster. Hinske gets the starts at first and Matt Diaz gets the starts in left. Diaz may take a little bit to spool up but that’s OK. We must remember in this situation that ANYTHING IS BETTER THAN MELKY. I mean really, there is more than one page of results when you search twitter for #melkysucks.
Next, we’re going to restructure the lineup. We’re going to put the guy with the highest OBP – here’s a noble idea – IN THE LEADOFF SPOT. That’s right, Prado gets the leadoff slot until McLouth comes around. Heyward gets the second hole because he’s batting better than anybody else who could go there AND it puts him in front of Chipper and McCann so he has to see good pitches. Here’s the new batting order.
1. Prado (.426 OBP)
That should do it. All we’re going to do is change up the batting order so our solid players aren’t spread throughout with guaranteed outs trying to drive in runners in scoring position. We’re not going to let Heyward be protected in the batting order by Nate McLouth and the pitcher any more. It’s time to make some changes. I should mention that Glaus can come back after a week, but Melky should not be let back in the lineup under any circumstances.
So, what do you think of the fixes? Would this do it? If this wouldn’t fix the issue, what would?
Tags: Eric Hinske, Fixing the Braves, Jason Heyward, Matt Diaz, melkysucks
Posted in General, Roster Moves | 16 Comments »
Well, after last night, the Rockies’ magic number is at 1 and anything short of a complete fold by Colorado and winning out by the Braves (which is entirely possible against the Nats) marks the end of the postseason run for 2009.
Last night’s loss hurts….a lot. Yes, being the doubter that I am at times, I had pretty much written off the game and the season heading into the 8th, down by 5. Two runs in the 8th and two runs in the ninth and I found myself in that hopeful spot that, by now, I should know better than to do with the Braves. Two outs, down by 1, bases loaded………I’m sure everyone knows the rest of the story by now. So I’m just not going to make myself angry with it again. I’ll leave it to braves.com to tell that story if you haven’t already heard it.
So let me just put this out there that, out of anyone on the team, I’m probably the most okay with the fact that this happened to MattyD. Diaz consistently goes out on the field and puts everything he has into the game. He never complains about playing in platoon situations; he just does his job and does it well. Yes, he made a mistake. He pretty much made the most decisively costly mistake at the most important time in the season, but, you know what, he has a lot more desire to win than most of the guys on the roster.
I’m not going to deny it. When the game ended last night, I launched into a profanity-laden tirade around my house (maybe it’s a good thing I didn’t make it out to the game for once) that I’m just waiting to hear from at least one of my neighbors today about how they don’t think they should have their children living in the same neighborhood as me. But it’s okay, Matty, I still appreciate your value to the team. Rue and I sat down and discussed this over lunch today. Had Kelly Johnson been the one ending our hopes for the playoffs last night, there’s a good chance that I would have made it to the stadium before he left for a little face-to-face discussion.
There’s still a slight chance, Braves fans, but either way, let’s try to enjoy our last series of the season. Get out to the Ted and cheer on the Braves and get ready for a season of sending Bobby Cox off in style next year. We’ll be here in the offseason helping recap the season and getting ready for 2010.
Tags: Can the Braves Make the Playoffs, Matt Diaz, playoffs, Postseason
Posted in General | 8 Comments »
There has been plenty of buzz this spring about the new faces the Braves have added by way of trade and free agency. And rightly so. Derek Lowe, Kenshin Kawakami, Javier Vazquez, and Garrett Anderson, among others, signify a major upgrade to last year’s injury depleted squad. But if you think these four players represent the only substantial improvements to the Atlanta roster… think again.
Unable to help the Braves much, if at all, in 2007 (because of injury, underperformance, or having not yet arrived in the big leagues), there are several bats and arms in the Braves’ camp that could have a substantial impact on the ’09 season.
EACH OF THE FOLLOWING PLAYERS COULD PROVE TO BE THE EQUIVALENT OF A SIGNIFICANT FREE AGENT SIGNING:
Rafael Soriano: Having spent the majority of last season on the disabled list with discomfort in his pitching elbow, Soriano now appears healthy and ready to help anchor the back end of the bullpen. Since moving to the ‘pen in his sophomore season with the Mariners, Soriano has a career ERA of about 2.50. When healthy, the hard-throwing righty is one of the top setup men in the game.
Peter Moylan: The submarine-tossing ‘Ausie’ posted the third best ERA (1.80) in baseball in 2007, over 90 innings pitched. After missing most of last season recovering from “Tommy John” surgery, Moylan’s rehabilitation is ahead of schedule, and he is expected to be ready on opening day. The return of Peter Moylan could give the Braves another dominant late-inning reliever to go with Soriano and closer, Mike Gonzalez.
Tom Glavine: The legendary lefty’s rehabilitation from off-season surgery (to repair his pitching arm) is on track, and Glavine is expected to make his first start, on schedule, in late April. In 2007, Glavine was fifth in the NL in quality starts with 23, and not coincidentally, he finished the season with 13 wins. If healthy enough to regain his ’07 form, baseball’s only active 300-game winner could once again notch double-digit wins for the Braves.
Tommy Hanson: Considered by many to be the top overall pitching prospect in baseball, Hanson this spring has given the Braves all the more reason to believe he’s ready to record outs in the big leagues. With an already fully staffed starting rotation, it appears that an injury to a Braves starter would be the only immediate path to the Atlanta’s 25-man roster. However, while not particularly likely, it is conceivable that the Braves might consider trading one of their starting pitchers at some point during the season, creating a Major League job opening for Hanson in ’09.
Tim Hudson: The Braves ace is currently ‘rehabbing’ from “Tommy John” surgery, and is believe to be on track for a late August or early September return. While the Braves certainly are not counting on Hudson in any way for the upcoming season, he could give this Braves team one more considerable weapon down the stretch.
Jeff Francoeur: After experiencing a season-long slump in ‘08 that saw him hit just .239 with only 11 homeruns, “Frenchy” is on a mission to (at least) regain his pre-2008 form. So far, so good. As of this writing, he is hitting .350 for the spring. He has just 1 strikeout in 40 at-bats, to go with 6 walks and 9 RBI. He is driving the ball to all fields and has shown nothing of his prior tendency (even in his better seasons) to swing at pitches well out of the strikezone. Replacing the ’08 model of Jeff Francoeur with the ’07 version – or better- would be tantamount to having inked a big free agent slugger over the winter.
Matt Diaz: Diaz lost much of his ‘08 season to a knee injury after getting off to a slow start as the Braves everyday left-fielder. But it should not be forgotten that he hit .333 in 655 combined at-bats in ’06 and ’07. While the addition of Garrett Anderson undoubtedly represents an upgrade to the Atlanta outfield, the return of a healthy and sharp Matt Diaz may prove every bit as valuable. Diaz is currently batting around .400 with 5 extra-base hits and 11 RBI in just over 40 at-bats this spring.
Jordan Schafer: One of the most heralded prospects in the Braves organization, Schafer appears ready to contribute at the Major League level. Despite frequent strikeouts, Schafer has hit nearly .400 so far this spring, and has demonstrated why he is considered a “5-tool” top-quality prospect. For a variety of reasons (NOT related to his spring performance), he may start the season at AAA, but don’t be surprised if Schafer makes a big league splash in 2009.
If the afore mentioned players are healthy and performing well (and so far this spring, all systems are “go”) the Braves will have essentially added the following for the 2009 season:
4 quality starting pitchers, including a #1 starter… 2 dominant late-inning relievers… 1 big middle-of-the-order bat, and at least 2 other quality hitters.
It’s also worth mentioning that the Braves expect better things from Mike Gonzalez (who is now entirely healthy/rested and back at “100%”), and Blaine Boyer, who won’t be overworked or prematurely thrust into late-inning duties, as he was last year. What’s more, Braves officials feel we haven’t seen the best of Yunnel Escobar, Kelly Johnson, or Casey Kotchman.
When you put it all together, we are looking at a Braves team that could surprise a great many people in 2009. How do you feel about this team? What do you think about the pieces the Braves have added, both from without and within the organization?
Tags: Jeff Francoeur, Jordan Schafer, Matt Diaz, Peter Moylan, Rafael Soriano, Tim Hudson, Tom Glavine, Tommy Hanson
Posted in General | 3 Comments »
We’ve finally settled on it, Griffey’s out of the picture. Where do the Braves go from here? Let’s take a look at the 5 possible left field options (that we’re aware of), counting down in order of likelihood:
5 – Xavier Nady: From a performance standpoint, Nady would be the perfect answer to Atlanta’s need for right-handed power. He hit .305 last season with 25 homers and 97 RBI for the Pirates and Yankees. However, his price tag (both in terms of salary, and talent to be surrendered via trade), a contract that expires at season’s end, and his notoriously hard-driving agent (someone named Boras), make Nady the least likely candidate to fill the Braves Left Field job opening.
4 – Nick Swisher: Swisher is a switch-hitting Yankees slugger who the Braves’ believe could nicely address their outfield power deficiency. Before the Griffey rumors began to percolate, Swisher, who is under contract through 2012, appeared to be the Braves top target. However, it was rumored that they wanted the Yanks to assume 2 million dollars of his annual salary (roughly 5.5 million dollars for 2009).
The Yankees are open to Atlanta’s request, but would require “higher quality prospects” in return, which the Braves are reluctant to yield. Given Atlanta’s recently stated commitment to guarding their best young minor league talent, it doesn’t seem likely that the Braves will meet the Yankees’ asking price for Swisher.
3 – Jim Edmonds: The now 38-year-old Edmonds showed Cubs fans last year that he can still club right-handed pitching. His 19 homers and 54 RBI in 292 at-bats against RHP made his humble .250 batting average VS. righties forgivable. On the flipside, he’s a dollar short of worthless against lefties. In 48 at-bats VS. LHP, he hit .146, with 1 homer and 1 RBI. But his ability to slug against right-handed hurlers makes him a viable platoon partner for the right-handed hitting Matt Diaz. He could also serve as a quality back-up Center-fielder.
I think Edmonds makes a fair amount of sense for Atlanta, and he should fit their budget. That said, there hasn’t been so much as a whisper of Edmonds’ name in connection to the Braves, which causes me to think such a marriage is improbable, but that could change at any moment.
2 – Garret Anderson: The longtime Angels outfielder is likely to play baseball without an “A” on his cap for the first time in 15 years. Or is he?Anderson has lost much of his once considerable power, but he is still a solid big league hitter. With the exception of a modest on-base percentage, Anderson’s 2008 numbers compare very favorably to Griffey’s. He hit .293 last season with 15 homers and 84 RBI.
The left-handed hitting Anderson handles lefties well (.290 vs. lefties last season), however, all but one of his homers came at the expense of right-handed pitching, which makes him another excellent (and affordable) candidate to platoon with Matt Diaz in Left. We’ve covered more details earlier in the offseason.
1 – Let the kids play: If the Braves aren’t attracted to the remaining external outfield options, it would seem that they’re prepared to play their current hand, and reassess the outfield situation a couple of months into the season. The most likely existing candidates for the two available outfield jobs are left-hand hitting center-fielders, Josh Anderson, and Jordan Schafer.
Josh Anderson is out of minor league options, which means the Braves will either have to add him to the Major League roster, or trade him. If the Braves do not import another outfielder, Anderson will battle Jordan Schafer for the starting Center Field role this spring. The speedy Gregor Blanco may also compete for the job. If Anderson fails to win the full-time position in center, he will likely share playing time with Matt Diaz in Left Field. In 203 big league at-bats (2007/2008), Anderson has a .315 batting average, a .364 on-base percentage, and 11 steals in 13 tries.
Jordan Schafer was once considered the Braves top position prospect before a 50-game suspension for alleged “HGH” use last year, however, his star has not fallen. The Braves sill think quite well of the talented “5-tool prospect”, and reviews of his early work at the Braves Spring Training facilities have been positive.
Whether the Braves ink a free agent outfielder, such as G. Anderson or Edmonds, or let youth movement have a go, Matt Diaz is likely to see the majority of his playing time against left-handed pitching. Over the past three seasons, Diaz has hit .319, .338, and .327 against lefty hurlers.
So… if Frank Wren were to call and ask your advice, what would you tell him? Trade away? Sign an inexpensive veteran? Or let the kids play?
Tags: Braves 2009 Outfield, Garret Anderson, Jim Edmonds, Jordan Schafer, Josh Anderson, Matt Diaz, Nick Swisher, Xavier Nady
Posted in General | 21 Comments »
The Braves went into the offseason with several needs:
Two Starting Pitchers
We’ve acquired three. Ace-to-be Derek Lowe, Kenshin Kawakami signed as free agents. The third, Javier Vazquez, was acquired via trade from the White Sox. The three pitchers will augment the Braves’ Jair Jurrjens as the four regular starters (all can eat innings), and we’ll likely see Jorge Campillo, Charlie Morton, and perhaps Tommy Hanson fight for the fifth rotation spot. Now that we’ve got a stable rotation, look for the Braves not to rush Hanson to the big leagues, though he’ll be ready in a year or two to start regularly. When Tim Hudson comes back from Tommy John surgery late in the season, he’ll provide the Braves with one of the best rotations late in the season, if he’s true to form. The Braves’ rotation won’t be something to sneeze at, even though it’s not going to be the best rotation in the history of baseball.
An Outfield Bat
I’d imagine the Braves are still looking to fill this need. Even though we’ve got Jeff Francoeur, Matt Diaz, Josh Anderson, Gregor Blanco, Brandon Jones, and Jordan Schafer as options, we need a bat to help replace the hole left by Teixeira’s departure and to protect Chipper in the lineup. If the Braves do sign someone, it will only be for a year or two, because in addition to the players I already listed, Gorkeys Hernandez and Jason Heyward are outfield prospects in the minor league system, just two-three years away. Maybe Heyward switches to first, but there’s still a glut of good prospects waiting to play outfield for the Braves. I don’t know if we fill this or go with young talent, but if we want to compete in the NL East, we probably need another bat somewhere in the lineup. Left field is a logical position for that bat to play. If I were Wren, I’d look at Bobby Abreu for this role.
Extending Chipper’s Contract
Please, Braves, do this now. Smoltz didn’t retire here, but Chipper needs to. We’re starting to get a reputation for getting the best years out of our players, making this their home, and sending them elsewhere to die. See Aaron, Murphy, Justice, Maddux, Glavine (though he left of his own free will), and now Smoltz. Don’t let it happen to Chipper.
A Backup Catcher
Done. It flew under the radar, but the Braves signed Dave Ross to a two-year deal to back up Brian McCann early in December. He’ll make ~$1.5M each year he’s here. The Braves have been resting McCann once a week or so to try and save his knees, so we’ll see some time out of Ross. Ross hit .225 with 3 HRs and 13 RBI last year for Cincinnati and Boston in 142 at-bats in 60 games.
The Braves will now turn to signing a bat for the outfield, extending Chipper’s contract, and re-signing Will Ohman. Once that’s done, I’d say we’re set for this offseason. I don’t think we’ll see the Braves sign any more starting pitchers. Setup arms in the ‘pen will come via Campillo and our farm system. Think I missed anything? Made bad assumptions? Make a comment and we’ll have some discussion about it.
Ignoring The Bad
By the way, I’m ignoring everything that didn’t go right. Rather not talk about it – no reason to dwell on it!
Tags: Bobby Abreu, Brandon Jones, Braves 2009 Additions, Braves Offseason Goals, Braves Trade Rumors, Charlie Morton, Chipper Jones, Dave Ross, Derek Lowe, Gorkeys Hernandez, Gregor Blanco, Jair Jurrjens, Jason Heyward, Javier Vazquez, Jeff Francoeur, Jordan Schafer, Josh Anderson, Kenshin Kawakami, Matt Diaz, Tommy Hanson, Will Ohman
Posted in General, Roster Moves, Speculation | 53 Comments »
When the Braves consider next year’s starting outfield, they have a bevy of players from which to choose. It’s just the first year the Braves will be plagued with this problem as they have tons of promising young outfielders in their farm system. Today we’ll look at some of the options in center field.
Mark Kotsay – The Incumbant CF
Kotsay’s contract expires at the end of the 2008 season and he may or may not be resigned. Kotsay has been effective in Atlanta, batting .299 with 37 RBIs, 6 HRs, and a .346 on-base percentage in 83 games. He’s been on the DL with back issues (he had back surgery in Oakland that knocked him out for most of last season) but for the most part has been healthy.
Gregor Blanco – The Rookie
Gregor Blanco has played the most time of the young Braves’ outfield prospects, batting .258 with 27 RBI, 11 stolen bases, and a .371 on base percentage. Blanco is speedy – he’s currently ranked second in the NL in bunt hits with 14. Blanco has been slowed recently by a bone spur in his ankle, which is growing worse as the season progresses. He’s doing a pretty good job batting leadoff and has impressed with his time in Atlanta.
Josh Anderson – Rising Star
Anderson has played most of the year in Richmond, but is absolutely tearing up the baseball there. He’s batting .316 with 37 RBIs, a .361 on base percentage, and a whopping 40 stolen bases. He’s cutting down on strikeouts when compared to years past, and and should definitely be considered when the Braves look at their outfield after the season. It’d be great to see some speed come back to Atlanta, where we have a history of speedy outfielders.
Jordan Schafer – Once The Future King
Schafer was once heralded as a sure lock for the Braves’ starting center field spot in 2009, but a run in with an HGH suspension (he says there’s a side to the story that hasn’t been told) has limited his playing time and knocked him back a step or two. He’s batting .269 with 46 RBIs and 9 HRs in just 71 games and has an OBP of .371. I’d be surprised to see him make the jump from AA ball to the big leagues, but it’s not impossible. He still has a future with the Braves organization, I’m just not sure it involves a role in center field in 2009.
Who do you think the center fielder should be next year? Kotsay or one of the youngsters? I’m excited about Josh Anderson and want to see him in the bigs next year for the Braves, be it in Center or Left. But with potentially Kotsay, Anderson, Blanco, Brandon Jones, and Matt Diaz competing for three outfield slots, it’s going to be competitive – and fun to watch.
Tags: Brandon Jones, braves future, Gregor Blanco, Jordan Schafer, Josh Anderson, Mark Kotsay, Matt Diaz, outfield
Posted in Speculation | 8 Comments »
Braves’ center fielder Mark Kotsay was placed on the 15-day DL today after tightness in his lower back prohibited him from even taking batting practice Thursday before the game against the Brewers. Speedster Josh Anderson was recalled from AAA Richmond and will be in Cincinnati on Friday night for the start of a three-game series against the Reds.
Kotsay, who missed his last four starts, had back surgery in March of last year. He came to the Braves in a trade for prospect Joey Devine. Kotsay is not the first Braves outfielder to go on the DL – Matt Diaz is expected to miss about six weeks with a partially torn PCL that will not require surgery. While Diaz and Kotsay are on the DL, Josh Anderson is expected to share time in center field and left field with Gregor Blanco.
Anderson was acquired from the Astros in a trade last year in November for reliever Oscar Villareal. He impressed in spring training and was beat out for the fourth outfield spot by Blanco.
Tags: Gregor Blanco, Josh Anderson, Mark Kotsay, Matt Diaz
Posted in Injuries | 1 Comment »
Dear Mr. Smoltz,
Thank you so much for your good work on Saturday, April 12th. Can you please keep this up all year? We would all appreciate it.
The Writers and Staff at BravesBlast.com
Coming off of their much needed victory last night, the Braves dove right in to claim another from the Nationals at Washington today. An initial 91-minute rain delay did nothing to soggy the Braves offense.
In fact, they wasted no time at all scoring four runs in the first inning, with a little help from Jeff Francoeur knocking the first of his two homeruns for the day. When all was said and done, the kid From Parkview had a career-best seven RBI’s. You know things are going well when all nine starters bat in the first inning.
Francoeur’s second homer came in the sixth, with one runner on base. Not to be outdone by his childhood friend, Francoeur’s high-fives hadn’t ended when Brian McCann knocked a single shot some 400 feet.
Smoltz had a (for him) shaky first inning, goofing a throw to first and throwing a semi-wild pitch. But after regaining his classic composure, it was nothing but the Smoltz we know and love. Resourceful, professional, and keenly intelligent. I truly don’t think we Braves fans know how good they have it having a stabilizing and consistent force of nature like Smoltz in the line-up. Plus, it was pretty evident his shoulder was bothering him the entire game.
His line for the day? 6 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 5 K. The one earned run attributed to Smoltz came in the 4th.
The Nats starter, Scott Lannan lasted through the 4th and the Braves went through three of their relievers by game’s end.
Finally, I am starting to feel good about our bullpen! With very respectable outings by Bennett and Boyer, Manny Acosta zipped it up in the 9th. The one stinker in all this, and the one guy I have truly been pulling for, was Ohman. Lasting less than an inning, he really didn’t do anything to counter the criticism Frank Wren took for acquiring him from Chicago.
So, yeah. Excellent series so far. Can you smell a sweep?
Smitty’s Random Notes:
(A stream of consciousness recall of unrelated observations for the short-of-attention span)
» Sorry, Willie Harris, but I totally don’t miss you.
» Tough-guy Hustle Award goes to Matt Diaz for his aggressive and heads-up base-running.
» Still looking for Teixeira’s bat to wake up. The defense is there; let’s get something going at the plate.
» I still believe in you Ohman. I want to believe.
Tags: Brian McCann, Jeff Francoeur, John Lannan, John Smoltz, Matt Diaz, Washington Nationals
Posted in Game Analysis | 3 Comments »
It’s not often you hear Bobby Cox call someone “sensational” – especially a young pitcher after their first start. But Bobby didn’t hesitate to pull it out when talking about the 22 year old starter Jair Jurrjens, who made his first big league start for the Braves tonight. Jurrjens went 5.1 innings, struck out five, and gave up two earned runs on seven scattered hits and one walk. He notched not only his, but the Braves’ first win this season.
I was really impressed by Jurrjens. In the post-game interview, he kept beating himself up for the one walk. He didn’t seem happy or self-absorbed with the win or the five strikeouts. He didn’t mention the nasty changeup he throws without hesitation. He was upset with himself for the one walk and kept saying how he needs to limit the walks this season. Jurrjens didn’t even get in trouble until the sixth inning. And his fastball was around 93-94 all night long.
The bats weren’t silent either. Martin Prado started the evening at second in place of the injured Kelly Johnson (knee, day-to-day), and kicked the game off with a triple. Chipper knocked him in. Prado would go on to reach base 3 out of 5 times to the plate, scoring each of those times. Matt Diaz added a homer in the fourth.
Going into the 8th, the Braves led 3-2, before the floodgates opened. Both Yunel Escobar and Mark Teixeira broke out the long ball – Tex launching a two-run homer and Yunel going yard to put a three spot on the board. Add a few singles here and there, and the Braves ended up putting seven runs on the board in the eighth. Will Ohman came in and closed out the game in the ninth.
Great to see the Braves get their first win on the board – especially with the offense really clicking in the eighth. Jurrjens is going to be something special. He’s soft-spoken and modest, and has nasty stuff to back it up. He is willing to learn from the older guys and will really benefit from that throughout the season. Hopefully we’ll continue to have Teixeira break out the bat, as he had a slow spring. Also good to see our bullpen pitch 3.2 innings of scoreless relief. We’ll take that.
Braves are 1-2 and showing signs of life. Hampton on the mound tomorrow for Atlanta. Here’s praying he can stay alive through it.
Tags: Jair Jurrjens, Mark Teixeira, Martin Prado, Matt Diaz, Pittsburgh Pirates, Will Ohman, Yunel Escobar
Posted in Game Analysis | 10 Comments »