Atlanta Bullpen http://atlantabullpen.com Sun, 06 Apr 2014 14:36:42 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.2 Braves Series Against Nationals Key? http://atlantabullpen.com/braves-series-nationals-key/ http://atlantabullpen.com/braves-series-nationals-key/#comments Fri, 04 Apr 2014 12:09:24 +0000 http://atlantabullpen.com/?p=9169 The Braves play the Nationals today in a rare Friday afternoon game.  Unless my memory is starting to soften, I can’t ever remember the Braves playing a regularly scheduled tilt on a Friday afternoon.  Can you? Half the Braves fan base probably won’t realize the game was played in the afternoon until they sit down […]

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Nationals Park

Nationals Park

The Braves play the Nationals today in a rare Friday afternoon game.  Unless my memory is starting to soften, I can’t ever remember the Braves playing a regularly scheduled tilt on a Friday afternoon.  Can you?

Half the Braves fan base probably won’t realize the game was played in the afternoon until they sit down with their favorite beverage after dinner and turn on the TV to watch a game that is long over.

I’ve been going back and forth trying to decide if this is a “key” series against the Nationals.  Win or lose there will be 156 games left in the season unless a game or games are postponed due to inclement weather, earthquake, or problems with the Obamacare website.  So it really isn’t a “key” series unless the Braves win or lose all three.

Lose all three and fall four games behind the Nationals with 2-3 more weeks before Minor and Floyd return to the starting rotation would not be a good thing.

Make sure you set aside time Saturday night to watch Julio Teheran square off against Nationals ace, Stephen Strasburg, at 7 p.m. ET.  There’s gonna be more K’s than a Mike Krzyzewski family reunion.

The Braves home opener is Tuesday and I don’t like having that event after the season has gone on for over a week. It is like arriving at a New Year’s Eve party at 1:30 in the morning.  Nonetheless, make sure you get your tickets for the game, this is your first opportunity to see the Braves collection of new millionaires in person.

Have a great Friday and don’t forget to pick up your parting gifts on the way out.

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Same Old Braves So Far http://atlantabullpen.com/old-braves-far/ http://atlantabullpen.com/old-braves-far/#comments Thu, 03 Apr 2014 17:42:39 +0000 http://atlantabullpen.com/?p=9155 It’s only one game and only one series, but the Braves showed us something against the Brewers in Milwaukee. Atlanta won in typical Braves fashion, with pitching and defense and after the losses in the starting rotation, that is huge for team and fan confidence. Aaron Harang just shut up all the naysayers who questioned […]

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Tim Hudson

Tim Hudson

It’s only one game and only one series, but the Braves showed us something against the Brewers in Milwaukee. Atlanta won in typical Braves fashion, with pitching and defense and after the losses in the starting rotation, that is huge for team and fan confidence.

Aaron Harang just shut up all the naysayers who questioned the move in releasing Freddy Garcia to sign him.  His fastball was sitting at 91/92 with good movement and his location was excellent.  Only one walk in 6 1/3 innings, you gotta love that.

What can’t be discounted is how the Braves organization, philosophy and coaching provide the environment and the tools for players to be successful.  No different from any of us working for a company, in the right environment we thrive, in the wrong environment we shrivel up.

Some notables:  Jordan Schafer inserted in left in place of Justin Upton for defensive purposes, only one Braves regular hitting above .300, B.J. Upton now sitting at .083 (1 for 12) with 6 strikeouts and .008 ahead of his brother, Justin.

Craig Kimbrel looks to be in mid-season form with 2 saves in 2 attempts with 4 strikeouts in 2 innings.  Much better than he was last season after participating in the World Baseball Classic.

From the “in case you missed it file”…Tim Hudson debuted for the Giants in grand fashion, going 7 2/3 innings and giving up zero runs on only 3 hits to get the win.  He didn’t walk anybody and struck out 7 in a dominating performance.  If Harang hadn’t pitched as well as he did yesterday, the magpies would be lighting up  the internet about how the Braves should have resigned Hudson.

What are your thoughts on the Braves series against Milwaukee and heading into Washington to face the Nationals this weekend?

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Wood Gets Braves On Board http://atlantabullpen.com/braves-get-board/ http://atlantabullpen.com/braves-get-board/#comments Wed, 02 Apr 2014 15:00:18 +0000 http://atlantabullpen.com/?p=9145 The Braves notched their first win of the season behind starter Alex Wood and two homers by Freddie Freeman, a homer by Jason Heyward and two doubles by Dan Uggla.  That isn’t a misprint or writer error, Uggla stroked two doubles. I don’t want to get too excited too early, but Uggla has been “on […]

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Alex Wood Braves pitcher

Alex Wood

The Braves notched their first win of the season behind starter Alex Wood and two homers by Freddie Freeman, a homer by Jason Heyward and two doubles by Dan Uggla.  That isn’t a misprint or writer error, Uggla stroked two doubles.

I don’t want to get too excited too early, but Uggla has been “on the ball” the first two games, driving it to all fields with authority.  I figured he would have a big year next season since it is the last year of his contract, if he could do it this year too that would be a welcome bonus.  I’d like to see Uggla do it for at least a month before proclaiming that he is “back.”  I’m guardedly optimistic so far based on what I’ve seen.

How about Alex Wood?  Seven strong innings and only gave up one run on five hits while striking out five against a good line-up.  Like Teheran he showed poise out on the mound and didn’t give in to the hitters.  He walked three, but got 11 ground ball outs that resulted in three double plays.  The Braves need Teheran and Wood to be their backbone in the first few weeks of the season and that is exactly what they did in this series in Milwaukee..

Few games are “must wins” or “big” this early in the season, but the fact remains that the Braves will send aging veteran Aaron Harang to the mound today and then after a day off the Braves start a 3-game series in Washington against the Nationals.  So nice win against the Brewers and lets win the series today at 1:10 p.m. ET.

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Braves Loss Only One Game…Right? http://atlantabullpen.com/good-braves-ugly/ http://atlantabullpen.com/good-braves-ugly/#comments Tue, 01 Apr 2014 15:42:47 +0000 http://atlantabullpen.com/?p=9132 The Braves are one game into a 162 game season so you can’t assume much of anything after the Opening Day loss to the Milwaukee Brewers.  But the game did look eerily similar to what we were used to seeing last season when the Braves struggled.  At the very least you can say that not […]

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Julion Teheran Braves Pitcher

Julio Teheran

The Braves are one game into a 162 game season so you can’t assume much of anything after the Opening Day loss to the Milwaukee Brewers.  But the game did look eerily similar to what we were used to seeing last season when the Braves struggled.  At the very least you can say that not a lot has changed.

The good news is that Julio Teheran pitched well despite not having his good stuff.  His fastball was sitting consistently at 91-92, when he’s got it cranked up it is mid 90s.  Nonetheless, he got ahead of hitters and only gave up two runs. Teheran was poised and looked like a seasoned veteran in front of 45,000+ hostile fans in Milwaukee.

Two of the Braves rookie relievers, Ian Thomas and Gus Schlosser, came in and pitched well.  Schlosser in particular looked good, giving up no hits in 1 2/3 innings.  Braves pitching coach Roger McDowell could probably take a high school pitcher and coach him up to get major league hitters out.  Well maybe not, but you get the point.

Now for the bad news and there is a fair amount when you lose 2-0.  Last season the Braves led the majors in getting shut out.  Yesterday they showed they are fully capable of defending their title.

Yovani Gallado is a very good pitcher and when he has it going, he is hard to hit .  But his career ERA is over 3.70 so hell, somebody is hitting him.  The positive to draw on is that the Braves only struck out 4 times.

Dan Uggla and B.J. Upton went 0 for 8 and the sun set last night and came up again this morning, so what else is new? The talking heads on the post game show were saying that both have a better approach this season and you can tell they worked hard in the off-season.  They pointed out that Uggla hit the ball hard a few times and was hard luck.  $27 million invested in two guys and it has come down to moral victories.

The Nationals beat the Mets 9-7 yesterday, so the Braves are officially 1 game behind already in the NL East.  Here is the million dollar question:  Will they ever lead the division this season?  The question sounds way premature and negative and ridiculous.  But is it really?  The Braves have lost 9 of their last 10 in Milwaukee and head to Washington this weekend with a depleted starting rotation.  Playing from behind this season against Washington is not a good idea.

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Braves vs Brewers GameDay Experience 3/31/14 http://atlantabullpen.com/braves-vs-brewers-gameday-experience-33114/ http://atlantabullpen.com/braves-vs-brewers-gameday-experience-33114/#comments Mon, 31 Mar 2014 16:49:43 +0000 http://atlantabullpen.com/?p=9123 The Atlanta Braves open the season against the Milwaukee Brewers at Miller Park in Milwaukee at 2:10 p.m. today. Atlanta will play Milwaukee seven times this season, three in Milwaukee during this opening series and four in Atlanta May 19-22. Miller Park has not been a safe haven for the Braves, they lost eight straight […]

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Braves CapsThe Atlanta Braves open the season against the Milwaukee Brewers at Miller Park in Milwaukee at 2:10 p.m. today. Atlanta will play Milwaukee seven times this season, three in Milwaukee during this opening series and four in Atlanta May 19-22.

Miller Park has not been a safe haven for the Braves, they lost eight straight in the Brewers home park dating back to April, 2011, before winning the last game last season in BrewTown.

Julio Teheran gets his first Opening Day start in his young career, it will be interesting to see how he handles the grand stage.  Teheran struggled last season in the playoffs against the Dodgers.  Did he learn from that experience and is he ready to assume his role as the Braves’ ace?

What doesn’t make a lot of sense is that the Braves are opening on the road for the tenth time in the past ten seasons. Why does a team that resides in the sunbelt go on the road so many times to start the season in late March/early April?  Shouldn’t the northern teams be scheduled to play the early season games in the south at least 50% of the time if not more?  Doesn’t make sense…

My adrenaline is flowing in anticipation of this season getting underway.  How about you??  Join us for game day discussion underneath this article in the comments section as we break down the action as it unfolds!!

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Braves Baseball Begins Anew http://atlantabullpen.com/braves-baseball-begins-anew/ http://atlantabullpen.com/braves-baseball-begins-anew/#comments Sun, 30 Mar 2014 22:51:19 +0000 http://atlantabullpen.com/?p=9114 Braves baseball starts today and isn’t it great that a new season is here.  Mother Nature may still be stingy with springtime weather, but she can’t hold back the start of Braves baseball.  It is here and ain’t it great! What I love about baseball is that once it starts, it is with us every […]

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Atlanta BravesBraves baseball starts today and isn’t it great that a new season is here.  Mother Nature may still be stingy with springtime weather, but she can’t hold back the start of Braves baseball.  It is here and ain’t it great!

What I love about baseball is that once it starts, it is with us every day…

The next six and a half months baseball will always be here to wrap its arms around us and comfort us when we are down, help pass the time when we are bored, provide interesting conversation and debate, give us hours and hours of enjoyment watching games and reading about them on the internet, and most of all sharing games with our family and friends.

Where basketball is frenetic and football is split second, baseball is slow and relaxing.  You can read the paper during the game, or have a conversation, or be in the kitchen making something to eat and when a big play happens not miss the real-time action.  When the crowd noise erupts or the announcer alerts, all you have to do is look up, or flash your 4.5 speed to get in front of the TV as the play continues to unfold.

So good luck to the Braves this season and let the games begin!

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Gattis Expectations Too High? http://atlantabullpen.com/gattis-expectations-high/ http://atlantabullpen.com/gattis-expectations-high/#comments Fri, 28 Mar 2014 17:34:49 +0000 http://atlantabullpen.com/?p=9101 Atlanta Braves catcher Evan Gattis became a folk hero last season with his rags to riches story, mammoth home runs, late game heroics and engaging personality.  With Brian McCann leaving for free agency, Gattis will be the Braves starting catcher and is expected to be a major force in the Braves line-up. Are the expectations […]

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evan-gattis

Evan Gattis

Atlanta Braves catcher Evan Gattis became a folk hero last season with his rags to riches story, mammoth home runs, late game heroics and engaging personality.  With Brian McCann leaving for free agency, Gattis will be the Braves starting catcher and is expected to be a major force in the Braves line-up.

Are the expectations for Gattis too high?

It was revealed that Gattis had surgery last October to remove a dime-sized bone chip from his right knee that had been bothering him since October 2006.  He was brought along slowly in the spring and you have to wonder if there could be lingering effects.

Most of the time I don’t worry about minor knee surgeries, those type procedures have become as simple as cutting your fingernails.  But a red flag went up the other day when Fredi Gonzalez announced that Chris Johnson will be his clean-up hitter and Gattis will be hitting seventh behind Dan Uggla.   Early in the spring, Gonzalez had stated that Gattis would be batting clean-up.

How do you go from being the clean-up hitter to hitting behind Uggla?  How and why did that happen?  Gattis hit only .204 in the spring with a .204 on-base-percentage and we all know that spring stats are not all that important.  Has Fredi Gonzalez seen something he doesn’t like?

Gattis had a good first half last season, but slumped down the stretch.  He needs to be more selective with the pitches he goes after to have a big  year.  I tend to think that he will make those adjustments, but I’m writing it in pencil until he shows that he is healthy once the real deal starts.

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Will Braves Win NL East? http://atlantabullpen.com/will-braves-win-nl-east/ http://atlantabullpen.com/will-braves-win-nl-east/#comments Thu, 27 Mar 2014 15:32:18 +0000 http://atlantabullpen.com/?p=9091 Before the injuries to Kris Medlen and Brandon Beachy, I thought the Braves had a good chance to repeat as National League Eastern division champions.  With those injuries, my win projection on the Braves has changed. The Braves won 96 games last season and looking at the roster and the competitive level in the National […]

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Brandon Beachy

Brandon Beachy

Before the injuries to Kris Medlen and Brandon Beachy, I thought the Braves had a good chance to repeat as National League Eastern division champions.  With those injuries, my win projection on the Braves has changed.

The Braves won 96 games last season and looking at the roster and the competitive level in the National League, I was originally projecting 92 wins for the Braves this season before the injuries.  I now see the Braves as an 88 win team. While this year’s edition won’t set any regular season win records, I think the excitement level will be high as the Braves will battle all season to secure a wild card slot.

I hate to concede the NL Eastern crown to the Nationals, but when you look at their starting rotation and compare it to the Braves, it is hard to believe the Braves will be able to hang with the Nattitude gang.  I also think the Braves mindset will again be to stick with Uggla and B.J. long past their shelf life which will give away games.

My other concern is the Braves bullpen.  Not that they won’t be good, just that they won’t be as good as they have been, which has been the best bullpen in baseball.  Ian Thomas, deposed starter David Hale or Gus Schlosser, and Ryan Buchter or Atahualpo Severino don’t fill me full of confidence.  How many of you had even heard of Schlosser, Thomas, Buchter or Severino before this spring?

(Do you think the Braves announcers will be pulling against Atahualpo Servino making the team so they don’t have to try and pronounce his name?)

I think the Braves will be a good team in 2014, just not a great team.  How many games do you think the Braves will win this season?

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Braves 2014 Player Performance Projections http://atlantabullpen.com/braves-player-performance-projections/ http://atlantabullpen.com/braves-player-performance-projections/#respond Wed, 26 Mar 2014 16:35:55 +0000 http://atlantabullpen.com/?p=9032 Which Atlanta Braves players will tear it up this season and who are the ones that will disappoint? Projecting what major league baseball players will do in the regular season is one of the more intriguing crap shoots in sports.  There are hundreds if not thousands of websites out there that put out projections for […]

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B.J. Upton

B.J. Upton

Which Atlanta Braves players will tear it up this season and who are the ones that will disappoint?

Projecting what major league baseball players will do in the regular season is one of the more intriguing crap shoots in sports.  There are hundreds if not thousands of websites out there that put out projections for fantasy league players and many pundits and “experts” who take their shot.

As I’ve mentioned before, I put the most stock in the projections put out there by the sports books , as they have a major vested interest in the numbers.  Bovada Sports Book has put out their 2014 Atlanta Braves player projections and I really don’t disagree with any of their numbers.

Dan Uggla is projected to hit .220 and B.J. Upton, .230.  Are those of you who think they are going to bounce back in a good way getting your flights to Vegas lined up so you can head to a casino and set up your retirement fund?

Bovada’s Atlanta Braves Player 2014 Projections:

Freddie Freeman – BA in the 2014 Regular Season|
Over/Under .305

Freddie Freeman – Total HR’s in the 2014 Regular Season|
Over/Under 25½

Freddie Freeman – Total RBI’s in the 2014 Regular Season
Over/Under 103½

Jason Heyward – Total HR’s in the 2014 Regular Season|
Over/Under 21½

Jason Heyward – Total Runs in the 2014 Regular Season
Over/Under 94½

Justin Upton – BA in the 2014 Regular Season
Over/Under .279

Justin Upton – Total HR’s in the 2014 Regular Season
Over/Under 26½

Evan Gattis – Total HR’s in the 2014 Regular Season
Over/Under 23½

Chris Johnson – BA in the 2014 Regular Season
Over/Under .299

B.J. Upton – BA in the 2014 Regular Season
Over/Under .230

Dan Uggla – BA in the 2014 Regular Season
Over/Under .220

Julio Teheran – Total Wins in the 2014 Regular Season
Over/Under 13½

Mike Minor – Total Wins in the 2014 Regular Season
Over/Under 13½

Ervin Santana – Total Wins in the 2014 Regular Season
Over/Under 9½

Craig Kimbrel – Total Saves in the 2014 Regular Season
Over/Under 46½

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Braves Release Garcia Then Boom Harang http://atlantabullpen.com/garcia-released-boom-harang/ http://atlantabullpen.com/garcia-released-boom-harang/#comments Tue, 25 Mar 2014 14:52:34 +0000 http://atlantabullpen.com/?p=9008 After the Braves released Freddy Garcia yesterday I was ready to write an article about what a mistake I thought they had made.  I like players who can produce in the clutch and Garcia was great last season in September and then in the playoff game against the Dodgers. For more Atlanta Braves coverage, download […]

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Aaron Harang

Aaron Harang

After the Braves released Freddy Garcia yesterday I was ready to write an article about what a mistake I thought they had made.  I like players who can produce in the clutch and Garcia was great last season in September and then in the playoff game against the Dodgers.

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Too often over the years the Braves have had players who are solid April to August and then down the stretch and in the playoffs they fold up like a card table.  I think Garcia deserved another chance to pitch for the Braves this season.

Sure Garcia’s velocity has diminished to the point that I can almost catch him bare handed, but the guy was getting people out and that is the bottom line.  His spring numbers were very good when you take out the bad start the day his wife went into labor.

Then after the Braves released Garcia, boom they signed veteran Aaron Harang.  I’ve always liked Harang, he has been one of the better power pitchers in the National League over the years.  Unfortunately, he’s lost a few miles per hour off his fastball, but the Braves say he is still throwing 91-92.  Kris Medlen was throwing 89/90 last season and Mike Minor and Brandon Beachy are usually 91-93, so Harang still has major league velocity.

Harang went 10-12 with the Dodgers in 2012 with a 3.61 ERA in 179 2/3 innings.  He struggled last season in the American Leagueb but had a 3.52 ERA in 23 innings with the Mets.  So he still knows how to get National League hitters out.

Hate to see Garcia leave, but I think Harang is a helluva pick-up for the Braves at this late stage in the spring.

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