...for I have sinned. It has been four months and one day since my last post.
I've let quite a bit of baseball slip by. Spring Training. Opening Day. First two months of the season. I won't give you an excuse. Just my apologies. For those of you who asked where I was, thank you for missing me! That warmed my heart all the way down to the tips of my spikes!
So, what has been going on in baseball and, more importantly, Braves Country? So very, very much! Here's the Reader's Digest version (the kid's won't get what that means)
The Braves got out the gate in fast and furious fashion. The team won three division series, versus the Phillies, Marlins and Nats (the latter two being sweeps) but were humbled at the end of the month by losing three of four to the Pirates and then getting pummeled in Detroit. That series was painful to watch. The Braves ended the month 15-8 and are 13-9 (so far) in May. We've seen a tough series in San Fran (1-3) and sweeps of the Dodgers and Twins.
The Braves have played on the road more than any other team in the majors. 21 games at home and 29 on the road. I really don't understand the rationale of the schedule makers. In fact, it's really kind of bizarre. In one April road trip, the team visited Pittsburgh, Detroit and Denver. Game time temps were often in the 40s or lower and one of the games in Denver was actually snowed out. Meanwhile, Atlantans were basking in an absolutely glorious spring. Sunny, breezy days with highs in the 60s! What the heck were the powers-that-be thinking!?! Ask any team, do you want to visit Atlanta in April or August? April wins hands down. As for Pittsburgh, Detroit and Denver, an August game would be spectacular. One word for the schedule makers. Der.
The big story going into spring training was the Upton brothers and since then, the excitement they've created is beyond compare! The energy on Opening Day was unbelievable! The boys lived up to their billing the first week of the season. Facing the Cubs in just the fifth game of the year, the Braves found themselves trailing in the bottom of the 9th. B.J. tied the game with a home run, his first as a Brave. Two batters later, Justin won the game with his own home run. With their parents in the stands, the Uptons became only the fourth pair of brothers to hit home runs as teammates in the same inning. It's happened once before for the Braves. Hank and Tommie Aaron did the same, 41 years earlier.
Tim Hudson won the 200th game of his career game on April 30th. And the game he pitched was an absolute gem! To ensure that the third attempt was the proverbial charm, Huddy helped himself out by hitting a double and then going yard! Hudson was philosophical about waiting for the milestone and was thrilled to get the win at home. His battery-mate said catching the game was an honor and privilege. That's one step closer to Cooperstown for one of the game's most underrated players.
See, this is what happens when I don't write for awhile. This post is getting waaay too long! I'll cut to the chase on the rest of these.
Craig Kimbrel notched the 100th save of his career. He's blown two saves so far, but true to form he's bounced back just fine from each.
It took until May 18th for the Braves to start their 'true' starting line-up. The season began with Brian McCann on the DL from off-season shoulder surgery. Just before B-Mac's return, Jason Heyward went out due to an appendectomy. Overlapping those two was Freddie Freeman's stint on the DL. It took little while but the roster looks great!
Evan Gattis is baseball's surprise star and the biggest story in the majors right now. He's batting .256 with a .576 slugging percentage, an .883 on-base percentage and he leads the Braves in RBIs. Evan bests all rookies with 10 home runs, including one grand slam. He's playing two positions, catcher primarily and then left field. He's knocked in eight runs on three pinch hit appearances. El Oso Blanco's story is one of folkloric proportion and that has earned him is own post, coming very soon!
Chris Johnson has turned out to be the sneaky surprise of the Upton/Prado trade. Chris is at the top of the league in batting with his .352 average and he's playing a great third base. His bat could possible seal the deal in becoming the teams every day third baseman.
Justin Upton is leading the NL in home runs with 14. In all of baseball, he's tied with Miguel Cabrera and only Chris Davis (16) has more.
Ramiro Pena is clutch! The former Yankee is built to play in the National League and he comes through every time he hops off the bench. He's a huge threat and the rest of the NL is taking notice.
On the injury front, the Braves have lost both Jonny Venters and Eric O'Flaherty to Tommy John surgery. On a brighter note, Brandon Beachy should be back around the All-Star Break.
The Braves are carrying three catchers on the 25-man roster.
Two Braves pitchers have hit home runs this season, the afore mentioned Hudson homer and Mike Minor, who got the first of his career, a two-run dinger last night.
The biggest surprise of all to me? Jordan Schafer may have actually grown up and gotten his act together. Who da thunk it? Not me!!
Gotta go! It's almost game time!