Atlanta Braves blog 

Atlanta Braves blog by David O'Brien, baseball writer for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
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Through rotation shuffle, Braves starters remain strong

  • 2:31 pm Wednesday, April 16th, 2014 by David O'Brien
Mid-spring training signee Ervin Santana has  been instrumental in the Braves' majors-leading 1.80 starters ERA.

   PHILADELPHIA – Hey, we all realize it’s way early. Way, way early. Far too early to make any big judgments.

Still, one can’t help but notice that the Nationals, who once again were the pick of many pundits to win the NL East in large part because of their starting rotation, have a starters ERA of 5.06 after Stephen Strasburg got rocked by the Marlins last night.

The Braves, who began the season with Aaron Harang and David Hale in their injury-altered, patchwork rotation? Well, the Braves have a majors-leading 1.80 starters ERA, more than a half-run ahead of the No. [More]

Uggla no struggla Monday, and Gattis’ Philly madness

  • 2:35 pm Tuesday, April 15th, 2014 by David O'Brien
Dan Uggla celebrates with teammates after ninth-inning grand slam Monday. (AP photo)

 PHILADELPHIA – Watching it rain here in Philly and thinking again about last night’s game and how, no matter how long you watch baseball, there will invariably be at least a few things every season that you’ve never seen before, things that leave you shaking your head at the splendid unpredictability of this great game. Like My father said, “don’t look away!“You got to be strong, you got to be bold now”He said that in the end it is beautyThat is going to save the world nowAnd she moves among the sparrowsAnd she floats upon the breezeShe moves among the [More]

After dispatching Nats, Braves face rejuvenated Utley & Phils

  • 2:09 pm Monday, April 14th, 2014 by David O'Brien
Justin Upton follows through on his game-tying homer off Tyler Clippard on Friday.

PHILADELPHIA – Now that the Braves have dispatched the Nationals yet again and bounced back from a series loss to the Mets to post a 4-2 record on their first homestand, it’s back on the road to face a couple of other NL East rivals in Philly beginning tonight and New York beginning Friday.

And while the Nats are the Braves’ primary, and probably only, competition for the division title this year, the Phillies and Mets have proven to be tougher opponents in head-to-head competition over the past two or three seasons than the Nationals, whom the Braves have beaten in [More]

Head-scratchers: Clippard vs. Braves, Pena vs. Nats

  • 6:54 pm Saturday, April 12th, 2014 by David O'Brien
Justin Upton follows through on his game-tying homer off Tyler Clippard on Friday.

Before facing the Braves became an ongoing nightmare for Tyler Clippard these past two seasons, the Nationals reliever actually had a great deal of success against them. The kind of success the Washington setup man continues to have against most other teams, just not the Braves. Oh, man, not the Braves.

Clippard gave up a tying home run to Justin Upton in the eighth inning Friday, the eighth time in nine appearances that he gave up at least one run against the Braves since the beginning of the 2013 season.

The veteran right-hander was 0-3 with a 9.72 ERA and .344 opponents [More]

Braves’ offense so far: pretty much dysfunctional

  • 2:09 pm Friday, April 11th, 2014 by David O'Brien
Justin Upton had four homers in the last four games of the Braves' homestand that  ended Sunday.

The Brewers have not lost a game since losing the first two of the season against the Braves in Milwaukee. And the Nationals have not lost a game other than the first two they lost to the Braves in the series last week in Washington.

That’s a positive spin on things for Braves fans.

Oh, and Braves starters do lead the majors with a 1.74 ERA, while the Brewers (2.44) are only other NL team with a starters ERA below 2.95. No small matter.

That’s obviously been the best and most encouraging thing from a team perspective for the first nine games for [More]

Big night: Hank to be honored before home opener

  • 1:16 pm Tuesday, April 8th, 2014 by David O'Brien
images

Let me start by saying Hank Aaron is in the pantheon of five greatest players in major league history in my opinion, with Babe Ruth, Ted Williams, Willie Mays and Lou Gehrig. They stand above all others in terms of offensive production, overall skills, longevity, the whole thing.

And as we prepare to watch the Braves icon be honored in a pregame ceremony tonight on the 40th anniversary of his 715th home run that beat Ruth’s career record, let’s consider a few stats that jump off the page regarding The Hammer, who is and I’d imagine always will be the real [More]

Winning start for Braves despite lack of offense

  • 6:14 pm Saturday, April 5th, 2014 by David O'Brien
Julio Teheran's two earned runs allowed on opening day were the most by any Braves starter through Friday.

WASHINGTON — The Braves hoped that their patchwork starting rotation could hold things together for the first weeks of the season until the reinforcements arrived in the form of veterans Ervin Santana, Mike Minor and Gavin Floyd.

Needless to say, the patchwork guys have done more than hold it together the first time through the four-man rotation, which will become a five-man rotation when Santana is added (which Fredi Gonzalez said they’re hoping will be this Wednesday, as long as his between-starts side session goes without incident and he says he’s ready).

Yes, it’s an extremely small sample size – in case [More]

Braves vs. Nats, Pt. 1: Let’s do this

  • 12:48 pm Friday, April 4th, 2014 by David O'Brien
Photo taken with my iPhone at 12:50 p.m. today during National Anthem here at Nats Park. (You can see Capitol Building in upper left corner.)

WASHINGTON —  It’s the first of 19 games between the Braves and Nationals, whose rivalry has become the best one in the NL East, akin to what the Braves and Mets once were, and then what the Braves and Phillies became for more than a half-decade.

The Phillies are old, the Mets are improved but still too banged-up to contend this season, and the young but talented Marlins are better than most people realized, but probably don’t have enough to stay in the race for even half of the 162-game marathon.

The Braves and Nats? It should be interesting. The Nats are [More]

To win series, Braves must end recent trends

  • 1:56 pm Tuesday, April 1st, 2014 by David O'Brien
Alex Wood starts Game 2 for the Braves, his 12th major league start.

 MILWAUKEE – The Braves opened on the road for the eighth time in 10 seasons Monday, and from their perspective they probably couldn’t have picked a much tougher opponent, city, or pitcher to face in the season lid-lifter (there it is, the term you’ve been waiting for) than the Brewers in Milwaukee with Yovani Gallardo on the mound.

The Braves lost 2-0 to Gallardo and the Brew Crew on Monday, and fell to – brace yourself for these numbers – 2-8 with a .192 team batting average and 13 total runs in their past 10 games against the Brewers.

By the way, [More]

For openers, Braves must play well behind makeshift rotation

  • 8:33 am Monday, March 31st, 2014 by David O'Brien
Julio Teheran starts season opening at Milwaukee on Monday.

MILWAUKEE – It’s Opening Day. The outfield grass is immaculate at (fill in any major league ballpark name), and the burgers and brats cooking on the grills down in the stadium concourse will create the most incredible smells you could ever savor.

But if these Braves don’t play well behind their makeshift starting rotation early on, it could get ugly.

Wait, hold it. I’m better than that. No abrupt transitions on Opening Day. We need romance, anecdotes, tales of renewal and rebirth and hope abounding in 30 major league cities from sea to sea.

This will have to suffice instead.

My first year as [More]

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