Atlanta Braves blog 

Atlanta Braves blog by David O'Brien, baseball writer for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Facing Kershaw, Braves need Teheran at his best

  • 8:37 pm Thursday, July 31st, 2014 by David O'Brien
Clayton Kershaw was 9-0 with a 0.94 ERA and .151 opponents’ average and four complete games in his past 10 starts before facing the Braves on Thursday.

 LOS ANGELES – Julio Teheran faces Clayton Kershaw tonight in a matchup of aces in the Braves-Dodgers series finale. Needless to say the Braves need Teheran to pitch like the pitcher he’s been most games this season, not the pitcher he’s been in most games on the West Coast, including starts at San Francisco this season and Dodger Stadium in the playoffs last year.

First, let’s focus on Kershaw, who has won two of the past three NL Cy Young awards and is the hottest pitcher in baseball right now. The left-hander is – are you ready for this? — 9-0 [More]

Will Braves part with prospects to make a deal?

  • 4:37 pm Wednesday, July 30th, 2014 by David O'Brien
The Braves have scouted Andrew Miller frequently in recent weeks. It remains to be seen if they're willing to part with the young talent that Boston is asking for in a potential trade before Thursday's 4 p.m. non-waiver deadline.

  LOS ANGELES – As the non-waiver trade deadline approaches (4 p.m. Thursday), the Braves were still trying to add Boston’s Andrew Miller or another quality left-handed reliever without giving up too much in the way of quality prospects. But the Red Sox were asking for at least one top prospect in a deal for Miller, and it remained to be seen if there would be middle ground for a deal with the Braves.

They have the prospects to make it happen, but the Braves  don’t want to sacrifice talent they’re counting upon for the long term in exchange for 2-3 [More]

Some more words on Simmons’ jaw-dropping defense

  • 5:15 pm Tuesday, July 29th, 2014 by David O'Brien
The Braves' gifted shortstop, Andrelton Simmons, continues to fill up highlight reels with spectacular defensive plays.

LOS ANGELES – Andrelton Simmons made two spectacular plays Monday against San Diego that reminded everyone why the Braves shortstop is widely regarded as not only the best defensive shortstop in the National League, but arguably the best defender at any position in the majors.

He laid out to make a diving stop going to his left on the first play, but topped that with a sensational bare-handed grab-and-throw later in the game. The bouncing ball took a peculiar hop and was spinning away from him when he snatched it out of the air and threw to first base in [More]

Braves prospect Bethancourt impressed while in bigs

  • 2:08 pm Monday, July 21st, 2014 by David O'Brien
Christian Bethancourt has impressed while filling in for injured Evan Gattis over the past few weeks.

When Evan Gattis was activated from the DL this afternoon, Christian Bethancourt was optioned back to Triple-A as expected. The Braves have veteran backup Gerald Laird and emergency catcher Ryan Doumit, don’t have room for three full-time catchers on their 25-man roster, and besides, they want their top catching prospect Bethancourt to keep playing every day and developing, not spending most of his time on the bench.

So, Bethancourt will go back to Gwinnett after spending the past few weeks with the big club and making quite an impression with the strides he’s made since last year and even since this [More]

All things considered, Braves in 1st-place tie fairly amazing

  • 1:07 pm Sunday, July 20th, 2014 by David O'Brien
All-Star Freddie Freeman wasn't  immune to the struggles that so many Braves endured in first half,  yet they are tied for first place on July 19 despite injuries and disappointing performances from several key players.

Their loss to the Phillies on Saturday night left the Braves with a 7-5 mark against last-place Philly this season, including a particularly surprising 1-4 at Turner Field. But for those who would (and do) use any such loss to underscore some bigger point about the Braves’ season, let’s consider where things stand today.

While the Braves have been maddeningly inconsistent and failed to fully capitalize on some rather remarkable pitching – especially starting pitching — during the first two months of the season, this team has not been anywhere near the overall disappointment some would have us believe.

And all things [More]

Chicks don’t dig this: Braves 1 HR in 10 games

  • 2:52 pm Thursday, July 10th, 2014 by David O'Brien
The Braves have one homer in 344 at-bats over their past 10 games, and Freeman (right) has two homers in 110 at-bats over his past 28 games.

NEW YORK – One homer in 344 at-bats over the past 10 games. That’s what the Braves have mustered. And you might have also heard, they aren’t real good at the situational hitting, hitting with runners in scoring position, that kind of thing.

So no, it’s not a real good offensive combination, and it’s why they’ve totaled eight runs in their current four-game losing streak. The question is, can we expect this Braves team to do significantly better between now and October? And if they can’t score against some rather run-of-the-mill pitchers, what about the aces they’ll face in the postseason [More]

Braves could use some of Ervin’s ‘Magic’ tonight

  • 2:38 pm Wednesday, July 9th, 2014 by David O'Brien
Santana has 20 strikeouts and three walks in 20 innings over his past three starts. Against the Mets, he's 3-0 with a 0.86 ERA in three career starts.

NEW YORK – The Ervin Santana bandwagon shed a lot of Braves fans during a four-week stretch in which he posted a 6.44 ERA while winning once in six starts and allowing six earned runs three times (and five earned runs once). It was not magic, by any means.

But for those who were so turned off by his four rotten starts in that period that they might not have noticed, Santana has been solid in six of his past seven starts, and pitched quite well in a few of them.

The Braves need him sharp tonight in the third game of [More]

Braves searching for lefty reliever; Miller would do nicely

  • 2:33 pm Tuesday, July 8th, 2014 by David O'Brien
The Braves hope to add a lefty reliever before the trade deadline, and 6-foot-7 Red Sox lefty Andrew Miller is among those they've scouted. (AP photo)

  NEW YORK – Monday night’s loss to the Mets provided another reminder of why the Braves have made bolstering their bullpen a priority before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline, and specifically why they’re looking for a lockdown-type left-hander who could help restore their ‘pen to something close to its elite level of recent seasons.

Someone like Andrew Miller of the Red Sox, for instance. More on that in a moment.

After the Braves scored three runs to take a 3-2 lead in the top of the eighth inning Monday, lefty Luis Avilan gave up the lead on a Curtis Granderson homer [More]

Minor hasn’t pitched like top-half-of-rotation starter

  • 2:34 pm Monday, July 7th, 2014 by David O'Brien
Tonight's starter Mike Minor is 0-3 with a 5.21 ERA in his past eight starts, and has been hurt frequently by the home-run ball.

  NEW YORK – The Braves have made bolstering the bullpen a priority before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline, preferably with another lefty they can use in the seventh or eighth innings. Presumably they aren’t going to add another starter, barring injury or other unexpected development in the next few weeks.

That means they are going to go with what they’ve got, which is good and could be very good if….

What do you think the if is? It’s not Julio Teheran, who has established himself as an legit ace and should have made the All-Star team to begin with, not as [More]

Braves must keep pedal to metal in soft part of schedule

  • 1:54 pm Friday, July 4th, 2014 by David O'Brien
Julio Teheran (left) has established himself as the Braves ace in his second full season in the majors.    Atlanta is 9-1 since B.J. Upton (right)  moved into the leadoff spot.

Remember during the stretch drive of the 2012 season when the Braves and Nationals were in lockstep? When the Braves won, the Nats won. When they lost, the Nats lost. It happened almost every day for weeks on end.

Well, we’re not in the stretch drive yet, but it’s been happening again lately. After Atlanta wasted an opportunity to gain ground when the Nats struggled for long stretches of the first half, the Braves are now on their first extended winning streak of the season. But they haven’t been able to put any distance between themselves and the Nats, who are [More]