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David O'BrienDavid O'Brien

Late nights, rough stretch for Braves

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Since I left the ballpark at 2 a.m. after the second 13-inning, nearly five-hour game in a span of three days, and did this Scribble Live online Q&A this morning for an hour with Braves fans, we’re going to do a short blog and give you a link to the chat in case you missed it. It went well, lot of participation from fans, many of them understandably frustrated by the team’s recent performance.

Andrelton Simmons' RBI single in the 9th tied it for the Braves on Monday, but they lost  in 13 innings for the second time in three days.

Andrelton Simmons’ RBI single in the 9th tied it for the Braves on Monday, but they lost in 13 innings for the second time in three days.

If you’re of the ilk who likes to insist that some ATL reporters, i.e. me, won’t question any moves made by the manager or GM, you probably don’t want to read this Q&A. Because then you’ll have to ignore it in order to continue that straw man argument.

Anyway, please use this link below, and you can go back back and look at previous week’s sessions (we’ve had them each Tuesday at 11:30 a.m. for a while now) by clicking the “oldest” scroll button. Today’s should start with the page this link goes to, but if not you can hit the “newest” button to get it to.

Thank ya, and the rest of the blow is below the link.

http://livesports.ajc.com/Event/AJC_Live360_Braves_Mailbag_brought_to_you_by_Verizon?Page=15

 

• Tonight’s matchup: It’s Ervin Santana (5-3, 4.09 ERA) against Phillies righty Kyle Kendrick (2-6, 4.09).

So if form holds, this should start the new chapter of six strong Santana starts, right? I mean, he has gone 1-3 with a 6.44 ERA and .312 opponents’ average in his past six starts, after going 4-0 with a 1.99 ERA and .221 opponents’ average in his first six.

Santana pitched eight scoreless innings of three-hit ball against the Mets in his Braves debut April 9, with no walks and six strikeouts in 88 pitches. This after missing a month of spring training before signing with the Braves in mid-March.

And he hasn’t matched that debut performance in 11 starts since then, either in terms of innings pitched or hits allowed. His best since then was seven scoreless innings (five hits) against the Cubs on May 10 in his sixth start.

The only time he’s given up fewer than three earned runs in his past six starts was June 7 at Arizona, when he allowed six hits and one unearned run with two walks and one strikeout.

Santana has been dominant in two career starts against the Phillies, going 1-0 with a 0.69 ERA, .140 opponents’ average, and 20 strikeouts with four walks in 13 innings. The first game was in 2008, the second on April 14 in his second start this season, when he allowed four hits and one run on a homer (by Ryan Howard, of course) in six innings, with a season-high 11 strikeouts and two walks.

Santana’s next-highest strikeout total was eight in 6 1/3 innings in his last start Thursday at Colorado, where he gave up six runs and seven hits (two homers) in 6 1/3 innings and took the loss.

Of note: he’s 4-2 with a 3.02 ERA and four homers allowed in nine night games, compared to 1-1 with a 7.79 ERA and three homers allowed in three day games.

Kendrick is 2-1 with a 3.16 ERA in hi s past four starts, but three of those came at home, where he’s pitched far better despite the fact that Citizens Bank Park is one of the most hitter-friendly in the majors.

The right-hander is  0-3 with a 4.78 ERA in six road games, compared to 2-3 with a 3.50 ERA in seven home starts. And in his past three road starts he’s 0-2 with a 7.00 ERA and and as many walks (nine) as strikeouts in 18 innings.

Of note: Left-handed batters have a .333 average, .396 OBP and .522 slugging percentage in 138 at-bats against Kendrick, compared to .217/.273/.339 in 180 at-bats by right-handers.

Against Kendrick, Justin Upton is  5-for-14 with two homers, Chris Johnson is 5-for-13, Andreltons Simmons is 3-for-9 with a homer, and Jason Heyward is 3-for-22.

• Two runs, 30 innings: The Braves have scored two runs in 30 innings in their past three games against the Phillies, which explains how Atlanta is 1-2 despite having a 1.20 ERA in those games. The Braves won 1-0 and lost the past two by scores of 1-0 and 6-1.

Monday was another rough night for David Hale, who gave up 5 runs in the 13th inning for the second time in three days. (AP photo)

Monday was another rough night for David Hale, who gave up 5 runs in the 13th inning for the second time in three days. (AP photo)

• Hale’s hellish week: Rookie David Hale was 3-0 with a 1.67 ERA in 21 career games (six starts) before Saturday, when things went awry in relief against the Angels, then stayed awry Monday against the Phillies.

Hale gave up five runs in the 13th inning of each of his two appearances Saturday and Tuesday, taking the loss in each of those 13-inning games. He had allowed 12 runs (10 earned) in 54 career innings before being charged with 10 runs (seven earned) in 3 1/3 innings over those past two outings.

The Marietta right-hander pitched five times in nine days through Tuesday night, including two appearances of 2 1/3 innings apiece. He gave up 11 hits and 13 runs (10 earned) in  7 1/3 innings over those five games (12.27 ERA), after allowing nine runs (seven earned) in 50 innings (1.26 ERA) over his first 18 games including six starts.

His career ERA went from 1.26 to 2.67 in that nine-day span.

Hale pitched five times in nine days through Tuesday night, including two appearances of 2 1/3 innings apiece. He gave up 11 hits and 13 runs (10 earned) in  7 1/3 innings over those five games (12.27 ERA), after allowing nine runs (seven earned) in 50 innings (1.26 ERA) over his first 18 games including six starts.

His career ERA went from 1.26 to 2.67 in that nine-day span.

• Rough times for Carp: Reliever David Carpenter was placed on the 15-day DL today with a strained right biceps, adding injury to what has been a brutally ineffective stretch for the veteran setup man who was a Braves stalwart in 2013.

Read these stats and cringe: Carpenter has an 11.81 ERA and .563 opponents’ average in his past 10 appearances, with 18 hits, seven runs, three walks and eight strikeouts in 5 1/3 innings.

The Braves brought up righty Pedro Beato from Triple-A to take his spot in the ‘pen. Beato had a 3.49 ERA  in 24 relief appearances at Gwinnett.

• Turner Howard? It’s official: Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard needs to have a son he can name Turner.

Howard’s home run (off Julio Teheran) and sac fly on Monday raised his career-best totals against the Braves to 45 homers and 124 RBIs in 142 games, with a .291 average, .370 OBP and .605 slugging slugging percentage. Yes, .605.

That includes 19 homers and 67 RBIs in in 70 games at Turner Field, the most homers he’s hit outside Philadelphia.

You may recall, Chipper Jones named a son Shea in reference to the retired Braves third baseman’s stellar performances against the Mets  at their old ballpark, Shea Stadium. Chipper hit .309 with 49 homers and 152 RBis in 245 career games against the Mets, with a .406 OBP and .543 slugging percentage. At Shea, the future Hall of Famer hit .313 with 19 homers and 55 RBIs in 88 games, his most homers at any ballpark outside Atlanta.

Let’s close with this classic from late, great George Gones. The Possum will always be with us in song.

“HE STOPPED LOVING HER TODAY” by George Jones

He said I’ll love you ’til I die
She told him you’ll forget in time
As the years went slowly by
She still preyed upon his mind

He kept her picture on his wall
Went half crazy now and then
He still loved her through it all
Hoping she’d come back again

George Jones

George Jones

Kept some letters by his bed
Dated 1962
He had underlined in red
Every single I love you

I went to see him just today
Oh but I didn’t see no tears
All dressed up to go away
First time I’d seen him smile in years

He stopped loving her today
They placed a wreath upon his door
And soon they’ll carry him away
He stopped loving her today

You know she came to see him one last time
Oh and we all wondered if she would
And it kept running through my mind
This time he’s over her for good

He stopped loving her today
They placed a wreath upon his door
And soon they’ll carry him away
He stopped loving her today

 

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