Atlanta Braves blog 

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

  • 3:11 pm Friday, June 27th, 2014 by David O'Brien

(Note: Today we’ve got a very special “guest,” if you can call her that. But really, Carroll Rogers has been far more than that on this blog over the years, as most of you know. She’s leaving the AJC, and we’re all going to miss her, no one more than yours truly. She’s a real pro and we’ve worked together, often side-by-side, on this beat for a long while now. So here she is, putting a   – 30 – on it, so to speak.)

 By Carroll Rogers

Honestly, it didn’t dawn on me until the boarding door closed this morning and [More]

Freeman’s out of slump, just in time to wreck Nats

  • 2:01 pm Saturday, June 21st, 2014 by David O'Brien
Freddie Freeman hugs Evan Gattis after Freeman's 1st-inning homer off the Nats' Stephen Strasburg on Friday. Gattis has been on fire for weeks, and now Freeman is heating up again.

WASHINGTON – Nationals pitchers must’ve cringed when they went over the Braves scouting reports entering this series and noticed that Freddie Freeman had begun to heat up after a rare extended slump by the big first baseman. So much for their hopes of facing a struggling Freeman and getting through a series without him doing damage.

Freeman had three hits including a first-inning homer off Stephen Strasburg in Friday night’s 6-4, 13-inning win in D.C., the Braves’ sixth win in seven games against the Nationals this season and 12th win in their past 15 games at Nationals Park.

That 12-3 record in [More]

Floyd fractures elbow, difficult injury for pitchers

  • 2:21 pm Friday, June 20th, 2014 by David O'Brien
Gavin Floyd leaves game after fracturing pitching elbow Thursday. The swelling was already visible on his right elbow in this picture. (AP photo)

WASHINGTON – You’ve got to feel bad for Gavin Floyd, who looked like a fully recovered pitcher with plenty left in his arm last night, pitching a two-hit shutout through six innings against the Nationals, a little over 13 months after returning from Tommy John elbow surgery.

But the saying in baseball is that a pitcher is always just one pitch away from a potentially catastrophic injury (and that’s why a lot of young players are willing to give up some potential future income in exchange for the security of a multi-year deal even if it has what could end up [More]

Braves’ upper hand on Nats about to be tested

  • 1:35 pm Thursday, June 19th, 2014 by David O'Brien
Evan Gattis had a two-run homer when he extended his hitting streak to 17 games Wednesday. The Braves need him to keep it up and get some help in their important four-game series against the Nationals starting  Thursday.

WASHINGTON – The Braves are 22-7 with a 2.05 ERA in their past 29 games against the Nationals (since Aug. 22, 2012), including 5-1 with a 2.17 ERA in six games this season.

And yet, the Nats still chirped.

Their players did for all of last season as the Braves dominated the rivalry, and even their general manager couldn’t stop himself after a couple of losses to the Braves in early April.

Nats GM Mike Rizzo told The Washington Post that the Braves had “come out on the winning side of it more than we’d like,” then added, “but we feel confident against [More]

Late nights, rough stretch for Braves

  • 2:43 pm Tuesday, June 17th, 2014 by David O'Brien
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)

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.

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 [More]

Gattis to left field not being discussed yet

  • 2:37 pm Monday, June 16th, 2014 by David O'Brien
Evan Gattis has been the best-hitting catcher in the majors this season.

 Evan Gattis is in the midst of a power-laden 15-game hitting streak going in which the Braves catcher has racked up 25 hits, seven homers, 18 RBIs, a .470 OBP and an .817 slugging percentage. In his past 46 games going back to April 12, El Oso Blanco has hit .311 with 14 homers, 34 RBIs, a .367 OBP and a .621 slugging percentage.

In 180 at-bats as a catcher this season, Gattis has hit .300 with 15 homers – he leads major league catchers in that category — 34 RBIs, a .349 OBP and a .594 slugging percentage. His only [More]

Braves ‘pen not the late-innings lock of recent years

  • 6:06 pm Saturday, June 14th, 2014 by David O'Brien
Promising rookie Shae Simmons, being congratulated by catcher Evan Gattis after a game in Miami, has been thrust into immediate high-leverage situations in a bullpen that's not been up to its standards of recent seasons (AP photo)

  The Braves got another late-innings scare Friday against the Angels, though this time they survived the two-run Angels eighth inning and held on for a 4-3 win. But these late-innings cross-your-fingers-and-hope-they-hang-on incidents have become almost the norm lately for a Braves pitching staff that in recent years avoided them better than almost any major league team.

That situation, coupled with the other obvious issue with this team – its poor situational hitting and complete lack of offensive consistency – have been the chief contributors to the Braves’ 18-24 record since their 17-7 start, when the pitching staff was so good that [More]

Braves’ Gattis more than just raw power these days

  • 4:49 pm Wednesday, June 11th, 2014 by David O'Brien
Surging Braves catcher Evan Gattis circles the bases Tuesday night on one of three homers allowed by Juan Nicasio, who gave up 10 runs in the Rockies' 13-10 loss. (AP photo)

  DENVER – The bear is making a lot of noise these days, and Braves catcher Evan Gattis is capable of this and even more now that he’s begun to figure out some things at the plate in his second major league season.

This according to Braves hitting coach Greg Walker, who has loved seeing Gattis make recent adjustments and see immediate and significant results.

Gattis, aka El Oso Blanco – the White Bear – had three hits including a long home run in the Braves’ 13-10 slugfest win against the Rockies late Tuesday, his fifth homer in an 11-game hitting streak in [More]

S. Simmons has quickly become a key guy in Braves pen

  • 4:03 pm Tuesday, June 10th, 2014 by David O'Brien
Shae Simmons has only been in the big leagues for 1 1/2 weeks, but is quickly establishing himself as a go-to guy in the Braves bullpen. (AP Photo)

 DENVER – When Shae Simmons struck out Troy Tulowitzki, the major league leader in batting average, OBP and slugging percentage, to end a perfect eighth inning Monday, it was just the 11th time that Tulo struck out in 28 games this season at Coors Field, where he was batting a ridiculous .500 before the Rockies’ 3-1 series-opening loss to the Braves.

It was yet another feather in the cap of Simmons, a hard-throwing, undersized rookie reliever who has surpassed all reasonable expectations since arriving from Double-A just over a week ago and being thrust immediately into high-pressure situations with games on [More]

Braves likely to trade for needed bullpen help

  • 3:57 pm Monday, June 9th, 2014 by David O'Brien
Braves veteran Gavin Floyd starts Monday at Colorado.  He could be a candidate to be traded as Braves pursue help in bullpen.

  DENVER – The blown leads in a pair of one-run losses Saturday at Sunday at Arizona underscored a couple of points about this sputtering Braves team. They continue to waste too many scoring opportunities, an issue that’s going to be difficult if not impossible to correct at midseason, and their pitching, particularly relief pitching, isn’t good enough to carry the Braves.

Unlke the offense, the pitching issue can and likely will be addressed before the trade deadline. I’d expect the Braves to trade for at least one reliever in the coming weeks, even if that means trading an established starting pitcher [More]

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