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Braves Vs Orioles 6/15/2012 - 06/17/2012


R.C. Collins
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So Far I am 5-2 with a postponed game this season so I figured I would go ahead and make this series thread and maybe we can start winning again.

Hosting O's, Hanson can snap Braves out of funk

By Mike Fiammetta / MLB.com

TOR@ATL: Hanson pitches eight innings of two-run ball

Scrapping for wins in one of the toughest divisions in baseball, the Braves are looking to recapture the momentum they initially seized after a 6-1 start to June. While most of their National League East foes continue to prove their mettle, the Braves have lost four straight, the last three coming in a sweep at the hands of the Yankees. On Friday night at Turner Field, the first chance at a turnaround comes against the Orioles, who have won four straight. This weekend's three-game set will be the only time the two teams meet during the regular season.

Taking the mound for the Braves will be right-hander Tommy Hanson, who has posted back-to-back quality starts. Hanson started the Braves' last win, on June 9 against the Blue Jays, and lasted eight innings while allowing two runs on five hits. Six days earlier, Hanson contained the Nationals, surrendering just two runs on six hits in seven innings. For the season, the 25-year-old is 7-4 with a 3.55 ERA in 76 innings.

"Tommy has been great," Braves second baseman Dan Uggla said after Hanson defeated Toronto. "He's a bulldog, just like the rest of our [starters]. He's going to go out there and battle and compete. He was on his game today, that's for sure."

Opposite Hanson, Brian Matusz will suit up on eight days' rest after being scratched from a start scheduled for Wednesday due to a nose bruise he suffered during batting practice on Tuesday. X-rays were negative, and Matusz said he was mentally prepared to pitch on Wednesday, though manager Buck Showalter elected to have the left-hander rest.

"I should be fine for Friday," Matusz said. "There's a little bit of pain there, but I've been doing activities and I feel fine. I can breathe just fine. I slept really well last night, and I feel 100 percent."

Matusz lasted only two-plus innings in his last start, on June 7 against the Red Sox, allowing five runs (four earned) on four hits. He also walked five batters while striking out none, snapping a string of four straight quality starts.

Both pitchers should have their hands full, as the Braves and Orioles are eighth and ninth, respectively, in the Majors with 4.71 and 4.44 runs scored per game. Atlanta, however, has scored more than four runs just once in its last six games -- Hanson's last start.

Braves: Heyward's bat heating up

With his 2-for-4 effort in Wednesday's 3-2 loss to the Yankees, right fielder Jason Heyward raised his batting average to .250. After seeing his average dip as low as .233 on May 30, Heyward has 10 hits in his last 36 at-bats (.278) with two home runs, two doubles and seven RBIs.

Orioles: Chavez remains day to day

A strained right hamstring kept outfielder Endy Chavez out of Wednesday's lineup, and the Orioles are taking a wait-and-see approach with him. Chavez suffered the injury while rounding first base in the sixth inning of Tuesday night's win over the Pirates.

"It's tough when you're trying to help the team and play every day," Chavez said. "Now this happens. It's a little frustrating."

Worth noting

Since 1997, the Braves have won 19 of their 36 games against the Orioles.

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Even if we get swept it will not be as bad as the **** series we just saw against the YankMes

That will be about the only positive. Other than that I don't see many reasons to be optimistic about this series either. Orioles are hot. The Pirates were on a tear heading into Baltimore and the Orioles swept them and made it look super easy.

Brian Matusz pitching tomorrow for the O's is pretty much a feast or famine guy. Knowing the Braves we'll make him look like Cy Young.

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Don’t Understand People’s Issue With Jason Heyward

Jason Heyward’s career line: .254/.357/.431, 118 wRC+, 9.2 WAR in 330 G and 1,314 PA

Andruw Jones’ career line: .256/.339/.488, 112 wRC+, 72.1 WAR in 2136 G and 8,493 PA

For reference, that’s 35.8 games per win, or 142.8 plate appearances per win, for Heyward and 29.6 games per win for Andruw, or 117.8 plate appearances per win.

Andruw is a potential Hall-of-Famer, and for his entire career has still not hit as well as Heyward has in his first two plus seasons relative to league average. Heyward is only slightly behind Andruw’s pace for total WAR in terms of per game and per plate appearance rates, which is pretty impressive considering how great of a career Andruw has had.

I continually see people ask “will the Braves be patient with Heyward?” or “Heyward needs to really get it together!” I understand his rookie year set some large expectations, and I am sure Heyward will have seasons with his OBP above .390 again in the future. People just need to understand how volatile players can be on a per season basis. This current version of Heyward is probably who everyone should expect, with maybe a tick higher average and OBP and slightly lower ISO.

Maybe it isn’t what you wanted him to be, but it is still very productive. Only seven right fielders have a higher WAR than Heyward since he entered the league, which includes his difficult 2011 campaign. The fact is, he’s a very productive player who does many things on the baseball field well, yet people seem to detract from that because he hasn’t hit .300 or hit 20 home runs in a season yet. Understanding his value is the first key, and acting as if he hasn’t been good because of these bench marks for less important statistics is not an accurate way to measure how productive Heyward has been. He’s a great player who is still just 22-years-old, let’s focus on that rather than the odd negatives.

http://capitolavenueclub.com/?p=6822

I totally agree with everything Ben said here about Heyward. I don't understand people's problem with Heyward.

So is Medlen going back to the Bullpen?

Yep. We pretty much wasted 15 days of having Medlen in the bullpen.

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Nice piece on Heyward.

As for Medlen, I wouldn't go as far to say we wasted him in the minors. We absolutely had to do something in the rotation, and he was our best internal option outside of Teheran. Unfortunately, our long-relief man, who wasn't that bad for the first couple of months pitched extremely bad in his last couple of appearances and they came to the conclusion that Kris' true value (or immediate value) is in the 'pen.

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Nice piece on Heyward.

As for Medlen, I wouldn't go as far to say we wasted him in the minors. We absolutely had to do something in the rotation, and he was our best internal option outside of Teheran. Unfortunately, our long-relief man, who wasn't that bad for the first couple of months pitched extremely bad in his last couple of appearances and they came to the conclusion that Kris' true value (or immediate value) is in the 'pen.

Well I felt after Vizcaino went down that we had no choice but to leave Medlen in the pen because of his value there would be greater than his value starting. That was working out fine since Delgado was pitching decent and Minor was pitching over his head in April. But when May came and Minor became horrible we had to try to make a move. I understand that. But don't think taking Medlen out of the pen was a good thing. Especially with the struggles experienced by Venters and EOF at times. And now EOF is dealing with a sore elbow. Hope it's not serious. We still need another quality arm in the pen. I understand that Fredi doesn't want to overuse Kimbrel but I still don't understand why he wasn't at the very least warming up the other night. I would have had him ready to face A-Rod. But the fact that he wasn't even warming up is mind-blowing to me. He had 2 or 3 days off before that game and could have easily pitching an inning plus to get the save. But he was never given that chance. Mariano Rivera had a ton of 2 inning saves in his career and never had any problems with his arm.

Since Ben did such a great piece on Heyward I asked him about Freeman just now on Twitter.

Tim Bliss@bigtbliss

@Ben_Duronio You did a great piece on Heyward. I was wondering what your take is on the amount of swings and misses from Freeman? Blog post?

Ben Duronio@Ben_Duronio

@bigtbliss It's Francoeur-ian. May do a mailbag before I go on vacation next week.

I thought it was funny he said Francoeur-ian considering the amount of times I've read that Heyward is the next Francoeur on here.

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People are just going to have to live with Freeman's swing and misses. The way he sits back on a pitch (the same attribute that allows him to go the other way so often) will cause him to be late. There's nothing wrong with that approach, but unless you just have some ungodly batspeed, you will swing and miss a lot.

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People are just going to have to live with Freeman's swing and misses. The way he sits back on a pitch (the same attribute that allows him to go the other way so often) will cause him to be late. There's nothing wrong with that approach, but unless you just have some ungodly batspeed, you will swing and miss a lot.

My issue with Freeman is the amount of times he goes up there wailing away at that 1st pitch after the pitcher has gotten in a jam. No matter where the pitch is he's trying to hit it. He's got to learn to stop doing that. That puts him in an early hole. It's hard to fight back after that when the pitcher sees you're going to be over aggressive and get yourself out.

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For as bad as the Braves have been at times their run differential is plus 25 which is the 9th best in baseball.

1. Rangers = +72

2. Cardinals = +53

3. Dodgers = +52

4. Yankees = +46

5. Nationals = +42

6. White Sox = +37

7. Reds = +31

8. Red Sox = +26

9. Braves = +25

10. Blue Jays = +24

11. Angels = +20

12. Giants = +15

13. Orioles = +10

14. Rays = +7

15. Diamondbacks = +2

16. Mets = +1

---. Phillies = +1

18. Tigers = -11

19. Athletics = -16

20. Mariners = -18

21. Brewers = -23

22. Royals = -27

23. Pirates = -31

---. Indians = -31

25. Marlins = -34

26. Astros = -38

27. Rockies = -44

28. Cubs = -58

29. Padres = -64

30. Twins = -69

Run differential is a great stat that really determines who the better teams are.

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For as bad as the Braves have been at times their run differential is plus 25 which is the 9th best in baseball.

1. Rangers = +72

2. Cardinals = +53

3. Dodgers = +52

4. Yankees = +46

5. Nationals = +42

6. White Sox = +37

7. Reds = +31

8. Red Sox = +26

9. Braves = +25

10. Blue Jays = +24

11. Angels = +20

12. Giants = +15

13. Orioles = +10

14. Rays = +7

15. Diamondbacks = +2

16. Mets = +1

---. Phillies = +1

18. Tigers = -11

19. Athletics = -16

20. Mariners = -18

21. Brewers = -23

22. Royals = -27

23. Pirates = -31

---. Indians = -31

25. Marlins = -34

26. Astros = -38

27. Rockies = -44

28. Cubs = -58

29. Padres = -64

30. Twins = -69

Run differential is a great stat that really determines who the better teams are.

The only thing is, that was much higher a month ago

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Here is a great piece explaining that Jonny Venters has basically been the exact same pitcher he was last season. His walk rate and strikeout rate are right in line with what he did in 2010 and 2011. The difference between he's just had unbelievably awful luck this year on balls in play.

http://capitolavenueclub.com/?p=6806

Basically Venters is due to eventually get some luck on his side.

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