The Braves rebounded from their Friday night loss with a 2-0 shutout win Saturday behind the consistently sharp Mike Minor and the hot bat of Martin Prado. Craig Kimbrel earned his 41st save in spite of a Dan Uggla error, a wild pitch and a slider that hit not only David Wright but home plate umpire Paul Nauret and delayed the game for five minutes or so while they were both visited by a trainer. The stories of the night were Chipper Jones 0-4 and Mike Minor sterling work.
Mike Minor Stakes His Post Season Claim
If there was any doubt who should be the third starting pitcher this post season – assuming the Braves win the Bud Selig death match challenge (probably) against the Cardinals next Friday night – Minor erased it last night. He threw 88 pitches – 62 strikes – in 6 1/3 innings of three hit ball and striking out four without walking a batter. Skipper Fredi Gonzalez pulled him in the seventh when David Wright doubled with one out and brought in Chad Durbin to face Scott Hairston and Minor looked none to happy with that change. Luis Avilan came in to face Friday’s Mets’ hero Lucas Duda and promptly balked as he tripped on delivery. Wright went to third on that balk but died there as Duda struck out to end the inning. Jonny Venters filling in for Eric O’Flaherty who had stiffness in his back Friday, pitched a scoreless eighth- in spite of giving up two sharply hit singles – thanks to a double play. But back to Minor.
Since the All Star Break Minor is 6-4 with a 2.16 ERA and a 0.879 WHIP, 67 strikeouts and only 16 walks in 87 1/3 innings. Since becoming a Brave his only rival for that third starter spot Paul Maholm is 4-4 with a 3.65 ERA and 1.200 WHIP, 51 strikeouts and 16 walks in 61 2/3 innings. Against the Nats – our most likely opponents as of today – Maholm’s one start left him with a 5.14 ERA and a 1.143 WHIP six Ks and 1 walk in seven inning while Minor’s last start was a six inning five hit one run outing (ERA 1.500, WHIP 1.667). With all due respect for Maholm’s work since coming over he done enough to earn the start.
Chipper’s Woes Continue
Chipper Jones was greeted with a standing ovation for every plate appearance last night and again went 0-4. I’m sure that as much as he loves the overwhelming show of affection from his fans he really wishes they’d treat it like just another game. Chipper is trying to please the fans by playing every game this home stand and he’d like nothing more than to drive one deep into the seats for them. But six games in a row combined with the emotional roller coaster he must be riding and pressing to do something for the fans have left him hitless in the first two games. He’s never faced today’s Mets starter Jenrry Mejia so who knows how that will turn out. I’m sure Chipper will be disappointed if he’s unable to give his fans what they want in his last regular season home game. I think he’ll do what he always does, rise to the occasion and launch his 50th homer against the team he loves to beat.
Can MLB’s Website Please Get The Scoring Right?
In reviewing the numbers for last night’s game I cam across a glaring (for me anyway) inaccuracy in the descriptions. David Wright hit a ball that bounced into the stands for a double. This is commonly and incorrectly called a ground rule double. I can understand the uninformed fan educated by sloppy announcers on TV and radio referring to it in that manner but MLB’s website should get it right. A ground rule is a rule specific to an individual ballpark. At Wrigley Field a ball getting stuck in the ivy is a ground rule double. At Tropicana a ball the various rings around the upper areas of the ballpark results in several confusing but pre-stated results. When a batted ball bounces into the crowd at any ballpark it’s a double; not a ground rule double, a rule book double. Specifically rule 6.09 (e) which says
A fair ball, after touching the ground, bounds into the stands, or passes through, over or under a fence, or through or under a scoreboard, or through or under shrubbery, or vines on the fence, in which case the batter and the runners shall be entitled to advance two bases;
It’s probably a futile hope that announcers will ever get it right but MLB should get it right on their website.
That’s a Wrap
I’m off to the Ted in a minute to meet some more of the folks I know from Twitter and see our last regular season game here before heading back to Texas in the morning. The last two games had a total attendance of 100,220 and today’s game in spite of competition from the Falcons will probably push that over 145,000 for the series. The Pittsburgh series once thought to be a big one will simply allow the Braves to rest Chipper and allow Michael Bourn to get back into his game rhythm – we hope – while getting Juan Francisco and others a few at bats before the post season. We will most likely see Julio Teheran and/or Randall Delgado get a start there if someone in the bullpen can wipe away the unnecessary cobwebs that must have formed around them and Ben Sheets in the last month. Let’s hope everyone stays injury free and we’re ready to get a little revenge on the Cardinals next Friday night.