Fearless editor Jeff is out of town and left me to prepare the Saturday Chop. Lucky you …
While the Detroit Tigers silenced the Atlanta Braves in the opener of this three-game set, a repeat performance could be hard to come by with Rick Porcello on the hill.
Porcello looks to get on track opposite Kris Medlen as the Tigers and Braves square off again Saturday at Comerica Park.
Fredi Gonzalez didn’t sound like the manager of the National League’s best team Friday night.
After his Atlanta Braves struck out 18 times in a 10-0 loss to the Detroit Tigers, Gonzalez’s postgame news conference lasted barely more than 10 seconds.
Anibal Sanchez registered 17 of the punchouts, setting a franchise record. But Gonzalez, who managed Sanchez from 2007 until 2010 with the Florida Marlins, said he had seen Sanchez throw that well before.
“He was pretty good, and we weren’t,” Gonzalez said of Friday night’s performance. “That’s about it, boys. That’s all I’ve got for you. You guys have a good one.”
With that, Gonzalez ended his remarks and left his hitters to account for their performance, leading into Saturday’s matchup against Rick Porcello (MLB on FOX, 12:35 p.m. ET).
For one night at least, Anibal Sanchez changed the pitching pecking order in the Detroit clubhouse.
Sanchez struck out 17 in eight marvelous innings, and the Tigers routed the Atlanta Braves 10-0 on Friday night. It was a dazzling performance by Sanchez, who broke Mickey Lolich‘s team record of 16 strikeouts.
”We were joking after the game that Anibal is No. 1, I’m No. 2 and Ver is just average,” Scherzer said.
When told about that comment, Verlander – a former MVP and Cy Young Award winner who has thrown two no-hitters – paused briefly.
”That’s OK,” he said. ”I’ve got a few other things.”
We hear the justifications every year, when stars struggle early in their debut seasons with new teams: He’s adjusting … He’s pressing … He’s settling in … He’s trying to do too much … It’s not easy to change divisions/leagues/cities/positions.
Then there’s Justin Upton.
In his first month as an Atlanta Brave, he’s been the best player on the planet.
“That’s what we say,” teammate Reed Johnson affirmed. “He’s got 11 homers. He’s swinging the bat the way he is. We’re in the best league in the world. You can technically say, ‘Man, this guy is probably the best player in the world right now.’
Kris Medlen will get the call on Saturday afternoon for his fifth start of the 2013 season. In his first four outings, Medlen has posted a 1-2 record with a 2.16 ERA and 15 punch-outs. The 27-year-old had his worst outing this season in the loss against the Pittsburgh Pirates on Sunday. He suffered most of the damage off three consecutive hits to begin the second inning. Medlen has allowed two multi-run innings this year, after only surrendering one in 12 starts last season.
After spending most of the past month restricted to extended spring training games, Brian McCann began his Minor League rehab stint with a bang. Two, in fact.
McCann homered in each of his first two at-bats during Class A Rome’s 10-6 win in Greensboro on Friday night. This marked the first rehab game for the six-time All-Star, who handled the catcher’s position for the first six innings and then exited after grounding into a double play in the seventh.
Brandon Beachy will have a few more hurdles to clear before potentially rejoining Atlanta’s starting rotation during the latter portion of June. But the Braves right-hander has at least reached a point where his long return from Tommy John surgery does not seem so tedious.
Beachy passed his latest test by throwing a five-minute live batting practice session with Andrelton Simmons at the plate on Friday afternoon at Comerica Park. This marked the first time that Beachy threw to a batter since undergoing the surgical procedure last June.
In his last start, Rick Porcello was tagged for nine runs on nine hits while lasting just two-thirds of an inning against the Angels. The righty will look to bounce back opposite Kris Medlen when the Tigers continue their series with the Braves on Saturday.
Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez certainly did not assume the appearance of a man whose team still owns the National League’s best record despite enduring a series of struggles over the past week.
Instead, Gonzalez displayed disdain and frustration after watching his team strike out a season-high 18 times and fall victim to Anibal Sanchez’s mastery in Friday night’s 10-0 loss to the Tigers at Comerica Park.
“[Sanchez] was good and we weren’t,” Gonzalez said. “That’s about it. That’s all I’ve got for you.”