May 15, 2013; Phoenix, AZ, USA: Atlanta Braves outfielder Justin Upton reacts after being called out on strikes in the ninth inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Morning Chop: Braves News 5/16


 

Sports Illustrated

Justin Upton making blockbuster trade look like a steal for Braves

May 15, 2013; Phoenix, AZ, USA: Atlanta Braves outfielder Justin Upton (right) is congratulated by teammate Jordan Schafer after scoring in the fifth inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

So at least at the moment, the trade is tilted quite heavily toward Atlanta, and with the best player in the deal appearing as though he’s just entering his prime, it may become even moreso. That won’t matter to the Diamondbacks if they can get back to the level they were at in 2011, when they won 94 games and the NL West, but in four of the other five full seasons since their 2007 playoff appearance, they’ve won 82 games or fewer.

As for the Braves, they’re no longer the league’s hottest team, but they appear ready to give the heavily-favored Nationals a run for the NL East money. If they succeed in winning their first division flag since 2005, the Upton trade will likely stand out among the major reasons why, and if they wind up merely matching last year’s wild-card appearance — well, the Diamondbacks had better hope that it doesn’t come at their expense.

 

ATL All Day

Atlanta Braves Fall To Diamondbacks, 5-3, Complete 10-Game Road Trip

At the conclusion of a 10-game road trip marred by unlucky breaks and missed opportunities, it was almost fitting to see Wednesday’s game with Arizona follow the same pattern.

The Braves fell at the hands of the D-Backs by a score of 5-3, and while every loss is frustrating to watch, this one certainly fit the bill. Atlanta left 12 men on base in the game, including 3 in the final 2 innings, and outside of a 2-run double from Freddie Freeman in the 5th inning, the bats went silent at inopportune times. The most jarring example of this came in the 8th inning, as an untimely error by Arizona SS Didi Gregorius (on a potential double-play ball by Evan Gattis) left the door wide open for the Braves to close a 2-run deficit. Then, after Jordan Schafer lined out softly to right field, Andrelton Simmons smashed a line drive that looked to be a potential run-scoring hit, but it was snared by Paul Goldschmidt to end the threat.

…In the end, a 4-6 West Coast swing isn’t a complete disaster, but more of an annoyance, and Wednesday’s performance likely wasn’t indicative of any large-scale issues. It will be interesting to see the post-game reaction from Fredi Gonzalez and company (still to come), but in my estimation, this is a simple case of “on to the next one”. Stay tuned as the Braves welcome the Dodgers to Turner Field on Friday, and ATL All Day will have full coverage going forward.

 

AZ Central

Arizona Diamondbacks take series from Atlanta Braves

Third baseman Eric Chavez drove in three runs, first baseman Paul Goldschmidt had three doubles and Ian Kennedy won his first game since Opening Day in the Diamondbacks’ victory over the Atlanta Braves at Chase Field on Wednesday.

The Diamondbacks, who had scored three runs or less in their previous seven games, exploded for four runs in the fifth inning off Atlanta starter Tim Hudson, who was 7-0 with a 1.33 ERA against the Diamondbacks coming into the game. The big blow was a two-out, two-run double by Chavez.

Heath Bell got the final three outs for his sixth save.

As the Diamondbacks wrapped up a seven-game homestand Wednesday by beating the Braves 5-3 and taking the series from first-place Atlanta, Bell decided to open up — at least a little — about his return to Miami on Friday.

“There were some good times and there were some bad times, but probably more bad times than good times,” the Diamondbacks closer said. “It was a learning experience last year for sure. I definitely know I’m going to get booed.

“But hey, I got booed in San Diego so I’m just going to treat it like San Diego and go out there and do my best with all the boos.”

 

CBS Atlanta

Inaugural Atlanta Braves Heritage Weekend To Honor Andrew Young and Leroy Johnson

The Atlanta Braves and the National Center for Civil and Human Rights announce that Ambassador Andrew Young and Senator Leroy Johnson will be the inaugural recipients of the Hank Aaron Champion for Justice Award. The awards will be given out during the Champions for Justice Award Panel Discussion presented by Belk on Friday, May 31 in the 755 Club at Turner Field.

Young, the former Georgia Congressman and United Nations Ambassador, has had a long-storied career as a civil and human rights advocate. He was the executive director of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, a colleague and friend of Martin Luther King, Jr., and was an integral person involved in the passage of the Civil Rights Act and Voting Rights Act.

Former state senator Johnson is the owner of Leroy R. Johnson & Associates, P.C., a law firm he has owned and managed for over 47 years.  Throughout his many years of practice he has represented famous entertainers like James Brown and Otis Redding and Hall of Fame Braves great Hank Aaron. He is the Chairman of the Board of Trustees for Ebenezer Baptist Church, where he has also been an active member for over 40 years.

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