Morning Chop: Braves 8/9

Luis Ayala Caught a Justin Upton Home Run with his Hat [Video]

Big Lead Sports

Luis Ayala, Atlanta relief pitcher, was sitting in the bullpen during the Wednesday night game between the Nationals and Braves when Justin Upton hit a solo home run that headed his direction. Instead of running for cover, a gloveless Ayala took this as an opportunity to show off his fielding skills with his hat. The Upton home run helped lead the Braves to a 6-3 win over the Nationals, their 13th win in a row. The Braves now sit 15.5 games ahead of the second place Nationals in the NL East.

 

What You Need to Know

Running Out of Races

Baseball Prospectus

… the teams that would win their divisions if the season ended today have combined to go 45-12 over their last 57 contests. Those that would finish second have amassed an aggregate 22-35 record over the same span. Two of the divisions, the West and Central, have seen their top two clubs trade places during this stretch, and then watched their new leaders pull away. In the third, the Braves already enjoyed a sizable cushion and have proceeded to dig the Nationals a seemingly bottomless pit.

 

Chris Johnson and father share baseball bond

Miami Herald

ATLANTA – Players such as Chipper Jones and Brian McCann have given the Braves a picturesque model of the father-son baseball relationship.

For 20 years, fans have seen the fruits of the time Larry Wayne Jones Jr. and Larry Sr. spent in the backyard and the high school field where Larry Sr. coached. Fans reveled in their matching smiles the night in June when No. 10, a jersey number they had both worn, was retired at Turner Field.

It’s not uncommon to see Howie McCann, a former college and now self-employed hitting coach, standing alone down the left-field line during Braves batting practice. That’s his favorite vantage point to watch McCann as he works the ball from one side of the field to the other.

Some of the best pure hitters to come through the Braves organization have been bred by baseball fathers. Now Chris Johnson, son of a baseball coach, too, leads the National League in hitting with a .339 batting average.
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Streaking Braves and Tigers well on their way to playoffs, but what could trip them up?

The Braves and Tigers just keep winning, not only extending their lengthy streaks but doing so against their top challengers in the division. On Wednesday night, Atlanta won its 13th straight game by beating the Nationals, while Detroit won its 11th in a row by downing the Indians. The two teams now have the largest division leads in the majors, and appear to be locks to reach the postseason.

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Atlanta Braves’ Win Streak Makes Them Favorite for NL Pennant

Bleacher Report

The Atlanta Braves have won each of their last 11 [Editorial Comment: 13 now] games and, in doing so, have firmly established themselves as the team to beat in the National League.

The @Braves hold the longest active win streak in the MLB, tied for the longest this season (11). The Peach Clobbers are hungry for WINS.

— ESPN (@espn) August 6, 2013

The team’s record now stands at 68-45 [Editorial Comment: 70-45 now] just one game in the loss column behind the Pittsburgh Pirates for the best record in the major leagues.

 

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