Morning Chop: Our Summary of Braves News
Just one bad pitch from Lee
According to Gillick, a Hall of Fame baseball executive, more than 3 years for a pitcher was simply too risky. Lee, however, has been one of the few players that has made Gillick’s successor look good.
Three years after Ruben Amaro Jr. swiped Lee off the free-agent market, the veteran lefthander looks as good as he did in the 2009 World Series.
But following a 1-0 defeat to the Atlanta Braves last night, in a game when he made baseball history, Lee went into the offseason wondering how many more chances he’d get at the only thing he wants to get out of his career: a World Series ring.
“I am getting up there in age,” Lee said. “I’m 35 years old now and when this contract’s over, I plan on going home. So I’m running out of opportunities.”
A record-setting night for Fan Uggla
Congrats to the Braves’ highest-paid player, who broke his own team record, set in 2012, for most K’s in a season: 170. And he did it in 78 less AB’s!
That’s not the only record Uggla is chasing. Tonight’s 0-fer dropped his BA to .179, which would tie Rob Deer‘s mark, set in 1991, for the lowest average ever for a hitter with 20 HR. Deer hit three more homers that year than Uggla has in 2013, struck out five more times and had a better OBP, but Dan’s got the former Tigers slugger beat in salary: $13 mil to $1.96 mil.
Uggla since Aug. 1: 95 AB, 10 H (9 singles, 1 HR), 38 K’s
Well done, sir.
Atlanta Braves pitcher Craig Kimbrel records 50th save
In an epic pitching duel the Atlanta Braves held on to beat the Philadelphia Phillies on Friday night 1-0. The Braves overcame an excellent start by Phillies lefty Cliff Lee who struck out 13 and walked none in the game. Once again Lee was desperate for run support as he was matched by Braves starter Kris Medlen. Medlen spun a gem of his own allowing only 2 hits over 8 innings to earn his 15th win of the year.
The lone run was provided via a Chris Johnson home run in the bottom of the 8th inning. That was all Atlanta needed as they sent out their all-star closer Craig Kimbrel. Kimbrel struck out 2 in his lone inning of work and did not allow a baserunner.
The outing was significant for Kimbrel as he earned a milestone save on the season.
Sid Bream declines Braves’ request to throw out the first pitch
For Pirates fans old enough to remember the 1992 NLCS, former Braves first baseman Sid Bream still haunts their memories. The image of Francisco Cabrera lining Stan Belinda’s pitch to left field, of Barry Bonds’ throw being to the right of home plate, of catcher Mike LaValliere reaching for it and diving back to tag Bream, of Bream’s foot hitting home plate just a split-second before the tag. It was the last we heard of the Pirates until this year.
The Pirates ended their playoff drought and, if they win their Wild Card play-in game against the Reds (assuming, of course, that the Cardinals clinch the NL Central title), they just might match up against the Braves in the NLDS. Knowing this, the Braves asked Bream if he would like to throw out the first pitch before a Pirates-Braves playoff match-up. Bream declined, reports Rob Biertempfel.
“Whatever their motive (for the invite) was, I don’t want to be involved,” Bream said Friday by phone.[...]“I wasn’t surprised (by the offer),” Bream said. “Whether their motive was to rub it in the Pirates’ faces, I don’t know. I think it was just more of a gesture to commemorate those two teams getting back together in the postseason. But I’ll stay neutral. I’m not going to do anything to tell the fans in Atlanta or Pittsburgh that I’m (rooting) one way or the other.”
Previewing Free Agent Names the Atlanta Braves Should Be Chasing This Offseason
[Editorial Note: We're reporting this opinion piece a few days late, but it's still relevant, and partly funny.]
Like the Red Sox, whose offseason free agent targets I previewed yesterday, theBraves are one of the best teams in baseball without too many weaknesses on their current roster. The difference is that the Sox have several key players headed for free agency while the Braves have just one—catcher Brian McCann. And they could choose to replace him internally.
So, barring a quick exit from the playoffs, which could intensify their pursuit of an impact player this winter, it could be a very quiet offseason in Atlanta. That doesn’t mean they won’t have their eye on several free agents who could help strengthen the roster and provide the much-needed depth to compete over a long season.
Here are some free agents they could pursue in four different areas of potential need.
Atlanta Braves: One Game in August Could Hold Key to Entire 2013 Season
COMMENTARY | As the saying goes, “One game in April will not make or break your season.”
But as it turns out, one game in August just might be the difference for the Atlanta Braves.
The Braves and St. Louis Cardinals are battling neck and neck for home-field advantage down the stretch of the regular season. Through Sept. 25, Atlanta has slid a half-game behind the Cards for the best record in the NL. With just four games to go for the Braves, there is a distinct possibility the two teams could end up with identical records when the final page of the 2013 season is written.
If a tiebreaker is needed to decide home-field advantage in the National League playoffs, the first set of criteria the league looks at would be the two club’s head-to-head meetings.
The Braves swept the Cards in their first meeting to jump-start their 14-game winning streak from July 26 to Aug. 9. However, the Bravos dropped their next three with the Redbirds when they met up with them again in St. Louis late that month.