Mar 6, 2014; Lake Buena Vista, FL, USA; Washington Nationals starting pitcher Jordan Zimmermann (27) during the first inning against the Atlanta Braves during a spring training exhibition game at Champion Stadium. Mandatory Credit: David Manning-USA TODAY Sports

Morning Chop: Atlanta Braves News 4/4/14



Braves Press Release

Atlanta Braves Homestand Highlights

Tuesday, April 8 – Sunday, April 13

Tuesday, April 8 at 7:10 p.m. – Fans are asked to be in their seats by 6:15!

  • Gate Giveaway: The first 45,000 fans will receive a commemorative poster of Hank Aaron courtesy of SunTrust Bank.
  • Pregame concert: Kristian Bush, half of the award-winning duo, Sugarland will perform in the Fan Plaza.
  • Pregame ceremony:  On this 40th Anniversary of Hank Aaron hitting home run number 715 and breaking Babe Ruth‘s long standing record, the Braves will honor Hank before the game.
  • Championship banner:  The Braves will unveil their 2013 National League East Championship banner.
  • National Anthem: Kristian Bush has double duty as he performs the national anthem.
  • 7th Inning Stretch: The very popular Timothy Miller from the Atlanta Opera will sing “God Bless America” during the 7th Inning stretch.




Opposite dugout: Braves in town to reopen rivalry with Nats

Series breakdown
One of baseball’s up-and-coming rivalries resumes when the Braves visit Washington for the Nationals’ first home series of the year.

Atlanta opened 2014 by riding its severely diminished pitching staff to take two of three from the Brewers on the road. The Braves lost starters Kris Medlen and Brandon Beachy to elbow injuries last month, and instead have Aaron Harang and Ervin Santana on board – but Santana isn’t yet ready to join the rotation after signing on March 12.

In Milwaukee, however, Julio Teheran, Alex Wood and Harang combined to allow three runs in 13 2/3 innings for a 1.98 ERA. As a team, Atlanta permitted just four runs in the first three games. Harang even took a no-hitter into the seventh in a 1-0 win on Wednesday.

The downside so far has been the offense, which managed just six runs over the first three contests. Freddie Freeman leads the way with two homers in three games thus far.



Atlanta Bullpen

Braves Series Against Nationals Key?

The Braves play the Nationals today in a rare Friday afternoon game.  Unless my memory is starting to soften, I can’t ever remember the Braves playing a regularly scheduled tilt on a Friday afternoon.  Can you?

Half the Braves fan base probably won’t realize the game was played in the afternoon until they sit down with their favorite beverage after dinner and turn on the TV to watch a game that is long over.

I’ve been going back and forth trying to decide if this is a “key” series against the Nationals.  Win or lose there will be 156 games left in the season unless a game or games are postponed due to inclement weather, earthquake, or problems with the Obamacare website.  So it really isn’t a “key” series unless the Braves win or lose all three.



Grading On The Curve

First Hand Report: Lamb Takes Minor Deep on Opening Day

Breaking: Despite allowing three earned runs in just two innings of work, the Opening Day starter for the Mississippi Braves has a chance to be a very good pitcher at the Major League level. His name is Mike Minor.

After the rehabbing Atlanta Braves lefty struck out the first two Mobile Bay Bears he faced, Arizona Diamondbacks prospect  Jake Lamb started his 2014 season with a bang, driving a 1-2 fastball high above the fence to the opposite field. Though the homer was the third baseman’s only hit of the evening, he looked good at the plate. Lamb worked a walk off of Minor in his second at-bat and hit the ball hard twice in his final three at-bats, finishing 1-for-4.

In all, the Bay Bears scored three runs off of Minor in the first inning, which would be enough in the 5-2 victory. Minor struck out the side in the second inning.



Rowland’s Office

Smoltzie returns to Braves broadcasts

Smoltzie, probably the best baseball analyst working today, will join Chip and Joe for “select Atlanta Braves games during the season on FOX Sports South and SportSouth,” according to a press release that just landed in my inbox.

Tom Glavine will also be returning for “select games,” though it’s unclear how many each will work. Tommy G. doesn’t offer much, but Smoltzie will markedly improve the quality of the telecasts.

Tags: Atlanta Braves

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