Sep 3, 2014; Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman (5) slides into second for a double before the tag by Philadelphia Phillies second baseman Chase Utley (26) in the fifth inning at Turner Field. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports

Atlanta Braves Morning Chop 9/4

A Phantom Victory?

Yesterday was a great day for the Atlanta Braves:  they won.  The Nationals, despite winning, got to waste their entire bullpen.  The Pirates lost.  The Brewers lost (again).  The Giants lost.  Even the Marlins and Cincinnati lost, meaning that every team in the Wild Card chase lost – except for Atlanta.

So what’s the problem?

The problem is that it’s pretty hard to argue that the Braves “won” so much as that the Phillies gave away the game.

Philadelphia ran 5 pitchers out there yesterday – giving up just seven hits, but nine walks in the process.  Of those 7 hits, Christian Bethancourt got three of those (honestly:  how often is that gonna happen?).  B.J. Upton was 1 for 2 with two walks… the second time this year he’s had a hit and 2 walks in a game. Even Chris Johnson (3.7% walk rate) had two walks… for the first time this year.

The scary part?  Since Ryan Doumit got a hit – almost two of them – and scored twice, his experiment will probably continue (despite collecting two of the team’s five total strikeouts).

So yes:  the team scored seven runs.  Yes, they won.  Yes, Ervin Santana muddled through 6 innings and had just enough for the win.

But life will get tougher over the next 2 weeks … and those 2 weeks (Miami, Texas, Washington twice) will say a lot about this team’s fate for that Wild Card slot.


Here’s the numbers…or at least they’ll be here when gets around to posting them:



Braves plan formal ground-breaking for stadium this month


Although work has been underway for months on the site of the new Atlanta Braves stadium in Cobb County, the team plans to hold a formal groundbreaking ceremony Sept. 16.

The Braves said Tuesday that the ceremony will mark the start of the construction phase of the project, “putting it on schedule to host fans for opening day 2017.”

To this point, much of the work on the site has been related to the relocation of two gas pipelines from the heart of the property to the periphery. The previously forested site has been largely cleared.

The Braves have released only preliminary conceptual renderings of the $622 million ballpark, but Derek Schiller, the team’s executive vice president of sales and marketing, told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution last week that more detailed plans will be unveiled “before the end of the season.”

“We have had some really good breakthrough architectural-design meetings here,” Schiller said.

In a news release announcing the groundbreaking ceremony, the Braves said the stadium will combine “a classic ballpark feel” with modern amenities.

The stadium will seat 41,500, with the upper and middle of three decks cantilevered over each lower deck to push seats closer to the field, Braves officials have said.


Hillcats Lose Playoff Opener at Potomac, 4-2


Lynchburg brought the tying run to the plate in the ninth inning but ultimately fell to Potomac in the opening game of the best-of-three Northern Division Championship Series, 4-2, at Pfitzner Stadium Wednesday night.

The Hillcats never led in the contest, but they had a golden opportunity to jump in front in the sixth inning until a perfect throw from right fielder Brandon Miller cut down the go-ahead run at the plate. Lynchburg trailed 1-0 entering the stanza. Emerson Landoni doubled to right field and scored on a two-out RBI single by Kevin Ahrens, who advanced to second. With the game knotted, 1-1, Jose Martinez singled to right field. Ahrens tried to score from second but was thrown out at the dish to end the inning.

Potomac quickly regained the lead in the bottom half of the frame on a solo home run by Randolph Oduber. The Nationals added two more in the seventh thanks in large part to three consecutive hits. Pedro Severino doubled with one out, and Isaac Ballou singled to put runners on the corners. Tony Renda‘s base hit to center field made it 3-1 in favor of Potomac. After Shawn Pleffner walked to load the bases, it appeared that John Wooten grounded into an inning-ending double play to keep it a two-run contest. However, it was ruled that Johan Camargo was off the bag at second base, so only one out was recorded and Ballou scored to make it 4-1 Nationals.


Cards take game one from D-Braves


[Editor's note:  Danville had already swept the best 2 of 3 opening round  series to advance to the championship round.  This report is about the first game of this final round series, which is also a best-of-3 affair.]

Braves offense struggles in game one loss to Johnson City

Braves only run comes off of wild pitch in a one hit loss to Cardinals

DANVILLE, VA – The Johnson City Cardinals steal game one in a tight contest with the Danville Braves 2-1. Danville’s top offense in the League could muster up only one hit off Johnson City starter Juan Perez who dominated the game for the Cards, forcing Danville to win the next two games to be crowned league champions.

The lone run for the D-Braves was scored on a wild pitch from Johnson City’s Juan Perez, the lone blemish on what was an outstanding, big time playoff performance for the right hander. With Tanner Krietemeier on second and Tanner Murphy on first, Perez hurled a low fastball to Braxton Davidson that kicked off of the shin guard of Cardinals’ catcher Jose Godoy. Both runners would advance two bases, and Krietemeier flashed some speed just barely beating the tag at the plate for Danville’s only run.

The game started off with Johnson City producing all of their offense in the first half frame. The Cardinals led off the game teeing off on D-Braves starter Oriel Caicedo, with the first two batters in the Johnson City lineup, Casey Turgeon and Oscar Mercado, hitting singles to left putting two on with no out. Blake Drake hit a shot to center that was deep enough to move the runners over to second and third bringing up the league’s regular season RBI leader Casey Grayson. Grayson doubled to right scoring both runners, putting Johnson City ahead 2-0 early. Jesus Ustariz roped a ball to Ozzy Albies at short, but a great leaping grab from the 17-year old shortstop prevented another run from coming in.

Juan Perez dominated the Danville lineup, striking out 10 Danville Braves in just 6.0 innings for his first career 10 strikeout performance. The D-Braves managed just one hit, coming from Ozzy Albies in the first at bat of the fourth, and the one run on the wild pitch in the fifth. Danville had just five total base runners on the night, and went 0-2 with runners in scoring position, leaving two runners on base.

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