Thursday, August 5, 2010

A Bittersweet Win

The Braves defeated the Mets Wednesday night to earn a series victory after dropping the previous three. Wednesday’s 8-3 win managed to erase some of the sting from Tuesday’s ex-Braves’ revenge.The two wins were certainly relieving, but the Braves continue to struggle mightily with runners in scoring position. In the three games at Turner Field, Atlanta went 4-33 to hit at a .121 clip. Some solid pitching, Mets errors and some rare home run power (including two from Met-killer Chipper Jones) allowed the team to get by that dreadful stat.

But Wednesday’s rubber match victory was bittersweet for Braves fans as starter Kris Medlen was pulled in the 5th inning after what looked like tightness in his right foreman. It was released shortly after that Medlen injured the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow. (Tough time to lose Chris Resop to the Pirates, huh?) MRI results should be known sometime today later Friday, but any time one hears about a UCL injury, the first thing that comes to mind is Tommy John surgery. If Medlen’s injury is serve enough to require that procedure, we can expect him to be out 12-18 months. Not good news for one of the pleasant surprises of this team.

The big debate already ensuing is who the Braves should call up assuming Medlen makes a trip to the DL. Kris bumped Kenshin Kawakami when Jair Jurrjens returned to the rotation, but KK has pitched a grand total of one inning since late June. Bobby has refused to use him in even blow-out/mop-up situations, so his confidence in KK must be just about nil. That leads to one name…Mike Minor. The 7th overall pick of the 2009 draft has been impressive this year between AA Mississippi and AAA Gwinnett (1.99 ERA, 0.84 WHIP, 3.50 K/BB at Gwinnett). After four years of SEC baseball and 1+ year in the minors, let’s see if Minor can bring his success to the majors. It would also be nice to finally see a left-hander in the rotation.

The other disappointing story of the series is Troy Glaus. Glaus was given a ‘breather’ by Bobby as Eric Hinske started all three games of the series at first. Glaus had a few pinch-hit at-bats and managed to show why he was on the bench with a crushing double play in Tuesday’s tight game. In addition to his slump (hitting just .213 since JUNE 1ST), Glaus’ knees look to be as bad as they’ve been all season. With hot prospect Freddie Freeman and minor league veteran Barbaro Canizares waiting at Gwinnett, Glaus’ play is all but forcing a move to be made. Freeman, while only 20 years old, has been on fire the past two months at Gwinnett (.318 AVG, .923 OPS in June and .333 AVG, .944 OPS in July) and Canizares, while not considered an everyday major leaguer, has consistently shown a quality bat over the past three plus seasons at AAA (.308/.368/.447). Tough for someone who was in the middle of MVP talks in May/June, but every day it seems more likely that DL’ing Glaus to rest his knees and bringing up Freeman or Canizares should be the right move. Personally, I’d be a fan of calling up Canizares so that Freeman is allowed to properly develop. Hinske can continue to start at first with Canizares getting some playing time behind him. We shall see. 

Despite having, being in the New York market, I had to suffer through another SNY broadcast these past three days. Listening to an opposing team’s announcers is never fun, but I’m not sure Keith Hernandez even does a minute of homework before any game. I guess he’s too busy with his 'cat' naps. I finally gave up, put the TV on mute and listened to the 1-2 second delayed Braves radio broadcast. Best decision I’ve made in years.

The Braves start a tough four-game series against the San Francisco Giants today at Turner Field. Jurrjens, Hudson, Hanson and Lowe will go up against the strong line of Lincecum, Zito, Cain and Sanchez, respectively.

No comments:

Post a Comment