Found February 22, 2013 on
Fox Sports South:
San Francisco Giants
Here are 10 things we blindly gleaned from listening to Braves-Tigers on the radio, as the clubs launched the official start of exhibition play on Friday.
But first, a mini-rant:
In this age of lightning-speed Internet and absurdly advanced technologies, you'd think Major League Baseball would allow Web consumers to purchase the closed-circuit feed of every Grapefruit and Cactus league game for a nominal fee, of course.
Instead, as an MLB.TV subscriber, I'm entitled to only 212 games (or something like that) for February and March . . . which explains why I'm flying blind for this piece:
Tigers 2, Braves 1
1. The Braves' starting lineup featured Andrelton Simmons batting leadoff, with Jason Heyward in the No. 2 hole, followed by Justin Upton, Freddie Freeman, B.J. Upton and then Dan Uggla. This could easily be the order, 1 through 6, on Opening Day against the Phillies.
2. Speaking of which, I don't expect the Upton brothers (combined 0 for 4 Friday) to start any regular-season games, hitting back to back in the lineup. The Braves apparently prefer book-ending the siblings around a big hitter, like Heyward (27 HR21 steals last year) or Freeman (good bet for 100 RBI).
3. Tim Hudson (two innings, zero hits allowed) appeared to be on his A-game Friday, harmlessly retiring Omar Infante and Miguel Cabrera in the first inning, then duping Tigers shortstop Jhonny Peralta into a crucial double play in the second. (Peralta had 20 GDPs last year.)
4. Take a screenshot of the pitch-by-pitch log listing back-to-back walks from Braves reliever Craig Kimbrel (third inning). It may be the last time (all season) you see consecutive free passes from Kimbrel, who didn't surrender a single walk from May 18-July 28 last year.
5. During the fifth, let's assume the strikeoutthrow-out two-fer at second base, involving B.J. Upton and Freeman, was the result of a foiled hit-and-run attempt. If not, perhaps Freeman will be a stealth candidate for eight seasonal steals doubling his career high from 2011.
6. The svelte-looking Uggla can expect more infield hits this season. It's one of the notable perks of being quicker and more flexible. As for hitting 30 bombs that's a tough one to predict.
7. There's no way around it: The Braves' hitters will likely rank among the National League, uh, leaders in strikeouts this season. Against the Tigers, eight batters punched out.
8. Braves pitcher Ryan Buchter, who took the loss (three hits, two runs), was drafted 36 picks ahead of Tigers catcher Alex Avila in 2005 . . . and a full nine rounds ahead of two-time Cy Young Tim Lincecum of the San Francisco Giants.
9. There are no surprises with Gerald Laird (0 for 2 on Friday) at this point in his career. He possesses solid defensive skills, a streaky bat and quicker feet than most catchers in their mid-30s.
With the Tigers last year, Laird produced rock-solid numbers in batting average (.282) and on-base percentage (.337). Going further, he posted 13 outings of multiple hits and didn't go more than three games (of two or more at-bats) without registering one hit. In other words, he likely won't carry the Braves on his back for one, two or three weeks . . . but he won't be the weak link during that span, either.
To view my Laird profile from spring training, click here.
10. I had the pleasure of holding a locker-room door open for Braves prospect Joey Terdoslavich the other day at camp. That was my only encounter with Atlanta's sole source of run production on Friday as Terdoslavich homered to lead off the ninth.
BEST OF MAXIM
AROUND THE WEB
Finally, the Braves photo day pictures were posted! Here are some of the position players, pitchers in another post. :)
How is this the opening mug of the album?
Well, at least he got the eyebrows fixed...marginally. ;)
Cuter in person.
Always looks great.
I like this guy much more after meeting him.
We've heard he's a goofball. I think you can tell in this picture. ...
Finally, the Braves photo day pictures were posted! Here are the pitchers, position players in another post. :)
Going to dominate this year. ...Wait, what's that tattoo?
Beachy, those curls. No. You are a grown man, and your name is not Jarrod Saltalamacchia.
Sean Gilmartin looks a little goofier than usual here. He really is handsome, y'all.
I like Huddy without facial hair...
It’s that time of the year when we take stock of the Atlanta Braves organization and analyze the top prospects. For the next few weeks, we will profile our top-30 prospect list in groups of five. Here are those who are ranked in the 11-15 range.
Justin Upton was almost traded twice before coming to the Braves
The Arizona Diamondbacks apparently tried to trade Justin Upton for two and a half years, including a deal with the Mariners that Upton vetoed. Another deal involving Upton to an American League team was close, but fell through.
The deal with the Mariners reportedly included minor league shortstop Nick Franklin, pitching...
NL East week rolls along with Atlanta Braves day. The Braves won the top NL Wild Card spot last season before getting eliminated in the wild card playoff game by the Cardinals, in part due to a sketchy infield fly call. Atlanta dramatically retooled their outfield this winter, and will be going into 2013 as one of the game's most changed teams.
Yesterday was Phillies day...
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. As a practical matter, Gerald Laird was indirectly responsible for Moneyball, the best-selling book (and Oscar-nominated movie of the same name) chronicling the underdog story of the 2002 Oakland Athletics.
Here's the scoop:
Fifteen years ago and fresh out of high school (southern California), Laird subjectively had more physical upside than future luminaries...
Tim Hudson started and pitched two scoreless innings
The Atlanta Braves pitchers were in mid-season form Friday afternoon, as the Braves opened their spring training season against the Detroit Tigers at Champion Stadium with seven no-hit innings. Unfortunately, the bats were still in deep winter slumber, as the Tigers nipped the Braves, 2-1.
The Braves lone run came on a solo homer...
Spring Training statistics are hardly a good way to judge upcoming success but none-the-less everyone likes to start with a strong outing. That was just the case for Tim Hudson on Friday.
As spring games opened Hudson took the mound for the Braves. A similar situation could occur on opening day.
Hudson pitched two hitless innings against Detroit. He walked a batter...
Happy first game of spring training day, everyone! The Tigers take on the Atlanta Braves in Kissimmee, Fla. The first pitch is at 1:05 PM and the game can be heard on WXYT-FM (97.1). in Metro Detroit.
The late great Ernie Harwell used to open every spring training with the following from Song of Solomon…
The Atlanta Braves and the New York Yankees tangle at 1:05 today (February 23) at Champion Stadium. Veteran left hander, Paul Maholm, will start today for the Braves. The right handed David Phelps is the Yankees scheduled starter.
The Braves pitchers scheduled to follow Maholm are: Jordan Walden, Anthony Varvaro, Cory Rasmus, Yohan Flande, and J.R. Graham.
The Braves will try...
KISSIMMEE, Fla. (AP) -- The first game of spring training can provide some unusual scenarios.
Such as Detroit slugger Miguel Cabrera facing Atlanta closer Craig Kimbrel -- in the third inning.
Coming off baseball's first Triple Crown season since 1967, Cabrera grounded out against Kimbrel before finishing his day with a drive to the warning track in center field, not a factor...
Recently, we posted a head-to-head comparison of the Braves’ and Nats’ probable lineups, featuring statistical projections from Bill James. Missing from that post, we later felt, was comparison of the 2012 performances of each member of the respective lineups. With that in mind, here is that comparison.
2012 performance of current Braves lineup: