Originally posted on Fox Sports South  |  By CHIP CARAY  |  Last updated 8/30/13
FOXSportsSouth.com checks in with play-by-play analyst Chip Caray to get the latest on the Braves. FOX SPORTS SOUTH: Alex Wood is 3-0 with a 1.46 ERA in his past six starts and he has a 1.88 ERA at home. Have you been surprised by his smooth transition, thus far, into the majors? CHIP CARAY: He's obviously a highly touted prospect. If you're picked in the second round the organization thinks a lot of you. I think his obvious talent and stuff are indicative of how successful he's been. The advantage he has too is that his delivery is so unorthodox and so different that the first couple of times through the league it's going to be a big advantage for him. I don't want to use the word "surprised," because that indicates maybe he's a guy that came out of nowhere and that's not the case. He's a second-round pick and he's always had good stuff, he's always been able to pitch. He pitched successfully in college and I just think that's a natural progression to big-league baseball and because the nature of his delivery is so odd and because his stuff is so good, I think that leads to a lot awkward swings, a lot of outs and a lot of wins for a young guy who a year ago was pitching in college and the Braves are quite honestly happy to have that advantage working for them over the last months of the season. FSS: That quirky deliver obviously been key, but he picked up a knuckle-curve from Craig Kimbrel and Jonny Venters in the spring. How key has adding that pitch been for his arsenal? CC: When Alex was in a minor league he was a starting pitcher and when he came up to the Braves he was in the bullpen. It's really difficult for pitchers they say to keep three pitches or more on time when you're in the bullpen because you're trying to face three guys or four guys or sometimes one guy if you're a left-handed specialist. It's really difficult to keep those pitches working and when Alex came up here he worked out of the 'pen, went back to the minor leagues, got stretched out and then came back as a starting pitcher. It's almost like he's been here all year and I can't speak specifically about one pitch, all I know is his stuff is really good and this is a staff that communicates and talks well and trades advice and secrets pretty regularly. I'm sure Alex has a lot of people in that clubhouse to get information from: Venters, Eric O'Flaherty, Kimbrel, certainly, Mike Minor and he seems to be like a sponge soaking it all up and whatever lessons he's learned, he's applying them exceptionally well. FSS: To change topics from one rookie to another, Evan Gattis took this town and the league by storm, but the last three months we've seen him hit .188 with three homers and he's hit .139 in August. Obviously the opportunities aren't there for him like they were before, but how have pitchers adjusted to him at the plate? CC: He's getting a lot high fastballs and I think a lot of that is the lack of playing time. It's hard to stay on time when you don't play. This is the time of year where the best guys or the hottest guys play and this is a Braves club that, frankly, is starved for offense -- Jason Heyward is out, B.J. Upton still hasn't hit, they just got Dan Uggla back and then last night Justin Upton got hit on the pitch by hand. We've said it in regard to pitchers and I'm going to say the same thing in regards to hitters: they hottest hitters are going to play. Unfortunately for Evan he's been caught in a numbers game. He's the third catcher on this ball club, he can play the outfield and he hasn't swung the bat as well as he had early in the season and this is a time of year when, even with a big lead in the NL East, the Braves are still playing for something and that is the overall best record in baseball. When he gets an opportunity to play hopefully he'll perform and perform well and the better he plays the more likely it is that manager Fredi Gonzalez will write his name in the lineup.
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