Posted August 13, 2012 on
AP on Fox
While it hasn't helped them make up too much ground in the NL East, the Atlanta Braves' recent surge has put them in position for a playoff berth.
A visit from a sub-.500 club could aid the Braves' quest, but the San Diego Padres recently matched their longest win streak of the season and will try to start another one Monday night when they open a four-game series at Turner Field.
Atlanta (66-48) has won 14 of 18 and has a 4 1/2-game cushion for an NL wild card, but also remains 4 1/2 games behind division leader Washington. The Braves missed a chance to make up some ground when their late rally - four runs in the ninth inning - and attempt at a three-game sweep of New York fell short in a 6-5 defeat Sunday night.
"I just love this team because we battled all the way to the end and we came up short," outfielder Martin Prado said. "But we tried. We played hard. That's the only thing that matters."
Mike Minor (6-8, 4.95 ERA) will try to help the Braves get back on track with another solid outing, but will need more support than he got in his last start. The left-hander has allowed three runs or fewer in each of his last six starts but took the loss in Tuesday's 3-0 defeat in Philadelphia.
Minor gave up all three runs in the opening frame before settling down to pitch seven innings.
His next opponent is a team that was denied a season-high seventh straight win with Sunday's 11-5 loss in Pittsburgh. After building a quick 5-0 lead, San Diego (51-65) allowed nine runs in the fourth inning.
"If you've been around the game long enough, you'll run into those innings where everything they do works, everything you do doesn't and you can't stop the momentum. You've just got to take it," manager Bud Black said.
Eric Stults (2-2, 2.72) will try to help his club regain its momentum while building on a strong return to the rotation. In his first start since June 3, the left-hander went 5 1-3 innings and fanned a season-high five in a 2-0 win over the Chicago Cubs last Monday.
"Physically, I felt good. I pitched on three days' rest, but it felt like a normal start," Stults told the Padres' official website. "I think I got a little tired in the sixth inning and I just tried to battle through that inning, get six innings for us, but overall ... I didn't feel like I'd been overworked."
Stults will make his first start against Atlanta since Aug. 9, 2009, when he was with the Los Angeles Dodgers. Minor lost his only start versus San Diego on May 31, 2011, allowing three runs and eight hits over six innings.
Padres third baseman Chase Headley, batting .333 with six homers and 19 RBIs in 11 games this month, hit a run-scoring double off Minor during that game.
Atlanta first baseman Freddie Freeman, hitting .360 with 15 RBIs over his last 14 games, is 1 for 4 lifetime against Stults.
BEST OF MAXIM
The Atlanta Braves are moving to a six-man rotation for two weeks.
Manager Fredi Gonzalez says he'll pick the best five starters at the end of August.
The Braves created a surplus in their rotation last month by trading for Paul Maholm, signing Ben Sheets and moving Kris Medlen from the bullpen. Right-hander Tommy Hanson, who leads Atlanta with 12 wins, returns from the disabled...
It is rare indeed for a relief pitcher to capture the Cy Young award. In fact, only nine relievers have accomplished such a feat.
Braves’ closer Craig Kimbrel could be the tenth.
In 43 appearances and 43 innings pitched, Kimbrel boasts a National League-best 1.26 ERA with 31 saves in 33 opportunities. His 0.65 WHIP (walks/hits per innings pitched) is the best in baseball.
Press Release Provided by the San Diego Padres Media Department: SAN DIEGO – The San Diego Padres today announced they have agreed to terms on a contract extension with infielder/outfielder Mark Kotsay through the 2013 season. Executive Vice President/General Manager Josh Byrnes made the announcement.
“Mark provides versatility and a very good late-game at-bat,” said Byrnes...
Well, this is sad.
Thanks for asking bout my thumb have surgery wed am. Ill miss bein part of this playoff run, but now I'm the biggest braves fan w y'all
— Matthew Diaz (@diazfoundation) August 14, 2012
Thanks for thots, pls know 2 things, I'm at peace, & kinda relieved to have a gm pln.2 braves r great and r j is a better version of me!!
— Matthew Diaz (@diazfoundation...
The Braves are going with a six-man rotation until their next scheduled off day on Aug. 30. Here's the starting staff:
Tim Hudson, 11-4, 3.77 ERA
Paul Maholm, 10-7, 3.50
Kris Medlen, 3-1, 2.28
Tommy Hanson, 12-5, 4.29
Ben Sheets, 4-2, 2.13
Mike Minor, 6-8, 4.95
Kris Medlen insists it doesn't matter if he's one of the starting five or if he's hanging out in the bullpen...
The San Diego Padres have signed first baseman/outfielder Mark Kotsay to a one-year contract extension.
Kotsay was eligible for free agency at the end of the season. The 36-year-old went into Sunday's game against the Pittsburgh Pirates hitting .275 with one home run and nine RBIs in 55 games.
Kotsay has made 15 starts in left field, five in right field and two at first base...
Mark Kotsay's veteran presence and contributions off the bench this season have convinced the San Diego Padres to sign him to one-year contract extension that will keep him in San Diego through the 2013 season, the team announced Sunday. "I enjoy my role here," Kotsay said, according to MLB.com. "Being a part of this club going forward is exciting for me, to...
The way that the Padres are playing right now has me really excited for next year. I know that is looking ahead pretty far, but if this team can stay together and be cohesive then I think there could be good things ahead. In the most recent issue of Sports Illustrated they said that the Padres have a decent chance at contending next year, and I tend to agree. Josh Byrnes is beginning...
Dane Phillips continues a recent power surge, but the Emeralds fall to the Dust Devils 5-3. Despite a great start from Eddie Kunz, the wheel came off for the Missions in the 9th as they end up losing 6-1. Tucson gets blown out by the Storm Chasers in a game where 2 separate Storm Chasers recorded 5 hits.Hitting Prospect of the Day: Dane PhillipsPitching Prospect of the Day: Eddie...
Let’s just say that Johan’s first start off the DL was not a successful one. That was one über ugly performance. Johan’s last three starts against the Braves have been just awful. 1 1/3 innings and 8 runs, 5 innings 6 runs, 1 1/3 innings 6 runs (4 earned).
For some unknown reason, ESPN/MLB has decided that this game is so big that it has been moved to an 8pm start. Luckily...
Exploring the Arsenal will run prior to each game, providing you with a brief scouting report on the starting pitcher expected to oppose the Pirates. The chart below shows the horizontal and vertical movement of every pitch thrown by that particular pitcher in 2012. This chart is from the catcher’s point of view. Click here for a general guide to pitch types and classifications...
Sunday, August 12, 2012
ESPN – 8:05 PM
Ben Sheets (4-1, 1.41) vs Jonathon Niese (8-6, 3.82)
The Mets and Braves play a prime time game tonight as the Mets try to forget everything about the baseball since the All-Star break. Last night was rough as Santana struggled allowing too many runs in too short of a period of time. Tonight Jon Niese looks to play stopper as he steps up...
ATLANTA (AP) -- Eric Stults combined with two relievers on a five-hitter, Chase Headley homered and drove in two runs and the San Diego Padres beat the Atlanta Braves 4-1 on Monday night.
Stults (3-2) gave up five hits and one run in 7 2-3 innings -- his longest start in three years. While with the Dodgers, Stults beat the Giants 8-0 on May 9, 2009, his last complete game.
"One swing."That's what I told myself when the Padres took their 4-0 lead in the first inning today. As I wrote earlier today, the Pirates are playing badly. I'm trying to take the long view of the season here, but they're not making it super-easy. A sweep to the Padres with Ross Ohlendorf on the mound? That'd be tough to stomach, wild card lead or no...
by Scott Butler 8/12/12
With the Phillies’ recent trades of Victorino, Pence, and Blanton, Ruben Amaro now has roughly $40 million to spend during the off season. That’s about as dangerous as handing over your money to Bernie Madolf. Given Amaro’s propensity for overspending on players (Ibanez, Papelbon, and Lee just to name a few) and an empty bag of money at his disposal...