Random thoughts on a Friday

Had Martin Prado not produced his tremendous 10-pitch at-bat that concluded with the game-winning grand slam that gave Brian McCann a chance to deliver the walk-off single that gave the Braves a 10-inning win last night, many of you would have woke up in a foul mood this morning and I would have found myself writing something about Dan Uggla or Alex Gonzalez or maybe Derek Lowe.

But instead of being swept by the Nationals, the Braves posted a memorable comeback victory that obviously overshadowed Uggla’s fourth-inning defensive struggles and Gonzalez’s lack of hustle that led to him getting thrown out as he slid into second base with what should have been a sure-fire ninth-inning double.

Prado’s grand slam, McCann’s single and stellar work from the bullpen, prevented Lowe from having to analyze why he looked so shaky while allowing five earned runs in six innings.  Just six days earlier he had been masterful in Philadelphia until a right foot blister forced him to exit and perform a subdued Kevin Brown impersonation on his locker at Citizens Bank Park.

Last night’s start and the one he had a few weeks ago in Los Angeles were the only truly bad starts Lowe has produced since pitching coach Roger McDowell sat down with him and altered his approach last September.  Quite simply, he reminded the sinkerballer that he is allowed to throw more than simply the sinker.

Speaking of McDowell, he will return this afternoon.  In fact he will address the media at 2 p.m. at Turner Field.  So we’ll keep this one rather brief.

Here are a couple random thoughts:

1) Brian McCann still hasn’t displayed his regular power.  But after collecting three extra-base hits in April, he already has four (all doubles) in May.   He’s hitting .310 with and owns a .500 (14-for-28)  batting average with runners in scoring position.   This is about the time he got hot each of the past two years, after dealing with vision problems.

2) Craig Kimbrel epitomized the definition of filthy last night.  Three strikeouts in a span of 13 pitches is quite impressive.  But the most encouraging product of that appearance was the fact that he responded in the manner that he did about 24 hours after blowing a two-run ninth-inning lead.  The kid is going to be fine and has the chance to be truly special in that closer’s role.

3) Brandon Beachy makes his 11th career start tonight and fourth against the Phillies.   Many of you know how he left the Instructional League last year and then made a sudden Major League debut in front of a raucous Philadelphia crowd late last year.  Well he ended up making three of his first five starts against the Phils and ended up losing all three.

When I noticed he wasn’t going to be pitching against them last weekend in Philadelphia, I mentioned it to him and watched him remain stone faced before saying,  “I want to get those guys.  I really do and I will.”

25 Comments

We hope you do too, Brandon.

Speaking of McCann’s vision problems, what is the latest on this issue? I don’t recall hearing anyone saying anything about it during any of the Braves’ television broadcasts this year and was wondering if he had finally found a solution to the problems he has had over the last two seasons.

Go get those Phils Brandon!

Braves have the potential to win alot of games. Need Uggla and Heyward to at least hit .250 though

Oh, and congrats to Nate McMultiHit for another multi hit game last night!

heres a thought beltran as a brave?

Welcome back NC. Where’ve you been?

Sure. As long as the rebuilding Mets want to pay a bit of his remaining salary and don’t want any big prospects in return. Back on earth, don’t count on it. We’re a division rival, and Alderson’s a no BS guy, unlike Minaya.

Nice catch and 3 sac bunts from McClouth.

Yeah, great night. A position player has 3 sac bunts. You really don’t have a clue do you Brandie?

Apparently you don’t either, Billdumb. Without those, we wouldn’t even be in this ballgame. Why don’t you go cry away in exile again? Things were much better when we didn’t have to hear mindless bitching from a guy who has the maturity level of a 7th grader, and an insult list that consists of nothing more than calling me Brandie. Because, yes Bill, we see what you did there. You changed the last two letters of my name to make it appear as though I was feminine. You’re ever the comedian.

Has anyone else been unimpressed with Uggla? Has a ton of trouble making contact. In fact, has anyone noticed an improvement in Parrish over pendleton. I see a lot of strike outs. I know the average with RISP is high, but that stat does not always tell the true story. Everytime I turn aroung, Gonzo, Freeman, Uggla are strking out. Tonight was really bad. Let Diory get a start at second. It can’t be any worse. Uggla has been really bad all year. Since they have him for a long term deal, they better hope, he starts picking it up.

How is the hunt for the wild card going in Phenom Central? Easy weekend for the Phillies now that they have taken the first of this three game set. Anything after this game is gravy.

I think Uggla needs to leave more people on base.

and Pherris – I would LOVE to just ramble on about how a blown call cost us the game… but I can’t. Did Victorino look at strike 3? Yes. However, when a team goes 2-11 with runners in scoring position they just don’t deserve to win. I think Uggla left 6 or 7 men on base himself. The $62.5 million or whatever it is we committed to him was for the sole purpose of driving in runners in those situations. So far, in 2011, he has not done his job.

Blown calls only become an issue when a team fails to over come them. The most glaring Braves statistic is blown saves. Chalk it up to youth or whatever you want, the Braves BP is second in the league in percentage of blown saves and second or third in the number of blown saves.

Damn Brandie, wrong time of the month?

BillyBobReefer, so you are as misogynistic as you are homophobic?

Report from Turner Field: Rookie home plate umpire sucked. That was the game-changer right there.

That said, the team had its chances to rally and failed to do so.

As usual, you guys missed the whole point of the game. We lost. But did you see the performance of Christian Martinez? Bravo, you are surprised about Uggla? I have told you – it is ANDRUW JONES’ last year all over again. His numbers will be very similar, unfortunately. He had been doing a GREAT job on cutting down his strike outs. But in the situations last night, He was determined that he would be the hero. SIMPLE. In that mindset, through him the down and away slider. Certain K, just like Andruw. I couldn’t believe they hung that one change up to him. WHAT A TERRIBLE PITCH CALL – and the Phils were VERY lucky. In fact they were lucky on several fronts last night. But I came away from the game very encouraged by the performances of Gearrin and Martinez. If those guys continue their good work we should be fine.

Sorry – “THROW him the down and away slider”

2007 Andruw Jones:

BA – .222
HR – 26
RBI – 94
OBP .311
SLG .413
OPS .724

Dan Uggla:
BA .199
HR – 6 (Projects to 25)
RBI – 14 (Projects to 56!!!!!)
OBP – .256
SLG – .372
OPS – .628

Mark will be writing about this soon. (possibly around Memorial Day.)

2007 Andruw Jones struck out 138 times.

2011 Dan Uggla – 34Ks (Projects to 136) and that is a good number for him.

why can’t uggla try to get his swing back in the 7 or the 8th spot? It is costing the braves wins, and every game is important

u know with The Braves and the pithcing depth i wouldnt mind if the Braves dangled Lowe and Mclouth to a contender for maybe a cple of prospects and a better CF? I was wondering if there a chance Lowe goes to Yankees and who could the Braves get in return Gardner Swisher or someone else?

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