McCann nearing sixth straight All-Star selection in impressive fashion

Getting two trips to San Diego in one season is considered a true treat for any  Major League club not in the National League West.   This is undoubtedly the Senior Circuit’s best stop.   Chicago ranks a close second.

It’s been two months since we last visited San Diego and it’s safe to say much has changed since the Braves took two of three from the Padres during April’s final week.   With a series-ending win over the Padres on April 27, the Braves gained a .500 record (13-13) for the first time since April 8 and moved to within four games of the first-place Phillies in the NL East.

The Braves are still four games behind the Phillies, but they enter tonight’s series opener a season-high 10 games above .500. They also enter this three-game series with their All-Star catcher armed with the power stroke that he lacked the last time the Braves were in San Diego.

When backup catcher David Ross enjoyed a two-homer game against the Padres on April 26, he had plenty of fun at the expense of McCann, who had tallied just two extra-base hits in the 81 at-bats he had compiled to that point.   He added one more — a double  — the following day to at least have the satisfaction that he tallied more extra-base hits (3-2) than Ross during the season’s first month.

McCann struggled to find his power stroke for another two weeks.  But while homering four times in his past five games and seven times in his past 48 at-bats, it’s safe to say McCann is once again proving why he is the game’s most intimidating catcher from an offensive perspective.

When McCann hit a two-out, ninth-inning pinch-hit homer and then a walk-off shot two innings later in a May 17 win over the Astros, he doubled his season homer total to four.  At the same time, he realized the fruits of some suggestions his older brother, Brad, made while they were evaluating his swing.

“I’m lucky to have people in my family who understand the game of baseball,” McCann said.

The Braves are quite lucky that McCann has proven to be the most consistent element of an inconsistent offense.   Dating back to May 17, he leads the team in batting average (.333), on-base percentage  (.418), slugging percentage (.733) homers (11) and RBIs (23).

There isn’t another Braves player with more than four homers or 14 RBIs during this span.   But more impressive is the fact that Matt Kemp (13) and Mark Teixeira (12) are the only Major Leaguers who have gone deep more than McCann during this stretch.  Kemp has notched this total with 11 more at-bats than McCann and Texieira with 24 more at-bats.

McCann struggled to generate consistent power during the season’s six weeks and still he enters June’s final days at the top of most statistical categories among catchers.  He leads all Major League catchers in batting average (.305) on-base percentage (.380) and homers (13).    He ranks second in slugging percentage behind the Tigers’ Alex Avila, whose younger brother Alan is an intern in the Braves’ baseball operations department this summer.

The 27-year-old McCann is virtually assured to earn a sixth consecutive All-Star selection.  Those wanting to ensure he gets his first start in the Midsummer Classic can cast their votes here until Thursday at 11:59 p.m. ET.

Lowe vs. Stauffer:  When Derek Lowe takes the mound tonight, he’ll be attempting to win for just the second time since the Braves were last in San Diego.  Since going 2-2 with a 1.82 ERA in his first four starts of the season, the 38-year-old hurler has made 12 starts and gone 1-3 with a 4.96 ERA.

Tonight Lowe will attempt to halt his recent frustrations against an offense that has been as maddening as his own.  The Padres have batted .242 and averaged 2.9 runs while winning just five of their past 16 games.  Those numbers were improved as they scored five runs during each of their past three games, which included a pair of wins over the Red Sox.

Coming off their sweep of the Blue Jays, the Braves will be challenged tonight by Tim Stauffer, who has allowed one earned runs while working 22 innings in his past three starts.  A lack of offensive support led him to win split the two decisions garnered during this span.   The 29-year-old right-hander has made three previous starts against the Braves  —  one in 2005 and two in 2009.

Longest-tenured:   The Braves obviously spent most of the past 15 years with the National League’s most-tenured manager.   Nine months after Bobby Cox’s retirement, they already have the second-longest tenured manager within their division.

With Edwin Rodriguez and  Jim Riggleman both turning in their resignations this week, Fredi Gonzalez is the NL East’s second-most tenured manager.  He was hired by the Braves about six weeks before Terry Collins was named the Mets’ skipper and about six years after the Phillies gave Charlie Manuel his current role.







But Pherris says McCann is no good! He’s a hack!

Get it straight. I said McCann is a sub-standard defensive catcher. Please note that Mr. Bowman described McCann as the “most intimidating catcher from an offensive perspective”. And I hope he knocks the cover off the ball in the All-Star game so that the Phillies have home field advantage during the WS. No catcher has led his team to a WS since Johnny Bench. Let’s not forget that Bench was also the best defensive catcher as well, maybe all time.

But he clearly isnt sub standard defensively though is he. I doubt mark thinks he is either. Grow up pherris

McCann = hall of fame by end of his career. There I said it.

Adam jones and some prospects for jair jurrjens. What about that trade idea I had?

Zidane – you don’t trade a CY Young candidate that costs you nothing in the middle of a pennant race. I definitely think you’re right and we have the pitching depth to make a move… but we can get a lot more in return without letting go of our organizations best pitcher.

Phillies walk off 2 out in ninth. Damn Oakland.

Probably the only team with worse offensive woes than us is the A’s. Hope they bring their A game for the next 2. No pun intended.

Schafer flies out, but only after 8 pitches

Lets hope Conrad can save us from this one.

Now, now BillyBobReefer and Brandon, let’s look at the bright side Only 8 of the 11 runs were earned, Lowe was only one out from making it a quality start and put in a good 97 pitch effort and only one runner was left in scoring position. It doesn’t matter that the Braves were 1.5 games in 1st place this time last year as compared to 5 games out of first place this year, it only matters that the Braves are only 2 games off the pace they set for themselves last year. Buck up, fellas and remember Brian McCann, “the most intimidating catcher from an offensive perspective” will be going to this year’s All-Star game.

Looking to get Lugo some starts at SS and 2nd base. Gonzo’s defense may be missed, but they are both on pace to strike out 150 times. Tired of bashing Uggla, but why can’t he make a simple adjustment on an outside pitch? Is he stubborn? He tries to pull every outside pitch and it is not working. Freddie is making double switches to get Conrad some ABs, but I think Uggs is hitting around 100 with RISP. Yeah, he is probably tearing it up at a 220 clip with the bases emply. Every time I think Uggla is turing it around, I am wrong. The 10 HRs are not that impressive when you consider the number of ABs he has had. I hope Prado comes back soon and the Braves consider a minor league assisgnment for Uggs. He is struggling much more than JF three years ago when they were forced to make a similar decision. Still in good shape, but need more from Lowe. Eventhough Schafer is only hitting around 220, he always hits the ball hard. Eventually, he will be a 260 or better hitter.

Junior. You are 100% correct

altho frnehcy was bad for 18 months

When one person gets sick, there is no cause for alarm. When everyone gets sick, something is definitely wrong. Two players have an OBP higher or about on pace with 2010: Brian McCann and Chipper Jones. Who are their hitting instructors? Their fathers. At this point I don’t even blame Uggla for what he has done this year. When everyone is told to not give a shit about getting on base and to knock it out of the park with every swing, then we deserve to lose (though we still are #2 in the NL).

In regards to McCann being a “poor defensive catcher”.. Beyond the Box Score has McCann listed as #15 out of 120 MLB catchers in the league. David Ross has had a huge influence on Brian. He has also threw out 30% of base stealers last season.

These are McCann stats for 2010 which was a career year for him defensively. He is back to form as a sub-standard catcher so far this year. In fact this year he is below his substandard defensive averages for his career. What I liked about the article was the ranking of Carlos Ruiz at number 3.

Oh and this goes not only for Pherris but for all of you. Why don’t you try and look up facts and do some research before you keep posting bullsh*t comments like “uuhhhuhuh that guys SUCKS” and make fools of yourselves.

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