Results tagged ‘ Rick Ankiel ’

Hanson needs something more than another thrillng finish

Welcome back to Wrigley Field, the second-best stop on the National League circuit.  San Diego still ranks as the best stop on the Senior Circuit.  But it’s hard to beat a trip to Chicago in the summer the months.   

There were a number of Braves fans present to see Rick Ankiel deliver his two-out game-winning triple on Carlos Marmol’s two-strike delivery yesterday.  With this clutch delivery, Ankiel became the 14th different Braves player to collect a game-winning RBI this year. 

As you already know, Bobby Cox said he told assistant trainer Jim Lovell before Friday’s game that he expected Ankiel was going to have a big series.  <p>

“He was due,” Cox said after Friday’s 5-3 win. 

Since being acquired from the Royals, Ankiel has proven to be a superb defender, who benefits from what Cox described as “the best outfield arm” that he’s seen during his years in professional baseball. 

At the plate, Ankiel recorded just five hits in his first 36 at-bats for the Braves.  But the former pitcher entered this afternoon’s game having hit .421 (8-for-19) over his past six games. 

Ankiel was due to deliver at the plate and also due to become the latest to deliver the decisive hit in one of the Major League-high 22 last at-bat wins recorded by the Braves this year.  This is the highest total posted by the Braves since they notched 31 such victories in 1999. 

Jason Heyward has accounted for five of the decisive hits in these last at-bat wins and Brooks Conrad has tallied three others.  Ten other Braves have accounted for the hits that have proven to be the difference in these thrilling victories.

“It’s like there’s something in the water around here,” Ankiel said.  “It’s fun.  It’s like no matter what, we’re never out of it.  It’s fun to be a part of it.”   <p>     

Tommy Hanson enters this afternoon’s start as the only pitcher since 1913, when earned runs were deemed an official stat in the National and American Leagues, to go winless over a span of five consecutive starts in which he’s allowed one earned run or fewer.  

The Braves have scored two runs or fewer when Hanson has still been the pitcher of record over the course of his past five starts.   He would have still won one of these games had Billy Wagner not erased a one-run, ninth-inning advantage against the Astros on Aug. 11. 

When Wagner was told that he has one fewer win (7) than Hanson (8), he said, “Yeah, that’s partly my fault.” 

Three of the four save opportunities that Wagner has blown since July 21 have cost Hanson wins.   Thus the 23-year-old hurler enters this start having gone 0-2 with a 1.33 ERA over his past six starts. 

TODAY’S LINEUP
Infante 4
Heyward 9
Prado 5
Lee 3
Diaz 7
Gonzalez 6
Ross 2
Ankiel 8
Hanson 1
   

Farnsworth and Ankiel arrive for series finale

Now that Kyle Farnsworth has arrived, there’s probably much less chance that we’ll see a Braves pitcher get hit by a pitch in a third consecutive game. 

Obviously nobody has even hinted that they have the slightest suspicion that Kris Medlen and Jair Jurrjens were intentionally hit with pitches during the first two games of this series.  But if the Reds needed reason not to even attempt to jam Tommy Hanson with a pitch today, somebody might want to show them footage of Farnsworth slamming former Cincinnati pitcher Paul Wilson to the ground on June 19, 2003 at Great American Ball Park. 

After Farnsworth and Ankiel arrived around 11 a.m. ET this morning, they introduced themselves to their new Braves teammates, many of which still remember what happened to Wilson after he reacted to an inside fastball that Farnsworth threw during that game seven years ago. 

As Farnsworth was walking toward his locker, Eric Hinske mimicked Chris Farley’s Saturday Night Live skit by playfully asking, “Remember when you choke slammed that dude?” 

Farnsworth faintly smiled and continued walking while saying, “No, I don’t remember.”

Ankiel will start in center field during this afternoon’s series finale against the Reds.  Hinske will start at first base in place of Troy Glaus, who says he can’t blame any health-related issues on the fact that he has hit just  .160 in his past 30 games. 

BRAVES LINEUP:

Conrad 5
Heyward 9
Infante 4
McCann 2
Hinske 3
Gonzalez 6
Ankiel 8
Cabrera 7
Hanson 1

NOTES: The Braves will wait until Monday before deciding whether to place Martin Prado on the disabled list.  Prado said his right pinky finger was still “pretty sore” Sunday morning… Medlen said his right forearm, which was bruised by a Johnny Cueto pitch Friday night, was feeling much better Sunday.  He expects to complete his scheduled side session Tuesday. 

 

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