The Braves started the second half of the season on a really good note by sweeping the Mets. On Friday night, the Braves survived a bad outing by Tim Hudson and, thanks to some great work by the bullpen, held on to win 7-5. On Saturday afternoon, the Braves got another bad performance from its starter, this time Tommy Hanson, but the offense kept battling back and we took the game, 8-7. Then on Sunday afternoon, the Braves finally got a good showing from the starter, Ben Sheets, and won the finale, 6-1.
So how did Braves newcomer Ben Sheets really do? Keep in mind that this guy has not pitched in 2 years due to extensive elbow surgery. I don’t think the Braves could have expected anything more than what they saw from Sheets on Sunday. He was fantastic. He pitched 6 shutout innings, allowing 2 hits, 1 walk, with 5 strikeouts on 88 pitches. His fastball was between 90 and 93 mph, and his curve, although not as devestating as it has been in the past, was pretty darn good. He really only faced trouble once and that was in the third when he got David Wright to fly out to deep right with runners on 2nd and 3rd and 2 outs. Now the question is will he be able to recover and do this again the next time he pitches? Let’s hope so because the Braves definitely need him.
The Braves made several moves this weekend. First, SS Jack Wilson was placed on the 15 day DL due to dislocated finger. The Braves traded AAA pitcher Todd Redmond to Cincinnati for their AAA SS Paul Janish. Fredi Gonzalez immediately had Janish starting at short on Sunday. The word on him is he’s a pretty good fielder but he doesn’t hit at all. He was hitting .237 for the Reds’ triple A team and hit .214 for the Reds last year. The Braves also called Tyler Pastornicky up as insurance in case anything happens to Janish. I assume Pastornicky will go back down to AAA when Wilson comes off DL. Then when Andrelton Simmons comes back from his broken finger in about a month, I guess they will either cut Jack Wilson loose or send Paul Janish to AAA Gwinnett, depending on who is performing better.
To make room for Ben Sheets, the Braves sent Randall Delgado to AAA Gwinnett. Not really a surprise that they decided to keep Mike Minor. Doesn’t really mean that much, because they plan to call Delgado back up on Saturday to start one of the doubleheader games vs the Nationals. I still think the Braves are going to be looking for more starting pitching before the July 31st trade deadline. Of course, so are alot of other teams that will probably be willing to offer more than the Braves. We are being mentioned in the Zack Greinke/Ryan Dempster talks right now, but I’m not sure the Braves are really going to pursue them(although I would love to have Ryan Dempster). I see the Braves going after a lower tier starter, somebody like former Brave Kevin Millwood of Seattle.
Another thing of interest this weekend was Gonzalez choosing to sit Dan Uggla on Sunday. He started Matt Diaz in left and put Martin Prado at second. Uggla had poor numbers vs Mets’ starter Johan Santana while Diaz hits over .500 against him. Prado continues to play stellar defense no matter where he plays. In the last few weeks, he has played left field, third base, second base, and shortstop.
Tonight’s Game: The Braves are off tonight. They start a series with San Francisco tomorrow(I will be at that game!). So tonight let’s watch Washington vs Miami at 7:10 on MLB Extra Innings. Go Marlins!