Braves lines from Tuesday

Major League Braves WON!…

Turner Field, 8/13/13, just before first pitch

Turner Field, 8/13/13, just before first pitch

All-Medlen: The improvement of Kris Medlen can be seen in just his games against the Phillies, whom he has faced in 3 of his last 7 starts:

  • July 7th: 5.1IP, 8H, 7R, 6ER, 3BB, 5SO, 1HR in a 7-3 loss.
  • August 2nd: 6IP, 6H, 4R, 1BB, 8SO, 3HR in a 6-4 win.
  • Last night: 7IP, 5H, 1R, 1BB, 5SO, 0HR in a 3-1 win.

He’s going longer in games and giving up fewer hits and fewer walks, and getting back to the pitcher he was at the end of last season. Weirdly for this day and age, Medlen has factored in the decision in his last 14 straight starts (9-and-5).

Smoltz helping Medlen: In the often-overlooked game preview on MLB.com there is this nugget about the improvements Medlen has been making on the mound:

Medlen has been working on some slight mechanical tweaks, including staying more closed to the plate when he delivers a pitch. He has worked with pitching coach Roger McDowell on not throwing across his body and on creating more torque when he throws.

Medlen also listened to former Braves hurler John Smoltz discuss how he used to throw his slider.

“He wouldn’t completely throw it across his body, but he would kind of take his direction toward a right-handed hitter and then come across,” Medlen said. “He was getting more torque and whatever else. A guy with that good of a slider, you kind of want to try it out. So that’s what kind of clicked for me. I just felt like I had good arm speed with it, too, and that helps it spin.”

Uggla eyes: Dan Uggla was placed on the DL yesterday so that he could have LASIK surgery. Tyler Pastornicky was recalled to take his place. Uggla should be back in a couple of weeks, and when he does come back…

Uh, yes Chip, we demand that you do.

Carpenter: Great article on why reliever David Carpenter has been more effective by Andrew Sisson.

Minor league Braves scores

G-Braves walk off in 10: Gwinnett won 3-2. Another close game from Gwinnett, and another great start from Kameron Loe (it feels weird to write that): 6.2IP, 4H, 1R, 3BB, 3SO. The G-Braves offense didn’t score until they tied the game with 2 runs in the 9th inning, and then won it in the 10th on a throwing error.

Bobcat Bethancourt: Mississippi won 5-3. Christian Bethancourt stayed hotter than a dancing bobcat on Tuesday with his 3rd home run in his past 2 games. In his first at-bat, on the first pitch he saw, Beth ripped a bouncer through the infield to establish a new M-Braves record for reaching base successfully in 39 consecutive games. The Braves apparently retooled his swing this past off-season:

But at the end of a Double-A season cut short a year ago, it was obvious that Bethancourt was a long way from being able to hit Major League pitching. That’s why the Braves went to work on the 21-year-old and, after some ups and downs, the results have been dramatic the last two months at Mississippi. […]

“He made some pretty dramatic changes mechanically, and it took him a while to get comfortable,” Atlanta general manager Frank Wren said. “But he’s comfortable now and has been really impressive in the second half.”

Rivera impressive in relief: Lynchburg won 6-4. Reliever Wilson Rivera picked up his 6th win with terrific relief work: 3IP, 1H, 0R, 1BB, 3SO. It made Rivera 6-and-0 on the season, and 10-and-0 in his career (if you keep track of wins). Rivera is a converted infielder who has flourished on the mound with one of the top-10 K/9 and K% rates in the Braves system. He needs to be moved up to Mississippi, but he could be a useful bullpen arm in a year or two — that’s why I listed him 30th in my mid-season Braves prospect list.

Mo-riffic: Rome won 2-1. Mauricio Cabrera put together his third consecutive good start: 6IP, 4H, 1R, 3BB, 5SO. He’s still walking too many guys, but he’s also still stingy with the base hits which is a good sign as he moves up the ladder in the future — the hope is that he solves his walk problem with more experience. I like to think of Cabrera as a poor-man’s Teheran. Cabrera has a chance to be a Major League starter down the line, but how high his ceiling will be is uncertain, but right now it’s more mid-rotation than top-of-the-rotation.

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