Another home-away-from-home WIN in Miami, where the Braves are now 7-and-1 this season. Of course, the next two games will challenge the Braves splotchy offense, as Jose Fernandez takes the mound tonight, followed by Nathan Eovaldi. But at least the Braves got the first two…
Getting guys back ain’t always what it’s cracked up to be: A lot was made about Dan Uggla’s eye surgery and the hope for better things once his poor eyesight was fixed. “Hey, he couldn’t see the ball before, that’s why he was so bad.” Not quite… at least not yet. Uggla could be suffering from not seeing live pitching for a couple of weeks (no pun intended), or he could just suck. It’s not exactly a sudden suckage either; his OPS has marched steadily downward the past four years: .877 in 2010, .764 in 2011, .732 in 2012, and .682 this season — Uggla’s OPS has dropped almost .200 points since the Braves acquired him after the 2010 season. Oh, and that improved eyesight? Uggla is hitting .133/.366/.133 in the 11 games he’s started since returning from the DL. Sure, yes, the walks are there… if that makes you feel better.
Oso time: Getting Evan Gattis back has been the opposite of whatever Dan Uggla has been. In the 7 games since his return this month Gattis is hitting .346/.370/.808, and it seems like half of his outs have been lasers that should have fallen in if not for great outfield plays. It was in part Gattis who stepped up big time early in the season when Brian McCann, Jason Heyward, and Freddie Freeman all spent time on the DL. Now with Jason back on the DL Gattis is once again filling in nicely. A strong finish for Evan will begin to rekindle Rookie of the Year talk, and may be the final push needed to convince the Braves they can survive at catcher next year without McCann.
2014 Schedule released: I’ve been waiting for that darn 2014 schedule to be released, and yesterday it was! Hooray! A few things that I would like to note:
- The Braves play within their division a lot early in the season; 22 of their first 28 games are against the NL East.
- Two 9-game home stands in May, as well as a home-and-away with the Red Sox. I know some folks complained about that with the Blue Jays this year (announcers), but I like that two games in Atlanta against Boston, then the next two games in Boston.
- June is the time for road games, with 18 of 27 games away from Turner Field.
- The Braves get an extra off-day at the All-Star break, then launch right into an 11 game home stand; and then head to the West coast for an 8 game, 10 day road trip…
- They finish that West coast swing at the beginning of August with two games in Seattle. I’ve been wanting to go back to Seattle since I went out there the last time the Braves played them, so this is a good excuse for a road trip.
- After Seattle they come home for a 10 game home stand, and then head back on the road for a 10 game, 11 day road trip. There are not a lot of short trips next season.
- The Braves play the Rangers in a weekend series in September. Personal note: Rangers Ballpark is the last of the original parks that I need to see, and then I will have seen them all. Of course, I have to go back and see the new parks that were built since I started seeing ballparks: Target Field, Marlins Park, and new Yankee Stadium.
- The Braves end the season with a potentially tough September schedule. I already mentioned the Rangers series, which is bookended by 3-game series against the Nationals. Atlanta ends the year against Pennsylvania, playing 4 games at Turner Field against the Pirates and the final 3 games of the regular season against the Phillies.
But we all know the real schedule will be the bobblehead schedule. We’ll have to wait until next year for that. Expect full coverage.
Free players: Keith Law highlights the good work Atlanta has done in recent years acquiring players off the waiver wire or as unsigned free agents. He mentions Schafer, Varvaro, and Carpenter as big contributors this year who were acquired as waiver claims. He also talks about the next wave, mentioning guys that I talk about a lot on here like Wes Parsons and Ian Thomas. But he doesn’t mention Eric Pfisterer… what gives Keith? It’s a subscription link, so I guess I shouldn’t give away the whole article. Definitely worth a read — click here.
ESPBraves: ESPN has been covering the Braves a lot the past couple of days (as they should). Jerry Crasnick wrote an article about the perils that could face the Braves in October, and that article also includes a video with Dave Schoenfield discussing the “Year of the Braves.” Good stuff all around, worth a read and a watch — click here.