Winning the last third: Braves WON, taking 3 out of 4 games from the Marlins in their final matchup of the season, and ending the season series with 13 wins and 6 losses — taking care of business against a team they should beat. Remember that in baseball you’re going to win a third of the games and lose a third of the games; it’s what a team does with the remaining third of their games that separates good teams from bad teams — the Braves won all of those games against the Fish. The Braves have a winning record against every NL team they’ve faced this year except Milwaukee (1-2), San Francisco (3-4), and San Diego (0-3). They’ll have a chance get ahead against Milwaukee next week, and even things against San Diego starting tonight.
Pitching in: Raise your hand if you thought the Braves would get a start from Freddy Garcia that was this good: 6IP, 5H, 1R, 1BB, 3SO. With 10 groundouts to 4 flyouts, Garcia was twirling like a veteran… please don’t tell me there’s actually something to this whole “wily veteran” thing. If there is, then Garcia was it last night. Take a look at this chart to the right pulled from FanGraphs, I’m mainly looking at the velocity. There’s nothing above 88mph (the upside down blue triangles are his sinker). His changeup (CH) was twirled in there in the low 80s, and everything else was below 80. I have mixed feelings about whether or not Garcia can keep this up. He has to rely on pitch-to-contact, and with that he has to hope that his sinker is sinking. Dare I say he’s discovered something new at age 36… heck Jamie Moyer did and lasted 10 more years.
More pitching in: David Hale will make his major league debut tonight as he starts on the mound for the Braves against the Padres. Hale is a fastball/slider pitcher. As a starter his fastball sits in the low-90s. His slider has apparently made significant improvement this year to become a plus pitch, and he complements that with a decent changeup. Like most young pitchers Hale will need to get ahead in the count with his fastball to induce batters to swing at his off-speed offerings. When it’s going good for Hale he can cruise, but it can turn badly quick, so the Braves might have Kameron Loe on standby. The AJC has a nice little background story on Hale here.
Pitching Mah: Paul Maholm got promising news when his MRI revealed no structural damage to his elbow. It sounds like the Braves were being extra cautious after Paul felt some discomfort during his last start. Fredi Gonzalez said Maholm could make his next scheduled start sometime next week.
Pitching end: It sounds like Brandon Beachy is done for the year. The swelling in his elbow continues, and his recovery from Tommy John will need more patience. I figured anything we were to get from Beachy this season would be a bonus, and that because of the uncertainty in recovering from that surgery the Braves could not count on him for any sort of critical role. We have probably been spoiled in recent years by near-flawless recoveries from Tommy John by Tim Hudson and Kris Medlen. It does not always go so smoothly.
Uggly response: Nothing has gone well for Dan Uggla this year, including his answers to questions about his poor play and his recent benching. Tomahawk Take has a good breakdown and reaction to Uggla’s recent comments… click here to read.