Phools gold: Last night might seem like a turning point with a 7 run outburst, but look a little deeper and there are still signs that this offense is troubled — J-Hey not withstanding. The Braves scored 7 runs off a 4-A pitcher; a guy who is not a Major League quality starter. Tyler Cloyd had surrendered 5 or more runs in each of his previous 3 starts, and 4 of his last 5 starts. The dude was toast before he stepped on the mound… and gave up a first pitch HR to Heyward. The pitchers who replaced Cloyd allowed the Braves just 4 hits over the next 7 innings — and 3 of those hits were by Heyward. So the Braves minus Heyward got 1-hit for 7 innings last night by the Phillies. The Braves will be tested tonight, however, with Cliff Lee on the mound.
Relax Johnson: Chris Johnson struck out 3 times last night, and while I couldn’t see his post-K reaction, I’m sure it was one of extreme anger. The kid puts a lot of pressure on himself, and he’s added pressure lately by being in a race for the NL batting title. Well, he should relax now and realize that the batting title is probably lost. Michael Cuddyer of the Rockies has wrapped up that crown with a .335 batting average. Johnson’s .323 is too far away to make up the necessary ground. Of course, it’s not completely out of the realm of possibilities. Jason Heyward added 10 points to his batting average with his 5-for-5 performance last night. That kind of performance is rare. The last Braves player to collect 5 hits in a game was Chipper Jones on July 3rd of last year.
Hale good again: I can’t explain how come David Hale has been this good: 6IP, 7H, 1R, 0BB, 5SO. Though the more I think about it, maybe I can explain it. Every game I’ve seen Hale pitch, and I’ve seen a lot of them this year between the Majors and minors, the hits he’s given up have often been dinks and dunks. The hits he gave up last night were cue shots off the end of the bat and little seeing eye singles and bloops. Where he has gotten into trouble in the past is when he gives up a couple of those types of hits in an inning and then gives up a well stroked extra base hit on a mistake pitch. Hale as a Major Leaguer has limited his mistake pitches. So yes, I’d say that what he’s doing could be sustainable. Add him to the mix for a spot in the Atlanta rotation next spring.
Hale's teammates celebrated his first big league win by dousing him with what he approximated to be "35 Bud Lights"
— Mark Bowman (@mlbbowman) September 27, 2013
Beachy has “TJ”: Not good news for one of our best pitchers;
Dr. James Andrews removed some foreign particles that had been causing Beachy to deal with inflammation that was causing the elbow discomfort the Braves pitcher battled much of this summer. With a three-month rehab now ahead of him, Beachy could certainly be ready for the start of next season.
Okay, I called it TJ in the lead, but I meant that Beachy had “Tommy Jane” surgery… kind of like Tommy John lite. Hopefully you didn’t freak out… too much.
Commish ideas: Alan Carpenter over at Tomahawk Take has some great ideas of things he would do if he were the next commissioner of baseball. I especially like his ideas for a stadium fund and the Wild Card game.
Crazy night at the Ted: The mystery giveaway last night was a Chipper Jones Braves Hall of Fame poster… the same one they gave away on his number retirement night. I had it already, several in fact, so I was disappointed by the giveaway. It felt like re-gifting. They were also giving away free tickets to a 2014 game for everyone that attended, so that was a nice touch. Those free tickets will be given away all weekend too. (There’s a lot of fine print on them; still, a worthy promotion.) These crazy guys were at the game last night. I guess they just decided to dress up because… Thursday?