Braves Lines for Thursday

Braves WON! and have now won 6 of the 7 series they’ve played this season. That’s the name of the game — winning series. There is a lot made by some about the decisions that Fredi Gonzalez makes (or doesn’t make), even I question his decision making sometimes, but the players who play for him tell us that he’s a player’s manager; that he and the entire Braves coaching staff support the players and create a positive atmosphere.

That’s the atmosphere that Bobby Cox created, which so many players thrived under for all those years. With Fredi taking over for Bobby, that atmosphere number-6 fostered has not changed. Fredi is in the same class as Bobby when it comes to supporting his players and creating a good environment.

It’s easy for me to say this stuff when the team is winning, but even when the Braves have gone through losing streaks there’s no panic and no blaming that comes from the manager’s office. There’s something to that.

All of us work somewhere or go to school somewhere, and we all should recognize that we work better and learn better in a positive atmosphere. When things get toxic, it gets not-so-fun.

I referred to “The Braves Way” in an article I wrote for Bleacher Report the other day about the Braves amazing starting rotation. This atmosphere Fredi maintains, that Bobby created, that’s all part of The Braves Way. This organizational philosophy, which everyone involved with the Braves works so hard to nurture, that’s helping the players stay relaxed, which ultimately helps the team win.

The starting pitching will get worse, though that doesn’t mean it will be bad, but when it does come back to reality the offense and the bullpen will need to get better. If they don’t, then this consistent winning we’re used to might stop. That will be a good test of The Braves Way.

Also keep an eye on what’s happening in Washington right now between Bryce Harper and Matt Williams. We can only wait and see if that managerial decision — and the resulting words said about it — was a good one. I’m glad we don’t have that kind of silly drama in Atlanta.

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Aaron Harang, Evan Gattis, Craig Kimbrel … it really was a good game yesterday. I wrote about those three guys in my latest Bleacher Report article. Check it out here.

Gwinnett comes back: Gwinnett won. Phil Gosselin and Tommy La Stella had back-to-back RBI hits in the 8th inning to secure a comeback win for the G-Braves. Wirfin Obispo picked up the win, and Juan Jaime collected his 5th save of the year. Nether pitcher has been scored upon this season — 7 games for Obispo and 8 games for Jaime. They represent good bullpen depth at Triple-A.

Minor to start for Sip: Mike Minor will make his last minor league rehab start on Friday for the Mississippi Braves on the road in Pensacola. David Hale, the man Minor will likely replace in the rotation, starts on Saturday for Atlanta. The Braves have another off-day on Monday, so there’s no telling when Minor will be slotted into the Atlanta rotation, but with all the off-days that gives the team some flexibility to give him (and others) plenty of extra rest.

Lynchburg lost. Not much going on for the Hillcats. Jose Peraza was 2-for-4 with a triple and his 10th stolen base.

Player movement in Rome: RHP Frank Lafreniere retired, though he probably would have been released in a week or so anyway. He was a 47th round pick by the Braves in 2010, but never really put up good numbers, and eventually stalled out at Rome. Rome also sent Cody Livesay back to extended spring training, he couldn’t get it going, and hit just .209 in 13 games. He’s just 20-years-old, so he should be back. Rome receives RHP Tyler Vail (20th round, 2013) and INF Chris Costantino, who played for three Independent League teams last year, and switched from pitching to hitting and playing on the infield corners because of an arm injury. He was drafted in 2011 by the Cardinals out of Walters State. The Braves love players from Walters State.

Rome lost. Rafael Briceno had another rough outing in relief. He has a live arm and doesn’t walk many, but the last few years he’s been far too hittable. The Victors each went 2-for-4, and Joey Meneses hit his 3rd home run of the year. The aforementioned Tyler Vail pitched 2.1 scoreless innings of relief.

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