Braves lost the two-game homer against the BoSox, but they have the opportunity to go to Boston and return the favor in the two-game away series. By my count the Braves are owed four thousand lucky bounces in Boston.
I’m “back” from vacay: So yeah, two weeks off and I’m sure everyone missed me. I had a solid time in Ireland–it’s a beautiful place with great people and food. Traveling like that and sleeping in foreign beds with unfamiliar pillows, and being on a plane for so long reminds me that while traveling is fun, it can also take a toll on the body. By back is sore as hell right now, so I can only imagine what players go through while traveling for a large part of the year.
The Braves are about to head out on a pretty brutal stretch of away games, with only two of the next 14 games at home. They’re headed up to Boston now (2:30 hour flight time), then they fly back down to Miami (3:10), then home (1:45) for four days (two games), before heading out to Arizona (3:45) then Colorado (1:40) and back home (3:05). Factor in waiting around for a plane, going through security and all the other unexpectedness that can come with air travel, and this is going to be an exhausting fortnight for the Atlanta team. We’ll check in at the end and see how they did.
How Loe can you go: The Braves once again signed reliever Kameron Loe to a minor league contract. The Royals released him earlier this week after what looked to be pedestrian work for their Triple-A affiliate. He’s been passed around the past two years. Prior to 2013 he signed a deal with the Mariners. Then the Cubs claimed him in April, but released him in May, that’s when he signed with the Braves for the first time–spending much of last season pitching at Gwinnett. He signed as a free agent with the Giants this past offseason before getting released at the end of spring training, then catching on with the Royals for a month an and a half. I guess now the Braves will see what he’s got, not that they shouldn’t already know. I’m not too high on this signing, as I’d rather that Triple-A roster spot go to a worthy prospect in need of promotion… kind of like Shae Simmons.
Shae for the pen: The aforementioned reliever Shae Simmons, whom I referred to as a poor man’s Craig Kimbrel (which is a compliment), is having a whale of a season at Double-A. He has held opponents scoreless in 19 of the 20 games he’s pitched, racking up 14 saves. He has a .183 batting average against, 0.78 ERA, 0.913 WHIP and an 11.7 K/9. He’s getting close to being ready to contribute in a big way in Atlanta.
Speaking of players needing to get promoted: Tommy La Stella. Take the horrible sophomore season that Jedd Gyorko is having in San Diego out of the mix and the Braves combined second base corps is the worst in the Majors. Atlanta second basemen have a slash line of .165/.253/.250. It can’t get much worse than that, so why not call up La Stella, who’s hitting .293/.384/.359, and hit his first home run last night. Can’t the Braves find some sort of mystery muscle for Dan Uggla to pull so they can put him on the DL.
Janas: The Rome Braves added RHP Steve Janas to the roster yesterday. He was a 6th round pick last year out of Kennesaw State University. He appeared in just two games for Danville last season, but was still on the road back from TJ surgery, so the Braves were likely taking it easy with him. He needs to add velocity, but he’s got a good sinking fastball in a tall 6-foot-5 frame. He had a decent first game, vulturing a win with this line: 4IP, 5H, 1R, 0BB, 4K.
And in case you didn’t hear… the new stadium in Cobb County is now a done deal. Welcome to Chop County.
Bleacher Reporting: B/R has been keeping me busy since I got back. From Tuesday here is my weekly prospect stock watch article. And just published today is a really fun piece I wrote about all the Braves top draft picks from the past decade. Check it out here.