May 29, 2012 at 11:50 am by David Lee under Atlanta Braves
Update (4:45p): Medlen Demoted to Start
Kris Medlen has been sent down to Triple-A Gwinnett in order to stretch his arm for two to three starts before returning to the Atlanta rotation. It will mean the eventual demotion of either Mike Minor or Randall Delgado, with my money being on Minor. Jose Constanza was recalled in order to spell the bench for now. You can find my full thoughts at the link above.
Eight in a Row
The Braves dropped the series opener with the Cardinals 8-2 as Tommy Hanson allowed six runs in 3.1 innings and Lance Lynn allowed just two runs with eight strikeouts in seven. The loss extended the losing streak to eight games with two games remaining before the Braves’ next off day. Randall Delagdo faces Jake Westbrook. Game time is 7:10. Atlanta: SportSouth. St. Louis: Fox Sports Midwest.
The Braves have a .270 wOBA and 68 wRC+ over the past seven days. That includes a .216 BABIP and 16.2 LD%. The pitching staff has a 5.37 FIP and 4.13 xFIP. What’s curious is the staff’s strikeout rate has actually increased over the losing streak. The big jump in home runs allowed (Cincinnati probably has something to do with that) means xFIP expects plenty of regression.
Minor’s Next Start
Worth noting is Mike Minor’s next scheduled start is Friday following an off day on Thursday. This means he could get skipped in the rotation and Brandon Beachy could start on regular rest in order to avoid the struggling Minor this time through. It could also provide the Braves extra time in case they want to monitor Julio Teheran right now, because he started on Monday and would be able to make one more start at Gwinnett if Minor is skipped. Teheran allowed six runs in three innings last night.
However, it could also mean extra time for Kris Medlen, as Mark Bowman has written that Medlen could see a more significant role soon. With Minor’s turn able to be skipped, it could allow time for Medlen to stretch his arm out in Triple-A. We will soon see. Stay tuned for a separate post on this today.
Braves lineup: Michael Bourn (CF), Martin Prado (3B), Brian McCann (C), Dan Uggla (2B), Eric Hinske (1B), Jason Heyward (RF), Tyler Pastornicky (SS), Randall Delgado (P), Jose Constanza (LF).
Cardinals lineup: Rafael Furcal (S, SS), Skip Schumaker (L, CF), Matt Holliday (R, LF), Carlos Beltran (S, RF), Yadier Molina (R, C), Matt Adams (L, 1B), Tyler Greene (R, 2B), Daniel Descalso (L, 3B), Jake Westbrook (R, P).
Update (5:30p): I have seen conflicting reports on when Freeman will receive his glasses, with one saying Wednesday and another saying he will miss the next two games for sure. In this case, I will say there is a good chance Freddie will return by Christmas.
Update (4:50p): Freeman remains out as he waits for his glasses. Constanza has been immediately plugged into the lineup batting ninth as Delgado hits eighth. Freese remains out for the Cardinals.
Brian McCann is expected to start a second straight game tonight after returning from the flu on Monday. He went 0-4 and was crossed up on more than one occasion while catching Hanson.
Freddie Freeman is hoping to get his goggles in time to play tonight, although he might require a BP session or two to get used to them.
David Freese was kept out of the lineup on Monday with right wrist soreness and remains day-to-day, but he could return tonight.
Update (2:00p): Marc Hulet of FanGraphs mentions Zeke Spruill in his latest prospect stock watch.
In the Bowman link posted above in the Minor blurb, Andrelton Simmons could also see a more significant role. Simmons could get a call up soon, pushing Tyler Pastornicky out. We will have more on this in a separate post today.
Ben Lindbergh of Baseball Prospectus examines Jonny Venters’ struggles and BABIP, using a gajillion GIFs (sub. required).
Grant Brisbee of SB Nation writes on the Braves’ losing streak and whether the plan to stand pat this past offseason should remain the plan today, as well as what exactly can be done to get them out of the funk, which may not be much other than patience.
Bryce Harper didn’t enjoy facing Livan Hernandez, even though he hit a home run in their second matchup. Harper: “It sucks,” Harper said. “I don’t like facing guys like that. I’d rather face a hard lefty or something like that. I don’t like facing slow guys. It’s not very fun.”
Around the NL East
Roy Halladay will have his shoulder examined today.
Update (4:50p): Halladay has been placed on the 15-day disabled list with a right lat strain. Considering he had shoulder discomfort, this could have been a lot worse for the Phillies. The move is retroactive to May 28.
The Mets lost Justin Turner to a right ankle sprain and were forced to play David Wright at shortstop on Monday. Omar Quintanilla is getting called up and will start at shortstop today for the Mets. A 40-man spot was needed for Quintanilla, and former Braves reliever Manny Acosta appears to be the odd man out.
Michael Morse begins a rehab assignment today at Class A Potomac. Morse could return as soon as Thursday, but he should return by June 8 at the latest.
Juan Carlos Oviedo was given an eight-week suspension for age and identity fraud.
Jon Heyman says a Roy Oswalt deal could happen this week. The Phillies remain linked, while there has been no mention of the Braves because of their current budget constraints.
Update (4:50p): The Rangers have agreed to a deal with Oswalt.