August 25, 2012 at 1:17 pm by David Lee under Atlanta Braves
Braves lineup: Michael Bourn (CF), Martin Prado (3B), Jason Heyward (RF), Freddie Freeman (1B), David Ross (C), Reed Johnson (LF), Dan Uggla (2B), Paul Janish (SS), Mike Minor (P).
Update (1:30p): The Braves have placed Ben Sheets on the 15-day disabled list with right shoulder inflammation and called up Miguel Batista to pitch out of the bullpen. Sheets’ stuff has fallen flat over his past few outings, limiting him to 10 strikeouts in his last 23.2 innings. Now we have a confirmed explanation. It appears the soreness stage was more than he could handle.
Game 3 vs. Giants
The Braves lost 5-3 on Friday, making it two straight losses to the Giants to open the four-game set. If the Braves want to salvage a split, they’ll need to turn things around tonight.
Unfortunately, Atlanta will have to turn things around against a top 10 starter in the National League in Madison Bumgarner. The left-hander is ninth in the league in fWAR with the sixth-best ERA at 2.83. He has a 3.23 xFIP with a 23.5% strikeout rate and 4.7% walk rate. Bumgarner does an excellent job of mixing strikeouts and ground balls, utilizing his swing-and-miss slider with his sinking fastball. It’s a deadly combination that has earned him top 10 status in the league in his second full season at 22 years old.
The Braves will turn to Mike Minor to get them back on track, who is as worthy as they come lately. He allowed one run on five hits with no walks and two strikeouts over seven innings last time out against a solid Dodgers team, and he hasn’t had an actual bad outing in nearly two months. This isn’t the overmatch people will think when they first see the probables.
Dan Uggla IFFB% by Season
2006 (FLA) – 6.8%
2007 – 9.6
2008 – 8
2009 – 9.8
2010 – 6.8
2011 (ATL) – 11.9
2012 – 18.9
Braves.com recap for Friday’s loss.
AJC quotes following Friday’s loss. Fredi Gonzalez on Ben Sheets: “I’ll sit down and talk to Roger about it. I think he’s one of those guys, he’s going to charge. And maybe some of the balls are catching too much of the plate. You can see the breaking ball is still there. You can see the velocity is kind of still there. So maybe he needs to make a little bit better pitches, or maybe the pitches he’s getting hit on are just catching too much of the plate.”
Mark Bowman writes on Brian McCann’s ailments and how they’re impacting his hitting and future.
David O’Brien writes on Dan Uggla’s struggles.
ESPN’s Future Power Rankings has the Braves at No. 9. The Nationals come in at 11th, the only two NL East teams in the top 15 (Insider).
Jeff Sullivan of FanGraphs has a must-read on Tommy Hanson’s hitting ability.
Around the NL East
Tom Tango writes on what the Nationals could have done with Stephen Strasburg to preserve him for the playoffs. This is exactly what I’ve been trying to say ever since this became an issue, and Tango lays it out perfectly.
Michael Morse was hit by a pitch Friday night but sustained only a bruise on his right hand. Also, Ian Desmond was out Friday because of a mild hamstring strain.