September 22, 2012 at 12:15 pm by David Lee under Atlanta Braves
Braves lineup: Michael Bourn (CF), Martin Prado (SS), Jason Heyward (RF), Chipper Jones (3B), Freddie Freeman (1B), Dan Uggla (2B), Brian McCann (C), Jose Constanza (LF), Mike Minor (P).
Update (1:40p): Mark Bowman reports the Braves will line up their rotation to have Kris Medlen start the wild card game. Medlen and Paul Maholm will swap spots, meaning Medlen will start Tuesday after the off day.
It’s an expected move, as Medlen has been the best starter since being added to the rotation 10 starts ago. While it’s not ideal to have Medlen pushed back in a potential division series, you can’t plan for the NLDS without winning the wild card game, so all efforts must go toward the one game.
Update (1:20p): Andrelton Simmons remains out, with Martin Prado starting at shortstop and Jose Constanza in left field again.
Game 2 vs. Phillies
The Braves lost the series opener with the Phillies 6-2 as Tommy Hanson gave up three home runs and the offense couldn’t do much with Kyle Kendrick.
They will try to even the series today with Mike Minor on the mound against Roy Halladay. The latter hasn’t had a normal Halladay season, recording a 4.03 ERA and 3.57 FIP, but has maintained a 20% strikeout rate and 4.9% walk rate while still keeping the ball in the park at a rate of less than one homer per game.
Halladay’s ground ball percentage has dropped around 5% from both last year and his career average, sitting at 45.2%. He’s also giving up more line drives and a higher HR/FB rate. The difference could be Halladay throwing far more cut fastballs this year, which could attribute to the drop in fastball velocity across the board. But while his cutter’s outcomes have remained fairly in line with his career norms, his curveball and splitter have taken a small hit, showing a lower whiff/swing rate and higher LD/BIP rate.
Minor struck out just three last time out, but he allowed just one run over six innings against the Nationals. That ran his current hot streak to one run allowed over his past three outings, totaling 18.2 innings.
Braves.com recap for Friday’s loss.
AJC quotes following Friday’s loss. Tommy Hanson: “I don’t know. I feel like I’m battling my ass off to help my teammates out and to help my team win, and as of right now I’m not doing a very good job. It was a horse[bleep] day. I’m not pulling my weight around here right now.”
In Braves.com notes, Mark Bowman writes on Chipper Jones’ last visit to Philadelphia, in which he received a painting of himself hitting, and John Smoltz’s thoughts on who to start in the wild card game. Hint: You’re looking too far ahead, Smoltzie. The Braves could announce their rotation for the rest of the season and line it up for the wild card game this weekend.
Chipper isn’t a fan of the one-game wild card playoff.
Andrelton Simmons could return today, while Paul Janish is likely out 2-4 weeks with the dislocated shoulder.
Jeff Sullivan of FanGraphs writes on Simmons’ defense and whether it’s the best in the game.
Jonah Keri adds his thoughts on Kris Medlen’s success this year.
James Wagner of The Washington Post compares the career paths of Medlen and Stephen Strasburg to this point, including the what-ifs of Medlen starting earlier in the season and Strasburg pitching later into the season.
Around the NL East
The Marlins are contemplating firing Ozzie Guillen.
Meanwhile, the Miami Herald reports Larry Beinfest likely won’t be fired, contrary to what Bob Nightengale reported yesterday.