The Braves ended a rather excruciating Spring Training on Thursday with a 9-3 loss to the Detroit Tigers. While Jordan Schafer and B.J. Upton took Max Scherzer deep in the 5th inning the defending AL Central Champs plated the games final eight runs, boosted by a three run blast by three-time AL batting champ Miguel Cabrera. Aaron Harang went 5 2/3 innings in his first start with the Braves since signing a one-year contract on monday. Despite only allowing one run in the first four innings the 34-year old righty who touched in the low 90's surrendered six earned runs on eight hits and struck out two. The loss ends Grapefruit League play for Fredi Gonzalez's club with a 12-18-3 record.
Right now it's just a tease how close baseball season is to actually starting up for Atlanta Braves fans. On March 31 the team will play at Miller Park and go up against Yovani Gallardo. Over the past three seasons the Brewers No. 1 has started just three games against Atlanta and posted a 2-1 record in 21 IP and held opposing hitters to a .215 batting average while striking out 15. Julio Teheran has just made one start against the Brew Crew and gave up two earned runs in 6.1 innings of work. JT was 6-4 with a 3.38 ERA on the road last season.
To begin the season the Braves will go on to road trips with three game series with the Brewers and Nationals. Then they will return to Turner Field to what hopes to be a crowd of around 40,000 or more on Tuesday, April 8 to face the Mets. Make sure to get to the stadium early, as the Braves will commemorate Hank Aaron's 40th anniversary of hitting No. 715. Also the first 45,000 fans will get a Hank Aaron poster.
Not only did Dan Uggla crank out bombs and finish Top 5 in Grapefruit League play in RBIs but the man with massive forearms also hit 69 points above the Mendoza line and had a 12:18 BB/SO ratio. He told DOB that he feels better than he's ever felt before as far as knowing his swing.
The highlight reel tape of Andrelton Simmonsn proved worthy enough of one of the top glove brands in baseball to sign him to a deal to be a face for the brand. Who's ready to see his spectacular plays on D again this season? I am.
The GM knows best and will not appear flustered by any of the injuries this spring and remains confident in his ball club despite missing five starting pitchers heading into the season.
MLB Outside Pitch believes that Tommy Hanson could be a fit again in Atlanta with their lack of pitching depth in the rotation, but DOB has insisted that they are not interested. Still there are three more full days in which the Braves could work something out before the regular season begins.
It's been real Florida, but the Braves are happy to be back in Atlanta ready to kick some tail this season.
Ahhhh Atlanta! Oh how I have missed you— Freddie Freeman (@FreddieFreeman5) March 27, 2014
Our very own Dan Simpson, who I must say is very popular with the crowd these days after picking the Braves to win it all in TC's 2014 predictions, gives us reasons to be optimistic about the upcoming season and believes Jason Heyward is in for his biggest season yet.
League Wide News
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This spring has not gone the way the Nationals had hoped for their newly acquired starting pitcher Doug Fister. He left a minor league start yesterday after an inning with a lat strain and could miss his first start of the season.
For the third straight season Johnny Cueto will take the mound opening day for the Cincinnati Reds as they take on the St. Louis Cardinals to start the season. If any game has a bench clearing brawl in the first game of the season it may be this one. The two teams simply don't like each other.