This seemed like a pretty typical game after 7 innings. Once it got to the 8th, things went completely off the rails. It started with back-to-back-to-back HRs from Dan Uggla, Evan Gattis, and Andrelton Simmons, respectively, to give Atlanta a 5-1 lead. The 4-run lead was immediately surrendered in the bottom half of the 8th when Dominic Brown hit a 3-run HR to cap off a 5-run inning. Just when it seemed as if the Braves had wasted an opportunity at extending their win streak to 4, they loaded the bases up in the 9th and Uggla hit a grand slam to give the Braves a 9-6 lead. Absolutely wonky.
Of all the things that went down last night, Uggla hitting the Grand Slam when he did in the situation that he did was highly unlikely, at least according to ESPN's stats division. Uggla was 1-45 in his previous 46 PAs against lefties, and he's now 2-45, but the second one of those 2 was a pretty huge one. Also, Luis Avilan got credit for the win, which is why pitcher wins are dumb.
Meanwhile, in non-crazy news that involves the baseball equivalent of dogs and cats living together and mass hysteria, Justin Upton was named National League Player of the Week after his outstanding week against the Mets and Nationals. Upton hit .591/.654/.1.227 last week with 4 HRs and 8 RBIs. He hit one of those HRs against the Mets on Thursday night. I took a trip to Dallas on Friday, and while we took a quick break at a rest stop in Louisiana, the ball landed a few feet away from me. Have yourself a week, Justin Upton.
Mike Minor and Gavin Floyd are currently the two missing pieces to the puzzle that is the Braves starting rotation, and it appears that both men are right on track to make their returns as scheduled. Both men pitched well on Sunday, and all signs are pointing towards Minor joining the rotation next week and Floyd making his Braves debut in May.
BABIP Deity Chris Johnson has been scuffling a bit as of late. With 3 hitless games out of his last 4 with 2 Golden Sombreros during that streak, Fredi Gonzalez figured that the third baseman was due for some time off. Johnson will play for the rest of the Philadelphia series, with Gonzalez reasoning that Johnson will be "fine" after they "give him a couple of days."
One man who was conspicuously absent from the wild one in Philly was Craig Kimbrel. Normally the flamethrower is out there for save situations, but he sat this one out in favor of David Carpenter coming in to close the game. The reason behind this is that Kimbrel has a sore shoulder that "crept up" on him over the weekend. Fredi seems nonplussed by the issue, and Kimbrel believes that he'll be ready to go sooner rather than later. Still, you could understand there being a little concern among us fans with the way we've seen pitchers drop around here.
League Wide News
The Braves and Phillies weren't the only two teams who decided to have a Home Run Derby yesterday, as the Cincinnati Reds and Pittsburgh Pirates also decided that it was time to throw this small-ball junk out of the window in favor of some dingers. The NL Central rivals combined for a Great American Ballpark-record 10 HRs, and the crazy thing is that they did this in 6 innings. The game was suspended due to rain and will resume at 5:30 with the game tied at 7. If they bring the pop in their bats that they had last night, then this will definitely be worth keeping an eye on.
The San Diego Padres inked their young but talented second baseman Jedd Gyorko to a 6-year, $35 MM contract extension that is intended to keep him in San Diego through 2019 with a team option for 2020. Gyorko is a career .242/.295/.433 hitter with 24 HRs over his career with the Padres so far.
Aroldis Chapman returned to the mound for the Reds today, and even though it wasn't in game action, it was still encouraging to see the Cuban lefty throw a bullpen session to begin what should be a decently-long wait for him to return to the mound for real. Chapman recorded an ERA of 2.54, a FIP of 2.47 and a K-rate of 15.83% on his way to 38 saves in 2013.
37-year old Phillies pitcher A.J. Burnett already has age against him. Now, he also has a hernia, and it's one that that will require surgery at some moment down the line. That was considered "good news" for Burnett, as he's also announced that he will pitch through the pain until he gets surgery on it in the offseason. This news came after Burnett was pulled from the 5th inning of their Friday game against the Marlins due to "groin stiffness." With Burnett planning to play through the pain, this means that he will be starting Wednesday against the Braves.
Yasiel Puig had a long, dark road from the process of defection from Cuba to entering the United States, and although he's kept that story to himself, he finally opened up about it and things got, well, interesting. Here's a moment from the article that explains the craziness that was going on during Puig's past:
In a scene that could have been cribbed from a thousand screenplays, they stormed the motel and, according to court papers, "staged a kidnapping." Within days Puig was auditioning in Mexico City.
After dropping a few hints that he'd pull him out of the rotation if his performances continued to disappoint, Arizona Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson made it official after another bad start: Trevor Cahill is now a bullpen pitcher for the Diamondbacks. Cahill currently has an ERA of 9.17 with a FIP of 5.77 over 4 starts. That's pretty bad.