As a special to SI.com the Braves legendary third baseman and future first ballot Hall of Famer (at least we think) wrote about the Braves start to the 2014 season and how he thinks they will handle adversity. After a fluke season last year he thinks the Nationals will be good and that Stephen Strasburg has the best stuff in the game of baseball when he is on. Chipper is also enjoying not having to pack his suitcase every three days.
Craig Kimbrel is just one of six closers in the league so far to have posted two saves, as he looks to be headed in the right direction of leading his respective league in the category yet again. Fangraphs did a study and the 25-year old flamethrower comes in as the fourth hardest throwing reliever with an average velocity of 96.5 mph on his fastball. David Carpenter ranks 20th on the list with an average velo of 94.9 mph. These guys love to bring the heat.
What a matchup this would be with Jason Heyward squaring off against Mike Trout for all the marbles. While no ESPN expert even came close to predicting a showdown such as this, with one team coming off a losing season and the other continuing its playoff woes, Randy Brenzen for Yorkton This Week believes these will be the last to ball clubs standing. With the strongest bullpen in the majors his bold prediction is that Atlanta wins the World Series in six games.
Mark Bowman of MLB.com discusses why he believes it would not be a smart decision for fourth-year head coach Fredi Gonzalez to take B.J. Upton out of the two-hole in the lineup already. To end the series against the Brewers the slow starting center fielder laced a single to left field and then swiped second base to join Jordan Schafer as the only two Braves to steal a base in the 2014 season. B.J. will have a chance to build a hit streak this weekend against the Nationals.
Lets be honest, the Braves and Nationals simply don't like each other and they are expected by the majority of baseball fans and experts to compete for the NL East title. Tonight David Hale will take the mound at Nationals Park and it will mark the first of six games the two teams will play within the next week and a half. Washington remains the only undefeated team in the division so far after sweeping the Mets. On Saturday Julio Teheran will be matched up against Strasburg in a match up of two of the top pitchers in the NL.
Whenever you play against a top caliber team in your division, especially at the beginning of the season, the series can help set the tone for the rest of the season. This series will have both fan bases on the edge of their seats.
The Mobile BayBears lineup took advantage that they were able to hit against one of the top young guns in the National League in Braves left-hander Mike Minor who made his first rehab start for the Double-A Mississippi Braves on Thursday night in their season opener. While Minor had the strikeout pitch working he gave up three earned runs on four hits, one which was a solo blast, in two innings of work.
Gavin Floyd threw 42 pitches in 1.1 innings for the Gwinnett Braves in their season opener on the road in which he gave up two earned runs. Ervin Santana is scheduled to pitch tonight for Gwinnett (0-1) against the Durham Bulls.
Just two days after being added to the roster former New York Mets relief pitcher Pedro Beato will be active and ready to goif needed today against the Nationals. TC's own Ben Duronio mentions that left-handed relief pitcher Ryan Buchter could get a call back up again this season at some point since he is one of three southpaws listed in the Braves bullpen.
Aaron Chewning is out with a new Braves themed song and the music video includes appearances from the likes of Jeff Foxworthy and Ryan Klesko. Apparently people around the league do not enjoy this video very much. While it is not as catchy as Baselines and Beasts from the East, you should still give it a watch. Personally Beasts from the East is my favorite.
With the Braves home opener set for next Tuesday (April 8) they want to let fans know that you can buy tickets online and have them sent to your smart phone and scanned at the front gate without having to pick them up at the ticket office that usually has an enormous line. Also Turner Field will now have charging stations for your phones and you won't have to worry about ever having a dead cell phone at the ballpark again. They are starting to understand us young folks better now.
Steven Whitaker believes that the defending NL East champs pitching will be dominant throughout the season despite the adversity that hit the club in spring training in losing Kris Medlen and Brandon Beachy to elbow injuries. He believes the first series of the season against the Brewers is a sign of things to come. In the first three games of the season the Braves pitching staff only gave up four runs and held opposing hitters to a .184 batting average. They also posted a 0.85 WHIP while only walking six batters.
League Wide News
Matt Kemp should be in the starting lineup agains the San Francisco Giants on Friday in the Los Angeles Dodgers home opener. All-time against the Giants he is hitting .264 with just a .396 slugging percentage (6 HRs) in 227 plate appearances.
Apparently even the fans and players get into the Cincinnati-St. Louis rivalry, as a Reds fan caught a foul ball just beyond reach of the Cardinals first baseman and received a shove for doing so from the player. By following the link you can see the nice little hand gesture the fan gave back to the team he dislikes very much.
Just down right gross.
From 8:30-10:30 a.m. this morning David Ortiz will tweet his experience at the ballpark as the Boston Red Sox will receive their World Series rings before their game against the Brewers. You can follow the best DH in baseball at @davidortiz
The Cubs won a game for once but did it so in unfashionable style as Junior Lake wore the wrong jersey. Chicago is also in need of help to fund the Wrigley Field renovations.