Even though Tim Lincecum is no longer the dominant, freakish Lincecum of a few years ago, he still gives the Braves an absolute devil of a time, and he did just that last night, as he struck out the Braves 11 times and held Atlanta to only 2 hits over 7.2 innings. The Braves only had 3 hits for the entire night, two of those were home runs by B.J. Upton and Freddie Freeman, and Freddie's landed in McCovey Cove.
For the past week, Fredi Gonzalez has gone to a tactic that he rarely used in 2012 and didn't use at all during 2013, and that was moving the pitcher into the 8th slot in the lineup. Although Mark Bowman reports that Fredi hasn't been "overwhelmed" by the production from the lineup as a hole since the change was made, the skipper said that this would be the norm until the offense got heated up. For Dave O'Brien's report on the matter, click here.
On Sunda, Justin Upton took Mother's Day off; Not so that he could spend more time paying tribute to his mother, but instead because he had a lower back contusion following a collision with Anthony Rizzo and a 94-mph fastball to the same area from Jeff Samardzija. Yesterday, Upton returned to the lineup after a successful plain ride in which he showed no ill effects from Saturday's game. Justin went 0-4 with 1 K during Monday night's contest.
It's been nearly a week since Dan Uggla started a professional game of baseball, and all indications point towards that trending. Despite the fact that Fredi Gonzalez said that Uggla is "not benched," Fredi instead spent most of the article bragging on Ramiro Pena and Tyler Pastornicky, who have both done a decent enough job in Uggla's stead.
Stop me if you've heard this before: The Braves' excellent starting pitching is "unsustainable" (as described by Dave O'Brien) and the offense needs to start producing. Indeed, what's old is new again, and it appears that even though the Braves have won 4 of their past 6, DOB believes that the pitching, Justin Upton, and Freddie Freeman can't carry the team by themselves. Instead, the rest of the offense needs to start hitting, and fast.
Mark Bowman, the official Braves beat writer, basically made the same point that DOB made, except that he also made a point to look towards the future: If the Braves are going to come out of this rough few weeks above water (After the San Francisco trip, the Braves will travel to St. Louis, then come home to host Milwaukee, Colorado, and then they'll have a 4-game home-and-home series w/ Boston. Yikes.), then the offense will need to pick up.
League Wide News
It looks like the Tommy John bug has returned, and unfortunately for the Marlins, their fans, and baseball fans in general, the bug has bitten one of baseball's young and dynamic stars. Jose Fernandez got an MRI in Los Angeles on Monday and the results have led to fears that Hernandez will be headed for the DL and is probably finished until 2015, like the many other pitchers who have suffered the injury this season. Fernandez currently had an ERA of 2.44, a FIP of 2.14, and a K% of 12.19.
If there is one baseball club that is known for hits records, record-breakers, and record-holders, it's the New York Yankees. Yesterday, they added another record-holder to that list, as Alfonso Soriano (242/.275/.414 with 5 HRs and 85 wRC+) became only the seventh player in history to get 1,000 hits in both the National and American League. Soriano collected 1,077 hits in the National League (Nationals and Cubs) and passed the 1000-hit mark with 2 teams in the American League (Rangers and 2 stints with the Yankees).