Braves Daily News Digest: 5/20

Kevin C. Cox

Your morning/afternoon stop for all the latest Braves news and other top stories around the league.

Braves News

Braves Blast Brewers By 6 Runs

The Braves picked up their 2nd consecutive win thanks to a pretty big  8th inning in which they tallied 5 runs (including a home run from Justin Upton during that inning) to increase their lead to 6. Atlanta took the lead in the 1st inning thanks to Jason Heyward scoring on a passed ball, and they never relinquished it after that point.

Doumit Hits HR #100

In the midst of last night's offensive explosion, a milestone was reached; Ryan Doumit got a pinch-hit HR in last night's game, and the homer was Ryan Doumit's 100th of his career. Doumit also had a bit of fun after the game when he was asked about Lyle Overbay's relief appearance for the Brewers. The answer below is obviously tongue-in-cheek, considering the history that these two have.

Kimbrel Is The Youngest To Tally 150 Saves

In his assault on John Smoltz' Braves franchise record of 154 saves, it was inevitable that Craig Kimbrel would eventually hit the milestone of 150 saves. The manner in which he did it is special, and one of those facets is the fact that Kimbrel will now go down as being the youngest closer to get 150 saves. This is in addition to Kimbrel doing it in the 4th fewest save opportunities and in the fewest appearances in Major League history.

Santana and Floyd Show Confidence In Changeup

Ervin Santana and Gavin Floyd are both off to pretty decent starts so far in 2013, and according to Eno Sarris of Fox Sports and fangraphs, one of the factors is that both of the new pitchers for the Braves is the fact that both are showing more confidence in their changeup. Sarris notes that both pitchers attempted to make mechanical adjustments during the Winter, and it's pretty clear that those adjustments are working.

Walden Continues To Make Progress After Hamstring Injury

On May 10th, Jordan Walden was sent to the DL due to a hamstring injury that had been bothering him for most of the Spring. Now, his time on the 15-day DL could be coming to a close, as Walden is beginning to progress during his recovery at the Braves' Spring Training facilities. Although Walden is not throwing from a mound yet, it still appears that the reliever is making decent progress towards an eventual return.

Venters Is Optimistic Over Sore Elbow

Jonny Venters hit a small but worrying setback last week, which is when he experienced soreness in his surgically-repaired throwing elbow during a BP session. However, the one person who is not too worried about the soreness is Jonny Venters himself. From Caroll Rogers' article on the AJC:

"There was a tiny bit of swelling the next day but nothing alarming and within two days the soreness was gone," Venters said. "It’s been normal for the past few days."

Pastornicky Should Return To The Lineup Today

After missing the past couple of games (which resulted in the improbable return of Dan Uggla to the lineup) with a sore left calf, 2B Tyler Pastornicky appears set to make his return to the Braves lineup. Pastornicky participated in all of the normal pregame activities before Monday's victory against the Brewers, and now it appears that The Rev will be back in action for tomorrow's game.

Heyward Has Been A "Different" Kind Of Valuable

The guys over at fangraphs noticed what we wrote about here a while back: That despite the fact that Jason Heyward is currently having a bit of a slow start at the plate to his 2014 campaign, he's making up for it and then some with his terrific play in the field. In fact, the numbers suggest that Heyward may be on track for a 6 WAR season, even with his awful start at the plate. That is only a small part of explaining how good Heyward has been on defense, and this article from fangraphs is a must-read.

League Wide News

Reds Steal One From Nats In Extra-Inning Thriller

The Washington Nationals had to have been going into the locker room following their 15-inning thriller with the Cincinnati Reds wondering what more they had to do to win. Indeed, before Todd Frazier's moonshot that gave the Reds the lead and the win, the Reds defense flashed some serious leather on defense. A diving stab by Brandon Phillips and an amazing display of speed by Billy Hamilton in order to keep a potential gapper from dropping ended up being the catalyst in keeping the Reds alive so that Frazier could come up and do his thing.

Brantley Delivers Walk-Off HR For Cleveland

The Reds weren't the only team to win in extra innings on Monday. In fact, they weren't even the only team in Ohio to do so, as their cross-state rivals in Cleveland also pulled out a win in extras, and they did it in their own dojo. Michael Brantley picked a pretty lovely time to hit his first career walk-off homer in the bottom of the 10th, which came after the AL Central-leading Tigers tied the game up in the top of the 9th with a home run J.D. Martinez. Clearly, Cleveland was the spot for late-game home run drama.

Marmol Cut By Marlins

This past winter, reliever Carlos Marmol signed a 1-year, $1.25 MM contract with the Miami Marlins. Unfortunately for the Marlins and Marmol himself, the former Cubs closer was pretty bad, getting an absurd ERA of 8.10 and a xFIP of 4.83. Combine that with a HR/FB% around 21%, and that is a perfect recipe for getting cut as a pitcher. Henry Rodriguez will be replacing Marmol on the Marlins' 25-man roster.

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