Yet again another pitcher has been plugged into the Braves starting rotation and found success right away on the rubber. In his first big league start in over a year after recovering from Tommy John surgery, 31-year old right hander Gavin Floyd didn't receive the win but pitched seven effective innings of one run ball. After the game he thanked God for allowing him the opportunity to be healthy again and play baseball. This is the type of player you want in your clubhouse and in the rotation. He also fanned five Cardinals in the Braves 2-1 win that put an end to their seven-game losing streak. Chris Johnson had the go-ahead RBI single in the bottom of the 8th inning off Pat Neshek.
While his career numbers may appear as a league average player with a 99 FIP (100-league average), Floyd looked very sharp and one could hardly tell that he was making his first major league start since blowing out his right elbow last April. His composure on the mound was solid and he could very well thrive pitching in the National League for the first year fully since 2006. TC's Andrew Sisson talks more about what to expect from Floyd who was a fill-in for Ervin Santana on Tuesday night who was suffering from a bruised thumb.
Dan Uggla was so close to making it number one on Sports Center Top 10 Plays until he slipped when trying to get back up to throw on to first base after laying out super man style for a Matt Adams ground ball. Uggla has been benched in three of the Braves past eight games and he has basically not been a threat at the plate since April 14 when he hit two home runs against the Phillies in dramatic fashion. That to date is still the only game "Struggla" has hit a home run in. Ramiro Pena will never be an every day starter in his career, but Fredi Gonzalez has enough trust in him to run him out at second base when the team needs him. Tommy La Stella could be making his MLB Debut very soon if the Braves offense continues to produce at abysmal rates. Atlanta is second to last in runs scored in the NL with 104 (3.25 runs per game).
With Uggla once again below the Mendoza line and showing no signs of a resurgence in his Braves career the man next in line for the job at second base is none other than the man, the myth, the legend Tommy La Stella. Mark Bowman earlier this week speculated that while the call up may not be this week for the contact hitting 5-foot-11 New Jersey native, La Stella could be replacing Uggla sooner than expected. Currently he is hitting .320 in Triple-A and has thrived at every level he has played at. He's 25-years old and ready for his shot at the BIGS. If you think Andrelton Simmons doesn't strike out just wait until you see La Stella giving pitchers temper tantrums on the mound.
He may have the second highest strikeout rate in all of the Majors, but Justin Upton still continues to produce for the most part in the Braves lineup via the long ball. His solo shot helped his team get back on the winning mark and also has him tied for second most roundtrippers in the NL with nine. He may come close to striking out 200 times this season, but it appears that he is on pace for his best season in his career in the home run department.
Click on the link if you want to see a picture of Aaron Harang's head in a silent old movie. He could definitely scare some little kids on Halloween if he dressed like that.
Adam Wainwright, a native of Brunswick, Ga., will take the hill for the Red Birds in the final game of the series between two of the winningest clubs over the past five seasons. Mike Minor will take the ball for the Braves in his second start of the season. Braves hitters have struggled mightily in their careers against the 6-foot-7 ace who has finished in the top three in votes received for the Cy Young Award. Chris Johnson is the only one to have a decent track record against him, as he is 6-for-18 lifetime against him. Uggla and Jason Heyward have taken him deep once in their careers. Justin Upton is a career 0-for-13 against Wainwright. Another pitching duel should be in store tonight at the ballpark.
Ervin Santana has ditched his thumb wrap and should be in line for his Saturday scheduled start against the Chicago Cubs. In ever year of his big league career the man who likes to #SMELLBASEBALL has started at least 30 games or more six of his last eight seasons. No need to worry about Ervin.
Something very special could be in the makings, as the Colorado Rockies second-year third baseman Nolan Arenado has extended his hit streak to 26 games. The 23-year old has been tearing the league apart this year as well as his protégés who have helped their ball club off to a 21-14 start. Not halfway to the record yet, but still very impressive.
The Braves were not in second place for more than a night as the Washington Nationals were beaten 8-3 by the Dodgers on Tuesday night. In his return from the disabled list Clayton Kershaw was very sharp as he allowed no walks and struck out nine through seven scoreless frames. The reigning Cy Young winner is just down right dirty.The NL East is wide open as of right now with no team more than 2.5 games out of first place.