After notching 10+ Ks in his last appearance, Ervin Santana repeated the feat yesterday, striking out 11 and walking none over 8 innings of excellent work against the Padres and their light-hitting bats. It wasn't smooth sailing for the Braves though, as Jason Lane inexplicably matched shutout innings with Santana, until the 7th inning. That was when Evan Gattis cracked Lane's code and smacked a solo HR into the left field seats, giving the Braves the lead that they wouldn't relinquish. The highlight of the day came from Andrelton Simmons, who could basically start up a baseball version of the And1 Streetball Tour if he wanted.
Unfortunately, there was a minor casualty during yesterday's game, as Jason Heyward ended up leaving the game in the 4th inning with a sore back. After the team doctors took a look, Heyward has been listed as day-to-day. Hopefully it won't be that serious, since Heyward 's been having a pretty good month of July at the plate (hitting .313/.375/.388 with 119 wRC+ and a homer), and of course, his defense has continued to be absolutely stellar this season.
Although it wasn't to be expected to begin with, the Braves probably won't be making any huge blockbuster deals at the deadline, and it's mostly due to the fact that they had to go over the number that they initially decided upon when it came to payroll thanks to having to replace Kris Medlen and Brandon Beachy way back in Spring. So essentially, this probably makes things very difficult when it comes to upgrading the bench and/or bullpen. Still, with Andrew Miller being labeled as available by the Red Sox (and the Braves reportedly being interested) and Wesley Wright still being on the Braves' radar, the improvements in the bullpen could still possibly come.
Speaking of the bench (which has been much maligned around these parts, for good reason), with no off days in sight, the Braves basically have no choice but to put a bit of faith in their bench in order to give the regulars some rest. We saw an example of that yesterday, which is when we saw Jordan Schafer and Phil Gosselin at the top of the lineup for the Braves as they faced the Padres. That is not exactly optimal, but burnout isn't fun and nobody wants to see a burnt-out baseball player, so the reserves have to get some run. Fortunately, it appears that the Fredi may actually be able to utilize all 25 men on the active roster thanks to the departure of a certain 2nd baseman...
In further bench news, one of the targets that the Braves are reportedly targeting for their bench when it comes to potential deadline deals could be Chris Denorfia. From Scott's post on the player:
He's hitting just .244/.295/.321 with a 78 wRC+ and 0.7 WAR in 2014, though he's at .275/.332/.400 with a 108 wRC+ since 2010. Denorfia has also stolen 11+ bases in each of the last four seasons...Given that he's not having a great season and will be a free agent in three months, the Padres probably won't get much for him. It's easy to see why Denorfia would be a welcome addition to the Braves.
This isn't exactly news, but I wanted to put it in here simply because it was hilarious to me. For every story we've heard or read about Greg Maddux and the pitching genius that he was on the mound during his incredible career, there was also a story that showed how much of a weirdo Maddux was in the locker room with his teammates. He cemented his legacy as "Genius/Weirdo" on Sunday, when he made what has to be the first ever fart joke in the history of Hall of Fame induction ceremonies.
It appears that Ruben Amaro and the Phillies have finally accepted their fate; Their hunt for the playoffs is going to come up just a bit short, so they will be sellers for any potential deal as the Trade Deadline looms. Philadelphia has made it clear that they are open to moving their ace (and best trade piece) Cole Hamels, in any deals, though the price for Hamels will be high. Reportedly, the Dodgers are interested, because they're interested in everybody.
Here's proof that the Dodgers are interested in everybody: They picked up Darwin Barney. Although Barney is a somewhat reliable fielder, that's the only thing keeping his fWAR above negative numbers because his bat is absolutely atrocious. Over 71 games this season, Barney has hit .230/.265/.328 which is good for a grand total of 58 wRC+. This was actually an improvement over his 2013 season at the plate, which is when he hit .208/.266/.303 with 51 wRC+. With all of that being said, this is still a better move for the Dodgers than the Giants' acquisition of Dan Uggla since those numbers are, amazingly, better than Uggla's numbers by a mile and he can actually field his position.
When Casey McGehee flew out with a man on 1st for the 2nd out of the bottom of the 7th inning, the Miami Marlins were trailing the Washington Nationals 6-0 and according to fangraphs, the Marlins had a 0.8% Win Expectancy at that point. Thanks to a triple from Garrett Jones and a single from Marcell Ozuna, the lead was down to 4 and the Marlins WE number skyrocketed to 3.6%. Amazingly, the Marlins still had 5 more runs in them. They would score 1 more in the 8th, and then in an amazing 9th inning, the Marlins scored 4 times with a 2-out liner by Jeff Baker completing the comeback, giving the Marlins an improbable Win Expectancy of 100% (aka a victory) while the Nats were left to wonder just how in the world they blew this one.
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