The Braves probably won't win the division this season, but who cares about that?! After beating the Nationals 6-2 yesterday, they've now won the season series against the team that's probably going to go on and win the division, so HA! Take that, Washington!. After a slew of lousy starts, Aaron Harang broke that chain with an excellent performance, and the offense had a good day at the plate for a change. You know it was good when B.J. Upton hit a homer and it wasn't the sole offensive highlight of the day! (Also, B.J. currently has a higher ISO than Jason Heyward, so you can laugh or cry at that stat.)
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One guy who has been scuffling at the plate lately (among others) is Andrelton Simmons. The defensive maestro has had another solid season with the glove, but he's come nowhere near matching that brilliance with his bat, which has been awful this season. Scott took a look at the nuts and bolts behind Simba's awful offensive campaign, while the increasingly popular Greg Walker had this to say about Simba's mental approach.
"With a young player like that, he could get something in the next two weeks and carry it the rest of his career," said Braves hitting coach Greg Walker, who has been on Simmons since April to try to be a more controlled hitter and not swing so hard all the time. "Has he made a big step forward this year? No. The big thing for me mentally is that he’s allowed himself to get frustrated this year more than he should have."
A slightly slimmer Evan Gattis made his return on Wednesday (at least to the Braves dugout), though the weight loss wasn't due to some sort of diet or training. No, everyone's favorite janitor-turned-catcher has been dealing with Strep Throat this week, and after taking IV fluids in his hotel room on Monday and Tuesday. Gattis has declared himself well enough to play, and will be utilized as a DH for the entire interleague series in Texas against the last-place Rangers.
Another very popular figure in these parts is the manager himself, Fredi Gonzalez. So, how is the tactical decision-maker for the Braves handling the heat of another close and hotly contested playoff race? By trying his best to act like he's managing the best team in baseball. If you don't believe it, check out this quote from the USA Today's article on the guy:
"I walk around that clubhouse like we've won 115 games and we're going for No. 116 today," Gonzalez says of keeping the faith with a team that's scored three or fewer runs in 12 of their past 17 games. "I try to exude that confidence. "
Really cheeky move on the writer's part to throw in that stat as the meat for that sandwich of Fredi quotes.
According to Grant Brisbee, there's a pretty distinct possibility that 2-time World Series champion and Giants hero Tim Lincecum won't make it onto the Postseason roster should the Giants hold on to their Wild Card spot. Even though there are definitely a few roles for a pitcher to have on a roster, it doesn't appear to Brisbee that Lincecum could fit any of those roles and be a benefit to the team in October. If this comes to pass, it'll be weird not seeing Lincecum going out there in a big October game for the Giants. They go together like spaghetti and meatballs, or lamb and tuna fish. Also, the Giants had no problems dispatching of the Diamondbacks last night in a 5-0 victory, so they continue to have a tight grip on that 1st Wild Card spot.
A) Andrew McCutchen is an amazing baseball player, and when his talents are on full display (as they are in the video below), it's one of the most entertaining spectacles that you will see in baseball today.
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B) Joke's on us for trusting the Phillies (who are currently using Jerome "I Got Cut By The Astros And I'm Somehow Still In Major League Baseball" Williams as a starter) to do the Braves a solid by beating the Pirates. That was really foolish of