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Braves news and links 5/14

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Today's news includes a quick loss in Cincy, a new player on the DL, and a look at Cameron Maybin and his batted ball data.

Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

BRAVES NEWS

Braves speed their way to loss to Reds

The good news about Wednesday night's game is that it was quick; The game only lasted two hours and six minutes. The bad news was that the Braves got blindsided from the starting gun in this one. Kelly Johnson injured himself with his first swing of the game, and the Reds scored early and often on Eric Stults. The result was a 5-1 loss, which ended this close series in not-so-close fashion.

Kelly Johnson is on the Disabled List with a sprained right oblique

The one swing that Kelly Johnson took during last night's game was a costly one. After one swing, Johnson was forced to exit the game due to an apparent back injury. As it turned out, he tweaked his oblique, and now he's on the DL. It's a pretty big blow considering how versatile KJ has been and how good he's been at the plate this season. Here's hoping that he can come back as soon as possible.

Braves sign Wil Nieves

Meanwhile, the Braves made an organizational depth move on Wednesday when they signed C Wil Nieves to a minor-league deal. Nieves is now the only catcher at AAA Gwinnett with major-league experience, and considering that his ceiling as a major-league player is backup catcher, the only way he'll be coming up is if Christian Bethancourt or A.J. Pierzynski suffer injuries.

A look at Cameron Maybin's batted ball data

One of the best ways to go deeper in your analysis of a particular player is to take a look at their batted ball data. That's exactly what our friends over at the Braves General Store did when it came to taking a look at Cameron Maybin. Maybin's performance this season has been a bit of a revelation, but how much of it is legit?

It turns out Maybin is significantly under-performing relative to what his batted ball speeds would suggest, and most of it is being driven by his horrible luck on ground balls. He’s hit 23 ground balls this year, but only one has gone for a hit. If we assumed average results given his batted ball velocities on those ground balls, he should have 7 hits so far. Combine that with his expected performances on fly balls and line drives, and Maybin has hit the ball well enough to justify an expected .370 wOBA. Mike Trout, Joc Pederson, Adam Jones, and Charlie Blackmon are the only other center fielders who have as high a wOBA this season. Though he likely won’t hit this well all year, it’s safe to say a lot of folks- myself included- severely underestimated the talent we acquired with this player. Consider me a fan.

Mudcats go back home after bus accident

The Carolina Mudcats are back in Zebulon, and they won't be playing in Myrtle Beach this week after the bus accident on early Tuesday morning. All things considered, it's the best course of action, and it should give the entire team a good period of rest after a stressful moment.

Check out today's Minor League recap

MLB NEWS

Corey Kluber delivers what was easily the best pitching performance of the season

The reigning AL Cy Young award-winner was in amazing form on Wednesday afternoon, as he struck out 18 Cardinals in a 2-0 victory for Cleveland. The most stunning part about the 18 strikeouts was that it came in eight innings of work; He didn't even pitch a complete game! Additionally, he did all of this without walking a batter. That's about as good as it can get, and Game Score agreed.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">If Kluber is done, it&#39;s the highest Game Score (98) in an eight-inning outing since at least 1914 and probably ever.</p>&mdash; Matthew Pouliot (@matthewpouliot) <a href="https://twitter.com/matthewpouliot/status/598649538618884097">May 14, 2015</a></blockquote>

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George Springer helps push Astros past Giants

After a stint on the DL, George Springer returned to the Astros lineup on Wednesday night, and he definitely made his presence felt. Springer hit a solo homer in the eighth inning to break a 3-3 tie, and the Astros went on to hold on to the lead and pick up their 21st win of the season. Yep, the Astros are still in first, everybody!

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