Braves 5, Reds 2

Mike Minor has pitched a few great games this season, without question. Yet of all of them, today’s gem was my favorite.

The game started off the way too many Braves games have begun of late: with the opponent taking the lead. Minor did work around some trouble in the first, after loading the bases with one out, so I guess not all is as it has recently been. But he succumbed to the Reds in the second. In that inning, Zack Cozart tripled – on a ball Reed Johnson badly misplayed in center – the Hamster grounded him in, Homer Bailey struck out, Chris Heisey doubled off the left field wall, and Shin-Soo Choo, who just keeps killing the Braves, singled in Heisey. 2-0 Reds, just like that.

Cincinnati didn’t score again. After throwing 52 pitches in the first two innings, Minor summoned his inner-CC and tossed 5 scoreless frames on a mere 50 pitches. In fact, he allowed just one base runner the rest of the way. Considering just how shaky he looked in the early going, you have to admit: this was one of the grittier, more impressive performances of the young southpaw’s career. A year ago this game probably gets away from Minor; today, he posted a great line and drove in 2 runs just for kicks (to atone for the 2 he gave up, of course). Minor now enters the All-Star Break with an 8.48 k/9, a 3.34 FIP, and a well-earned reputation as the team’s best, most consistent starter.

The other Braves played a hand in today’s victory as well. And they did so with a depleted lineup to boot. Atlanta entered the game with their top five outfielders sidelined by injury, yet that is mere prologue to today’s heroics:  for the backups to the backups posted a ridiculous 7 for 11 line on the day. Of particular note was Jose Constanza, who it seems was only just yesterday starring in Braves Journal’s Fredi-Wars. But without the recent baggage of “hot-hand theory” dividing the electorate, and in the face of doubters marveling at a .263/.320/.305 AAA line, “Georgie” went 3 for 4 at the top of the lineup. It may not be sustainable in the long-term, but right now we need all the help we can get. May your hand get hot, Jose.

Also of note were Brian McCann and Dan Uggla. Those two mainstays did what they do best – hit homers – and before the 7th inning was over, Atlanta had taken a commanding 5-2 lead. Then the bullpen did what it does best: get outs without surrendering runs. Luis Avilan (shaky) and Craig Kimbrel (not even a little shaky) slammed the door, and that was that.

The Braves, now 54-40, will try to make it to 55 wins tomorrow, their last game before the festivities begin in New York. It will also be their last game against Cincinnati – until, potentially, October.

178 thoughts on “Braves 5, Reds 2”

    Episode V: The Injuries Strike Back

    It is a dark time for the Braves’ outfield.

    Although the series has been won, injuries have driven the starting outfielders and their backups from their positions and pursued them into the trainers’ room.

    Evading the dreaded two-no-hitter-throwing Homer Bailer, a group of substitute substitutes led by Reed Johnson (no relation to Ed Johnson) has established a new starting unit on the remote outfield grass of Turner Field.

    The evil Darth Baker, obsessed with ruining young arms, has dispatched dozens of Cincinnati Reds into the batter’s box of the Ted…

    Great recap, Adam. And much more concise than mine are. :-)

  2. Good flick, but I think I’ve got company in eagerly anticipating Episode VI, “Return of El Oso.”

    I also should note that the prequels really weren’t that bad, despite the Up-Ups that wore out their welcome so quickly.

  3. adam, good recap…concision itself, thanks…

    what do we know about Freddie’s hand? anything been said? he was not himself at the plate…

    and could we please stop bleating when young players make perfect hard contact straight at someone…i don’t care if it’s the first pitch or the tenth – he made solid contact…it’s beginning to sound vindictive, effings and all…whatever your problems are they’re not his, happily…

  4. Miami tied Washington in the 9th inning on a HR by Stanton and beat them in the 10th on a groundout by Lucas and Hechavarria coming around from 2nd. Braves now lead Gnats by 7.

  5. Speaking of the prequels, I think we all know what’s coming in the second half.

    Episode III, “Revenge of the Whiff”

    I can see it now…

    (Turner Field is completely engrossed in flames. And our reluctant hero, Frank Wren, having smartly taken the high ground atop the home dugout ceiling, watches as Justin Upton recklessly swings away with season on the line.)

    (With 2 outs and the bases loaded, Upton strikes out swinging at a straight 90mph fastball up in the zone. The Braves have now lost back to back play in wild card games.. Both loses coming at the hands of the St. Louis Cardinals, of course. The young slugger turns to face Frank Wren, who is still perched on top of the Braves dugout.)

    FW: It’s over Justin! I have the high ground!

    JU: You underestimate my power!

    (Justin breaks into a full sprint and positions himself to leap onto the top of the dugout, where he can confront his GM. Wren, thinking quickly, reaches back into the first row of the stands, grabs a foam tomahawk, and cuts down his young slugger at the knees. Wren, now overcome with emotion, cries out to his once prized trade acquisition, who now lays disabled in foul territory.)

    FW: You were the chosen one!! It was said that you would overcome the whiff.. Not embrace it! Bring balance to the line up, not leave it in darkness!

    JU: (Inaudible grunts and moans..) I HATE YOUUU!!!

    FW: You were my son, Justin… I loved you..

    JU: (Continues to burn up and scream out into the night…)

    I know, I know.. Powerful stuff. And although the material is darker than the two previous prequels, it is still my favorite.

  6. The Phils had to play a doubleheader today, against the White Sox, and now BOTH games have been extra-inning affairs.

    And in the first one, Ben Revere broke his foot.

    That’s a bad day. But a good time to have it, if there is one, I guess.

  7. @11 Braves now lead Gnats by 7.

    And to think, just a few days ago this team was DOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOMED.

  8. 15- What can I say? Every time the Braves lose a few games and look DOOOOOMED, the Nationals lose a few of their own and look even more DOOOOOMED.

    Also, the Phillies won the 2nd game of their doubleheader to move within 1/2 game of the Gnats, and Tim Lincecum has a no-hitter through 8 against the Padres.

  9. Good for Lincecum. Only time I’ve ever rooted for him. He earned it. 149 pitches…

  10. SF will undoubtedly put him at the back of the rotation after the break. Good for Lincecum but it appears his heavy workload from early in his career really has affected him the last 2 seasons. Wonder if throwing 149 pitches will negatively affect him the rest of this year.

  11. My God.

    Mike Minor's two-run double today came with the aid of Evan Gattis's bat. Minor has been using it for a couple weeks now.— Tom Hart (@tom_hart) July 14, 2013

  12. The Dodgers have moved into 2nd and are 2.5 GB. Hate to say it but they will probably win that division, with their rejuvenated lineup and rotation. Arizona isn’t that good.

  13. I am entertaining the radical notion that the reason the Nationals keep yo-yoing around .500 is that they are a .500-quality team.

  14. Wow. What a difference a weekend makes. I have been worried sick, and now the yo-yo effect has taken the lead back to seven games. If the OF keeps producing and the pitching holds up, I’m not worried.

  15. Gattis activated, Freddie sitting today, no corresponding move announced yet. I hope this isn’t as bad as it seems.

  16. It means somebody is getting DL’d, which IMO isn’t a bad thing. Whoever it is can rest for 2 weeks without getting rushed back.

    Atlanta Braves ‏@Braves 49m

    Today’s lineup vs. CIN (1:35, FSS/680AM/BRN): Constanza 7 Simmons 6 CJohnson 5 Gattis 3 Uggla 4 RJohnson 8 Laird 2 Terdoslavich 9 Teheran 1

    I think I would bat Terds ahead of Reed, Laird, and Simmons but whatever. That’s like a spring training split squad lineup.

  17. Constanza lf
    Simmons ss
    CJohnson 3b
    El Oso Blanco 1b
    Uggla 2b
    RJohnson cf
    Laird c
    Terdoslavich rf
    Teheran p

    The ultimate Sunday/ injury lineup. I expect it to kick ass.

  18. My guess: they’re sitting Freddie to try and make him healthier/healthy enough for the ASG. If so, a triumph for PR over trying to win games. Several other reasons, of course, are too awful to comtemplate, so I won’t.

  19. Kevin McAlpin ‏@KevinMcAlpin 56s

    BJ Upton says of the three (BJ, Justin & Heyward) that his injury is most severe. Said he’s prepared if #Braves decide to DL him

  20. According to DOB:
    “Freeman has some swelling in left thumb, which he hurt making tag in first inning”

  21. OT, and hopefully not political but Roddy White tweeted that jurors should kill themselves after Zimmerman verdict. Moron.

  22. Eric Single ‏@e_single88 20m

    Freeman is not available for today’s game, questionable for the All-Star Game w/ swelling in his left thumb after making tag in 1st inning.

  23. I’m a little surprised they aren’t putting Terdoslavich at 1B and Gattis in the OF, but ok.

  24. That is strange, now that you mention it. Thought 1b was Terdoslavich’s primary position.

  25. David O’Brien ‏@ajcbraves 2m

    Not official yet, but #Braves B.J.Upton will be DL’d

  26. Terdoslavich has actually played more games in RF than anywhere else this year per BR.

    Just saw ESPN already has a headline up saying Freeman could miss the ASG. What a bunch of bitches, I’m sure they are smirking.

  27. Freeman down too? Boy will I be glad to see the back of the Reds. McCann better take care today (and Uggla too since this seems to be striking down big names rather than only big stats).

  28. And don’t let the fact that McCann is sitting let you think he’s safe. Doom, doooooooooooooooommmmm.

  29. McCann’s not starting today, but you’re right; they should encase him in bubble wrap for the day, just in case.

  30. Against a lefty, it’s just as well. Gattis and the Johnson’s will have to do the heavy lifting.

  31. The All Star break couldn’t come at a better time. Sucks if Freddie can’t make the ASG though.

  32. @62

    Something’s going on. They haven’t announced it yet, implied they would before the game.

  33. @62 To keep all options open. He has looked good.
    How many starters have we lost last 3 seasons?

  34. Well Wood coming back means someone’s going on the DL or George is going back to Gwinnett at a minimum – and actually given the 10 day rule, a start on Tuesday could only happen if someone went on the DL.

  35. Mark Bowman ‏@mlbbowman 14m

    #Braves rotation coming out of the break: Hudson (Fri.) Maholm (Sat.) Minor (Sun.) Teheran (July 22) Medlen (July 23)

    Interesting that they are moving Medlen to the back end.

  36. I just got a call from Frank Wren. I will be playing left in a pinch.

    Also, Sam Holbrook sucks.

  37. I don’t think they’d send Medlen to the pen for Wood. For Beachy sure. But it’s not like Medlen has pitched bad. Just not dominant like last year. Unless they’re more concerned about the innings pace than I would have guessed.

  38. It looked like Simmons swung the bat about 5 minutes after the catcher had the ball in his mitt.

  39. Yeah, I don’t get why they’d do this to Medlen. It seems like shuffling the deck for the sole purpose of shuffling the deck, and if that’s the case, is kind of unfair. And the innings limit is stupid IMO. Is he never gonna be allowed to pitch a full season?

  40. CJ has warning track power. Balls just don’t go as far off his bat as you think they would.

  41. @79

    I think it will be Beachy’s spot, but that rotation make me think Meds is going to be the odd man out.

  42. With a typical 30 inning increase from a previous season, Medlen should still be able to go 165-170 innings.

  43. Confirmed by Tom Hart that Freddie won’t be able to play in the ASG. Will go to NYC and probably be treated there.

    And they had to go and mention Pweeg.

  44. Smitty, did you mean that Alex Wood is starting for Gwinnett Tuesday? He probably is just getting work in and they are still grooming him long term to be a starter.

  45. @88

    Tom Hart said on Braves Live Wood would start on Thursday in Gwinnett and could start in Atlanta on Tuesday.

  46. Bowman keeps tweeting that he thinks Wood is going to join the Braves rotation, saying Medlen’s spot most likely. I just don’t get that.

  47. I think a starter must be on the market or Medlen is going to the pen after the break no matter what. Once Beachy is ready, they put him in Wood’s spot

  48. @92

    They could be, but they would be a little more under the radar about Wood joining the rotation. That is usually how the Braves work

  49. Dont think they are shopping anybody … too risky with Beachy just coming back .. and Wood not having that much experience … I think Medlen going to pen maybe .. Starters: Hudson, Maholm, Teheran , Beachy and Minor .. bullpen Medlen, kimbrel, Avilan ,Vavaro , Walden, Carpenter and Wood. If they did shop somebody and Wood goes to Starter then it would be for a lefty reliever.

  50. Will Reds take BJ Upton, Uggla and Maholm in a trade for Soo Chooo ..we pay all the salaries ??

  51. If the MLB Gameday mugshots are any indication, I believe Devin Mesoraco is dead.

  52. I do like Reed Johnson’s strategy of bailing out the clearly wild pitcher by swinging at balls that are nowhere near the plate.

  53. Chip just congratulated David Ross on helping the Red Sox lead the AL East this year. That idiot must not realize Ross has been injured most of the year (most recently being placed on the 60-day DL last month) and has amassed all of 12 hits in 65 AB and 23 games.

  54. My power just flickered and my satellite is out. But listening to Jim and Don is far better and more enjoyable than the TV broadcast, just wish I had a picture to go along with it.

  55. I remember that series about 10 years ago when Bonds hit like 7 home runs against us in a 3 game series. Choo is beginning to remind me of that.

  56. Boy ..Teheran can get his fastball located today .. he has hit the middle of plate alot ….

  57. There’s only so much pixie dust in the world. Even I can’t see us winning today.

  58. I’m getting pretty sick of our pitchers nibbling around Votto in situations that call for going right after him. It was four feet away from costing us the game yesterday, and it was two feet away from costing us two runs instead of a maximum of one today.

  59. “Unregression” is going to be the title of the Chris Johnson biopic…. (spits) “deserve’s got nothing to do with it”.

  60. The Nats and the Phillies continue to tear it up. Nats in extra innings trying to prevent a three-game sweep at the hands of the Marlins while the Phillies just had Papelbon blow a save and are now in danger of dropping 2-of-3 to the White Sox at home.

  61. Sadly, the Nats seem to have finally remembered that they’re playing the Marlins, with two runs (and counting) in the top of the 10th.

  62. This inning is on all Fredi! You use your worst reliever in a tight game before the allstar break in the 9th inning!

  63. Six games up at the break and split the series with the Reds despite not having most of our lineup for most of the series. I’ll take it.

  64. Six games up at the end of the first “half”. I’ll take it! Get well soon, Heyward, Freeman, JUpton, and BUpton (yes, I still believe in BJ).

    Now, everyone get some good rest and be ready to take the series against the ChiSox next weekend.

    Go Braves!

  65. Instead of “get well BJ,” I’d say “get well Schafer, stay injured BJ.”

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