With alumni weekend closing and the remnants of the number retirement ceremony for Chipper Jones still on the field, the Atlanta Braves finished Sunday with a sweep of the first place Arizona Diamondbacks.
It was a brilliant weekend for the offense and for young Julio Teheran. However, there were some who did not fair as well this weekend, the most significant being Tim Hudson. Huddy’s frustration continues as he once again walked away without a win Saturday, despite being at home where he has pitched much better in 2013 than he has on the road. Hudson’s frustration was on full display after the game when he ranted to the media about Fredi Gonzalez pulling him. For a change, the Braves gave the veteran run support, something that has been severely lacking in Huddy’s starts this year. He was given a 2-run lead twice by his offense and surrendered that lead in the next half inning both times. Prior to Saturday’s game, Hudson had been given a total of 3 runs of support in his 5 June starts.
The offensive struggles of Jason Heyward in April and June seem to have taken a backseat in the month of June. His hot hitting continued this weekend. J-Hey is a whopping 32-for-101 (.317) with 8 doubles, 4 homers, a .378 on-base percentage and is slugging .515 slugging in his past 25 games. These games come after he missed time for an emergency appendectomy. Without the early struggles of Heyward, though he did have a stint on the DL, Freddie Freeman continues to be Atlanta’s most consistent hitter. His 3-run jack in the final game against Arizona was essential to Paul Maholm’s game. In his last 43 games, Freddie Freman is hitting .327 (53-for-162) with 7 homers and 34 RBIs. Freddie has 18 multi-hit games in those 43 games. He leads the club in RBIs.
Line scores from this weekend’s games:
W: Teheran (6-4) L: Delgado (0-2) SV: Kimbrel (23)
W: Walden (3-1) L: Hernandez (4-5)
W: Maholm (9-6) L: Cahill (3-10)
BRAVES WELCOME MIAMI MARLINS…
With the Marlins coming into town, the standings in the National League East remain with the Braves on top of the Nationals with a 6 1/2 game lead. Miami is the cellar-dweller in the NL East. Philadelphia and the Mets trail the Nationals in that order.
An update on injuries: Evan Gattis has not resumed baseball activity after straining his oblique. Despite the date of injury being pushed back to make his eligibility to return earlier, it appears unlikely that he will be ready to return after his 15 days on the DL and may just then be starting a rehab assignment. The Braves announced that Ramiro Pena has undergone season-ending shoulder surgery. Fredi Gonzalez says that he hopes to get Pena back by Spring Training. Brandon Beachy has resumed throwing his bullpen sessions and will do so again on Monday. Whether he experiences any pain will determine when he will begin another rehab assignment. Beachy was on a rehab assignment at Triple-A Gwinnett when fluid on his recently repaired pitching elbow was found. Beachy was leading the league in ERA before the all star break last season before blowing his elbow out and requiring Tommy John surgery. Jordan Schafer still has some fluid and swelling on the ankle that could the brunt of a foul ball while Schafer was at the plate near the end of the week. He and the Braves hope he will be available for Tuesday’s game. Reliever Luis Ayala is nearing the end of his rehab assignment and could bolster the bullpen in the coming week. With the question of where Beachy fits into the rotation, who the odd man out is upon Beachy’s return, and the rehabilitation of Ayala and Cristhian Martinez, it would still appear the Braves will be looking before the trade deadline for another reliever.
A team that won’t be buying at the trade deadline is the Miami Marlins. As the Marlins roll into Atlanta, there are few things going well for the Marlins. The Marlins have only said they will not be selling Giancarlo Stanton. The Marlins should be without Matt Diaz, Chris Coghlan and Casey Kotchman for the series. They have spoken about wanting to trade pitcher Ricky Nolasco. The Marlins are currently 18 games back in the division, the furthest out in their division of any team in either league including the Houston Astros. The Marlins have 28 wins, the least for any MLB team.
The 3-game set against the visiting Marlins will begin with Koehler (1-5, 4.78) vs. Medlen (5-7, 3.02) on Tuesday. The second game of the series will presumably feature Nolasco (4-8, 3.93) vs. Minor (8-3, 2.98). And the series finale will feature Turner (2-0, 1.76) vs. Teheran (6-4, 3.12). There is certainly the possibility that Nolasco has thrown his last game for the Marlins and the probables are subject to change.
Tara Rowe is an independent historian and beat writer for BravesWire.com. Follow Tara on Twitter@framethepitch.