• Exclusives

    Braves head to Miami, await word on Dempster deal

    RHP Ryan Dempster will soon be a Brave if he okays a pending deal

    The Atlanta Braves have completed a deal with the Chicago Cubs to bring RH ace Ryan Dempster to Atlanta. Only problem is… Dempster has yet to okay the deal. More on that shortly. Let’s start with the weekend NL East showdown.

    The Braves were not one of the eight teams swept over the weekend in Major League Baseball. They also weren’t one of the teams doing the sweeping. Taking the first two games of the series, the Braves fell in the second game of Saturday’s doubleheader and again in the remaining game of the series with the Nationals.

    What was expected to be the Braves’ greatest strength–pitching–has turned out to be the team’s kryptonite. The loss of Brandon Beachy to Tommy John surgery continues to be felt immensely. The struggles of rookies Mike Minor and Randall Delgado have left the front office with the decision of keeping one or the other in the lineup. Delgado may return on the 31st after having made a start during the Saturday doubleheader. Jair Jurrjens fell apart during the Nats’ series, giving up 6 earned runs in 2 1/3 innings pitched. If not for the absolute brilliance of Ben Sheets who has now pitched 12 scoreless innings since joining the Braves, there would be very little positive to say about the starting rotation.

    With the July 31st trade deadline approaching, the Braves are actively looking for pitching help. Chances are very good that GM Frank Wren will make a trade for a starter between now and then. The Braves are said to have acquired Ryan Dempster of the Cubs and are in the process of working out the details. Randall Delgado may be part of the deal.

    A recap of the series in D.C. with line scores from each of the 4 games:

    Game 1:

    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 Runs Hits Errors
    Braves 0 0 0 0 0 4 0 4 2 0 1 11 15 0
    Nationals 3 0 0 3 3 0 0 0 1 0 0 10 15 1

    W: O’Flaherty (2-0) L: Gorzelanny (2-2) SV: Durbin (1)

    Game 2:

    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Runs Hits Errors
    Braves 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 2 4 9 1
    Nationals 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 9 0

    W: Sheets (2-0) L: Jackson (5-6)

    Game 3:

    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Runs Hits Errors
    Braves 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 5 1
    Nationals 0 0 0 0 1 1 1 2 X 5 10 0

    W: Lannan (1-0) L: Martinez (4-2) SV: Clippard (16)

    Game 4:

    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Runs Hits Errors
    Braves 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 2 8 1
    Nationals 4 0 2 0 2 1 0 0 X 9 18 0

    W: Detwiler (5-3) L: Jurrjens (3-4)

    Jonny Venters rejoined the Braves and pitched effectively in game 4. Though his velocity appeared to be down slightly, Venters pitched 2 innings without pain in the pitching elbow that caused him to spend a short stint on the disabled list.

    Despite pitching woes, the offense has come to life. Freddie Freeman is feeling good and it has showed, both at the plate and in the field. Jason Heyward is contributing on both sides of the ball, getting on base, stealing bases and providing outfield assists. Martin Prado continues to be the most valuable piece for the Braves–playing everywhere on the field and providing consistent offense. And new acquisition Paul Janish is giving the Braves key hits, offense they weren’t expecting when they traded for the shortstop known for his defense.

    ON TO MIAMI…

    Monday: Minor (5-6, 5.69) vs. Johnson (5-7, 4.35)

    Tuesday: Hudson (8-4, 3.70) vs. Buehrle (9-9. 3.29)

    Wednesday: Hanson (10-5, 4.50) vs. Nolasco (8-8, 4.55)

    Will today be the day that the Braves finally kick their awful case of the Mondays? The Braves are 0-12 on Mondays.

    The starters’ collective ERA is climbing again, due in part to the disastrous last two outings by Jurrjens. The starters now have a 4.34 ERA which places them 14th in the National League (behind them sit only the Astros and Rockies). The Braves desperately need Mike Minor to take the mound with confidence and have a quality, run-limiting outing. Starting pitching needs the offense to stay alive while in the hitter-friendly Marlins Park.

    Look for a roster shakeups as the Braves are in Miami. Rumor today is that Jose Constanza is being called up from Gwinnett and one or two of the bullpen arms that joined the big league club for the tight schedule in D.C. will be sent down. Jair Jurrjens is likely headed back to Gwinnett. A trade for a starting pitcher could be finalized while the team is in Miami, but that won’t change probable pitching against the Fish.

    The Braves have gone 8-2 in their last 10 games against NL East opponents. Taking a few more wins within the division will certainly help the Braves move closer to being atop the division.

    Game one of three against the Miami Marlins at Marlins Park begins tonight at 7:10 (EST).

    Okay, back to Dempster.

    Ryan Dempster has “10/5 no trade” powers. Any Major League player who has been in the league for at least 10 years, with at least 5 years of service with their current team may veto any trade. So while the Cubs and Braves are happy with the deal they’ve struck, Dempster still has to give the go-ahead.

    The 35-year old right handed starting pitcher currently leads the National League with a 2.11 ERA. He would help to solidify a Braves rotation that has unexpectedly taken on a lot of water this season as a result of injuries and underperformance.

    Before you go, check out the Lineup Card on the BravesWire homepage with headlines from over a dozen Braves news/opinion sources.

    Tara Rowe is an independent historian and beat writer for BravesWire.com. Follow Tara on Twitter @framethepitch" href="https://twitter.com/#!/framethepitch">@framethepitch.