• Exclusives

    Braves split homestand, prepare for interleague weekend

    By Tara Rowe

    The Braves began their 4-game home stand with yet another case of the Mondays. Atlanta has yet to win a game on a Monday this season. They are now 0-7 on Mondays.

    In their Monday night loss to the Reds, Randall Delgado had a great outing going 6 2/3 innings and allowing only 1 run on 4 hits and 3 walks, but in a tight game of little run support on either side, the 2 runs allowed by Jonny Venters in the 8th inning proved to be all the Reds needed.

    In Tuesday night’s game against the Reds, the Braves not only got Tim Hudson the win, they got to Johnny Cueto driving up his ERA and giving sophomore right-hander Brandon Beachy the league-leading ERA. The Braves scored 6 runs off 12 hits to beat the Reds 6-2. Unlike on Mondays, the Braves have only lost once on a Tuesday (and never on a Friday).

    Mike Minor continues to struggle. His strikeouts to walks ratio is lower now than it was in his first trip up to the big leagues in 2010. When do the Braves stop making excuses for Minor and stop practicing patience with him? With Julio Teheran doing well at Triple-A Gwinett, it’s hard to imagine the Braves not keeping Minor on a short leash from here on out. Minor’s ERA is now above 7.

    Freddie Freeman was¬†back in the lineup¬†Wednesday after an eye injury. The scratch to Freddie’s cornea that took him out of the game early Monday night and put him on the bench Tuesday has not yet healed entirely.

    Brandon Beachy threw his first complete game, a 7-0 shutout of the Fish Thursday night at the Ted. Beachy remains the leader of the National League in ERA at 1.33. An oddity and one the Braves’ front-office can’t be too thrilled about: Derek Lowe is now leading the American League in ERA (2.05). Beachy has single-handedly carried the Braves pitching staff thus far and looks to be an All Star, if not the starting pitcher for the National League should he continue on at this pace.

    3-GAME INTERLEAGUE SERIES…

    Friday: Hanson (4-3, 3.43) vs. Shields (6-1, 3.52)

    Saturday: Delgado (2-3, 3.79) vs. Cobb (0-0, – )

    Sunday: Hudson (2-1, 3.96) vs. Price (6-2, 3.10)

    The Atlanta Braves face a tough selection of opponents during interleague play this year beginning with the Tampa Bay Rays this weekend. The Braves will face all AL East teams during interleague play this season. The Rays will be followed in June by the Blue Jays, Orioles, Yankees and Red Sox.

    Look to see a lot of Chipper Jones this weekend. Chipper has great numbers against the Rays and at Tropicana Field. He has a .375 average to his name against the Rays, 15 RBIs, 9 HRs (5 of them at the Trop) and an impressive 12 walks.

    Fredi Gonzalez also said that he would hope to use Brian McCann and/or Michael Bourn in the DH spot while in St. Petersburg. Michael Bourn’s bat will be in the lineup one way or the other. Bourn is hitting .339 with 57 hits, a .339 on-base percentage and 12 steals. Bourn is tied with Derek Jeter atop MLB’s leader board in hits, is 6th in the National League in batting average, 4th in runs scored, and 2nd in stolen bases.

    The Braves and Rays get underway tonight in St. Petersburg at 7:10 (EST). Friday night’s game, for those not in the Florida/Georgia area, will be MLB.tv’s featured free game of the day.