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Brian McCann Making a Strong Case for the League’s Best Catcher

The Atlanta Braves’ season has been a wild ride so far. There have been new surprises every week for the 2011 Braves—some good and some bad.

The pitching and defense have been pleasant surprises, but struggling starts from hitters like Dan Uggla have been disappointing to say the least.

One of the few constants for Atlanta has been the outstanding play of catcher Brian McCann. Last year’s All-Star MVP has consistently been the best bat in the lineup. McCann’s .310 average and .378 on-base percentage lead Atlanta hitters. His 20 RBI rank third amongst Braves batters and he has the team’s second-most hits behind the surging Martin Prado.

Arguably his best performances have come in the clutch; McCann has a stellar .500 average with RISP, best amongst NL batters and third in the MLB

Not only does McCann carry impressive numbers in the Atlanta order, his stats are amongst the league’s best for all catchers. He leads all catchers in hits, average and on-base percentage, and is a close-second in RBI.

One of the only weaknesses has been McCann’s defense. While the blame partly falls on the pitchers, McCann has been less than impressive at throwing out runners. He does deserve at least some credit towards the team’s excellent 2.99 ERA, serving as the primary signal-caller for all the Atlanta aces.

If McCann can stay healthy and productive behind the plate, he is on pace for a career-best season. Such a spectacular season would likely stir some MVP buzz towards the Braves catcher.

Follow me on Twitter @MLBeatWriter for in-game updates and breaking league news. 

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Derek Lowe Arrested Wednesday Night for DUI

Braves right-handed starter Derek Lowe was arrested under suspicion for driving under the influence Wednesday night. Lowe was stopped around 10p.m by State Patrol on Peachtree Road at Ronson Road in Atlanta. After smelling a strong alcoholic odor, the officer conducted a field sobriety test; Lowe however refused to take the state-administered alcohol test. Lowe also received additional charges of reckless driving and failure to maintain lanes while allegedly racing another car according to Atlanta Law Enforcement.  Lowe’s Porsche was impounded and he was booked in the Atlanta City Jail.  The news comes at a bad time for Atlanta, who already has been plagued with bad press regarding the homo-phobic comments of pitching coach Roger McDowell.The Braves Organization has announced the situation would be assessed later today. 

He was released early this morning after posting bail of $2,944.CBS Atlanta News has released this video of Lowe exiting the Jail early this morning.


—for more breaking news and in-game updates follow me on twitter @MLBeatWriter

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Freddie Freeman’s Stock Rising Quickly in the Braves Lineup.

One of the biggest question marks in the Atlanta Braves lineup before the 2011 season involved who would fill the revolving door position at first base. It was quickly decided that rookie Freddie Freeman would take over at first, but many Braves fans were unsure how the highly touted prospect would fair through an entire season. After a slow start to the season, the rookie was one of several targets of criticism in the cold Atlanta offense.

For Freeman, a trip back to his native California was the perfect remedy for his early season woes. After batting around the .225 mark for the first 15 games of the season, Freeman has seen a surge at the plate batting .375 over the last week and homering in two of his last five outings. The rookie is also showing off his excellent defensive skills at first base. Almost every game has seen at least one impressive in-the-dirt snag by the agile rookie. 

Freeman’s recent success comes at a much needed time for the Braves, who have struggled in almost every offensive category. Run scoring and on-base percentage have been dreadfully low compared to last seasons team. Atlanta can only hope that veterans Dan Uggla and Nate McClouth can also break out of their own cold starts. If Atlanta can maintain their impressive pitching and get the expected production from the cold spots in the order, they are poised for a much more successful month of May.

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