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MLB Hall of Fame: One-Team Hall of Famers Becoming a Dying Breed in Baseball

Think back four years ago.

No, not to the point when unemployment was still under 6%, the debt was under $10 trillion or the St. Louis Cardinals were reigning World Series Champions, but to the voting in January 2007.

Baseball writers, fans and historians all knew that it was going to be a unique day, when Cal Ripken Jr. and Tony Gwynn, two of the surest Hall of Famers anyone who had watched baseball between 1982 and 2001 ever saw, went into Cooperstown.

An entire career of 20 years or more with only one franchise. Hometown sports heroes.

It was rare then, but as we look back, it going to be even more rare that we see even ONE player elected to the Hall of Fame who ever stays his entire career with one franchise.

Looking at the two newest members of the Hall of Fame: They were the product of the free agency era for sure. Bert Blyleven did spend 10 of his 22 years with the Twins, but in two stints of six years early in his career and four years late in his career.

One of the most mind-blowing statistics that I saw was that he lost between 15 and 17 games each year for four straight seasons (1971-74), yet never struck out fewer than 224 batters, had an ERA higher than 2.81 or completed fewer than 11 games during any of those seasons.

Roberto Alomar never spent more than five years with any team. A journeyman at the end of his career, his five-year stretch with the Blue Jays from 1991-95 remains as great a stretch by any second basemen in MLB history. He averaged .308, 11 HR, 71 RBI, 40 SB, and 90 Runs during that stretch, even though two of those seasons were cut short by the MLB Players’ strike.

But neither of these players is the sports hero or likened to one franchise, let alone spending their entire career with one team; neither of these players spent more than HALF of their career with any one team.

So the question is: What future Hall of Famers will go in to Cooperstown, with no doubt in anyone’s mind, what cap is on their plaque?

We’ll start with players already retired, but not yet voted in:



Larkin was this year’s highest vote-getter not to get in, which bodes well for him in 2012.

While he did play 19 seasons with the Cincinnati Reds (1986-2004), his hit totals may seem a bit low, but there were four seasons (’86, ’97, ’01, ’03) where he missed more than half of the season either in the minors or out with injury.

His 12 All-Star appearances, nine Silver Sluggers, seven Gold Gloves, 1995 NL MVP and .295 career average with almost 1000 RBIs as a shortstop and almost 400 SB will put a “C” on his plaque in the next year or two.


Bagwell earned a healthy 42% of the vote in his first year of eligibility. The eight-time All Star owns a Rookie of the Year Award (1991), an MVP (1994) and spent all 15 major league seasons (1991-2005) with the Houston Astros.

The .297 career average, .408 career OBP, and .948 career OPS with 449 HR and 1500+ RBI definitely helps his case.

He was dominant for over a decade at his position and like most players, age caught up with him once he reached 37.

He could get in as early as 2012, but he’ll need a big jump in votes to get in.


Bagwell’s teammate for 15 seasons (and 5 others before and after) spent all 20 seasons with the Houston Astros, from 1988 to 2007.

Seven All-Star selections, five Silver Sluggers and four Gold Gloves were earned mostly at second base, but also at catcher. His versatility and 3000 hits will endure him to voters in 2013, once he’s eligible. 

Just Missed The Cut

Bernie Williams, John Smoltz, Tom Glavine, Greg Maddux, Barry Bonds, Ken Griffey Jr., Edgar Martinez

Williams had a very good career, but his power numbers for a center fielder won’t hold up.

The Braves’ trio will all go in wearing Braves’ caps, but Smoltz’s year with Boston and St. Louis, Glavine’s tenure with the Mets and Maddux’s extensive time with the Cubs and brief stints with LA and San Diego mean they don’t make this list.

Bonds’s stint with the Pirates doesn’t hurt him, but steroid allegations mean that although he WOULD go in as a Giant, he may never get voted in.

Griffey will go in as a Mariner, but it was weird seeing him in a White Sox uniform in 2008.

Edgar Martinez was a fantastic hitter, but I don’t see the voters putting him in the Hall because as a DH, he needed more productive years, especially with regards to power numbers, to make his career numbers seem impressive.


Now For The Current Major Leaguers:


Jeter’s been Mr. Yankee since he arrived in 1995. Sure, he showed his greedy side with this past offseason’s negotiations for his new contract, but it would be unbelievable if anyone saw him in something other than Yankee pinstripes.

He’ll likely retire with about 2000 Runs scored, 1400+ RBI and 3500 hits, along with a career batting average well over .300.

He’s a shoe-in sometime around 2021 on the first ballot.


Larry Wayne Jones will have statistics that are wonderful when his career is over, but don’t tell the whole story.

He’s spent all 17 seasons with the Atlanta Braves, the organization that selected him No. 1 overall in the 1990 draft. If he plays through the 2011 season, he’ll likely reach 2500 hits, 1500 RBI and 1500 runs and 450 homers, most of it as a third baseman and a switch-hitter.

His combination of average (.306) and power (436 HR, 1491 RBI) are both top three all-time for switch hitters and he’s third all-time in homers by a third baseman.

In 2018, a script “A” will be on his plaque, with plenty of Mets fans taunting “Laaaaarreeeeeeee” in the audience.


In his 16 seasons (1995-2010) with the Yankees, Rivera has become the pre-eminent shutdown closer in the regular season and postseason.

He’s amassed over 1000 strikeouts as a reliever, and is second on the all-time saves list with 559.

He’ll likely retire as the saves leader when he chooses to hang ’em up. I’d say around 2018, Cooperstown will have NY ready for his plaque.


Pujols may go down as the greatest hitter since Ted Williams, and maybe even better when he does call it a career.

His 10-year career with the Cardinals—he could retire today and be elected with 90%+ of the vote in 2016, his numbers are that amazing.

He’s only 30 years old and already has a World Series ring, three MVP’s, nine All-Star selections and a career .331 average with over 400 HR and 1200 RBI.

He’s never had a stat line worse than .312 BA, 32 HR, 103 RBI, and .955 OPS. His career numbers will probably be in Hank Aaron’s territory (.300+ average, 750+ HR, 2100+ RBI) when he calls it a career.

He’s still got plenty of years ahead of him, but I can’t fathom the St. Louis faithful ever letting Albert play anywhere else.


Thanks to those readers who reminded me about the hit machine. All Ichiro has done since his arrival from Japan is play ten seasons with the Mariners, match Pujols’ .331 career average, score 1000 Runs, rack up 2200 hits, and steal almost 400 bases.

He’s earned 10 Gold Gloves, three Silver Sluggers, went to 10 All-Star Games, won two batting titles, an MVP and the Rookie of the Year. Like Pujols, he’s a rare talent with the bat that Seattle fans would never let play anywhere else. If he stays healthy, he might reach 3,000 hits in just 13 or 14 seasons – no one else has done it that quickly, or come even close.

Too Early To Tell.

These guys have put up great numbers with one team (five-plus seasons), but whether they stay with their current franchise, keep up their current pace or have enough to get voted in is impossible to know

Jorge Posada, Jason Varitek, Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, Brian McCann, David Wright, Jimmy Rollins, Prince Fielder, Todd Helton, Mark Buehrle, Michael Young

Looking at the list of potentials, I can see one possible year (2018) that two franchise lifers both head to Cooperstown: Chipper Jones and Mariano Rivera both have contracts that conclude after the 2012 season and both will be over 40 when that season ends.

Jones’ injuries may end his career sooner or Rivera might stick around longer. Jeter’s contract is up after 2013, but most in baseball think he’ll try to play into his 40s before calling it quits.

So if you went to Cooperstown to see Tony and Cal enshrined, you may have seen the last day like that ever in baseball history.

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Atlanta Braves: Who’s Staying and Who’s Going This Offseason

2010 was a moderate success for the Atlanta Braves. However, with retirement, free agency and trades, there’s always the question of who will or will not be back playing for Atlanta in 2011.

We’ll take a look at free agents, potential retirees and trade bait.

We expect that core players like Tommy Hanson, Tim Hudson, Brian McCann, Jason Heyward and Chipper Jones will be back because there’s no logical reason why they wouldn’t be.

The bullpen was very solid, but it’s not out of the question to see one or more of them packaged in a deal for an outfielder. This means that Craig Kimbrel, Mike Dunn, Jonny Venters, Peter Moylan and Eric O’Flaherty should expect to be back. 

Backup catcher David Ross signed an extension mid-season for a reason.

Up-and-comers like Kris Medlen (after he returns from Tommy John surgery), Mike Minor, Brandon Beachy and Freddie Freeman may or may not spend the entire 2011 season in the majors with Atlanta, but if not they’ll be between the big club and Gwinnett, unless packaged in a deal for another outfield bat.

So, who does that leave. . .

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Braves Minor League Team Combines for No-Hitter

You know things are going well when both pitchers in a game get more hits than the other team combined.

On Monday, Atlanta Braves’ highly touted pitching prospect, Julio Teheran, combined with reliever Tyrelle Harris to no-hit Mobile in a 2-0 victory .

Teheran and Harris combined to go 2-for-3 at the plate, and worked around two errors and four walks to shut down Mobile.

Teheran, who’s only 19, struck out seven in 5 2/3 innings before exiting when Collin Cowgill lined out to Cody Johnson on Teheran’s 95th pitch of the evening. 60 of his 95 pitches were for strikes, and he gave Mobile three of the four walks, two of which came in the 2nd inning. 

Harris was summoned from the bullpen to protect a slim 2-0 lead, as Ollie Linton, Jr, had reached drawing a walk, and quickly stole second.

Harris came in and quietly got Konrad Schmidt to fly to right to end the inning.

In the top of the eighth, Harris worked around a one out walk to Cyle Hankerd, and an error by first baseman Mauro Gomez by striking out Evan Frey and Collin Cowgill to escape the jam.

Harris finished out the no-no in style, striking out the side in order in the ninth.

Both Teheran and Harris recently earned promotions from Class-A Myrtle Beach to Double-A Mississippi mid-season.

Teheran currently has a 7-7 record at three levels this season with a 2.47 ERA in 19 starts, totaling 113 innings.

He’s shown excellent control, with a K:BB ratio of 131:22 – earning more than a strikeout per inning.

Harris, although less heralded, has performed extremely well this year, also at three different levels. The 23 year-old, who stands 6’4″ and weighs 235 lbs, is 1-2 with a 3.10 ERA in 40.2 IP, with a K:BB ratio of 55:17. Opponents are only hitting .215 off of him this season.

Congratulations to the Mississippi Braves on their no-hitter. Fans in Atlanta hope to see you wearing a cap with the big script ‘A’ above the brim in a few years if these types of performances continue.

If history is any indicator – Teheran and Harris might want to know that the guy who threw the only other no-hitter in Mississippi Braves history is currently a mainstay in the Atlanta Braves rotation – one Thomas J. Hanson.

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Braves’ Bats Not Booming, But Rather Lackluster and Lightweight

That Braves offense that led the charge to the top of the standings during a 20-win month of May has seemingly been relieved of command.

Going back to the All-Star break, the Braves are 7-9 since Brian McCann roped a bases-clearing double in the NL’s 3-1 win in the Mid-summer Classic.

News flash—the Braves only have won one series since then.

These are not the Braves that many Atlanta fans came to recognize during a two-month span that took them from last place to a 7.0 game lead in the NL East.

The offense was at one time atop the NL in runs scored. Now, the Braves sit seventh out of 16 teams. While holding the best team on-base percentage, they’re still only seventh in on-base plus slugging.

What this means: They’re still getting on base, but not with quality or timely at-bats.

Let’s just look at this most recent road trip.

The Braves’ three wins came one in each series. Jason Heyward had a big part in two of those wins, as he stole home against the Nationals, and doubled in the winning runs against the Reds on Friday.

Brooks Conrad delivered the big blow with a pinch-hit grand slam against the Marlins a week ago.

Brian McCann had two big games on the trip, and has generally been pretty consistent since the break. Matt Diaz’s bat has been somewhat inexplicably relegated to part-time duty.

Oh, Melky, Alex, Chipper, Troy, Eric. Care to give these guys a hand now that Prado’s out for a week or two???

Let’s go player by player and analyze (OBP/SLG/OPS) the peaks (and valleys) of the recent past.


Brian McCann

The All-Star has looked the part, as July was his best month of the season. He hit .321 for the month with five HRs and 20 RBI for a line that reads .409/.543/.952. His passed ball might have cost the Braves a win, but he was the only one to drive in runs that game for the Braves it seemed, so it’s hard to complain too much.


Troy Glaus

When Glaus hit a walk-off HR against Kansas City on June 19, he was hitting .280 with a .372/.496/.868 line, with 14 HR and 55 RBI. As of today, his averaged has dropped to .244 with a line that now reads .354/.410/.764 and upped his RBI total to 61.

Six weeks has produced six RBI. Yes, you read that right.

The month of July was “highlighted” with one multi-hit game, and an average of .182. His OPS line reads something that Tim Hudson would be embarrassed with:  .310/.234/.546.

He’s done nothing for six weeks, and somehow Bobby Cox still puts him in the four or five slot. It’s likely time to bench him, and call up Freddie Freeman.


Eric Hinske

Hinske’s July swoon hasn’t been as sharp as that of Troy Glaus. Three HRs and nine RBI in 52 at-bats doesn’t seem too bad, but he’s been inconsistent. After hitting above .300 in both April and July, Hinske’s average dipped to .260 in June and .212 in July. His .300/.442/.742 line for July means that he’s been clutch at times, cold at others.


Martin Prado

Fans all over Braves country cringed when they saw Prado slide home on Friday and immediately scream in pain as his right wrist got caught underneath him.

He’s come down after being well above .330 for most of the season. He powered six HRs during July, but for the month, only hit .257. When men were on base, he couldn’t come through for the big hit—if they were on base for him. Of his nine RBI in July, six of those times he drove in himself. Leadoff homeruns are great, but he can produce more RBI with some baserunners in front of him. His 22 RBI in May demonstrated that.


Omar Infante

Prado’s likely fill-in until the pinky is healed, Infante hit .429 during the month of July in 63 at-bats. His one HR and eight RBI during that span doesn’t jump out, but the .455/.492/.947 numbers probably should. The Braves need him to minimize the loss of Prado for a while, and maintain a hot bat in the middle infield to get the Braves on track.


Alex Gonzalez

Gonzo has been feeling under the weather the past few days, and that followed a five-game stretch where he didn’t get a hit. He hasn’t really been the run producer the Braves had hoped since coming over from Toronto. Perhaps that’s because no one’s on base for him to drive in. Nevertheless, the first 10 games after coming over—hitting .360 is something the Braves would love. Even .280 with some more clutch RBI the Atlanta fans and players would be thrilled with.


Chipper Jones

Chipper’s been consistent most of the season. Consistently not producing enough for a No. 3 hitter. His high RBI month is 15 (May), and he’s yet to hit more than two HRs in any month this season, or more than .270. Sorry, but a .329/.378/.708 line for the month of July for your “best” hitter is not going to cut it.

This is the one position the Braves don’t have an answer for. Based on his numbers, Jones should be hitting seventh in the lineup. Perhaps whatever retirement talk was going on earlier this season wasn’t exactly premature. I’m sure Jones, who’s as intelligent and studious a hitter as there ever will be, is not satisfied with what he’s been doing at the plate. I know Braves fans—like him or not—aren’t happy with the performance either.


Melky Cabrera

A lot of people stated the Braves didn’t get much for Javier Vazquez. Pretty sad when you consider the best part of the trade is a minor leaguer who might be dominant in the majors in a few years (Arodys Vizcaino).

July was Melky’s best month of the season. You might be laughing, but it was. Sort of.

Hitting .289 with a line of .353/.461/.813 is pretty respectable from a lower in the order guy. It was the first month this year the Melk Man had an OPS over .750

One HR and three RBI and looking slow in the outfield is not.


Matt Diaz

I have one request for Bobby Cox. Please put this man in the lineup just about every day?

Since Diaz came off the DL in late June, he’s arguably been the best run-producer for the Braves. In only 53 AB in July, Diaz smacked five HRs and knocked in 14 runs, while hitting .340.

Bobby, he’s healthy, and he can hit. Please let him do that. If you need any more information please look at the next line.


Guys with a month-long OPS of over 1.000 should not be playing half the time.

Yes, he’s a lefty-killer, hitting .369 over the previous three seasons against lefties. But .265 with 10 HR and 59 RBI over the same period against righties isn’t that bad. If he played against all lefties and a good number of righties, he’d project to be a .300+ hitter and smack 15-20 HR.

OK. Enough said.


Jason Heyward

Heyward’s not in the right spot in the lineup. Since his return from the DL, he’s hit .356 with a line that reads .457/.458/.915. But he hasn’t homered since I saw him blast one off James Shields in mid-June and only has six RBI.

The first six weeks of the season, when Heyward was healthy, he was driving the ball all over the place and driving in runs. He and McCann are the most dangerous hitters in the Braves lineup right now. Diaz has been more productive, but still isn’t quite in the category of Heyward and McCann.

So with the recent addition of Rick Ankiel (who could be good, and could be so-so), here’s how I would make out the Braves lineup (once Prado returns)


Against Lefties

  • 2B – Prado
  • 3B – Jones
  • RF – Heyward
  • LF – Diaz
  • C – McCann
  • SS – Gonzalez
  • 1B – Glaus
  • CF – Cabrera/Infante


Against Righties

  • 2B – Prado
  • 3B – Jones
  • RF – Heyward
  • C – McCann
  • LF – Diaz
  • CF – Ankiel
  • SS – Gonzalez
  • 1B – Glaus (or Freeman?)


Looking ahead a bit. There are two potential moves the Braves should make later this season or in the offseason to balance their lineup.

If Troy Glaus’ slump continues, perhaps calling up Freddie Freeman, or trading (again) for Adam LaRoche if the Diamondbacks wouldn’t want too much in return, might be necessary. Glaus has become a major hole in that lineup.

Right now, the Braves’ lineup is a bit left-heavy. They’re looking for a power bat, a right-handed one who would play the outfield, center if possible.

The free-agent market this year expects to include Phillies outfielder Jayson Werth. I can completely understand why the Braves couldn’t or wouldn’t get him in a trade (the Phillies aren’t going to trade a bat like that against their main competitor in the same division). However, next year, the Phillies seem to think that Domonic Brown will be manning right field, with Ibanez again in left and Victorino in center.

The Braves would be wise to give serious consideration to bringing in Werth to play between Diaz and Heyward and hit right before or after Brian McCann in the lineup.

Unless the Braves snap out of their offensive funk, the 2010 season may be over sooner than expected.

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An In-Depth Look at the Atlanta Braves’ Remaining Schedule

On getaway day, the Braves concluded their first post All-Star break homestand with an 8-0 shutout of the San Diego Padres at Turner Field. With Tim Hudson leading the way on the mound, and Alex Gonzalez’s four-hit day leading an offense that had six different players drive in runs—this was the epitome of a Braves quality win.

Atlanta currently owns a 7.0 game lead in the NL East, with an NL-best 56-39 record, as both Philadelphia and New York look up at the Braves with identical 49-46 records.

With the Braves about to embark on their second nine-plus game road trip of the season, let’s examine the upcoming road stretch, as well as the remaining schedule in the second half.

The Braves upcoming road trip will not log as many miles as the Arizona-Los Angeles-Minnesota trip in June that ended with four-game splits out west, and winning two of three at Target Field.

Currently the Braves are 34-13 in 47 home games (34 games remaining), and 22-26 in 48 road games (33 games remaining).


While the Marlins are playing some good baseball right now, the Braves will be fortunate to miss their two best starters—Josh Johnson and Ricky Nolasco.

Friday, July 23 : Derek Lowe (10-8, 4.39 ERA) hasn’t faced the Marlins yet this season, and will be opposed by Alex Sanabia (1-1, 2.12 ERA). Lowe hasn’t fared well against the Marlins in the past, going 1-2 with an ERA of 5.71 in six starts since the beginning of 2007.

Sanabia, he of the two career starts and 19 major league innings under his belt, has a good ERA, but his other statistics aren’t quite as impressive. He’s never made it out of the sixth inning and gives up his fair share of baserunners. The Braves have been hit or miss with pitchers they’ve seen for the first time.

Saturday, July 24: Kris Medlen (6-2, 3.31 ERA) returns to his slot in the rotation to face off against Anibal Sanchez (7-6, 3.62 ERA). This will be the third time the Braves have faced Sanchez, who is 1-1 with a 4.38 ERA against Atlanta this year. Sanchez has struggled in July, with an ERA over 6.00.

Medlen won his only start against Florida, giving up one run in 6.1 innings on July 1. Medlen’s only two losses came as a reliever. However, as a starter, he’s 6-0, and the Braves have only lost one of his 11 starts.

Sunday, July 25 : Jair Jurrjens (3-3, 4.25 ERA) pitches the finale Sunday afternoon against Chris Volstad (4-8, 4.78). Jurrjens has been fantastic in his four starts since returning from the DL (3-0, 2.21 ERA) and carries a 3-1 career record against the Fish in six starts. Volstad hasn’t had a great year, and carries a 1-2 record in four starts against the Braves since the beginning of 2007 into the Sunday matinee.

Prediction: The Braves have won two of three in both previous series with the Marlins this season—and it should continue. If Lowe pitches well on Friday, or the Braves can jump on the rookie, Jurrjens might have a chance to sweep the Fish away. Best bet for a victory is Jurrjens in the finale.


Tuesday, July 27 : I wouldn’t be surprised to see MLB Network pick up this game matching Tommy Hanson (8-6, 4.12 ERA) and Stephen Strasburg (5-2, 2.32 ERA).

Hanson’s owns a 3-0 career against the Nationals, and would be even better if the bullpen hadn’t blown a win for him last year. He beat Washington in early May in his only start against them this year.

Strasburg pitched well against the Braves but wound up on the losing end of a 5-0 shutout on June 28. I know this is nitpicking, but the stud rookie has come down to earth and has averaged less than 6.0 IP per start since June 23.

If both pitchers are on, we could see a lot of hitters blown away on both sides by high 90s fastballs and wicked breaking balls.

Wednesday, July 28 : Tim Hudson (10-5, 2.47 ERA) hopes to follow his scoreless outing against the Padres and out-duel Livan Hernandez (7-6, 3.12 ERA). Hernandez beat the Braves when the two teams played in May, but has a 6.29 ERA against Atlanta over the previous three seasons.

Hudson was the winner on June 28, pitching seven shutout innings to beat Strasburg and the Nats. He got a no decision against Washington in a 3-2 loss in early May, giving up two runs in seven innings. He’s been a Nat killer, going 8-0 with an ERA of about 1.50 since the beginning of 2007.

Thursday, July 29:   Derek Lowe (10-8, 4.39 ERA) pitches the finale in Washington facing Craig Stammen (2-4, 5.50 ERA). These two faced off at Turner Field three weeks ago, as the Nationals beat Lowe and the Braves 7-2.

This month, Stammen has generally struggled, going 0-2 with an ERA over 7.00. Lowe is 4-5 against the Nats since the beginning of 2007, with a respectable 3.76 ERA.

Prediction: The Braves lost two out of three at Nationals Park in early May, and won two of three at Turner Field in late June. The way the Braves and Nats are playing now are more like they were in late June, rather than early May, when the Braves weren’t hitting, and the Nats were playing quite well. Chalk up another two out of three to make it a 4-2 record so far on the road trip. Best bet – Hudson dominates Washington, and should continue to do so on Wednesday.


Friday, July 30 : Kris Medlen (6-2, 3.19 ERA) faces ace Johnny Cueto (9-2, 3.39 ERA) to open the series in the Queen City. 

Cueto is 1-0 in two career starts against the Braves, with the Reds winning close games both times, beating Atlanta in 2008, and getting a no-decision in a 4-2 win at Turner Field in September 2009. 

Saturday, July 31 : The trade deadline comes and goes as Jair Jurrjens hopes to continue his successful string of starts since being activated to take on Mike Leake (7-1, 3.45 ERA).

Leake got a no-decision in the game the Braves made the 9th inning comeback. He allowed three runs (one earned) in six innings before giving way to a bullpen that eventually imploded.

Jurrjens has had some bad luck against the Reds in the past. He struggles against them in 2008, but left with the lead before the Braves bullpen gave up the lead and eventually the win. In his two 2009 starts against the Reds, he took the losses both times. One game he left down 1-0 after 2.0 innings because of a rain delay, and the other, was a 3-1 loss in September, where he tossed seven solid innings, but got no run support.

Sunday, August 1 : Tommy Hanson (8-6, 4.12 ERA) hopes to make up for his last start against the Reds as he closes out the series and the road trip to face Bronson Arroyo (10-5, 4.25 ERA) in the finale.

At the outset, this has all the making of a Reds blowout win, but Hanson was sick that day, pitched horribly, and the Braves still won on Brooks Conrad’s pinch-hit, walk-off grand slam. In his other career start against the Reds, Hanson pitched six innings of three-hit shutout baseball to earn the win.

Arroyo seems to be either Dr. Jekyll or Mr. Hyde when facing the Braves. Since he joined the Reds before the 2006 season, Arroyo is 3-3 in seven starts against Atlanta, with a 7.48 ERA.

In his three wins, Arroyo is 3-0, with a 1.39 ERA in 19.1 IP.

In the other four starts, Arroyo is 0-3 with a 14.29 ERA in 17.0 IP.

Prediction: The Braves showed the late inning magic in sweeping a two-game set from the Reds in May. The Reds have struggled some lately. Hanson shakes off his last start against the Reds, and Jurrjens finally gets the best of Cincinnati as the Braves take two out of three. Best bet is the Braves getting to Arroyo early on Sunday, to finish a nine-game road trip with a 6-3 record, and returning home twenty games over .500 at 62-42.


Remaining Road Schedule

The Braves will return home from Cincinnati to host the Mets and Giants. The Braves have four road trips remaining (24 games) and they break down as follows


Three games: Three @ Houston (3-0 at Turner Field)

Six games: Three @ Chicago Cubs (2-1 at Turner Field)
                Three @ Colorado (2-1 at Turner Field)

September :

Six games: Three @ Florida (4-2 this season)
               Three @ Pittsburgh (5-1 this season)

Nine games: Three @ NY Mets (3-5 this season, 1-4 at Citi Field)
                 Three @ Philadelphia (7-5 this season, 3-3 at Citizens Bank Park)
                 Three @ Washington (3-3 this season, 1-2 at Nationals Park)


The Braves have a combined 10-2 record against the NL central teams they still have to face on the road this year. With the Cubs in turmoil, and Houston and Pittsburgh being the doormats of the division, I don’t expect much of a change.

Citi Field has not been the Braves’ friend this year, but two of those losses the Braves gave away during their nine-game losing streak in April. They’ve played the Mets better since. Philly could be shutting it down if they’re too far out, or they could have recharged with a healthy Chase Utley, Jamie Moyer, Placido Polanco, and perhaps a starting pitcher addition.

The best series to watch for on the road would be at Colorado in mid-August, and at Philadelphia in mid-September.

Prediction: Braves win 13 or 14 out of their final 24 road games. Their final road record would be 41-40 give or take a game.

Remaining Home Schedule

Starting with the series against the Mets in early August the Braves play 34 of their final 58 games at home, where they’ve won at a .723 clip – the best in the majors this season.


Seven games: Three vs NY Mets (1-1 at Turner Field, 3-5 overall)
                    Four vs San Francisco (1-2 at AT&T Park in April)

Seven games: Four vs LA Dodgers (2-2 at Dodgers Stadium)
                   Three vs Washington (2-1 at Turner Field, 3-3 overall)

Seven games: Three vs Florida (2-1 at Turner Field, 4-2 overall)
                    Four vs NY Mets


Seven games: Four vs St. Louis (0-4 at Busch Stadium in April)
                    Three vs Washington

Six games: Three vs Florida
               Three vs Philadelphia (4-2 at Turner Field, 7-5 overall)


The Braves home schedule is tougher than their road schedule the rest of the season, just from a team record standpoint. They’ve played the Mets, Phillies, and Giants much better at home than on the road in the recent past and that will likely continue. However, the Braves’ final home series vs Philadelphia may not matter too much, as it’s the last weekend of the season.

The Mets aren’t a good road team, and have showed it lately by going 1-6 on a west coast road trip to Arizona and San Francisco, and should be 0-7 if Phil Cuzzi doesn’t miss the call at home on Sunday. I expect the Braves I see the Braves winning 5 of the 7 remaining home game with the Mets, and four of the six remaining with both Florida and Washington.

Depending on the pitching match-ups, a split might not be a bad thing against the Cardinals, especially if Wainwright, Carpenter, Garcia and (maybe Oswalt) pitch in that series. The Dodgers are a better home team and the Braves winning 3 in that series is not out of the question. In past years, the series between the Giants and Braves have generally favored the home team, regardless of their records.

Prediction: The Braves win 22 or 23 of their final 34 home games. Their final home record will be 56-25, give or take a game.

Adding it up. The Braves are on pace to finish with a record of 97-65, their best since the 2003 season when they won 100 games for the second straight year. That should give them at least one home-field series as they return to the playoffs for the first time since 2005.

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Glaus on First, Prado on Second and I Don’t Know on Third

If the recent news and rumors turn out to be true, the Braves have a big question on their hands—who is the Braves’ everyday third baseman after 2010 (or perhaps the rest of this season)?

It’s not a simple question to answer.

Third base is the one position the Braves do not have a long-term solution for. The face of the franchise will be Jason Heyward, who is primed to be in right field and in the heart of the Braves order for years to come.

Despite a rough start to for Yunel Escobar, he and Martin Prado form a solid, if not spectacular at times, combination at the middle of the diamond.

The Braves are flush with veterans and youngsters for their starting rotation, and have the enviable position of having 6 starters right now, with Kris Medlen seemingly supplanting Kenshin Kawakami as the best starter outside the trio of Lowe, Hudson and Hanson.

With rookies Jonny Venters and Craig Kimbrel making their debuts in the majors this season, the bullpen seems solid for the future when you also consider that Peter Moylan and Eric O’Flaherty have been effective and conceivably have their best years ahead of them.

Brian McCann is the NL’s best catcher and Troy Glaus is having a renaissance season since switching to first. Even if he’s not the long-term solution at first, Freddie Freeman is waiting in the wings.

Who’s on first? Glaus or Freeman.

What’s the name of the guy on second? Prado, an All-Star.

Third base? I don’t know.

Chipper Jones is there for now, but for now could mean a few days, a few weeks, or a few months.

Who do the Braves have on their roster who could play third? There are more than a few options.


Glaus made several All-Star teams and was named World Series MVP while playing third base. However, I think most might agree that part of the reason his bat has thunder in it is because he has less wear and tear defensively playing first base.


Most would consider Hinske’s days of being an everyday player over, especially given his struggles hitting lefties. He’s been productive in a platoon role and won AL Rookie of the Year in 2002 with the Blue Jays. However, few, if any in the Braves organization, see Hinske as anything more than a role/bench player, a role he has played very well this season.


Considering the undersized utility infielder’s size, he’s not your prototypical power hitting third baseman. However, he’s been very productive, still in his prime at 28 years old, and as recently as a week ago, was hitting a robust .328 with 16 RBIs. He’s a solid player, who could be more than just a super-utility guy that the Braves love to plug in at short, second, third or in the outfield.


The 30-year old version of Crash Davis has been waiting for his opportunity for a long time and this may be it. He’s got some pop in his bat for someone standing 5’11” and weighing only 180lbs—as evidenced by his opposite field pinch-hit grand slam against the Reds last month. The Braves right now don’t need Conrad to be a 2nd or 3rd place hitter in their lineup, and being a switch-hitter gives him an advantage over others that he wouldn’t necessarily have to be part of a platoon.


While he’s been playing shortstop for a few years, some in the Braves organization hoped the 6’2″, 200 lb glove wizard would have gain some offensive skills. While he’s progressed to AAA, he’s only hitting .211, and his track record doesn’t indicate that he’d be much of an offensive threat in the majors.


Currently playing with AA Mississippi, he’s probably a name most Braves fans have never heard of. He’s not considered a high-ceiling prospect, isn’t on the Braves’ 40-man roster, and is already 26 years old. However, he was signed as a free agent in June 2008, and only had 79 at-bats at Low A ball in 2008. In 2009 with Myrtle Beach (not a hitter-friendly park) his .287/.328/.444 line (.772 OPS) with 15 HR, 32 doubles and 87 RBIs in 130 games and 505 at bats was decent. The ceiling isn’t very high on Linares, and he still likely needs another year in the minors. At Mississippi, he’s currently hitting .259 with 8 HR and 29 RBIs.


He’s not flashy or the first person you’d think of as the Braves’ third baseman, however there are plenty of reasons to think that for this year and possibly a few more to follow, Wigginton is a possible solution until the Braves figure out who they can convert or develop to play 3rd base at the major league level for a long time.

Looking at Wigginton’s career stats—nothing jumps out at you. He’s currently in the midst of a fantastic season with .273/.358/.495, 13 HR and 38 RBIs on a terrible Orioles team, and he’s affordable, with a current salary of $3.5M for 2010. Every full season of his career, the 32 year-old journeyman (Mets, Pirates, Rays, Astros, Orioles) has hit between .258 and .284, and his 162 game averages are 22 HR and 77 RBIs. Considering Chipper Jones got paid $14M for numbers that were no better last year, he is a viable option. The bigger question is however, what would the Braves have to give up to get him.

Would a package of Jo-Jo Reyes, Jordan Schafer and another prospect bring Wigginton to the Atlanta? I know the Orioles need to rebuild and don’t have the talent in their system.

How would the Braves lineup look if the Braves could pull of the trade. Perhaps

2B – Martin Prado

3B – Ty Wigginton or SS Yunel Escobar

RF – Jason Heyward

1B – Troy Glaus

C – Brian McCann

SS – Yunel Escobar or Ty Wigginton

LF – Eric Hinske/Matt Diaz

CF – Melky Cabrera/Nate McLouth


Replacing a Hall of Fame third baseman is no easy task. The Braves could explore other trade options and perhaps target a AA/AAA third baseman in another team’s farm system who has some depth at that position. Who knows what the farm systems of the Yankees, Mets, Nationals, Diamondbacks, Red Sox, Blue Jays, Rays or Rangers are hiding; teams who have answers at the hot corner with All-Star caliber players and no foreseeable need for major offensive help at the time.

Regardless, I’m sure Frank Wren and John Scheurholz are channeling Abbott and Costello to figure out the solution to that riddle.


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