Braves struggling at home after All-star break
The Atlanta Braves are struggling following the All-Star break, dropping to second place behind the Washington Nationals in the National League East.
The Braves look to recover as they get back on the road with the first place Los Angeles Dodgers on the west coast this week.
Following a two-game split with the Miami Marlins, the Braves hosted the Padres to win three of four at home.
Atlanta finsihed the weekend four game series against the Padres at 58-48 after a Monday win ahead of press time of 2-0.
Ervin Santana threw a career high 11 strikeouts during the Monday afternoon game in the shutout against the Padres.
According to the Braves’ website, the Braves are trying position themselves for another run at the pennant in the season home stretch.
MLB. com’s Mike Bowman reported the Braves have a few areas they would like to improve before heading into this season’s stretch run.
Their dire need to mend their fractured starting rotation during Spring Training has left them with essentially no financial flexibility with Thursday’s Trade Deadline approaching. When Kris Medlen and Brandon Beachy suffered season- ending elbow injuries 24 hours apart in March, the Braves reacted in an aggressive manner.
Though they had already nearly maxed out their payroll, they opted to give $14.1 million to Santana, who struggled early but has started to look more like a reliable starter again over the past month.
Santana’s presence has allowed the Braves to compensate for the losses of Medlen, Beachy and Gavin Floyd, who suffered his own seasonending elbow injury in June. But even if their rotation remains whole and effective the remainder of the season, the Braves still have to wonder if they will be able to defend their National League East crown if
they do not improve their bench and bullpen.
The most likely moves the Braves could make before Thursday’s 4 p.m. ET deadline will involve either a left- handed reliever or an experienced pinch-hitter. There is a chance the Braves could fill either of these two needs without being handicapped by their financial situation.
With that being said, Braves general manager Frank Wren has proven he is willing and capable of striking a deal while working with similar restrictions. When he needed a leadoff hitter and could not take on any more salary in 2011, he landed Michael Bourn from the Astros, who agreed to pay the remainder of the outfielder’s salary that year in exchange for a more attractive return package.
Red Sox left-hander Andrew Miller and Cubs southpaw Wesley Wright are among the relievers who have been on the Braves’ radar. But there might also be some hesitancy to shop in this market for a second straight year. Last year’s Trade Deadline acquisition of Scott Downs appeared to be a solid and effective move. But Downs’ September struggles led him to be left off the postseason roster.
Some members of the Braves’ organization believe the club’s best option to add a left-handed reliever might come in the form of a rejuvenated and improved Luis Avilan, who was sent to Triple-A Gwinnett last week with the hope that he will regain the form he possessed last year. But Avilan entered Sunday having allowed either a hit or a walk to seven of the previous 10 batters he had faced.
Following the upcoming series with the Dodgers, the Braves are headed into a three-game series at San Diego, followed by an off day on Monday, August 4 and a two-game series against the Seattle Mariners.
They’ll return home following a break on Aug. 7 for home stands against the Nationals, Dodgers and Oakland Athletics between Aug. 8 through Aug. 17 before hitting hte road again in August.
Braves fans have one thing to be thankful about as Atlanta celebrates the addition of pitchers Tom Glavine and Greg Maddux, along with manager Bobby Cox to the Baseball Hall of Fame.
Maddux and Glavine are the first set of firstballot pitchers to be elected together since Walter Johnson and Christy Mathewson were part of the inaugural Class of 1936, along with Babe Ruth, Ty Cobb and Honus Wagner. They are the first living pair of 300-win pitchers to be elected in the same year and only the third pair in Hall of Fame history.
“It’s obviously the biggest honor you can give to a ballplayer,” said Maddux, the first inductee to speak. “To put me here in Cooperstown with all of my childhood heroes, it’s sort of hard to believe I’m standing here today. I never gave a thought to the Hall of Fame as I was going through my career. My goal as a baseball player was very simple -- all I wanted to do was try and get better for my next start. And to think it all ended up here is pretty cool.”
The Braves are working out Johny Venters following his recovery from Tommy Johns surgery in May 2013.
According to MLB.com, Venters played catch from 120 feet on July 26. He’s scheduled to throw bullpen session week of July 28.
Atlanta Braves shortstop Andrelton Simmons, left, fields the infield pop fly by San Diego Padres’ Yonder Alonso for the out as second baseman Phil Gosselin (15) backs Simmons up during the second inning of a baseball game Monday, July 28, 2014, in...