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Colby Wilson’s Atlanta Braves Report: Long September

 

Atlanta BravesClarksville, TN – As the calendar readies a turn to September and the Braves postseason chances officially dwindle to zero, it’s time to take stock of what’s important.

The Atlanta Braves are in third place in the National League East, but need a telescope to see the top of the division and are somehow even further back in the Wild Card hunt. Barring a season-ending run the likes of which have never been seen (to reach 85 wins, Atlanta would need to go 31-4 the rest of the way as of Wednesday, and even that may not be enough to garner a postseason bid), the competitive part of the season is over.

Atlanta Braves shortstop Andrelton Simmons (19) is congratulated by first baseman Nick Swisher (23) after scoring a run against the Colorado Rockies in the fifth inning at Turner Field. (Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports)

Atlanta Braves shortstop Andrelton Simmons (19) is congratulated by first baseman Nick Swisher (23) after scoring a run against the Colorado Rockies in the fifth inning at Turner Field. (Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports)

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Colby Wilson’s Atlanta Braves Report: Moylo the Maverick

 

Atlanta BravesClarksville, TN – In an up-and-down (mostly down) Atlanta Braves season, you take solace in the little things. Jace Peterson looking like a potential cornerstone, for instance. The A.J. Pierzynski Revival. The on-going delight that is watching Andrelton Simmons range deep into the hole, make the impossible backhanded stab, stop on a dime, set, load his cannon of an arm and throw a hustling batter out by two steps.

But the most enjoyable phrase we’ve heard all season happened last week:

“The Braves have purchased the contract of Peter Moylan from Triple-A Gwinnett.”

Atlanta Braves second baseman Jace Peterson (8) hits an RBI single during the ninth inning against the San Diego Padres at Petco Park. (Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports)

Atlanta Braves second baseman Jace Peterson (8) hits an RBI single during the ninth inning against the San Diego Padres at Petco Park. (Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports)

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Colby Wilson’s Atlanta Braves Report: Arms Racing

 

Atlanta BravesClarksville, TN – As I’m writing this, the Braves are imploding against the Tampa Bay Rays.

Actually, that’s not an accurate assessment of the situation. The Braves bullpen took a three-run lead into the bottom of the seventh on Wednesday night in Tampa and turned it into a three-run deficit in about four seconds. Matt Marksberry is looking, well, like a guy who was in A-ball to start the season—no shame on him either, that’s just what the situation calls for now.

It’s not fair to him that he has to play above his ski’s right now, but there’s just not much left in the cupboard. No Jason Grilli. No Jim Johnson. No Luis Avilan. If Arodys Vizcaino and Andrew McKirahan are the class of your bullpen, that doesn’t speak volumes so much as shout them, Lewis Black-style, from a mountaintop of crap, inexperience and ineptitude.

Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Matt Marksberry (66) throws a pitch during the seventh inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. (Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports)

Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Matt Marksberry (66) throws a pitch during the seventh inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. (Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports)

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Colby Wilson’s Atlanta Braves Report: The Ascension of A.J. Pierzynski

 

Atlanta BravesClarksville, TN – You want me to talk about John Hart and the Confusing, Off-the-Wall, Nonsensical, Very Weird Deal or do you want me to talk about something else? I have to mention it, obviously, but I can do it in 80 words or I can do it 800 words.

You picked 80. Smart.

I think when you make a deal where the biggest principles involved are a 24-year old mid-rotation starter, a 21-year old top prospect, a two-time All-Star closer and a 30-year old super prospect whose never seen a big-league pitch and has a sketchy injury history—and the only one you end up with is the 30-year old—then unless the 30-year old turns into steroids-era Mark McGwire or better, you lost the trade. But hey, no pressure Hector Olivera. Pickles.

(Sorry, I was on 79. Needed one more.)

Atlanta Braves catcher A.J. Pierzynski (15) in a game against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park. The Phillies   won 9-3. (Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports)

Atlanta Braves catcher A.J. Pierzynski (15) in a game against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park. The Phillies won 9-3. (Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports)

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Colby Wilson’s Atlanta Braves Report: Juan Gone

 

Atlanta BravesClarksville, TN – Bit of an amazing ride for Juan Uribe, no?

He begins the season with the prohibitive favorite Los Angeles Dodgers as the starting third baseman, only he’s kind of average and some Mets castoff named Justin Turner starts playing out of his mind, so the Dodgers send him to Atlanta, which wouldn’t be awkward except that they did so right in the middle of a series against the Braves.

So he and his stogies and a half-dozen of his cars come to Atlanta and become sort of folk-hero-y; after all, the last time we saw him he was ruining the best chance of an extended playoff run during the Fredi Gonzalez era. But he shuffles Chris Johnson to the pine and delivers some nice moments while with the Bravos and hey, here’s another photo of him smoking a big cigar with the Stanley Cup because Juan Uribe rolls like a boss.

Atlanta Braves third baseman Juan Uribe (2) hits a single during the fourth inning against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field. The Rockies won   3-2. (Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports)

Atlanta Braves third baseman Juan Uribe (2) hits a single during the fourth inning against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field. The Rockies won 3-2. (Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports)

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Colby Wilson’s Atlanta Braves Report: Maestro, if you please…

 

Atlanta BravesClarksville, TN For Fredi and John in ‘15
A sense they needed to glean
From CJ and JT
Miller and CB
Are they to be part of the dream?


Bethancourt is now with Gwinnett
He’s clearly not ready yet
He can’t hit a lick
His fielding’s not slick
Pierzynski (!) looks like a much better bet

Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Alex Wood (40) delivers a pitch to a Los Angeles Dodgers batter in the sixth inning of their game at Turner Field. (Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports)

Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Alex Wood (40) delivers a pitch to a Los Angeles Dodgers batter in the sixth inning of their game at Turner Field. (Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports)

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Colby Wilson’s Atlanta Braves Report: Checking it Twice

 

Atlanta BravesClarksville, TN – If you made a checklist entitled ‘Worst Ways for a Professional Baseball Team to enter/exit the All-Star Break’, let’s see how your 2015 Atlanta Braves might have fared:

  • Go to a hitter’s park, fail to hit.

Four games in hitter’s haven Colorado – 11 total runs. So… check.

  • Mount a losing streak, ensuring that you will both head into and out of the All-Star break with no momentum.

Five straight losses after being .500 and four games back in the division race – still in the hunt! – as recently as July 7th (That’s longform for ‘check’)

Atlanta Braves relief pitcher Jason Grilli (center) is attended to by Atlanta Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez (left) and team trainer Jeff Porter   (right), and teammates after being injured during the ninth inning against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field. The Rockies won 3-2. (Chris   Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports)

Atlanta Braves relief pitcher Jason Grilli (center) is attended to by Atlanta Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez (left) and team trainer Jeff Porter (right), and teammates after being injured during the ninth inning against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field. The Rockies won 3-2. (Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports)

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APSU Governors in the Pros: Major League Baseball All-Star break update

 

Austin Peay Sports Information

Austin Peay State University Governors - APSUClarksville, TN – As baseball fans shift their attention to Cincinnati for the 2015 All-Star Game, it’s an appropriate time to look across the country at former Austin Peay State University players competing in the pros.

Currently, there are two Govs playing in the big leagues, seven in minor league systems, and one signed to the Frontier League.

Los Angeles Dodgers catcher A.J. Ellis (17) hits a solo home run in the fifth inning against the Milwaukee Brewers at Dodger Stadium. (Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports)

Los Angeles Dodgers catcher A.J. Ellis (17) hits a solo home run in the fifth inning against the Milwaukee Brewers at Dodger Stadium. (Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports)

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Colby Wilson’s Atlanta Braves Report: The Middies!

 

Atlanta BravesClarksville, TN – That’s right, it’s time for everyone’s favorite hacky midseason awards column… The Middies!

The Braves hit the halfway point on Saturday night – a dominant 9-5 win against the Phillies that was over by the fifth inning and brought the Braves within a game of .500 at 40-41.

And that this team – with one consistently good starting pitcher, a revolving door of castoffs for a bullpen and an offense best described as ‘Freddie Freeman, Cameron Maybin and six guys you may have heard of’ – is sniffing the possibility of .500 ball and maybe not selling at the deadline is Fredi Gonzalez’s greatest achievement. Well done.

Atlanta Braves center fielder Cameron Maybin (25) hits a RBI single against the Philadelphia Phillies in the fourth inning at Turner Field. (Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports)

Atlanta Braves center fielder Cameron Maybin (25) hits a RBI single against the Philadelphia Phillies in the fourth inning at Turner Field. (Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports)

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Nashville Sounds rally for three runs in the Tenth to beat Round Rock Express, 7-4

 

Jason Pridie, Dayan Viciedo, Max Muncy Hit Back-to-Back-to-Back Homers

Nashville SoundsRound Rock, TX – The Nashville offense provided the fireworks on Independence Day, launching four solo home runs in their 7-4 (10) victory over Round Rock at Dell Diamond.

For the second straight night, Jake Smolinski gave the Sounds a 1-0 lead. The solo blast came in his first at bat against his former team. The outfielder joined the Sounds after the Oakland A’s claimed him off waivers from the Texas Rangers on June 21st.

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