The Braves are not the biggest fans of the West Coast. In LA, the Braves looked like 2014 all over again. No run support, a ton of strikeouts. However, they did come away with a steal in acquiring Juan Uribe and Chris Withrow and went on to San Francisco, where they turned things around. All looked lost half way into the 4-game series, but Atlanta came out and won the third game 8-0, and coming back to win Sunday afternoon on a Jace Peterson triple, one of the best games of the season. The Braves now head into Arizona with momentum on their side and a .500 record that has them just 3 games out of the NL East. Their starting pitching has been outstanding. If they can patch up this bullpen and keep the bats rolling, the Braves have a real shot at being a darkhorse playoff team. Let’s look at the standings, results and transactions for the week.
5/25: Dodgers 6, Braves 3: W: Liberatore (1-1) L: Masset (0-1) SV: Jansen (4)
5/26: Dodgers 8, Braves 0: W: Kershaw (3-3) L: Teheran (4-2)
5/27: Braves 3, Dodgers 2: W: Wood (3-2) L: Hatcher (1-4) SV: Grilli (14)
5/28: Giants 7, Braves 0: W: Heston L: Miller (5-2)
5/29: Giants 4, Braves 2: W: Hudson (3-4) L: Foltynewicz (3-2) SV: Casilla (15)
5/30: Braves 8, Giants 0: W: Perez (1-0) L: Lincecum (5-3)
5/31: Braves 7, Giants 5: W: Masset (1-1) L: Casilla (4-1) SV: Grilli (15)
5/27: Braves traded Alberto Callaspo, Eric Stults, Ian Thomas and Juan Jaime to the Los Angeles Dodgers for Juan Uribe and Chris Withrow
Braves activated Chris Johnson from 15-Day Disabled List
Braves called up Donnie Veal
When Braves fans heard that Williams Perez was replacing Eric Stults in the rotation, all they were really hoping for was any type of upgrade. They have gotten that and more in Williams Perez. Perez pitched yet another great outing Saturday night in San Francisco, tossing 7 shutout innings and picking up his first Major League win. Perez has been absolutely lights out since joining the rotation. In his first three starts, he has a 1.00 ERA. He won’t blow you away with his velocity, but he has great movement on his pitches. With Matt Wisler nearing Major League ready, the Braves will have a big dilemma on their hands if Perez can keep it up.
Many Braves fans were excited when Todd Cunningham showed up in Miami and just plain tore it up in his first major league action since 2013. He hit 8-for-12 en route to a Marlins sweep. Unfortunately, things haven’t gone so hot for Cunningham since then. Since then, Cunningham has hit just 2-for-28 (.071). Ouch. Like most fans, I had high hopes for Cunningham but it’s now clear why he hasn’t had many opportunities to contribute to the Major League club. Getting back Kelly Johnson will be huge for this team.
Prospect of the Week:
Matt Wisler is not only my Prospect of the Week, he’s the AAA International League Player of the Week. Wisler tossed 10.1 innings of shutout ball this week, though his first start was cut short due to weather. Regardless, Wisler is right on the cusp of being Major League ready. He has given up 1 or fewer runs in 5 out of his last 6 starts. He boats a 7.5 K/9 and 1.9 BB/9 in AAA Gwinnett this year and is continuing to make his case as the Braves’ best prospect.