Tommy La Stella's first fortnight in the big leagues went about as well as you could imagine; He got on base at a high level (it was an astronomic level compared to the 3 2nd basemen who came before him), and his defense was good as well and even spectacular at times. As expected, times have gotten leaner for TLS, but he recently let Dave O'Brien of the AJC know that he's not letting the lows (nor the highs) get to him. From TLS himself:
As long as I keep swinging the way I’m swinging, stick to my approach, hopefully I’ll be fine. I think as long as I’m putting together those quality at-bats, not swinging out of the zone all that often, hopefully with the law of averages it should even out."
It's pretty obvious that All-Star voting is a popularity contest. If this was a high school popularity contest, the Braves would be on the level of "That Kid Who Sells Bootleg CDs and Other Assorted Goods That May or May Not Be Legal." Everybody likes him, but not enough to associate with him publicly by voting for him in a popularity contest. That's the Braves in this year's All-Star voting, as they currently don't have a player in line to start. Jason Heyward fell out of the top 15 in the outfield vote. Ouch.
The Braves have already had a fair number of minor league arms make the leap to the big leagues so far this season. The good news is that the well doesn't appear to be dry when it comes to pitching, as the Braves organization is pretty excited about a couple of young hurlers down on the farm, namely Lucas Sims and Jason Hursh. Those two probably won't come up this season, but they're making waves in the minors and the Braves are obviously very happy to have them waiting in the wings.
Anybody who watched the game on Saturday could see that Evan Gattis and Julio Teheran were having an absolute devil of a time trying to communicate and it led to a balk. This hasn't been an isolated incident, as Mark Bowman reports that a "handful" of Braves pitchers have been having issues with Gattis this season. With that being said, the pitching staff is willing to ride the bumpy road with Gattis for two reasons: He's still settling into his role as a full-time catcher and because the dude can hit balls 8000 feet, and the latter part will help no matter what.
LEAGUE WIDE NEWS
Last week, the AL East-leading Toronto Blue Jays got swept by the Yankees in the Bronx for what seems like the 5011th time. On Monday, the Yankees made the trip up north to Toronto and the Blue Jays executed the first phase of revenge by beating New York 8-3. The win put the Jays 2.5 games up on the Yankees and 1.5 up on the 2nd place Orioles, as that division has started to tighten up after Toronto's rough week.
Devin Mesoraco lived the dream of pretty much every kid who ever picked up a bat and a baseball. It was the 9th inning, the game was on the line (it was 2-1 Reds, so the game was still very much in the balance), the bases were loaded, and he was at bat. Just like in the dreams, Mesoraco delivered as he hit a Grand Slam that put the Reds too far out of reach for the Cubs to get them. The win put the Reds over .500 at 38-37, while the Cubs are still the Cubs.
Orioles slugger Chris Davis didn't start Monday's game, and he had a bit of a scathing criticism for himself to explain the benching for the game against the Chicago White Sox. Although he didn't start the game, he sure did finish it, as you'll see below: