Another home run in Minute Maid Park for Justin Upton and a dominant return outing from Alex Wood were vital for the Braves last night as they cruised to a 4-0 victory over the Astros. The game was still in the balance in the 7th, which is when the Braves were up 1-0. That was when the younger Upton brother absolutely crushed one opposite field for a 2-run homer that brought in Jason Heyward to make it 3-0, which put Atlanta too far ahead for Houston to catch.
Freddie Freeman has currently started and played in every single Atlanta Braves game this season and even though he got hit in the elbow with a pitch last night (which forced him to leave the game), Freeman is apparently set on continuing that streak by starting today's game against the Astros. From Freeman himself (via Mark Bowman):
"Everything was smooth and the doctors have already seen me and everything is good," Freeman said. "Hopefully, it's not too swollen and too sore tomorrow to go. I'm going to try everything I can to play."
After leaving the game against the Phillies back on the 16th due to biceps tightness, David Carpenter may be nearing a return to the bullpen. Carpenter is currently on the DL, but plans to make his first rehab assignment appearance this Saturday. Carp won't be eligible to come off of the DL until July 2nd, but that should be plenty of time for the reliever (who currently has an ERA of 4.23 but a FIP of 2.70 and an xFIP of 3.25) to rest up to make a smooth return to the Braves' bullpen.
Last night was a pretty important night for the Braves as far as this weekend's series with the Phillies is concerned. There will be a doubleheader on Saturday, which means that a close eye was being kept on the bullpen usage this week. Since the bullpen wasn't "over-taxed," that means that David Hale will probably start one of the games this weekend since he'll be in a position to do so. In addition, Gus Schlosser may return to the 23-man roster as bullpen help for the doubleheader.
As expected for any rookie, there is a huge learning curve when it comes to the minor leagues and the big time, and Tommy La Stella is getting a taste of that learning curve right now. Over his 1st 16 games, TLS was hitting .411/.476/.446 with 165 wRC+, which is pretty doggone nice. In the 7 games since (not including last night), TLS has only 2 hits over 30 plate appearances with only 2 walks. That's a bit of a dropoff. Despite knowing that, Fredi Gonzalez is prepared to be patient with the rookie 2nd baseman, as evidenced by the comments he gave to the AJC's Carroll Rogers.
"There’s a learning curve in the major leagues when you come up," [Fredi] Gonzalez said. "If you go out the first time out, nobody knows who you are, they’ll pitch to you...There are adjustments to be made. I believe that he can make those adjustments because I saw him in spring training do it. But everybody goes through it."
LEAGUE WIDE NEWS
For the 2nd time in less than 12 months, Tim Lincecum threw a No-Hitter against the San Diego Padres. He's only the 2nd player in baseball history to no-hit a team twice, and the last time this happened was in 1910. NINETEEN-TEN! It's also the 3rd time that the Padres have been no-hit by the Giants since 2009, which is when Johnathan Sanchez accomplished the feat. In addition, the Giants now have 1/3rd of all the No-Hitters completed against the San Diego Padres. The Braves have 2 of those, and now I've successfully made Tim Lincecum's no-hitter Braves-related. High five, y'all. Anyways, here's video of Timmy Mustache's 2nd career No-No.
In case you missed it, Alex Torres became the 1st pitcher in baseball to wear those new protective hats that are admittedly wonky looking but worth the awkwardness if it helps protect him from a potential comebacker clobbering him in the head. Anyways, 4 pitchers for the Baltimore Orioles posed for a photos with it, and one guy (Zach Britton) even played catch while wearing it during the pregame activities.
This happened on Tuesday night, but any time is a good time for Adrian Beltre news. Anyways, Beltre got hit #2500 on his career in what eventually became an 8-2 loss to the Detroit Tigers. The hilarious part is what happened as Beltre saluted the home crowd. Some of you may know that Adrian Beltre doesn't like having his head touched, yet most of his colleagues do it every chance they get. Reigning AL MVP Miguel Cabrera saw a golden opportunity at :36 of this video and went for it. Poor Beltre can't get any relief, even when he hits a milestone.
In extremely good news, former All-Star pitcher and World Series Champion Curt Schilling recently tweeted that he is in remission from cancer. Schilling announced back in February that he had cancer, but didn't specify what type it was. He still hasn't specified it, but that's probably not the most important thing in this story. The big news is that, at least for now, Schilling has struck out cancer.