There may not be another team in all of baseball that could use a break more than the Atlanta Braves. They came into Sunday's game against the Colorado Rockies looking to salvage one game out of the already-lost series. What they got instead was a disheartening blowout to send them sputtering into the All-Star break. Atlanta was able to tie things up at 3-3 in the top of the sixth inning. The game didn't stay deadlocked for long, as a five-run bottom of the sixth gave Colorado a commanding 8-3 lead. They would tack on three more runs over the course of the eighth and ninth innings, courtesy of the Braves' bullpen. Alex Wood took the mound for Atlanta, pitching 5.2 innings while allowing seven earned runs with six strikeouts. Eury Perez went 3-for-5 with a double while Andrelton Simmons went 2-for-3 with a pair of singles.
With Jason Grilli's torn Achilles keeping him out for the time being, Atlanta is now in search of a new closer. Enter Arodys Vizacaino. The 24-year-old was once considered one of the best pitching prospects in the Braves' organization, but he's yet to live up to the hype. He's only pitched in 25.1 major league innings in his entire career, dating back to 2011, and seen little success during so. Mark Bradley of the Atlanta Journal Constitution added that given the Braves' struggles of late, it may not be the worst time to shake things up a little bit (and hey, he's had Tommy John Surgery before, so he'll fit right in).
That leaves Vizcaino, who has been seen as a reliever for years. (His last start at any level came in 2011 for the Mississippi Braves.) This losing streak has dropped the Braves four games below .500 and six games behind the Nationals, so the notion of an improbable pennant race has again cooled. This would seem a prime moment for experimentation, and such opportunities can wind up crowning new closers. And Arodys Vizcaino, for all his travels, is only 24.
With the impending All-Star break, Atlanta gets a chance to re-set their starting pitching rotation in anticipation of the second half of the season. Fredi Gonzalez has already revealed how the rotation will look out of the break: Julio Teheran will start Friday against the Chicago Cubs, while Manny Banuelos and Shelby Miller will start on Saturday and Sunday, respectively. Matt Wisler and Alex Wood will the start the following two games, in that order.
Just a week after the U.S woman's soccer team defeated Japan in the World Cup finals, Americans are back to their winning ways - this time on the diamond. Behind Kyle Schwarber's RBI triple, the U.S defeated the World team 10-1 in the 2015 Futures Game. Atlanta's Ozzie Albies went 1-2 for the World team.
With the 2015 All-Star game right around the corner, the final rosters are finally taking shape. On Sunday, San Francisco Giant's manager Bruce Bochy announced that Dodgers' ace and reigning National League MVP would be taking max Scherzer's spot on the team. Kershaw has a 2.85 ERA in 123.0 innings pitched this season. It was also announced that Dodger's rookie Joc Pederson would be replacing the injured Matt Holliday in the starting lineup.