The Braves won! Matt Wisler pitched six solid innings, with four earned runs and just two strikeouts. Jace Peterson went 2-for-5 with a double and three RBI on the season. Nick Markakis smashed home run No. 1 (!!!) on the season and added a double. Atlanta's Alex Wood and LA's Brett Anderson will duel on the mounds tomorrow.
Considering the Braves shipped half their roster out of town this past off-season, expectations weren't exactly high entering the season. Flash forward to late-July, and despite being under .500 at 43-49, the Braves are by no means "out of it". But at the same time, a playoff berth is more than a stones throw away. With the trade deadline 10 days away, is it time for the Braves to sell what talent they have left on their major league roster (Maybin, Johnson, Pierzynski, etc)?
Both the Braves. and Braves fans alike, have been trying to move third-baseman Chris Johnson off of this team. As Mark Bowman reported on Monday, Johnson himself may be on board with a potential trade. The question, of course, is Johnson's trade value. He's owed over $16.5 million over the next two seasons, and he hasn't exactly been living up to the money.
"In some ways, it's nerve-wracking because you never know what to expect every day when you go to the park," Johnson said. "It's been a frustrating year. From the beginning of the offseason, it's been really pretty clear that the team has no interest in getting me back to form or to give me regular playing time."
The off-seasons of the San Diego Padres and the Atlanta Braves have been well documented. The Braves sold off half their team, and look destined to tank. The Padres were one of the biggest movers, emptying their bank account in the free agency market and making several splashes via trade. The teams made two trades in the off-season, one sending Justin Upton to San Diego in exchange for Jace Peterson, Dustin Peterson, Max Fried and Mallex Smith. Their next deal was made right on the brink of the start of the season; Atlanta sent Melvin Upton Jr. Craig Kimbrel for Camron Maybin, Carlos Quentin, Matt Wisler and Jordan Parowbeck. Just to put things into perspective, the Padres are reportedly willing to deal both Upton and Kimbrel, just months after acquiring them. Things aren't exactly looking great for AJ Preller and the SD front office.
So, Zack Geinke has a decent streak going on: He hasn't allowed a run in 42.2 innings pitched (ok, so maybe it's a little more than decent). MLB.com's Anthony Castrovince breaks down some of the best details and facts from Greinke's impressive run. My favorite? Clayton Kershaw has posted a 1.36 ERA since May 26 - it's still just second best on his team, to Greinke.
Philadelphia's Cole Hamels and Cincinnati's Johnny Cueto are two of the biggest names swirling around in trade rumors as we approach the trade deadline. Both men took to the mound on Sunday in front of teams and scouts debating whether it's worth making a trade for either. Both men, rankly, stunk. Cueto only lasted four innings before being pulled, while Hamels only made it three. In the eyes of scouts, GMs, and team officials, should one bad outing from proven stars right before the deadline matter at all?