The Braves pitching staff did a great job for nine innings yesterday. The good times didn't last once the game went into extra innings though, as Nick Masset ended up giving up three runs while recording zero outs. The Braves' offense disappeared on Sunday, which meant that the Phillies were able to pull off a 4-0 victory.
Almost immediately after the game ended, news broke that both Nick Masset and Dana Eveland were going to be designated for assignment. Masset's performance yesterday was probably the last straw, and once you check out this tweet, then you'll see that Eveland's demotion shouldn't be a surprise, either.
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-partner="tweetdeck"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Dana Eveland's final stats for ATL: 10 games 3.1 IP 5.40 ERA 2.400 WHIP Opponent OPS of 1.302</p>— Braves Reddit (@BravesReddit) <a href="https://twitter.com/BravesReddit/status/618058593154265088">July 6, 2015</a></blockquote>
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Arodys Vizcaino and David Carpenter (no, not that David Carpenter) will be replacing the two relievers.
Despite the implosion yesterday, the bullpen seems to have taken strides to steady itself lately. It was definitely rough sailing for the Braves' relief corps during the first two months of the season, but they definitely haven't been atrocious lately. The bullpen still isn't very good, but things are starting to look up.
Jason Grilli has proven to be a terrific pickup for the front office after a rough year in 2014. Jim Johnson has locked down the eighth inning with pretty good success, whileLuis Avilan (3.13 ERA and 2.94 FIP) has rebounded quite nicely. David Aardsma is still pretty new with the club, but I've liked what I've seen so far. He should have a role for the rest of the season.
MLB announced the results of All-Star Game voting on Sunday evening, and to the surprise of nobody, there will be no Braves on the field to start the game for the National League. In fact, none of the Braves really had a shot at getting in. It's really looking like one of those seasons where the team will only get one representative to go to the game, but who will it be? Kris suggested that either Shelby Miller or Cameron Maybin should be considered, while Fredi Gonzalez himself is stumping for Andrelton Simmons to go to Cincinnati.
Cameron Maybin is on track to rejuvenate his career here in Atlanta, and the guy who was once seen as a salary dump from the Padres has really made himself at home as the primary center fielder for the Braves. However, with the team still in rebuilding mode, there's still a possibility that Maybin could be flipped to another team sometime in the future. For what it's worth, Maybin himself says that he wants to stay in Atlanta.
Maybin said he hopes he’ll be part of the team’s future. After four years with the Padres, Maybin is on track for a career-best season and said he feels rejuvenated playing near his home state of North Carolina.
"It’s got a lot to do with it," Maybin said after going 3-for-5 with a home run and a double against the Phillies on Saturday. "I had my son with me all day today. We got to get out on the field and hit early. Things like that are important, special.
"To be able to be close to home—my mom, my father, family and friends—it’s been a new-found energy, as well as being healthy has been a big part of it. I’m having a blast playing here. We will see what happens but I am really enjoying my time here."
On the night before Opening Day, the Braves shocked the baseball world by not only trading Craig Kimbrel to the Padres, but also unloading Melvin Upton on them as well. Now, the Braves have decided that since that style of trade worked out so well for them before, it's time for them to try it with another player: Chris Johnson. Juan Uribe's arrival has turned Johnson into surplus, and now they're trying to trade him to another team by offering him with another Braves player. So, if a Chris Johnson trade does happen soon, then he probably won't be the only Brave leaving town.
14,090,188. That's the staggering number of votes that Toronto Blue Jays third baseman Josh Donaldson received, and not only will he be starting for the American League at the All-Star Game, he's also the record-holder for most All-Star votes in a single campaign. This is what happens when noted Proud Canadian Don Cherry manages to get an entire country to get behind you.
While the baseball world is excited about the upcoming All-Star Game, there's another date on the calendar that's looming large: The trade deadline. As such, people are already getting excited about potential deals and rumors that are floating around on the internet. One player who is used to trade deadline affairs is Jeff Samardzija, and our friends over at South Side Sox believe that moving the righty at or near the deadline is the right thing for all parties involved:
This is an argument for trading Samardzija, who should command a player (or players) more interesting than an injured A-ball pitcher, especially if Samardzija is set on entering free agency. If the market for Samardzija is that robust, it makes a lot of sense to shop him around, take the best offer, then take a shot at bringing him back over the winter.
The counterargument: Holding onto Samardzija makes it easier to re-sign him -- not because of a hometown discount, but because the Sox will in all likelihood give him a qualifying offer after the season, which will reduce the kind of contract he can command, especially from teams that would have to surrender a first-round draft pick.
If the Sox trade Samardzija, the team that acquires him can't give him a qualifying offer. Therefore, he'd enter free agency with no strings attached, and that'll bring more teams into the fray, and more aggressively.