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Atlanta Braves news and links - 7/9

The Braves blew a chance at sweeping Milwaukee yesterday, and they're having a bit of trouble signing their first round draft pick. The good news is that Freddie Freeman could be back relatively soon.

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Braves blow chance at sweep of Milwaukee

For the second straight series, the Braves had a shot at sweeping a last place team, and for the second straight series, they failed to do so. While the offense was to blame for their loss to the Phillies, this loss was squarely on the pitching staff. The Braves held a 5-3 lead, but that changed when Carlos Gomez went deep on Luis Avilan for his second homer of the day. It was a three-run shot, and that ended up being the difference in that game.

Freeman hoping to return before August

Freddie Freeman's wrist may be keeping him out longer than we all expected, but the good news is that his return may be coming soon. Although he hasn't started up with baseball activities again, the team is hoping that Freeman can return sometime before August. As Kris noted in the article, the Braves have done a decent job at staying offensively active without Freeman, and now they'll just have to hold on a little bit longer.

Braves still haven't signed first round draft pick

Atlanta's signed most of their top draft picks, but the lone exception is a big one. Kolby Allard still hasn't signed with the Braves yet, and a deleted tweet has started up rumors that Allard might be headed to UCLA instead of to the Braves' organization. The deadline is approaching us. Will Allard go to UCLA with the hope of making more money in the future, or will he go ahead and join the Braves? Stay tuned.

2015 Braves will probably break franchise record for most players used in a season

Meanwhile, the major league squad has currently used 49 different players. For comparison's sake, the team used 39 players during the entire 2014 season and the franchise record is 50. It's currently July 9th. The Braves are probably going to shatter that record this season.

The Grilli has been cooking lately

One bright spot in the bullpen has been the closer: Jason Grilli. Since mid-June, Grilli's had an ERA of 1.93 and an xFIP of 2.00, with a 14.46 K/9 rate. He's definitely been reliable as of late, and it's been a huge help for the team.

"Going in (Tuesday) we knew that if we had an opportunity to close with Grilli for the third day in a row, this would be the perfect time because his pitch counts the last couple of outings were really low," Gonzalez said, referring to Grilli’s pitch totals of 15 and 11 in appearances Sunday and Monday. "So we talked to him (Tuesday) and he said he felt great. And he delivered."

Braves are 6th most popular team in baseball according to poll

The Harris Poll recently revealed the results of their annual poll to determine America's favorite baseball team, and once again, the Braves are near the top of the list. Last year they were number five on the list, and this year they're number six. The team's popularity may be waning a bit (the team used to be solidly in the top 3 as you can see in the table here), but this is still a tiny bit of proof that the Braves still have a hold on the hearts of baseball fans not just in Atlanta and the South, but across the country as well.


Alex Gordon gets carted off with a groin injury

The Royals may have won last night's game against the Rays, but they may have lost one of the most important cogs in their operation: Alex Gordon. While he was chasing a fly ball in the outfield, Gordon pulled up lame and fell to the ground. He was unable to leave under his own power, and had to be carted off. He's been diagnosed with a left groin strain, and the Royals are expecting him to be out for a while. Here's hoping for a speedy recovery. You never like to see injuries like that happen; Especially to players as talented as Gordon is.

Jhonny Peralta leads Cardinals to exciting win over Cubs

Meanwhile on the Northside of Chicago, the Cardinals and Cubs played out a pretty exciting game last night. In fact, the game came down to St. Louis' last strike, and Jhonny Peralta was at bat. With the go-ahead runner at first, Peralta hit one that barely got over the ivy fence at Wrigley. The 2-run shot put the Cards ahead by one, and that was how the game ended. It was a heartbreaker for the Cubs, but the Cardinals are used to crushing everybody's hopes and dreams, anyways.

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