I know that at this point in the season, a good chunk of the fanbase is rooting for the team to lose as much as possible in order to improve the draft position. With that being said, winning is still super fun, and the Braves did a lot of winning this weekend against the Phillies. After Andrelton Simmons managed to steal third base in the bottom of the 9th inning, A.J. Pierzynski wound up being the hero on Sunday, as his walk-off hit propelled the Braves to their first sweep since June. Who cares about the fact that it came against the only team worse than the Braves right now -- A win's a win!
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Before Sunday's game, Mike Foltynewicz got some more bad news to compound what's turning into a pretty bad ending to his first extended run in the big leagues. Folty has once again been sidelined, and this time it's due to blood clots in his arm. Obviously, he won't be back for this season, and depending on recovery, this could throw a wrench into his preparation for next season as well. Assistant GM John Coppolella spoke to mlb.com once the news broke:
"We're just trying to evaluate where it would go from here," Braves assistant general manager John Coppolella said. "Our first and foremost thoughts are just for his health and that he is OK. As we keep going through this, we should learn more going forward."
While a specific cause has not been pinpointed, Coppolella said the team has been told that this condition was not related to the case of pneumonia that has sidelined Foltynewicz since he was unable to make his Sept. 2 start.
"He had some pain on Thursday night and he came in on Friday and his arm and had swelled," Coppolella said. " At that point he was rushed to the emergency room. He's been there since. We're just waiting to see what happens next."
Meanwhile, we got another glimpse at the future over the weekend when the Braves' Minor League Player and Pitcher of the year both made a visit to Turner Field. Mallex Smith and Tyrell Jenkins showed up dressed to the nines as they were recognized for their achievements on the farm before Saturday's game. Meanwhile, FOX Sports South asked the two if they were ready for the Big Leagues. I think you can imagine what their answer was:
Along with right fielder Nick Markakis, who is under contract until after the 2018 season, the Braves have Michael Bourn, current center fielder Cameron Maybin and left fielder Nick Swisher locked up through '17. But given the lack of steals, with Atlanta's 65 ranking 20th, can he force his way into the mix?
Jenkins will look to work his way into a pitching staff that was the youngest in the majors this season with the likes of Miller (24), Julio Teheran (24), Williams Perez (24), Manny Banuelos (24), Mike Foltynewicz (23) and Matt Wilser (22). Miller and Teheran are givens to have spots, while Banuelos, Foltynewicz, Perez and Wisler also figures to be contenders.
But rated as the fourth (Jenkins) and 13th (Smith) best prospects in the organization, both are clear in their beliefs.
"I'm ready," Jenkins said. "Call me up and we'll get it going."
While the Braves have made many high-profile additions to their farm over this past season, one of the least-heralded prospects on the farm was pitcher Ryan Weber. With that being said, he's definitely made a positive impression upon his arrival to the majors. He's made three starts and has a 3.26 ERA and 3.97 FIP. Considering how the rest of the pitching staff has fared during the second half of the season, that's pretty nice. Andrelton Simmons seems to be impressed:
Braves shortstop Andrelton Simmons played with Weber in the minor leagues and said he’s seeing now what he saw then: a no-frills, efficient pitcher who uses a good sinker to induce contact. Weber recorded 10 ground-ball outs and three fly-ball outs against the Phillies.
"He comes right at you," Simmons said. "Every once in a while somebody will have a bad day, you won’t feel it, but on a normal day he’s like (Bartolo) Colon a little bit. He’s got movement, works with the off-speed a little bit. Most of the time it’s easy ground balls."
This past weekend saw the city of New York host one of the most important Subway Series to date. The Mets are currently leading the NL East, but they ended up falling short against their cross-town rival Yankees, who are currently fighting with the Blue Jays for the top spot in the AL East. The Yankees won the series in style, as they stomped the Mets by 9 runs. The Yankees hit Matt Harvey early and often, and now they'll have a shot to potentially take first place in the AL East with a huge series against the Blue Jays.
The St. Louis Cardinals clinched at least a Wild Card spot over the weekend. That's good and all, but let's be honest: Nobody wants 162 games of hard work to come down to nine-or-so innings of pressure-filled baseball. With that being said, it appears that the Cardinals have set themselves up pretty nicely to avoid that Wild Card and just win the division. Even though they've experienced a bit of a wobble while the Pirates and Cubs are trying to move, the Cardinals are still pretty solidly the favorites to take that extremely competitive division.