The 2011 Atlanta Braves have ridden an early season formula of outstanding pitching and just enough offense to a 38-28 mark while winning 6 straight games. The constant has been the pitching- in all areas- but when you can throw out a great starter almost nightly, things tend to take care of themselves. The Braves staff ranks among the 30 ML teams say it all: 1st in ERA, WHIP and Batting average against! They really slip hard to #2 in quality starts! The rotation features 4 starters with sub 4.20 ERAs, led by RH Jair Jurrjens(8-2,1.82 ERA, 11 Quality starts in 11 games) and Sunday’s hero with 14 strikeouts (June 12), RH Tommy Hanson(8-4,2.48, 7 QS in 14 games). Veterans Derek Lowe(3-4,3.73, 9 in 14) and Tim Hudson(5-5,4.06, 8 in 13) have also pitched well. Recently, the offense has started to come around with youngsters like 1B Freddie Freeman(.225 in April, .312 in May, .333 in June) and CF Jordan Schafer(.222 average but 7 steals on speed deprived team) contributing .
PRADO DL-ED: Not all tea and crumpets for the Braves though as the team lost both an offensive spark plug and team leader to the DL when LF Martin Prado(.277,8 home runs, 33 rbi) was put on the 15 day June 10th after a freak in game injury. Prado was hit in the right calf by a ball while stealing 2b Tuesday June 7th and developed an infection in the wound. The Atlanta medical people treated the injury but have no time table for Prado’s return. INF Brando Hicks was recalled to fill the roster spot.
BRAVES NOTES: Mild controversy created earlier this week(June 7th) when 3B Chipper Jones was quoted saying (to paraphrase) that RF Jason Heyward(Sore right shoulder) needs to understand that 80% of him is good enough to have an impact and he brings value to the club with his presence. Heyward did not respond and continues to rehab the injured wing at the Braves Spring Training complex in Lake Buena Vista, Florida… LHSP Mike Minor continues to fill in admirably for the injured RH Brandon Beachy, having thrown 2 straight quality starts(6 innings, 3 earned runs or less). Beachy and CF Nate McLouth(Both DL-ed with strained right obliques) are rehabbing together in Florid and appear close to returning. Heyward also is making progress, hitting balls of the a tee for the first time since going on the DL May 22nd. Manager Fredi Gonzalez is being cautious with the 2010 Rookie of the Year and will not bring the RF back until he is 100%… Atlanta took LHP Sean Gilmartin from Florida State with the 28th overall pick in the 1st rd of the MLB draft Monday June 6th. The staff ace for the Seminoles, Gilmartin was 12-1 with a 1.83 ERA in 17 games(16 starts).
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