The 2011 Atlanta Braves continue to play incredible ball, led by their deep and talented pitching staff. With a strong 6-1 showing over the past 7 days, Atlanta(76-52) has opened a season high 8 game lead in the National League wild card standings after their 3 game sweep over the 2nd place Arizona Diamondbacks. This week offered a great illustration on why this team is so good as they won 2 1-0 games! As someone who grew up watching the silly (mis) management of the Boston Red Sox continuing to focus on hitting and offense while completely disregarding pitching and defense I truly appreciate this type of club. That slow pitch softball approach does not work(ask any Cleveland Indians fan from the 1990s) and the San Francisco Giants of 2010 reinforced that. Braves fans hope their 2011 group does the same.
JURRJENS, JONES BACK: The one starting pitcher who has struggled as of late is RH Jair Jurrjens(12-5,2.84) and he was hit hard in his return from the 15 day DL August 17th. In his first start after being sidelined by a strained right knee, he allowed 8 hits and 2 walks for 5 runs vs the light hitting Giants lineup. The righty is now 0-2 with a 6.52 ERA in 5 post all star outings. Good thing the Braves are deep in the rotation because Jurrjens does not appear to be healthy. On the positive side, franchise icon 3B Chipper Jones appears to be almost full recovered from two separate leg issues(knee, quad) and had some key hits in the big week for Atlanta. He claims to feel the best he has all year. Jones also ended speculation about his future by announcing he would return in 2012 to reporters in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution August 19th. As of August 20th, the former NL MVP is hitting.276 with 12 home runs and 57 rbi.
BRAVES NOTES: RHSP Tim Hudson has been a beast over the 2nd half, tossing at least 7 innings in each of his 8 starts. He sports a 1.88 EA and 0.90 WHIP as well! … Meanwhile, RHSP Tommy Hanson(Right shoulder tendinitis) will throw a bullpen session Monday August 22nd as he continues to attempt to return from the 15 day DL. He appears close to being able to make a rehab assignment, look for him to return sometime in early September. .. Rookie LHSP Mike Minor has been incredible in his last 4 starts, going 3-0 with a 2.95 ERA and 28 strikeouts.
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