Sad day all around for the Braves Sunday August 14 as the club not only lost 2 of 3 games to the hapless Chicago Cubs at home but 2B Dan Uggla saw his hitting streak end at 33 straight games . The former all star was acquired by Atlanta during the offseason and has struggled greatly(.173 as of July 5th) in his first season with the Braves . However, the streak raised his average to .231 while he hit an incredible 15 home runs and 32 rbi in those games. The hot spell was also vital to a team with post season hopes(lead the National League wild card standings by 4 games over San Francisco) that has had its better offensive players battling injuries all season.(3B Chipper Jones, C Brian McCann, RF Jason Heyward). Batting average aside, Uggla leads the team in home runs(27), rbi(62) and runs(66). He is an elite bat at a position that lacks them both recently and historically. The two time NL all star is the only 2nd Baseman in major league history to hit 30 home runs in 4 seasons. (and they are consecutive!) When he hits 3 more, that will be 5. My one regret about Dan Uggla? That my stupid fantasy team General manager released him! That fool? Me!
STARTING PITCHING CIRCUS: The Braves placed RHSP Tommy Hanson(Right shoulder tendinitis) on the 15 day DL August 14th. He is suffering some soreness and Atlanta manager Fredi Gonzalez is looking to get him some rest. The team is recalling RH Randall Delgado, one of the team’s top pitching prospects, to take Hanson’s rotation turn Tuesday August 16th in San Francisco vs the Giants. In his first ML start vs the powerful Texas Rangers in July, he allowed 7 hits and 3 earned runs over 4 innings while K-ing 2. RHSP Jair Jurrjens(Right knee strain) threw bullpen sessions on August 12th and 14th and remains on schedule to come off the DL and make his start Wednesday August 17th.
MCCANN BACK: 6 time all star C Brian McCann returned to lineup Sunday August 14th after suffering an oblique strain July 26th. He batted third and was hitless in 4 at bats, stranding 4 runners. The Braves went 10-6 without McCann, who has hit .303 with 18 home runs and 55 rbi in 92 games.
BRAVES NOTES: Look for Gonzalez to be very careful with 3B Chipper Jones(thigh, knee) for the remainder of the 2011 campaign. This is a deeper team than recent Atlanta squads and a surplus of OFs allows them to move a versatile piece like OF-INF Martin Prado around. The plan is too rest Jones on day games after night games, something they did Sunday August 14th, putting Prado at 3rd…. LF Jason Heyward(.219,12,30), who has battled a serious shoulder injury all season, is starting to lose playing time to rookie Jose “George” Constanza. The 2010 National League rookie of the year sat for 3 days before returning and going 1 for 3 in August 14th. Constanza is hitting .382 with 2 home runs, 8 rbi and 5 steals in 15 games(55 at bats) and has sparked the club.
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