Jeff Schultz blog 

This AJC sports blogger takes things seriously when he has to, but he really would rather not
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3 reasons why Hawks can push Indiana

  • 9:23 am Thursday, April 17th, 2014 by Jeff Schultz
Jeff Teague, Paul Millsap and Hawks will be significant underdogs vs. Pacers.

The Hawks made the playoffs, which means the team that has no real chance to win the NBA title or probably even a postseason series will not be in the draft lottery or draft higher than 15th (barring a trade).

In most circumstances, the draft wouldn’t be a talking point on the eve of the playoffs. But the Hawks’ organization has made it no secret that tomorrow is a bigger priority than today at this stage of their building project and, well, it’s hard to dispute that mindset.

But the playoff series against Indiana isn’t without some significance. Here are three reasons [More]

McIlroy’s new low: Beaten by marker

  • 3:34 pm Saturday, April 12th, 2014 by Jeff Schultz
Rory McIlroy walks marker Jeff Knox during his round Saturday. Knox beat him by a stroke. (AP photo)

AUGUSTA – Rory McIlroy’s recent trips to the Masters have resulted in him discovering uncharted territory to land a golf ball at Augusta National, from the quiet cabins off the 10th fairway, to a fence behind the fourth green, to the azaleas far up a hillside behind the 13th. He’s like Magellan on hallucinogens.

On Saturday, after barely qualifying for weekend play, McIlroy established another first: He turned club member and local amateur Jeff Knox into a folk hero.

“Go marker!” one fan yelled to Knox at the 15th green.

“Kick his ass!” another said at the 17th.

“This guy’s in the wrong profession,” [More]

Short takes: Braves lose but trip a success

  • 4:20 pm Sunday, April 6th, 2014 by Jeff Schultz
Braves pitcher Alex Wood faced 19 straight batters without allowing a hit until Ian Desmond's homer in the seventh.

I’ll post a column soon on the Braves-Nationals series finale on MyAJC.com (all blogs and columns linked here). Until then, here are my three “short takes” on the game.

1. Disaster? Not quite: The Braves lost to Washington 2-1 Sunday. But they went into this season-opening six-game road trip amid concerns about the youth and inexperience of the pitching rotation and emerged with a 4-2 record, winning series over Milwaukee and Washington. Braves pitchers — led by starters Julio Teheran, Alex Wood, Aaron Harang and David Hale — have allowed only nine runs in 53 innings for a cumulative staff [More]

LIVE: Braves vs. Nats, Teheran vs Strasburg

  • 6:54 pm Saturday, April 5th, 2014 by Jeff Schultz
Julio Teheran will pitch in Washington for first time since hit beaning of Bryce Harper led to both teams' benches emptying.

WASHINGTON — The Braves won again, defeating the Washington Nationals 6-2 behind starter Julio Teheran and four-run fifth inning that chased Nationals starter Stephen Strasburg.

Here’s a link to the updated column on MyAJC.com.

WASHINGTON — It’s not going to garner the national attention of the Final Four, but Julio Teheran vs. Stephen Strasburg qualifies as pretty good theater.

The two starters face each other tonight when the Braves and Washington Nationals meet for the second game of the series. It also will be Teheran’s first start in Nationals Park since Aug. 6 last season when he plunked Bryce Harper on the [More]

Short takes on Braves: Pitching, replay, Uptons

  • 4:16 pm Friday, April 4th, 2014 by Jeff Schultz

I’ll be back soon with a column on the Braves’ series-opening 2-1 win over the Washington Nationals. Until then, here are my three “short takes” on the game.

UPDATE: Here’s a link to the full column on MyAJC.com.

1. PITCHING PROBLEMS? WHAT PROBLEMS? So much for injuries to the pitching staff devastating this team. In the first four games of this seasons, the Braves started an improbable quartet of Julio Teheran, Alex Wood, Aaron Harang and David Hale. Result: The team is 3-1 after Friday’s 2-1 win over the Nationals and own the best staff ERA in the majors at 1.29. [More]

LIVE: Braves vs. Nationals (showdown, part I)

  • 12:07 pm Friday, April 4th, 2014 by Jeff Schultz
The Braves will play their second home opener of the season, this time in Washington. Pictured: Nationals pitchers Gio Gonzalez (left) and Rafael Soriano. (AP photo)

WASHINGTON — Welcome to the first in a series of 19 measuring sticks between the Braves and Washington Nationals.

We shouldn’t overstate the importance of an early April series between the two favorites in the National League East. The season just started and the Braves and Nationals will face each other a bunch of times. But can anything be learned from this series in terms of how the match up?

When asked whether he viewed this series as an opportunity for the Braves to gauge themselves against the Nationals, manager Fredi Gonzalez said, “We’re looking to try to win the series. It [More]

As Freeman powers Braves, Upton still searching for … anything

  • 11:22 pm Tuesday, April 1st, 2014 by Jeff Schultz
Freddie Freeman (two homers, single, walk) and Jason Heyward (homer, single) provided Braves' offense Tuesday. But B.J. Upton continues to struggle.

MILWAUKEE — Starting pitching so far: Not a problem.

One night after Julio Teheran allowed just two runs in six innings against Milwaukee, Alex Wood pitched seven solid innings, giving up just a run (a homer to Carlos Gomez, the Brewers’ first batter). So that’s three runs allowed in 13 innings for two starters. The only difference Tuesday was that Wood was supported by some offense: Freddie Freeman homered twice, Jason Heyward hit his first and the Braves evened the series with a 5-2 win over the Brewers.

Manager Fredi Gonzalez praised Wood for being “mentally tough,” particularly after allowing the early [More]

Tiger Woods out; Masters, ratings will take hit

  • 12:45 pm Tuesday, April 1st, 2014 by Jeff Schultz
Tiger Woods would draw crowds wherever he went at the Masters, including the practice range. (Curtis Compton/AJC)

The Masters has been one of the world’s premier sports events for decades, so this isn’t to suggest that Tiger Woods’ stunning announcement that he’s pulling out of the tournament because of back surgery will reduce the tournament to a local putt-putt tournament on the giraffe course at Mountasia.

But the Masters just became less interesting.

Top golfers qualify for Masters | Complete list of of field

First the Eisenhower Tree goes down, now this:

Woods, who has been suffering from back spasms recently, announced on his website TigerWoods.com that he underwent a microdiscectomy on Monday in Park City, Utah, and is [More]

Short takes on Braves’ loss to Milwaukee

  • 4:59 pm Monday, March 31st, 2014 by Jeff Schultz
The Braves' Julio Teheran was not dominant but he allowed only two runs in six innings. (AP photo)

I’m not sure what the odds were in Las Vegas of the Braves going 162-0. But that bet just died.

The offense: also in need of resuscitating.

With most of the concern about this team centered on starting pitcher, it figured that the biggest problem in Monday’s season opener was the lack of offense. The Braves were held to five hits, struck out seven times and lost to the Milwaukee Brewers 2-0.

My full column off the game will be posted on MyAJC.com. Until then, here are my three “short takes.”

UPDATE: Here’s a link to the full column (subscription).

1. JULIO TEHERAN DOES [More]

LIVE BLOG: 5 questions going into Braves’ season

  • 11:20 am Monday, March 31st, 2014 by Jeff Schultz
The very early scene from Miller Park in Milwaukee.

MILWAUKEE — Let me start with this: I walked into Miller Park at the same time as Julio Teheran and his arm was not in a sling. So at least one projected Braves’ starter made it to opening day healthy.

Is he ready? Is this team ready?

To quote manager Fredi Gonzalez, when asked how he felt about his team, “Good. Good. I feel good. Whether I do or not isn’t going to matter. The season opens on Monday. Here we go.”

It’s opening day in Milwaukee.

Why does it feel like the Braves already are in a hole?

From Gonzalez before the game when [More]

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