Jeff Schultz blog 

This AJC sports blogger takes things seriously when he has to, but he really would rather not
55 items
Results 1 - 10 of 55 next >

Braves enjoying view, despite some issues

  • 3:37 pm Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014 by Jeff Schultz

The Braves are 21 games into the season. It’s a large enough sample size to form initial impressions but too small to assume anything over the next … well, 141 games.

They defeated Miami Wednesday 3-1. They received another strong start from Aaron Harang (who is this guy?), a pinch hit, two-run double by Evan Gattis (been there) and a three-batter/two-strikeout save by Craig Kimbrel (not dead).

At 14-7, and having won six out of seven series, the good has far outweighed the bad.

But here’s an early progress/regress report.

Three things that haven’t been a problem:

1. Starting pitching. To anybody who says something [More]

Falcons may see tougher Mike Smith in ’14

  • 8:01 pm Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014 by Jeff Schultz
Falcons coach Mike Smith was candid about the team's weaknesses. (Kent Johnson, AJC)

I’ve posted a column on MyAJC.com on my Tuesday conversation with Falcons coach Mike Smith. Having spoken to the man a few hundred times since his hiring in 2008, I can attest he was as candid as he has ever been. (Going 4-12 last season after a string of winning seasons might left him believing there was little reason to hold back.)

Smith didn’t talk about specific players. But he admitted he saw warning signs about the team’s offensive and defensive lines as far back as training camp in July and August, particularly when the Falcons held practices against the [More]

Texans could deal pick (Clowney, anyone?)

  • 2:19 pm Monday, April 21st, 2014 by Jeff Schultz
Jadeveon Clowney will fly off draft board early, but maybe not to Houston. (Scott Halleran/Getty Images)

I’m tired of waiting for the draft.

I’m tired of sifting through bad rumors about the draft.

I’m really tired hearing about debates over Johnny Manziel. Seeing video posted everywhere (and below) of him throwing a football to a guy on a Jet Ski and people saying, “Wow!” – as if that mad skill will somehow translate to playing in Cleveland in December – didn’t help.

But while we’re waiting for the draft to finally get here (May 8-10), here are a few things I’m 100 percent certain of (at least until tomorrow).

1. HOUSTON IS STUCK: I’m more convinced than ever that the [More]

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]

55 items
Results 1 - 10 of 55 next >
Archives: 2014