Jeff Schultz blog 

This AJC sports blogger takes things seriously when he has to, but he really would rather not

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]

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]

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]

Mike Mills’ song pushes Dale Murphy for Hall

  • 1:11 pm Wednesday, March 26th, 2014 by Jeff Schultz
Dale Murphy remains a popular figure at Braves games (Hyosub Shin/AJC)

Dale Murphy lost his final chance to be voted into the Hall of Fame by writers in 2013. Is it possible a new song written about him by another Hall of Famer will give his candidacy new life?

Mike Mills, an avid sports fan and the talented singer, musician and composer for the Athens band R.E.M. (inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2007), has written a song called, “To The Veteran’s Committee,” which pleads for Murphy’s long overdue induction into Cooperstown. The song appears on the just released CD, “The Baseball Project: 3rd,” which is the [More]

Braves make move for Santana, credit to Wren

  • 8:03 am Wednesday, March 12th, 2014 by Jeff Schultz
Ervin Santana spent his first eight seasons with the Los Angeles Angels. (AP photo)

Now there’s something we’re not accustomed to: The Braves did not take a wait-and-see approach.

With pitcher Kris Medlen possibly headed for major elbow surgery again and two other members of the starting rotation ailing, the Braves made a move: They’re signing free agent Ervin Santana.

Photos: 10 things to know about Ervin Santana

Credit to Braves general manager Frank Wren, who more often than not is not proactive in situations like this. In the past, Wren often hasn’t responded quickly to injuries or other problems, instead letting things play out for a while before making a decision on his [More]

Medlen hurt, Braves now paying for doing nothing (updated)

  • 11:32 am Tuesday, March 11th, 2014 by Jeff Schultz
Braves will seek a second opinion before determining whether Kris Medlen needs Tommy John surgery again.

(Updated: 1:45 p.m.)

A lot has been made of the fact that the suddenly free-spending Braves spent nearly $300 million dollars on contract extensions for five members of the team’s young core, an achievement for which general manager Frank Wren deserves to be commended.

But lost amid all of the parades and confetti over the signings of Julio Teheran, Freddie Freeman and others was a simple fact: Wren did nothing of significance in the offseason to acquire talent and improve the team from 2013.

If you wondered whether the decision to not add a top-of-the-rotation pitcher even before arms started exploding in spring [More]

Braves’ rotation can’t afford Medlen’s loss (Update: Beachy hurt)

  • 12:35 pm Monday, March 10th, 2014 by Jeff Schultz
Kris Medlen

(This blog will be updated after the results of Kris Medlen’s MRI are announced, probably later today.)

There is nothing the Braves could have done this offseason to prevent pitcher Kris Medlen from grabbing his forearm and walking off the mound Sunday with a potentially serious injury. The question now is whether they’re going to pay a price for doing nothing to strengthen their starting rotation and cushion the blow for a potential loss when some believed they needed to make a move regardless.

Medlen is hurt. We’ll probably find out later today just how hurt he is. But as a general [More]