(note: This is a guest post offered up by Tomahawk Take site lead Kris Willis. Since we don’t get to see many National League teams in Detroit, Kris has been gracious enough to give us an introduction to the Atlanta Braves. To complete the trade, we sent a Tigers introduction to Kris.)
By Kris Willis
First and foremost you should know that the Braves are 42-31 on the season and are a half a game in front of the New York Mets for first place in the National League East Division. In what is set to be Bobby Cox’s final season as manager the team has survived an early nine game losing streak to rebound and contend for the division. The Braves are coming off of getting swept by the Chicago White Sox in a three game set.
Friday June 25th – Kris Medlen (4-1, 3.33) Medlen was inserted into the starting rotation after pitcher Jair Jurrjens went on the disabled list. Medlen has seized the opportunity and now appears to be fully entrenched as a starter. He will be making his ninth start of the season against the Tigers on Friday.
Saturday June 26th – Kenshin Kawakami (0-9, 4.78) Kawakami has been the tough luck pitcher the entire season for the Braves. His record of 0-9 is in part due to some tough luck and a lack of run support and some ineffective pitching as well. He is now the favorite to get dropped from the rotation as soon as Jair Jurrjens is ready to return from the disabled list.
Sunday June 27th – Tommy Hanson (7-4, 4.17) Hanson really has been great all season long but is coming off his worst start of the season in which he allowed 9 earned runs to the White Sox. He will be looking to bounce back in a good way. Hanson is one of the top young pitchers in the game and is arguably already the ace of the staff.
Hot: Although they didn’t do much in the White Sox series, Troy Glaus and Martin Prado have been red hot for the Braves for the last month and a half. Neither are household names but both deserve considerable All Star consideration. Prado leads the National League with a .331 average and with 103 hits. Troy Glaus is second in the NL with 55 RBI’s and has rebounded from a slow start in April when he hit under .200 to post a .274 with 14 home runs.
Cold: Braves super rookie Jason Heyward still leads NL rookies in a lot of categories but he has been really struggling over the last month. Since May 31st he is hitting .179 and has struck out 32 times.
Name to Remember: Relief Pitcher Jonny Venters – Left handed reliever who has taken off since being converted from a starter in the minors. Has a plus 94 MPH fastball and I wonder if he might get a shot at the closer’s job next year when Billy Wagner retires. On the season Venters is 0-2 with 1 save and a 1.45 ERA. He has 34 strikeouts in 31 innings pitched.
Milestone Watch: Braves closer Billy Wagner has 399 saves for his career. With his next save he will join John Franco as the only other left handed pitcher to reach 400 saves in a career.