The Miami Marlins and Atlanta Braves will be meeting for the second time this season starting Tuesday evening. The series will be the first time that the Braves will have a chance to visit the Marlins new ballpark. The series should be a very entertaining one, as both teams will be looking to make strides in the National League East.
The Marlins have a strong chance to sweep this series, just looking at the pitching match-ups. Per the usual, I had a chat with Fred Owens from Fansided’s Atlanta Braves site, Tomahawk Take. Look for the game preview tomorrow right before the game. Here is a look at the chat I had with him yesterday.
Ehsan: Yesterday was the MLB first year players draft, what did you think of the Braves first round selection?
Fred: I think it was an ill advised first round pick. With a minor league system lacking in everyday player depth they pick a high school pitcher who is four years away. There were a half dozen better players left out there even pitchers if that was what they mistakenly thought we needed. The GM is well know for his love of young pitcher above all else regardless of need and Georgia or local area natives are preferred. I think they blew a chance to get a star quality player. Whether that was money or just tunnel vision we may never know..
Ehsan: Sticking to the draft theme, who would you say has been the best Braves first round selection in your lifetime?
Fred: There’s no doubt that the best first round pick ever was Chipper Jones, even the New York Times says so. http://tinyurl.com/7awpztl When Todd Van Poppel told the Braves to look elsewhere because they weren’t good enough or offering enough money, Bobby Cox and crew chose the future first ballot Hall of Fame third baseman and the Braves have never looked back. As for Van Poppel, where is he selling cars at now?
Ehsan: What is the latest update on Chipper Jones and his leg injury? Will he be returning soon? Any other injuries of significance right now?
Fred: Chipper’s leg took one of the worst shots that didn’t result in a break ever. If you haven’t seen it up close here’s a link to a video clip. http://tinyurl.com/7w8sqtk the story was before he went on the DL. He didn’t travel with the team to DC and that’s unusual for him. Instead he stayed to have some blood drained from the area and get more treatment. The last I heard he’d due back Friday after the Marlins series.
Brain McCann took a 97mph fastball off his left knee and missed Sunday’s game though he said he could have played. I expect him back for your series. David Ross is about 85% recovered from a groin pull and caught Sunday though he’s only running at about 75%. Freddie Freeman’s new glasses worked well enough so that drama is over and there aren’t any other issues that I know of right now.
Ehsan: At this point in the season, is this where you expected the Braves to be? Has the team lived up to your own personal expectations?
Fred: No, I didn’t expect to be on the bottom with the Phillies and I didn’t expect the Mets to be in second – heck even the Mets didn’t expect that. I said that the Nats, Marlins and Braves would all be beating each other up and I expected the Marlins to start white hot and cool while the Nats would start hot and fade with their pitching. The Marlins bad start was a surprise to me but the recovery wasn’t I still think the Nats will fade after the break though Bryce Harper has been more than I expected him to be. I really thought the Braves and Marlins would be arguing over first all season but our pitching hasn’t held up and losing three key players – McCann, Jones, and Freeman – at the same time hurt our run production at the same time. Freeman and McCann are back, Prado’s move to third and bringing Andrelton Simmons up tightened the left side of the infield and Jose Constanza provided a defensive upgrade in left so things are getting better.
Ehsan: Tell us a little about the pitchers the Marlins will be facing this series. Is the Buehrle-Minor match-up still the most intriguing to you?
Fred: The most interesting as a matchup for me is Hudson-Sanchez. I like good pitching and this should be a nicely pitched game. Tim Hudson is what he’s always been, quietly one of the best in the game. The Matchup with Anibal Sanchez should be a good one as he’s always given the Braves a hard time. Randall Delgado pitched a lot better than his record indicates until his last outing. His matchup with Josh Johnson should be interesting on a couple of levels as Delgado has continued to improve and Johnson looks to be settling down. Mike Minor is the most frustrating pitcher we have now that Jair Jurrjens is at Gwinnett trying to find his control. Minor started well but regressed in the last month. he may be pitching for his rotation spot his next two outings as Kris Medlen was sent down to be stretched out so he could return a starter. Minor rose to the challenge in spring training, the hope is that he will do so again.
Ehsan: What are your predictions for this series? Think the Braves can pull off a series win? They would be the first team since the end of April to do so, if they can.
Fred: The series hinges on pitching. If Huddy and Delgado are at their best we could certainly sneak a series victory. If Minor decides to be the Minor of the first few starts that game could be interesting as well. Taking a series in Miami would certainly be the boost we need to get back towards the top of the division.
Ehsan:Bonus: How many homers will Giancarlo Stanton hit this series?
Stanton is a beast so he’s capable of hitting three or four. How many depends on pitchers not giving him any cookies but I suspect he’ll connect with at least one because he’s so strong he can take a good pitch and drive it out of any ballpark.
Topics: Andrelton Simmons, Anibal Sanchez, Atlanta Braves, Brian McCann, Bryce Harper, Chipper Jones, David Ross, Freddie Freeman, Giancarlo Stanton, Jair Jurrjens, Jose Constanza, Josh Johnson, Kris Medlen, Miami Marlins, Mike Minor, Randall Delgado, Tim Hudson