Tag:Jair Jurrjens
Posted on: March 25, 2011 1:09 pm
 

Braves 'cautiously optimistic' about Jurrjens

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- The Braves remain hopeful, but not certain, that Jair Jurrjens will be able to take his spot in their season-opening rotation.

Jurrjens left Thursday's start after just one inning, after he complained of discomfort in his right side. He said afterwards that he expected to make his final scheduled spring start on Tuesday night in Atlanta, but Braves general manager Frank Wren said Friday that Jurrjens will likely skip that start.

Wren said that Jurrjens felt good when he reported to the Braves clubhouse Friday morning.

"We're cautiously optimistic," he said.

Jurrjens is tentatively scheduled to start the Braves' fourth regular-season game, in Milwaukee on April 6. Because of an off day on April 11, the Braves will need their fifth starter only once in the first two weeks of the season, so if the Braves want to be more cautious, they could use Brandon Beachy in the fourth spot and Jurrjens fifth.
Category: MLB
Posted on: March 24, 2011 2:54 pm
 

Beachy to be Braves' 5th starter, Jurrjens OK

DUNEDIN, Fla. -- Brandon Beachy will be the Braves' fifth starter.

That's assuming they don't need him to be the fourth starter.

Beachy won the spring competition over Mike Minor for the lone open spot in the Braves rotation, and Thursday morning the team told Minor he would be optioned to Triple-A Gwinnett.

Then, on Thursday afternoon, fourth starter Jair Jurrjens had to leave his start against the Blue Jays after just one inning, because of discomfort in his right side.

If that sounds ominous, Jurrjens insisted that it shouldn't. He said he's sure he'll be able to make his final spring start, next Tuesday in Atlanta against the Twins, and that he'll be ready for the season.

"It was just a little discomfort, and they didn't want me to make it worse," Jurrjens said. "If it was serious, I wouldn't have been able to pitch to another batter. If it was the oblique, I wouldn't be able to stand up."

Jurrjens said he felt the pain, which he described as more of a cramp, when he retired Yunel Escobar on a ground ball for the second out of the first inning. Jurrjens then struck out Jose Bautista to end the inning.

Jurrjens won 14 games for the Braves in 2009, but he was limited to 20 starts because of injuries last year.

The 24-year-old Beachy, who debuted with the Braves last September, has a 1.80 ERA in three official spring appearances, and also was impressive in a "B" game start against the Cardinals.

Minor, who was the seventh pick overall in the 2009 draft (and also debuted last year), had an 0.90 ERA in three spring appearances.

"We just feel Brandon gives us a better chance to win right now," general manager Frank Wren told MLB.com . "It was a tough decision to make."

Posted on: September 26, 2010 9:35 pm
 

3 to watch: The Fitting three into two edition

As Bruce Bochy walked out to the field for batting practice Sunday, he turned back with a message.

"Kansas City, 1," the Giants manager said. "See, I'm watching the scoreboard."

For four more days, Bochy will keep watching, and not to see if the Royals score another run. For four more days, the Giants and Padres and Braves will eye each other from a distance, knowing that all three teams remain very much alive and that only two playoff spots can be divided among them.

It's really that simple now in the National League. The Phillies are in, and the Reds are basically in, too. The Rockies, it now seems certain, are out.

So among the Giants, Padres and Braves, the teams that end up with the two best records will make it. The team that ends up worst among those three won't.

As the week begins, Bochy's Giants have the advantage, holding a half-game lead over the Padres (and thus holding first place in the NL West) and holding a one-game lead over the Braves (who trail the Padres by half a game in the wild-card race).

The Braves have other advantages, mostly because the Padres and Giants meet at the end of the week (meaning that for the last three days of the season, one or the other them has to lose), but also because their final three games are against the Phillies, who by then will no doubt have officially clinched the NL East crown and will be more focused on preparing for the playoffs than on beating the Braves.

But the Braves have other issues, mainly that they're not playing nearly as well as the Giants or Padres are right now.

In any case, it should be a fun week for everyone, at least until one of the three teams gets knocked out.

"Intense," Giants outfielder Cody Ross said. "This is as much fun as I've ever had playing baseball."

On to 3 to watch:

1. The Braves have their final six games at home, where their 52-23 record is the best in the majors. That much we know. Now, if we only knew who was going to pitch. The Braves told reporters Sunday in Washington that Jair Jurrjens may get a shot in his sore knee Monday, in hopes that the pain will let up enough that he can start a game for the first time since Sept. 14. There's been some thought that Jurrjens could return for Marlins at Braves, Tuesday night (7:10 ET) at Turner Field , but the Braves also said that they've considered bringing Tim Hudson back on three days' rest to make that start. If Jurrjens can't go, and if manager Bobby Cox doesn't want to use both Hudson and Derek Lowe on short rest, the other option would be to use rookie Mike Minor, who seems to have hit a wall and is 0-2 with a 9.37 ERA in four starts this month.

2. The Padres have rotation questions of their own, and the biggest one is how Mat Latos will do. Latos has been San Diego's top starter all year, but in his last three starts he's 0-3 with a 13.94 ERA, and has lasted a total of just 10 1/3 innings. Latos faces Ryan Dempster in Cubs at Padres, Tuesday night (10:05 ET) at Petco Park . The way the Padres' rotation sets up, Latos would also start the final game of the season, Sunday in San Francisco.

3. So how about the Giants? They have Monday off, and that leaves them with the question of whether to pitch Tim Lincecum on his normal day, in Diamondbacks at Giants, Thursday afternoon (3:45 ET) at AT&T Park . The other option would be to pitch Barry Zito Thursday on normal rest, and save Lincecum for the first head-to-head game with the Giants on Friday night. Bochy said Sunday that such a plan hasn't yet been discussed, but he added that they will "talk about the club and any changes" on Monday. As of now, the pitching matchups for the series with the Padres would be Zito vs. Clayton Richard on Friday, Matt Cain vs. Tim Stauffer on Saturday and Jonathan Sanchez vs. Latos on Sunday.
Posted on: September 24, 2010 11:45 am
Edited on: September 24, 2010 12:23 pm
 

3 to watch: The Giant issue edition

Even if you count the Rockies as now basically out of the National League West -- the standings say they're in serious trouble, their recent history says who knows? -- the Giants' three games this weekend at Coors Field are a potentially huge obstacle to San Francisco's chances of winning the division.

Despite what happened Thursday at Wrigley Field (a nine-run inning, a 13-0 win), the Giants' path to first place in the West has been built almost totally on pitching. Including Thursday, they've now gone 17 games since they last allowed four runs, a streak that according to the Elias Sports Bureau is the longest by any team in a single season since the 1917 White Sox went 20 games in a row.

Now they go to Coors Field, where the Rockies have scored four or more in 19 of their last 21 games, and where the home team hits so well that some Giants apparently think the Rockies have been monkeying with the humidor process .

Since Coors Field opened in 1995, only five teams have gone through an entire three-game series without ever allowing four runs. All five of those series have come in the humidor era (which began in 2002), but it still comes down to one series a season -- and it hasn't happened yet this year.

And the Giants, despite all their pitching and despite three trips a year to Colorado, have never done it.

Maybe that's why the Giants haven't won a season series at Coors since 2005. They're 2-4 in the first six games this year, so they'd need a sweep to win this season series.

Given the Rockies' collapse on the road this week -- they couldn't hold a 6-1 lead Sunday in Los Angeles, then got swept in three games in Arizona -- the Giants don't necessarily need a sweep this weekend. Their lead over the Padres is only a half-game, but San Diego also faces a potentially tough series, at home against the Reds.

Besides, the Giants' head-to-head showdown with the Padres next weekend will be at AT&T Park, where the Giants have allowed just 16 runs in their last nine games.

On to 3 to watch:

1. Tim Lincecum hasn't won at Coors Field since May 20, 2008. Then again, Lincecum hadn't won anywhere for a month before his 2-1 win over the Rockies on Sept. 1 in San Francisco. He's been very good the entire month, and maybe that means he'll win at Coors, too, when he opens the series in Giants at Rockies, Friday night (8:10 ET) at Coors Field . While the Giants are 0-4 in Lincecum's last four starts in Colorado, he hasn't been awful, with a 4.32 ERA in that span.

2. The Reds enter the weekend with a magic number of 3, and that means the soonest they could clinch their first division title in 15 years is in Reds at Padres, Saturday afternoon (4:05 ET) at Petco Park . That would take a little cooperation from the second-place Cardinals, but all the Cardinals have been doing recently is cooperating. As Ed Price of AOL Fanhouse pointed out on Twitter, the Cards are 9-17 since Tony La Russa and Albert Pujols attended Glenn Beck's rally in Washington.

3. The biggest advantage the Braves have in the National League wild-card race is that the Giants and Padres play each other next weekend. That means for three of the remaining 10 days on the schedule, either the Giants or the Padres is guaranteed to lose (and that the team that wins could win the division and not affect the Braves' wild-card chances at all). For it to be an advantage, though, the Braves need to win. They need to do to the Nationals this weekend what they did to the Mets last weekend, and that means they need to beat Livan Hernandez in Braves at Nationals, Sunday afternoon (1:35 ET) at Nationals Park . Hernandez threw eight shutout innings in a 6-0 win over the Braves last weekend in Atlanta, and he's 2-1 with a 2.19 ERA in four starts against the Braves this year. The Braves starter Sunday, they hope is Jair Jurrjens, who missed his Monday start in Philadelphia with a knee problem. As manager Bobby Cox said, "He'd better be able to pitch." Sunday is also the Braves' final regular-season road game, which means it's the final time an opposing team will pay tribute to Cox, who is retiring at the end of the season. The best gifts he has received so far: a No. 6 from the scoreboard at Wrigley Field, a set of wine glasses with all the NL team logos from the Reds, and many checks to support his charity helping homeless veterans. Cox entered the weekend with 2,499 wins in 4,499 career games.




Posted on: September 20, 2010 3:16 pm
Edited on: September 20, 2010 6:00 pm
 

Braves rookie to sub for injured Jurrjens

PHILADELPHIA -- The Phillies are starting Cole Hamels, Roy Halladay and Roy Oswalt against the Braves this week.

The Braves are starting 24-year-old Brandon Beachy tonight.

Beachy, who will be making his big-league debut, will sub for Jair Jurrjens, who was scratched after testing his sore right knee in the bullpen this afternoon. Jurrjens hurt his knee during a bullpen session Friday in New York.

"His knee's still bothering him, and it's not worth chancing it," manager Bobby Cox said. "He wasn't smiling too much. He still felt [the knee] on every pitch."

Cox said that Jurrjens was sent to Atlanta for an MRI exam on the knee. If everything checks out, the Braves are hopeful that Jurrjens will be able to make his next start.

"Maybe missing one start, he'll be super starting the last two," Cox said.

Beachy was with the Braves instructional league team in Florida, but he last pitched in a game on Sept. 3 with Triple-A Gwinnett. He split this year between Gwinnett and Double-A Mississippi, going a combined 5-1 with a 1.73 ERA. He's quite a story, passed over in the draft after pitching at Indiana Wesleyan, signed out of a summer collegiate league for $20,000, then rising this year to become one of the Braves' top pitching prospects.

While pitching for Gwinnett, Beachy faced the Phillies' Lehigh Valley affiliate, allowing two runs on three hits in seven innings. The Phillies had video of that start playing on their clubhouse televisions this afternoon.

The Braves begin the series three games behind the Phillies in the National League East, and 2 1/2 games ahead of the Padres in the wild-card race.

The Braves got one piece of good news today, when an MRI exam on reliever Takashi Saito's right shoulder showed nothing but tendinitis. Cox said the Braves believe Saito, who left Friday's game in New York thinking his season could be over, may be ready to pitch as soon as Wednesday.


Posted on: September 19, 2010 9:23 pm
Edited on: September 20, 2010 6:03 pm
 

3 to watch: The Philly dilemma edition

Three games back of the Phillies in the National League East, the best thing the Braves have going for them is six remaining head-to-head meetings with the Phils, starting with a series that begins Monday night at Citizens Bank Park.

Two and a half games ahead of the Padres in the NL wild-card race, the biggest thing the Braves have going against them is that they play six of their final 12 games against the league's best team -- the Phillies.

"It is tougher," Chipper Jones said. "But I don't think we'd want it any other way."

One reason, of course, is that the Braves would like to think that they can still win the East. To win the East now, they need for the Phillies to lose. The best way to guarantee that the Phillies lose is to beat them yourself.

The other reason is that the Braves actually have a winning record against the Phillies over the last two years. They went 10-8 last season, and they're 7-5 so far this year.

"The one thing we have done really well the last couple of years is play well against the Phillies," Jones said. "And we're going to have to. They're the best team in the National League, and for some reason, we get sky-high to play them.

"To beat them, we need to play a near-perfect game."

But to make the playoffs, the Braves don't need to finish ahead of the Phillies. They just need to win the wild card -- although that might necessitate beating the Phillies a few times.

"Now we can't split hairs," club president John Schuerholz said. "Now it's about getting to the playoffs."

But still, Schuerholz said he doesn't mind it that half of the Braves' remaining schedule features the Phils (with other six games against the Nationals and Marlins).

"It might be the energy level we need," he said. "They will be energized games."

And they're leading off this week's edition of 3 to watch (which doesn't include the Rangers, Twins or Reds, even though all three could clinch their divisions in the next few days:

1. The Phillies were easily able to adjust their rotation, so that the Braves will face Cole Hamels, Roy Halladay and Roy Oswalt, maybe the closest thing we've seen to a true Big Three since the days of Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine and John Smoltz. The Braves would have had a harder time making similar adjustments, and thus ace Tim Hudson won't pitch in this series. The Braves planned to start off with Jair Jurrjens, in Braves at Phillies, Monday night (7:05 ET) at Citizens Bank Park , but Jurrjens hurt his right knee in a bullpen session last Friday in New York. So 24-year-old Brandon Beachy, who was in Florida with the Braves' instructional league team, will get the start and make his major-league debut. Rookie Mike Minor and young Tommy Hanson are the other two Braves starters this week. The Phillies' Big Three would be lined up again to pitch in the final three regular-season games in Atlanta, although if the Phils have wrapped up the division by then, there's a chance they wouldn't all pitch.

2. Elsewhere on this site , I made what I thought was a reasoned but traditional case for Felix Hernandez as the American League's Cy Young leader. Hernandez could help his own case considerably with a big performance in Mariners at Blue Jays, Thursday afternoon (12:37 ET) at the Rogers Centre . The Jays have hit a major-league high 128 home runs in 69 home games (nearly two a game), and they average more than five runs a game at home. Hernandez hasn't faced the Blue Jays yet this year. Neither has CC Sabathia, who never lined up with any of the Yankees' first five series against the Jays (but figures to pitch in Toronto during the Yankees Sept. 27-29 visit).

3. First, Sabathia has a rematch with Tampa Bay's David Price, and if it's anything like their last game, it might be the 1 to watch this week. The first time around, a week ago in Florida, Sabathia and Price combined for 16 scoreless innings (eight apiece), while allowing just five hits (three of them off Price). They hook up again in Rays at Yankees, Thursday night (7:05 ET) at Yankee Stadium , and by the time it's over, we should have a better idea of who wins the American League East (and who's the AL wild card), and also of who is the leading threat to Hernandez's chance to win the Cy Young.


 
 
 
 
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