National League East Leading Atlanta Continues to Prove Preseason Critics Wrong

Before Spring Training even started, MLB experts, were predicting the Atlanta Braves to be towards the bottom of the National League East, these critics may have thought of them as “cellar dwellers” or “bottom feeders”, pick a term at your own risk. Because so far in 2019, Atlanta has proven that it can in fact, step on the field with some of the league’s most potent offenses and more times than not, the Braves have had the last laugh at (46-32) on the year and a .590 winning percentage. According to Kevin McAlpin, with 680 The Fan, the Braves flagship radio station in the Atlanta, Georgia area, the Braves entered yesterday’s matinee rubber-match with the third-place Washington Nationals with a (45-32) record, that was identical to their 2018 record through 77 games but their National League East lead is two games ahead of where it was 365 days ago. I know, some of you will probably say the cliche “There’s a lot of games to be played.” Yes, I know this. Some of you have already said “They’ll collapse at the end like they always do, you’re not old enough to know that.” As a matter of fact, I am old enough to know what you’re talking about. I’ve seen it happen before and I’m not saying that it won’t happen again. But what I am saying is this. Atlanta is hungry to get back to the playoffs in 2019. Yes, they will lose a few more down the road but what playoff team doesn’t? If you don’t lose, you won’t know how to win. This team is looking to prove critics wrong and defend their NL East division title. Critics being both expert and ordinary. Yes, baseball season is in fact the longest in all of sports, but being the die-hard fan that I have been for 21 years and counting, I have faith in Atlanta. They could lose every game from here on out and I’d still love them. Their next game is Monday, June 24, 2019 at Chicago Cubs. Julio Teheran (5-5, 3.40) will get the ball for Atlanta while Jon Lester (6-5, 4.13) will take the mound for Chicago. First pitch is scheduled for 8:05pm ET.

The Long, Winding Road to Recovery

Just three months ago, back on April 2, 2019, just hours after attending and throwing out the ceremonial first pitch of the Atlanta Braves home-opener against the Chicago Cubs, Braves fans all across the country were shell-shocked at the news that they would receive next. Bobby Cox, the man who led Atlanta to an unprecedented 14-consecutive National League pennants, had suffered a stroke. But being the strong-willed man that Bobby is, he managed to make his way to a neighbor’s house before calling an ambulance. Since then, Braves Country has worried, prayed and wondered about the condition of the beloved long-time skipper. On Thursday, June 20, 2019, Bobby Cox was able to go back to his Marietta, Georgia home. Which was a huge sigh of relief for millions of people, including myself. The news was broken by Ken Rodriguez, a sports news director at a local Georgia television station. Though Cox was left with paralysis on his right side and the inability to speak for a number of months, the larger-than-life figure has not slowed down. Thursday, Cox was speaking, hitting a ball off of a tee and throwing the baseball with his therapy dog as well as talking about the Braves. Though Cox hasn’t been at the helm of Atlanta since 2012, he said “I watch every game.” Bobby also has high hopes for himself as does all of Braves Country. Cox also said “I hope to be there for Spring Training.” His wife, Pamela Cox said “I think the biggest frustration for him is his speech, but it will get better with time.” Cox then looked at his wife and smiled. Bobby has been kept constant company since April 2nd by his beloved grandchildren. “They light up a room.” He said with tears in his twinkling eyes. If there’s one word that describes Bobby Cox, it’s “fighter”. Get well soon, we love you Bobby!

Josh Donaldson Isn’t Called the Bringer of Rain For Nothing

Coming into the Braves’ most recent 10-game home-stand, Josh Donaldson, an Auburn alum, was seeming to have the veteran plate presence that he so often put on display during his time in the American League with the Toronto Blue Jays. Over the 10-game home stand, the Braves went 8-2 on the 10-game home stand. This is the first 8-2 home stand since 2012 when they went 8-2 against Philadelphia, Miami and Houston in August of that year. Donaldson, a former American League MVP, played a huge role in Atlanta’s most successful 10-game home stand since 2012. He found multiple ways to get to pitchers over those 10 games. His biggest impact came when he belted a two-run homer against the New York Mets. His homer was a key factor in the win and his bat was key all week long. He’s reassuring Braves fans that he is still the power source that he was in Toronto and he’s doing it in big ways. He isn’t called the “Bringer of Rain” for nothing and he proved that during this lengthy home stand. The Braves have Thursday off and will travel to Washington, D.C. to tangle with the Washington Nationals starting Friday, June 21, 2019. Dallas Keuchel will more than likely make his much-anticipated Braves debut on Friday while Washington will counter with Stephen Strasburg.

A Season to Remember

Auburn Baseball found itself facing adversity late in the 2019 season, they could’ve thrown in the towel or waved the white flag but they never did. Auburn’s historic run to the 2019 NCAA Baseball College World Series in Omaha, Nebraska began back early 2019 and the team ran into some bumps in the road along the way. Their run began with a 6-5 win over Georgia Tech in the Atlanta Regional, in which they defeated Coastal Carolina once and Georgia Tech twice to win the regional. The first meeting with Georgia Tech in postseason play sparked it all. Steven Williams’ incredible walk-off homer at Russ Chandler Stadium lit a fire under the Tigers. A fire, which they carried with them from that point on. Knocking off North Carolina in the Chapel Hill Super Regional, a best-of-three series that Auburn won 2-1. Sunday night, the Tigers lost an absolute heartbreaker to Mississippi State 5-4 in the first game of their trip to Omaha. On Tuesday, Auburn tangled with the Louisville Cardinals but the game would enter a weather delay and wouldn’t resume until 11:00 a.m. Wednesday morning. When the game resumed, the Tigers found themselves in a bit of a hole, down 4-1 entering the fifth inning. The Cardinals would tack on one more run and the Tigers would answer back with two runs of their own. The last of which came on a ninth inning home run. Louisville would go on to win 5-3. Say what you want, but this team and this season will live forever. Auburn never gave up even when they had the opportunity to do so. They didn’t back down. The unity that this team showed was absolutely incredible. Rod and Paula Bramblett are without a doubt beaming with pride as am I. This season was one to remember. Pictures: Auburn Baseball Twitter.

Braves Pound Out 19 hits, Tally 15 Runs in Father’s Day Series Win Over Philadelphia

Just 15 hours after blowing a save and snapping their eight-game winning streak, Brian Snitker and his Atlanta Braves entered the Sunday matinee with a bitter taste in their mouths, a taste they hadn’t faced since June 6 at Pittsburgh. The Braves were determined to defeat the Philadelphia Phillies and strengthen what had appeared to be a death grip on the National League East division over the past few days. Not only did the Braves defeat the Phillies, they demolished them. To the tune of 15 runs on 19 over a nine-inning span. We are now seven games into this 10-game home stand and Atlanta has a 6-1 record over that seven game span. The Philadelphia series was much anticipated and it was evident. In that 3-game series alone, a total of 126,423 spectators entered the gates of SunTrust Park included in that record series attendance was a single-game attendance of 43,593 entered the turnstiles on Saturday, June 15, 2019. The 43,593 is also a SunTrust Park single-game attendance record. Sunday’s win wasn’t for the team or the coaches, it was for the dads. The home stand continues Monday-Wednesday vs. Mets. Game 1 starters: Zack Wheeler at Mike Soroka first pitch is at 7:20pm ET.

Back Where They Belong: Atlanta Enters Critical Weekend Series vs. Philadelphia Clinging to Division Lead

Coming into the season, everybody expected the Philadelphia Phillies to be a thorn in the NL East’s side. As people were anticipating them running away with the title in 2019. For most of the first few months of the season, the preseason expectations were right. Philadelphia seemed to be throwing around every team they played like rag dolls. Atlanta has spent much of this season as a mainstay in the second place slot in the division standings. In recent weeks however, the roles seemed to have been flipped as the Phillies are on a one game losing streak. Philadelphia is also 5-5 in their last 10 contests while the Braves have claimed the top spot in division standings after winning seven straight games and eight out of their last 10 games. This weekend’s three-game series at SunTrust Park in Atlanta could very well, set the tone for the remainder of the season. I know, it’s only June 14 but with things shaping up the way that they have been, it could see a two-team race between Atlanta and Philadelphia for the 2019 pennant. In my opinion, the other three teams have a long way to go. Especially the Miami Marlins who have gotten off to a horrid (24-42) start. This series is one to watch for sure. First pitch is at 7:20pm ET Philadelphia hands the ball to Nick Pivetta while Atlanta calls on Max Fried.

Atlanta Continues Recent Power Surge, Defeat Pirates In Rain-Shortened Game

Tuesday, June 11, 2019, is a date that will forever be etched into the Braves history books. The Pittsburgh Pirates (30-36) got the game’s first two runs courtesy of a Josh Bell two-RBI single to center field but that was all that they would be able to muster in the top of the first inning. In the bottom of the second inning, Atlanta found the scoreboard in a big way. As they had two pairs of back-to-back homers within a span of five batters. As Josh Donaldson and Nick Markakis went deep, Austin Riley struck out and then Brian McCann and Ozzie Albies went back-to-back. According to Braves beat writer, Mark Bowman, last night marked the first time the Braves hit four homers in an inning since May 28, 2003. Rafael Furcal, Mark DeRosa and Gary Sheffield began the first inning with back-to-back-to-back homers. Javy Lopez added a two-out shot off the Reds’ Joey Hamilton.

It was also the first time since the Braves moved to Atlanta in 1966 that the Braves had two pairs of back-to-back homers in the same inning from four out of five batters since June 8,1965 when Joe Torre, Felipe Alou, Hank Aaron and Gene Oliver accomplished the same feat in the same five batter span in the 10th inning against the Cubs at Wrigley Field. Needless to say, last night was one for the ages. Atlanta went on to win the game 7-5 and improve to (38-29) on the year. The Braves remain tied for first place in the National League East division with the Philadelphia Phillies. With last night’s win, Atlanta has now won five consecutive games. Brian McCann homered twice in last night’s win.

Picture source: Atlanta Braves Twitter.