- Created on 19 May 2013
During batting practice Braves catcher Evan Gattis launched two balls into the left field seats clearing well over 335 feet. It was a sign of things to come. Gattis's hard work paid off when he. The man affectionately known as El Oso Blanco or "The White Bear" was called on to pinch hit in the eighth inning and launched a two-run homer on a 2-2 pitch into the left field seats, leading the Braves to a 3-1 victory.
"Its nice having a guy like [Gattis] that you can plug into the lineup at anytime, he likes moments like this," Braves General Manager Fredi Gonzalez said.
It was Gattis's 8th home run of the season and his second pinch hit home run, but since Jason Heyward's return to the starting lineup it will be hard to find a spot for the April National League Rookie of the Month.
"Eventually we are going to have to find a spot for him so he can get three to four at bats a game," Gonzalez said.
Gattis lead all Major League rookies in home runs and RBI in the month of April. The Braves needed a clutch hit down 1-0 in the eighth inning and Gattis came through. Atlanta has a 2-15 record when trailing after seven innings and a 1-14 record when they don't hit a home run.
"Unfortunately we are a team that relies on the long ball quite often and when we are doing that we are pretty good," said Andrelton Simmons, who hit a home run after Gattis to give the Braves the 3-1 victory.
The Braves have a 22-4 record in games when they hit a home run. Heyward just missed a homer in the first inning when he sent a ball flying into center field, but Matt Kemp scaled the wall and robbed him. Heyward trotted the bases and tipped his cap to the center fielder.
Braves starter Kris Medlen pitched seven innings, giving up just two hits and one unearned run. The run came in the fourth inning when Skip Schumaker doubled on a line drive to left fielder Justin Upton with Adrian Gonzalez on first. Gonzalez scored on a fielding error by Upton when he fumbled the ball in the left field corner.
With recent injuries to the Braves bullpen, Medlen felt he needed to give the Braves pitchers a little extra.
"It was in the back of my mind, you always want to perform well but seeing [Eric] O'Flaherty down made me want to go eight innings," Medlen said.
Braves General Manager Frank Wren announced yesterday that a recent MRI revealed relief pitcher Eric O'Flaherty had a tear in the ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) in his left elbow. A UCL tear is typically repaired with Tommy John surgery, a process that could take up to 12 months to heal. The injury comes just days after Dr. James Andrews performed season ending surgery on the shoulder of relief pitcher Jonny Venters.
Without two studs in the lineup the relief staff pitched a perfect game after Medlen's exit. Cory Gearirin, who pitched a perfect inning in the eighth, picked up the win and Craig Kimbrel notched his 13th save of the season.
- Created on 18 May 2013
For the Atlanta Braves it felt good to be home again. Atlanta tooks its series opener against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Turner Field Friday night, after spending 27 of the last 37 games on the road.
The win came in come-from-behind fashion, in large part thanks to Justin Upton, who launched his third career grand slam in the sixth inning in an 8-5 victory.
The Braves have only played 14 games at home, the least of any team in the majors, yet still hold a one and a half game lead over the Washington Nationals for first place in the NL East.
"Going on the road is tough and we played some good teams, so to come home and still have a lead you gotta feel pretty good," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said.
The Braves also welcomed Jason Heyward back to the starting lineup. The Golden Glove outfielder returned after missing 22 games due to an appendectomy surgery.
Heyward played six games with the Gwinnett Braves during his rehab stint and hit for a .300 average with six RBI. He went 2-for-4 with an RBI in his return to the starting lineup. He also made a sliding grab in the outfield without hesitation but came up limping gingerly after his cleat ran into his leg.
"I felt good," said Heyward of his diving catch. "I wasn't worried about [my surgery], I just spiked myself which didn't feel very good."
Heyward also answered any lingering questions about his ability to hit on Friday. After Andrelton Simmons singled in the third, Heyward hit a line drive into left field for just his third double of the season. Simmons scored on an Upton ground ball and Heyward scored on a Freddie Freeman Single.
"I had some good plays on defense, got some hits, had some good at bats, that's all I can really hope to do and fortunately it came through for me," Heyward said.
Braves starting pitcher Paul Maholm gave up four runs in six innings but only two were earned due to a Dan Uggla error in the fourth. Two runs scored off the error to put the Dodgers ahead 4-2.
Once again Heyward was instrumental for the Braves in a late inning rally when he drew a walk to load the bases for Upton. That set up Upton to drill a grand slam home run into the upper deck that sent the sellout crowd of 43,238 into a frenzy.
"I didn't even look up. I knew it was gone," said Heyward of Upton's 14th homer of the season. "You know what it looks like after a while."
The Braves added two more insurance runs in the seventh and Craig Kimbrel closed the game and notched his 12th save of the season.
The Braves have finally put together the lineup they have been waiting for season opening day. Brian McCann, Freeman and Heyward all played in the starting lineup for the first time this season.
"We had some good at bats and drew some walks and got their pitcher deep into counts," said Gonzalez.
Atlanta will play 13 of its next 18 games at home, a much needed change of pace from a grueling beginning of the season.
- Created on 16 May 2013
After reportedly seeking out former Orlando Magic head coach Stan Van Gundy, the Atlanta Hawks are now in talks with former Portland Trail Blazers head coach Nate McMillan to replace current coach Larry Drew, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports.
The Hawks interviewed for a possible head coaching position replacement on Wednesday. Drew, who is under contract until June 30, has been head coach for Atlanta for the past three seasons, holding a 128-102 regular season record and a 10-14 record in the playoffs.
Although Drew has not been formally fired, Hawks General Manager Danny Ferry is allowing Drew and his staff to look at other teams for employment.
Nate McMillan has a career winning percentage of .514, taking Portland and the Seattle Supersonics (now the Oklahoma City Thunder) to the playoffs. McMillan was also an assistant coach to Duke legend Mike Krzyzewski with Team USA in the 2006 FIBA World Championship and in the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
Ferry's level of interest in McMillan is unclear,but, it is clear that Ferry has his sights set in a new direction for Hawks franchise.
- Created on 17 May 2013
The Atlanta Dream announced this week that guard Ketia Swanier and guard/forward Blanche Alverson have been waived from the team. The Dream training camp roster now stands at 14 players.
Swanier averaged 2.2 points and 1.9 assists per game in her only season with the Dream in 2012. She played in all 34 games, making two starts. In five career seasons, she has averaged 2.5 points, 1.4 rebounds and 1.7 assists.
Alverson was signed to a training camp contract in April. The rookie from Auburn University averaged 5.5 points and 3.0 rebounds in Atlanta's two preseason games.
The two-time Eastern Conference Champion Atlanta Dream will tip off its sixth season in the Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA) on May 25 at Philips Arena against the Tulsa Shock.
The Dream qualified for the playoffs in each of the past four seasons, including back-to-back Eastern Conference titles in 2010 and 2011.
Season tickets and single-game tickets for the 2013 season are now available and can be purchased by calling (877) 977-7729 or by visiting www.AtlantaDream.net. The complete 2013 Dream schedule can be found at www.wnba.com/dream/schedule.
- Created on 13 May 2013
A new dawn is on the horizon for the 2013 Clark Atlanta University football program under the helm of first year Head Coach Kevin Weston as the Panthers unveiled their 2013 schedule highlighted by three first time opponents and five HOME games at Panther Stadium.
With an even number of conference and non-conference games, the Panthers will open the season again this year against the University of West Alabama Sept. 7th on the road followed by their HOME opener against Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SIAC) foe Stillman College Sept. 14th.
Four of the next five games will feature games against conference opponents beginning with Fort Valley State whom the Panthers will meet on a neutral turf in Griffin, Ga., for the Iris City Classic. Unlike last season, Clark Atlanta will have a BYE week during the season (9/28) as the team prepares for the AUC rivalry showdown with Morehouse College (@ B.T. Harvey Stadium) that will kick-off the first football Saturday in October. The next HOME contest includes a first time match-up against the College of Faith (Arkansas) followed by a conference divisional game at Benedict College.
This year’s Homecoming game, which will be played later in October than in recent years, will pit CAU against the Golden Rams of Albany State University October 26th in Panther Stadium.
In November, CAU will host two of its final three games versus non-conference opponents at HOME against Shorter University (11/2) another first-time opponent and Edward Waters College (11/9) who last met the Panthers in 2005. To wrap up the 2013 regular season, the Panthers will travel to Baton Rouge, La., for a battle in the Bayou with Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) opponent Southern University Jaguars which will be the first meeting ever between the two teams.
CAU football season tickets will go on sale in July. For all the latest information regarding CAU athletics, stay tuned to www.clarkatlantasports.com.
2013 CAU Football Schedule
7 @ University of West Alabama (Livingston, Ala.)
14 STILLMAN COLLEGE
21 Fort Valley State University ** (Griffin, Ga.)
5 @ Morehouse College ** (Atlanta, Ga.)
12 COLLEGE OF FAITH
19 @ Benedict College** (Columbia, S.C.)
26 ALBANY STATE UNIVERSITY **
2 SHORTER UNIVERSITY
9 EDWARD WATERS COLLEGE
16 @ Southern University (Baton Rouge, La.)
Home games in BOLD CAPS are played at CAU Panther Stadium.
** Denotes Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SIAC) EAST Division Games.