Braves Quick Hits And Schedule Oddities

Oct 4, 2013; Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Mike Minor (36) throws against the Los Angeles Dodgers during the first inning of game two of the National League divisional series playoff baseball game at Turner Field. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports

A quick look at news you might have missed while watching the Braves win the first series of the year against their division rivals.

Pitching Injury Updates

Most know by now but in case you’ve been on a desert island Ervin Santana will make his first major league start for the Braves on Wednesday against the Mets. David O’Brien of the AJC reports that Mike Minor is about two weeks behind him; currently projected to make his first start at home on the 23rd or against against the Marlins or the 25th against the Reds. Minor isn’t superstitious about the number 24, the Braves are off April 24th and off days are a blessing; more on that later.

Barring setbacks Gavin Floyd is expected to be two weeks or so behind Minor which would give him a start when the Cardinals visit the Braves May 5-7, during the Cubs visit 9-11 May,  during the oddly placed three game series in San Francisco 12-14 May or the series following that against the Cardinals in St. Louis 16-18 May. Precise isn’t it? Well, that’s the way it is with injured arms and rehab schedules.

On the flip side Mark Bowman tweets that as I expected when I saw him walk off the field this spring Cory Gearrin is probably going to have TJ surgery

Second opinions in these cases are almost automatic of course but seeing his last two pitches he will without question have TJ surgery.

To make room the Braves will likely move one of their current starters to the pen or option a pitcher to Gwinnett when Minor returns and repeat that kind of move Floyd join the rotation.  Who goes where depends on injury and performance. Ian Thomas and Gus Schlosser have impressed so far  and  Aaron Harang turned in a stellar performance against the Brewers so David Hale might well be the odd man out in spite of his superb outing last week.

Schedule Stupidity

The Giants trip is one of the oddities of the schedule this year which seems to indicate the scheduler thinks 17 is a lucky number. When the Braves return tomorrow they begin a stretch of 16 games in a row, all in our division. After a day off a quick hello and goodbye to the Reds (3 games), and a day off The Braves start a stretch of nine in a row followed by a day off and six in a row ending with the Giants series. Usually a west coast swing allows multiple series in the Pacific time zone but the three game set in Frisco follows the Sunday home game against the Cubs with no travel day. When they finish in the City by the Bay they jump on a jet and head to St Louis. Fortunately they have a travel day on  the Thursday to give them time to regroup from time zone shock and they’ll need it as the Cardinal game starts one of the season 17 game marathons.

Even the travel agent is confused

After three games with the Redbirds the Braves return home to play four with the Brewers, three with the Rockies and two with the red Sox before boarding a plane to continue the Red Sox series with two in Boston. Who decided a two game series was a good idea anyway, someone ought to slap them. I digress.

That’s 14 in a row. From Boston the tour scoots down to Miami for three with the Fish bringing the total to 17. There’s a day off, a two game set with the Mariners at the Ted, then a travel day before beginning another 17 game odyssey where The Braves wander from Phoenix (3) to Denver (4), back to the Ted for Anaheim (4) and the Phillies (3) then up to DC to visit the Nationals (4).

The next sort of OMG event comes after the All Star Game when the magic number (17) sees our heroes play 11 at home (Phillies 3, Marlins 4, Padres 4) then a quick no break pivot to LA for 3 and on to San Diego for the final trio of games. Insert a day off, a reprise of the two game series with the M’s, another day off and a return home for 10 games followed quickly by 7 more road games. From that point forward the schedule goes to a 10 day because obviously the number 17 is as exhausted as the players and 10 hasn’t worked at all this year. I think the schedule makers should be required to ride along on these 17 game trips, attend all the games and keep the schedule the players keep. I bet there would be a rethinking of the way things are done after that.  A lot of this is the result of the idiotic insistence on continuing interleague play when studies show that the shine has worn off that new toy and only marquee matchups actually draw a crowd. That’s a rant for another day however.

Good Day Friday

Baseball America puts out a daily prospect report highlighting the best performances for organizational prospects. The 4 April list included three Braves hitters.

No pitchers made the list on the fourth.

That’s A Wrap

Good to see Minor close and hopefully Floyd will follow him shortly.  It creates a good kind of problem for the Braves when they have to decided and agonize over who goes to Gwinnett. One thing that might happen is a move involving Anthony Varvaro. Varvaro hasn’t been particularly effective so far and his velocity has been down making some think that perhaps he has an injury.  He’s also out of options so to send him to Gwinnett would require clearing waivers. Would a team claim him with all the uncertainty surrounding his performance? Probably. If he is injured a trip to the DL would postpone that decision, at least for a while.

The schedule is an ongoing issue for MLB as they try to jamb extra game into the schedule without adding length to the season in an the ever increasing quest to make more money. I have thoughts on that but those are for another day. What’s your take?