Soler, Braves overcome Morton injury, top Astros in Game 1
Making his first start since testing positive for COVID-19, Jorge Soler became the first player to begin a World Series with a home run and the Atlanta Braves, despite the loss of pitcher Charlie Morton to a broken leg, hushed the Houston Astros 6-2 in Game 1.
Fungo golf for Giants pitchers; fans for MLB spring games
(AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)Right-hander Kevin Gausman’s impressive day at spring training had nothing to do with any of the usual statistics, like strikeouts or innings pitched. Batting practice for San Francisco's pitchers took on a non-traditional look Thursday at Scottsdale Stadium in Arizona. But the stands won't be empty — or full — when the Giants host their spring training opener Sunday. Scottsdale Stadium will have the lowest capacity at 9%, which is about 1,000 fans for Giants home games. Spectators at Scottsdale Stadium may get to see Gausman throw his lively fastball, but not a look at his Fungo golf skills.
Chipper Jones assumes new role as Braves hitting consultant
(Kevin D. Liles/Atlanta Braves via AP, Pool)ATLANTA – Hall of Famer Chipper Jones is returning to the Atlanta Braves in a part-time capacity as a hitting consultant. The 48-year-old Jones played his full 19-year career with the Braves. Jones hit .303 during his career and led the league with his .363 mark in 2008. An eight-time All-Star and the 1999 NL MVP, Jones holds most Atlanta franchise hitting records. AdManager Brian Snitker’s coaching staff including hitting coach Kevin Seitzer and assistant hitting coaches Jose Castro and Bobby Magallanes.
Baseball gathers behind home plate to honor Hammerin' Hank
(Kevin D. Liles/Atlanta Braves via AP Pool)ATLANTA – Brian Snitker choked back tears as he remembered Hank Aaron’s affection for those who didn’t possess his unparalleled talent on the baseball field. During his post-playing career running the Atlanta Braves farm system, the Hammer had a penchant for looking beyond the can’t-miss prospects. Noting the 10 Baseball of Famers who have died in the past year, Manfred said Aaron “belongs on our sport’s Mount Rushmore. “The reason I’m here today is because of Hank Aaron,” Snitker said, pausing to maintain his composure. “Hank was very instrumental in me becoming an Atlanta Brave,” Jones said.
Aaron lauded for grace amid racism during home run pursuit
Joe Carter met his childhood idol when he won the first Hank Aaron Award in 1986 after leading the majors in RBIs. Hank Aaron. Aaron broke Ruth's record with his 715th home run for the Atlanta Braves in 1974 in former President Jimmy Carter's native Georgia. “He grew up poor and faced racism as he worked to become one of the greatest baseball players of all time. It’s going to be at the Hall of Fame, it was Hank Aaron, Joe Morgan, and Frank Robinson.
Wright, d'Arnaud lead Braves to sweep Marlins, reach NLCS
Atlanta Braves players celebrate after defeating the Miami Marlins in Game 3 of a baseball National League Division Series, Thursday, Oct. 8, 2020, in Houston. And even those future Hall of Famers didn't throw the way these Braves have this postseason. Wright (1-0) was sharp despite not pitching since Sept. 25, allowing three hits and walking two with a career-high seven strikeouts. Atlanta became the second team in history to throw four shutouts in the first five playoff games, joining the 1905 New York Giants behind Hall of Famers Christy Mathewson and Joe McGinnity. D’Arnaud knocked a double off the bullpen in right-center to send two home and extend the lead to 3-0.
LEADING OFF: Homers fly in playoffs, Atlanta arms dominate
That average of 2.93 homers per postseason game tops the regular-season mark of 2.57. The Athletics and Astros combined to connect seven times as the A’s avoided a sweep with a 9-7 win. Houston will make another attempt to advance to its fourth consecutive ALCS in Game 4 on Thursday at Dodger Stadium. Kyle Wright will make his postseason debut when he starts against Miami rookie Sixto Sanchez as Atlanta aims to sweep the best-of-five NL Division Series. ESPN’s wild-card game averaged 5,591,000 to 7,604,000 from 2014-17.
LEADING OFF: Homers fly in playoffs, Atlanta arms dominate
Atlanta Braves' Dansby Swanson hits a home run during the second inning in Game 2 of a baseball National League Division Series against the Miami Marlins Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2020, in Houston. That was before the Yankees-Rays and Padres-Dodgers started their Division Series matchups. That average of 2.88 homers per postseason game tops the regular-season mark of 2.57. Kyle Wright will make his postseason debut when he starts against Miami rookie Sixto Sanchez as Atlanta aims to sweep the best-of-five NL Division Series. ESPN’s wild-card game averaged 5,591,000 to 7,604,000 from 2014-17.
Anderson sharp, Markakis alert, Braves blank Miami, lead 2-0
Atlanta Braves' Ian Anderson delivers a pitch during the fourth inning in Game 2 of a baseball National League Division Series against the Miami Marlins Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2020, in Houston. Anderson blanked Miami into the sixth inning, Markakis made a nifty play in right field to help preserve the lead late, and the Braves threw another playoff shutout in a 2-0 victory Wednesday for a 2-0 lead in the NL Division Series. “It’s hard to bunch hits together, pitching is too good,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said. Miami manager Don Mattingly didn't fault Dickerson for being thrown out because he said Markakis could've dived to catch it. On a day when Atlanta got only four hits, Swanson and d’Arnaud provided the offense.
1st 60: How MLB standouts fared in what will equal full 2020
After 60 games this year, it will already be time to determine who wins those awards. Only one Cy Young winner over the past 20 seasons has had more than the nine wins Verlander had after 60 games last year. Mauer and Morneau have the highest and lowest batting averages for any MVP through 60 games since 2000. In 2008, nine years after Chipper Jones was the NL MVP, he was hitting .409 through Atlanta's first 60 games. Williams hit .406, only one point lower than he was through Boston's first 60 games that season.
A look back at big hits, bad calls as MLB eyes new draft era
(AP Photo/Julio Cortez, File)NEW YORK Baseballs amateur draft is about to enter the next phase of its ongoing development same as all those young prospects picked every year. Even before the coronavirus pandemic, the 2020 version was ticketed for a move to Omaha, Nebraska, to coincide with the College World Series there. But with the top pick in the second June amateur draft in 1966, the New York Mets swung and missed. All that hype came to full fruition a decade later, when he was the World Series MVP as the Nationals won the franchises first championship last year. Prior to Appel, the only top overall picks who failed to reach the majors were Chilcott and left-hander Brien Taylor (Yankees, 1991).