09/19/12 10:36 PM ET
Braves tinkering with ideas for playoff rotation
By Tom Green / MLB.com
"That's a good question," Gonzalez said. "I don't know yet. For me, it's between [Tim] Hudson and [Kris] Medlen."
Hudson, who collected his eighth 15-win season (and third in a row) with a victory against the Marlins on Monday, has been solid for Atlanta all season. The righty, in his eighth season with the Braves, has gone 15-6 with a 3.77 ERA.
Medlen has been phenomenal since joining the Braves' rotation at the end of July. The 26-year-old righty entered Wednesday's start in Miami 7-0 with an 0.86 ERA as a starter, giving up just six earned runs in 62 2/3 innings.
The decision on who will go first in the rotation in the postseason will likely come down to steady veteran experience vs. a young phenom. Hudson has made 10 postseason appearances, including nine starts, going 1-3 with a 3.46 ERA in 54 2/3 innings. Medlen, on the other hand, has never pitched in the playoffs, but is arguably the hottest pitcher in the Majors at the moment.
Entering Wednesday, the Braves had won each of Medlen's last 20 starts, dating back to 2010, the longest such streak in team history. The Braves may want to try to ride that momentum at the start of a postseason series.
Whatever Gonzalez's decision may be, the Braves manager said he and pitching coach Roger McDowell could tweak the rotation in the next week to set up for the postseason, possibly flip-flopping starters in order to keep them throwing as close to regular rest as possible.
"We could do something," Gonzalez said. "We could manipulate something here after the next off-day, if we wanted to or if we feel like we need to do that."
Fish give Chipper fishing gear as farewell gift
MIAMI -- Chipper Jones has done plenty of damage to the Marlins over his career. As a parting gift, the Marlins gave Jones gear to help him do battle with other fish.
Jones added to his growing collection of farewell gifts before his final game in South Florida on Wednesday night, which the Braves won, 3-0, as the Marlins presented him with a Sage fly-fishing rod and Sage reel with travel kit.
"It was cool," the veteran said. "Obviously a really classy act by the Marlins organization giving me the gift beforehand and all their guys coming out of the dugout. That was especially nice, and obviously however many people that were here standing for my last at-bat, I wish I could've gotten a hit, but the guy was out there throwing pretty hard."
Along with the fishing rod and reel, the Marlins gave Jones a waterproof tote bag filled with other assorted fishing gear, including a bass fly-fishing kit, deceiver assortment flies, books on fly-fishing, a fly-fishing vest with fishing tools and lures, a fly-fishing hat with LCD lights for fishing at dusk and dawn and a tackle box kit.
The Marlins honored Jones, who is retiring at the end of the season, prior to the teams' series finale at Marlins Park. Just before first pitch, the video board in center field showed a montage of Jones highlights set to Ozzy Osbourne's "Crazy Train" -- Jones' walk-up song.
After the video, Jones came out from the visiting dugout and tipped his cap as the Marlins Park crowd gave the longtime Marlins foe -- Jones' 40 homers and 165 RBIs are the most by an opposing player against the Marlins -- a standing ovation as he walked behind home plate.
"I've always enjoyed my time here," Jones said. "I love coming out to Miami. It's one of the few chances I get to play in front of some friends and family over the years. I cherish each and every time down here."
Marlins shortstop Jose Reyes and former Marlins great Jeff Conine met Jones behind the plate and presented him with the parting gift, which added to the unique collection of items Jones has collected during his farewell tour. The Padres presented him with a surfboard last month, and the Brewers recently gave Jones a new grill and year's supply of bratwurst, while other clubs have given Jones more traditional baseball items.
Braves missing shortstops Simmons, Janish
MIAMI -- The Braves were short two infielders for Wednesday night's series finale against the Marlins.
Shortstops Andrelton Simmons and Paul Janish were both out of the lineup due to left shoulder injuries suffered Monday and Tuesday, respectively. That left the Braves with two available players at the position: Martin Prado, who started Wednesday, and Tyler Pastornicky, who started 40 games at shortstop this season.
Simmons jammed his left shoulder while making a diving play Monday and missed Tuesday's 10-inning loss. Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said Simmons could be available to either bunt or pinch-run Wednesday if needed, adding that there's an outside chance of Simmons being ready to play when the team kicks off a three-game series in Philadelphia on Friday.
Gonzalez seemed less optimistic about Janish, who dislocated his left shoulder while making a diving stop on a Carlos Lee infield single in the ninth inning Tuesday. Janish wasn't with the team Wednesday, as he was catching a flight back to Atlanta so he could meet with team orthopedist Dr. Xavier Duralde on Thursday.
"We don't know anything until [Thursday evening] about the shoulder," Gonzalez said.
Janish will undergo a series of tests with Dr. Duralde to determine if he needs surgery, which would end his season, or if he just needs to rehab the shoulder and have a chance to return for the playoffs.
Janish said after the game Tuesday that he has dislocated the shoulder at least eight or nine times in the past, but was able to pop it back into the socket on his own each time. That wasn't the case Tuesday, as he needed help to get it back into place.
"When you manipulate it to go back in, that's when you can do some damage to the shoulder area," Gonzalez said. "They're going to do all the tests, whatever they got to do. He won't play for a while right now. He won't play for a while because it's significant."
In 14 games against the Marlins entering Wednesday's series finale, right fielder Jason Heyward is hitting .339 (19-for-56) with three doubles, four homers and 10 RBIs. He has also registered multiple hits in seven of the 14 games.
When the Braves score at least five runs this season, they are 58-3 (.951), which is the best mark in the Majors. The Dodgers are second at 52-4 (.929) entering Wednesday's doubleheader with the Nats.
Tom Green is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.