It’s been a few days since we have done the morning links and I apologize for that. Work’s been pretty hectic for me lately as far as an inconsistent schedule goes–but it should get steady in the coming weeks.
Today’s poll features the latest move out of Braves camp: the Juan Francisco trade for Tom Keeling.
Now on to the news out of Atlanta:
TalkingChop–If you guys didn’t know, the Capitol Avenue Club crew and the Talking Chop crew have merged to create one of the most powerful Braves websites on the web. It’s a must-see site for anyone interested in the Braves. This particular piece talks about the Braves walking tendencies:
The media narrative surrounding the Braves‘ offense has mostly focused on two things: home runs and strikeouts. And not without reason, as the team leads the NL rather handily in both categories. While the homers are far more important to the team’s fortunes than the Ks, I can hardly fault people for noticing that the Braves are striking out at a near-historic pace.
This team should be known for more than just strikeouts and homers, though. The Braves are also quite adept at the third of the “three true outcomes“: walks. Braves hitters have drawn 196 walks, 2nd only to the Reds in the NL. Much more so than strikeouts, the team’s ability to draw walks has correlated with its success.
Last night, for instance, Braves hitters drew 6 walks. Not coincidentally, the team scored 7 runs and won handily. In fact, of the 12 times that the team has drawn at least 6 walks, they’ve scored fewer than 5 runs just once.
On the other hand, when the team has drawn 0 or 1 walks in a game, they’ve scored more than 3 runs just once in 12 games.
AtlantaFalcons.com–Steven Jackson talks about how he’s still in the process of learning the Atlanta Falcons offense. Also be sure to check out Dustin’s piece on Jackson’s potential role in the offense next year:
Running back Steven Jackson has been with the Falcons for a few months now, but many thing still feel very new, as he explained Wednesday that he’s had to remind quarterback Matt Ryan that he still has his training wheels on when it comes to learning the offense
AJC–So the Hawks might have gotten into a tad bit of trouble with the NBA anti-tampering policy, writes Chris Vivlamore. I can’t imagine it’s a huge deal but you have to wonder if this will impact whether or not Chris Paul and/or Dwight Howard want to come play:
The Hawks may have violated the NBA’s anti-tampering policy by mentioning Dwight Howard and Chris Paul by name in a recent letter sent to prospective ticket buyers.
Howard, who is from Atlanta, and Paul are scheduled to become unrestricted free agents July 1. As each currently is under contract, with the Lakers and Clippers respectively, a team is not allowed to speak about them publicly.
The letter, obtained by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, was sent via email by a member of the ticket-sales department. It was on team letterhead and headlined “Hot New Player news: Chris Paul and Dwight Howard.” It began with the statement: “The buzz around our offseason is more than heating up. With massive cap space, 4 draft picks, and free agency rapidly approaching, we sit in the best position in the NBA. Player interest is skyrocketing as the possibilities of landing Chris Paul & Dwight Howard become more and more of a reality.”
The letter included a link to a story on ESPN.com reporting that Paul was unhappy with the notion that he played a role in the dismissal of coach Vinny Del Negro last month.
AJC–Carroll Rogers talks about how the Braves bullpen has been doing well of late:
Braves relievers outshined a tough Pirates bullpen in a three-game sweep. The Braves and Pirates entered Wednesday’s game tied for the NL lead in bullpen ERA at 2.67, but Braves relievers gave up only one run in seven innings over the series. The Pirates relievers gave up seven runs in 14 1/3 innings.
The only run allowed by the Braves bullpen over the past eight games came Friday night in the second inning of relief for rookie left-hander Alex Wood. But the left-hander with the mid-90s fastball has already impressed with his mound presence and command.
“There are always guys down there that can do the job,” Gonzalez said. “Managers and coaches have just got to trust them, feel comfortable that they can do the job, and then keep putting them in spots where they’re going to be successful. It also helps when you know the ninth inning is going to be covered by (closer Craig) Kimbrel.”