Braves off Monday before starting set in NYC

The Braves start a three-game series in New York Tuesday. Can Jason Grilli continue to get saves?

The Braves are off Monday after winning two out of three in Toronto. Atlanta has an 8-4 record and is a game and a half back of the Mets (10-3) in the National League East. The Braves have today off in New York and, according to Jason Grilli, may crash the Jimmy Fallon Tonight Show before they start a three-game series against the Mets on Tuesday night.

Shelby Miller was very good Sunday, as he allowed just two runs in six innings. Miller is now 2-0 with a 1.69 ERA. The right-hander looks like he’s going to be a horse in the Atlanta rotation.

Jason Grilli is tied with Jeurys Familia of the Mets with six saves to lead all of baseball. That’s pretty good considering two weeks ago the Braves weren’t sure what would happen with the closer’s role after the trade of Craig Kimbrel to San Diego.

Cody Martin continued his solid work Sunday with a scoreless 1.1 innings of work. Martin has 13 strikeouts in nine innings, with only two walks. His ERA is 1.00 in seven appearances.

It would not hurt the Braves to have a long appearance by a starter this week. There are four relievers (Martin, Jim Johnson, Luis Avilan and Brandon Cunniff) that have seven games pitched through the first 12 games of the season.

The Braves have 13 home runs in the first 12 games of the season, which is third best in the National League. Last year the Braves were next to last in baseball in runs scored. This year through two weeks the Braves have the fifth most runs scored with 54, an average of 4.5 runs per game.

Nick Markakis is off to a great start for his new team, leading the Braves in hits (15), walks (8), on base percentage (.479) and batting average (.375).

Trevor Cahill (0-1, 15.43 ERA) will take on Jon Niese (1-0, 1.59) Tuesday at 7:10 in game one of the series at Citi Field. Then in game two Wednesday Eric Stults (0-1, 6.30) goes for the Braves against Mets’ pitcher Dillon Gee (0-1, 7.59). There is an afternoon game Thursday at 1:10 with Julio Teheran (2-0, 3.71) on the hill against Bartolo Colon (3-0, 2.25).

Atlanta then starts a three-game series in Philadelphia on Friday before returning back to Turner Field next Monday to take on the Washington Nationals.

In the minor leagues, the Gwinnett Braves are waiting for top prospect Jose Peraza to get going. He’s hitting only .195 through the first 10 games of the season. One player off to a hot start is Mallex Smith, the speedster acquired from the Padres in the Justin Upton trade. Smith is hitting .361 with a .400 OBP and six stolen bases.

The Braves affiliates are not hitting many home runs so far. Gwinnett has just one on the entire team, while Mississippi has three. Four players have hit a single home run for Carolina, while Rome has just one home run when Braxton Davidson hit one on opening night. That’s nine home runs in the entire system and no player has hit more than one.

How are some of the former Braves doing so far this season? Jason Heyward is hitting .213 and he finally hit a home run a couple of days ago. Justin Upton is hitting .326 for the Padres with three home runs and eight runs batted in. Craig Kimbrel got his fourth saves of the season Friday and then lost the game Saturday in Wrigley Field against the Cubs. Evan Gattis is hitting .119 so far this season for Houston.

Listen to “The Bill Shanks Show” from 3-6 p.m. weekdays on WPLA Fox Sports 1670 AM in Macon and online at Follow Bill at and email him at

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