Cameron Maybin needed that home run. His game-winner Sunday against Arizona was his first since the All-Star Break. It also tied his career-high in home runs with nine. Maybin is now hitting .315 (17-54) in the month of August after a bad July (.250). Maybin has also done very well at home this season. He’s hit .322 (59-183) at Turner Field but only .238 (50-210) on the road. Maybin will be playing against his former teammates Monday when the Braves start a series in San Diego against the Padres.
With Maybin helping his value a bit with his solid month of August, you have to wonder if he has passed through waivers and if any team is interested in Maybin. We have two weeks before the August 31 deadline where rosters are frozen for the playoffs.
Nick Markakis had a hit Sunday and is now hitting .327 (18-55) in August. Andrelton Simmons is quietly having a solid month at the plate. After his two hits Sunday, Simmons’ August average is now up to .316.
The numbers for Shelby Miller are ridiculous. Forget about the run support. He has gotten zilch all season and that’s why he hasn’t won a game since May 17. In those 16 games, Miller has allowed just 33 earned runs on 95 hits in 98 innings pitched. That’s an ERA of 3.03. But he’s 0-8 in that span.
Overall this season, Miller has allowed just 124 hits in 152 innings pitched, with 128 strikeouts. His ERA is down to 2.43. His season proves won-loss record for a starting pitcher means very little in looking at a stat line.
Sunday’s return to the Majors for reliever Peter Moylan is quite a success story. After having his second Tommy John surgery in March 2014, not many likely expected the 36-year-old Moylan to ever pitch again. But his arm has felt so good since spring training, it probably surprised no one in the Atlanta organization that Moylan was able to do this.
Remember, this is a pitcher that has had tremendous success in the Major Leagues. He’s got a career ERA of 2.80 in his 310 games, with a 2.59 ERA in 296 games with the Braves. If he’s healthy, Moylan can pitch, and that’s good news for an Atlanta bullpen that has been very inconsistent all season.
One reliever not inconsistent is Arodys Vizcaino, who pitched another scoreless inning Sunday to lower his ERA to 0.54. Vizcaino has now pitched in 18 games and has allowed 10 hits in 16.2 innings, with 16 strikeouts. Talk about a pitcher locking down a significant role in the 2016 bullpen. The only question is whether Vizcaino will be Atlanta’s closer next season.
The Braves are now 53-64 on the season. They have 45 games left this year. The Braves are in third place in the NL East, 9.5 games back of the first-place Mets. With Washington losing six games in a row, the Braves are incredibly only five games back of the Nationals. The Braves are 14.5 back in the wildcard race.
Atlanta has the 8th worst winning percentage in baseball with a .453 mark.
Williams Perez (4-3, 4.21) opens up the series in San Diego Monday night at 10:10. Colin Rea (1-0, 5.40) makes his second big league start for the Padres. It will be a return to Petco Park for Maybin and Jace Peterson, two Braves players who were with the Padres last season. Matt Wisler (5-2, 4.74) will make the start Tuesday for the Braves. He was San Diego’s top prospect when he was dealt to Atlanta in the Craig Kimbrel trade right before the start of the 2015 season.
Justin Upton is hitting .253 on the season with 20 home runs and 64 RBI, while his brother Melvin Upton is hitting a robust .227 with three home runs and eight RBI. That batting average beats the .198 Upton hit in his two seasons with the Braves. Kimbrel has a 2.53 ERA and 33 saves for the Padres this season.
The Braves road record of 21-40 is a main reason they have struggled all season. The team is 32-24 at Turner Field.
On the farm, Mallex Smith continues to be the story for the Gwinnett Braves. Smith was 2-5 Sunday for the Braves as they lost to Columbus 4-3. Smith is now up to .274 (55-201) in Gwinnett and .307 (125-407) overall this season. In August, Smith is now hitting .352 (25-71) with 11 stolen bases.
Gwinnett starter Tyrell Jenkins was lifted after two innings Sunday. The media notes after the game simply listed it was for “unknown reasons.” We’ll monitor that to see if there is any injury with a pitcher that has had a tremendous season in Atlanta’s organization.
There are two pitchers to watch Monday on the farm. Touki Toussaint (3-4, 6.33) will pitch for the Rome Braves in Charleston. Hector Olivera will be his third baseman. And Mike Soroka (0-1, 1.50) pitches for Danville in Elizabethton.
Listen to “The Bill Shanks Show” from 3-6 p.m. weekdays on WPLA Fox Sports 1670 AM in Macon and online at http://www.foxsports1670.com/. Follow Bill at twitter.com/BillShanks and email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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