By Jay Levin, Nashville Predators
Preds goaltender Pekka Rinne is in the Finals of the EA Sports NHL 13 Cover Vote, edging NY Islanders forward John Tavares in the Semifinals, Chicago Blackhawks forward Patrick Sharp in Round 1 and NY Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist in Round 2. Voting for the Finals runs from Tuesday, May 29 through Monday, June 4.
Rinne is matched-up against Philadelphia Flyers forward Claude Giroux in the Final Round. The winner of the cover vote campaign will be unveiled as the EA SPORTS NHL® 13 Cover Athlete at the 2012 NHL Awards™ on June 20 at the Wynn Las Vegas in Las Vegas.
Click here to learn more about the NHL ’13 Cover Vote.
BRENTWOOD, Tenn. – Austin Peay State University baseball student-athlete Jon Clinard has been selected as the recipient of the 2012 Ohio Valley Conference Steve Hamilton Sportsmanship Award. The award will be officially presented on June 1 at the Conference’s annual Honors Brunch in Nashville.
The award is given annually to an Ohio Valley Conference male or female student-athlete of junior or senior standing who best exemplifies the characteristics of the late Morehead State student-athlete, coach and administrator Steve Hamilton. Criteria include significant athletics performance along with good sportsmanship and citizenship. The award is voted on by the Conference’s athletics directors and sports information directors.
Hamilton competed on OVC Championship teams in each baseball, basketball and track while at Morehead State. He earned his bachelor’s degree in 1958 and a master’s degree also from Morehead Sate in 1963. He went on to have an 11-year major-league pitching career and coached in the minor leagues before returning to MSU in 1976 to become head baseball coach. He held that position for 13 years and compiled a 305-275 record while leading the Eagles to five divisional championships and two OVC titles. He was named Morehead State’s Director of Athletics in July 1988 and served in that position until his death in 1997. As the A.D., Hamilton led the program to success on the field, in facilities and in the classroom. During his tenure, a weight room was built, an academic counselor for athletes was added, graduation rates of student-athletes improved and the University won the OVC Academic Achievement Banner four times. Hamilton is the only individual to play in the NCAA Basketball Championship, a Major League Baseball World Series (New York Yankees) and a National Basketball Association Championship Series (Minnesota Lakers).
Playing infield, outfield and designated hitter for the Austin Peay baseball team, Clinard helped the Governors to back-to-back regular season and OVC Tournament championships each of the past two years. During the year he played in 58 games, hitting .272 with 62 hits, 42 runs, seven doubles, a triple, two home runs, 39 RBI and six stolen bases. Overall for his four-year career he has started over 175 games and ranks in the Top 20 in APSU history in stolen bases, hits, runs scored, triples and walks.
Clinard was named to the OVC All-Rookie Team in 2009 and was a second-team All-OVC pick as a second baseman in 2010. Last season he helped the Govs to the OVC regular season and tournament championships and a victory over Georgia Tech in the NCAA Regional. This year the team will play in the Oregon Regional against the host Ducks on Friday night.
In the classroom Clinard owns a 3.3 grade point average as a math major with a distributive teaching emphasis and a professional education minor. He has been a member of the APSU Athletics Director’s Honor Roll every semester of his collegiate career, an OVC Commissioner’s Honor Roll selection and is member of the Pi Mu Epsilon math honors society.
Clinard has been an officer in the Austin Peay Student-Athlete Advisory Council (SAAC), President of the FCA Huddle Group and a member of the Galois Math Club. He attended the NCAA Leadership Conference in 2011 and was recently presented the Austin Peay Student-Athlete Leader Award.
The native of Cleveland, Tenn. has been a camp leader at numerous local children’s camps at Austin Peay, a speaker on the importance of college education at youth campus in his hometown, a guest reader at local elementary schools, participated in the FCA Food Drive, is a student leader in the Aqua College Ministry, a baseball Bible study leader, and participated in World Changers, a mission project that helped people in need in Savannah, Ga.
The Steve Hamilton Sportsmanship Award is being awarded for the 14th time in 2012. Clinard is the seventh different Austin Peay student-athlete to win the award and first since Carrie Burggraf won back-to-back awards in 2009 and 2010.
Other OVC student-athletes nominated for the award in 2011-12 included Eastern Illinois’ Bridget Sanchez (track and field), Eastern Kentucky’s Emory Attig (football), Jacksonville State’s Lauren Harkins (volleyball), Morehead State’s Emma Keough (volleyball), Murray State’s Mariah Robinson (basketball), Southeast Missouri State’s Paige Dossey (volleyball), SIUE’s Jessica Hemann (volleyball), Tennessee State’s Lawrence Washington (tennis), Tennessee Tech’s Lindsey Reed (soccer) and UT Martin’s Jenna Miller (volleyball).
The City of Clarksville Parks and Recreation Department’s Youth Recreation Leagues will kick off the season with an opening ceremony at 10 a.m. June 2 at Heritage Park.
The ceremony will feature Autumn Ferrier singing the National Anthem and the Clarksville Police Department Honor Guard, will present the colors. All teams should wear their uniforms. Individual and team pictures will be taken.
For more details on the Opening Ceremony of the Youth Recreation Leagues, please contact the Clarksville Parks and Recreation at 931-645-7476 or visit www.cityofclarksville.com.
First baseman Freddie Freeman missed another start Monday because of continuing vision problems, and there is no easy solution.
Wind and dry air in Colorado when the Braves played the Rockies on May 4-6 were only the beginning. His actual prescription has changed since, from 1.5 in each eye to 1.75 and 2, and that isn’t all.
Freeman no longer is able to make tears, not even after a procedure to plug the lower ducts.
The idea was that plugging the ducts would force the upper ducts to produce tears that would wash over and cleanse his eyes. But that hasn’t happened. His frustration and worry grow each day.
Because catcher Brian McCann experienced vision problems after laser surgery, Freeman has been reluctant to go that route. But he’s starting to reconsider.
“This is a nightmare,” Freeman said.
Freeman is waiting for specially-designed glasses that will, he hopes, offer wraparound vision. Regular glasses are not an option for him at the plate because of his batting stance.
His face is not square to the plate, so he needs to be able to see the ball coming from the side. To change his stance so he can see the ball is obviously not a good idea for someone who recently became the Braves’ three-hole hitter.
Freeman has had no depth perception since Colorado, and in Cincinnati, where the Braves were swept by the Reds in a four-game series May 21-24, he was seeing two balls coming at him.
The original problem was that wind-blown dirt scratched the cornea in the right eye and the outside of his left eye. But he was able to continue playing because the blurring wasn’t in the middle of his vision.
That changed, and he sat out the May 15 game when the Reds were at Turner Field. He sat out again on the 24th.
After that, manager Fredi Gonzalez made the decision to sit him down after seeing how frustrated and uncomfortable Freeman was in batting practice.
Infielder-outfielder Eric Hinske is holding down the fort in Freeman’s absence. He’s more agile than he looks, although not as tall as Freeman, so he can’t grab everything Freeman does. But he’s no three-hole hitter on offense.
In Monday’s 8-2 loss to the Cardinals, that role was filled by McCann, starting for the first time since he was felled by the flu May 22. He went 0 for 4, but felt good. Good enough that he expects to start on Tuesday.
MLB Team Report – Atlanta Braves – NOTES, QUOTES
–C Brian McCann made his first start since May 21. He’s suffered from a major case of the flu since then, and is still raspy, sniffling and weak. But he wants to play and the Braves need his bat. He hit third Monday, going 0-for-4. But he felt good. Good enough that he expects to start on Tuesday.
–1B Freddie Freeman remains out because of vision issues. He is expecting custom sports glasses that will wrap around, allowing him to maintain his batting stance, which doesn’t have him directly facing the pitcher.
–3B Chipper Jones, on the disabled list because of a severe left ankle bruise, is able to do leg presses but not leg extensions or hamstring curls, so he is concerned about atrophy in his calf and quad muscles.
–LHP Jonny Venters’s ball is going sideways instead of up and down, and the reason appears to be a hitch in his mechanics. He’s tinkering with the positioning of his hand.
–RHP Kris Medlen said he doesn’t consistently have a feel for his pitches since his Tommy John surgery, and he thinks that’s because his arm slot might be a little higher than it was before.
BY THE NUMBERS: .299 — CF Michael Bourn’s batting average, the first time it’s been under .300 since April 20.
QUOTE TO NOTE: “This is a nightmare.” — 1B Freddie Freeman, on his ongoing vision problems.
BRAVES MEDICAL WATCH
–3B Juan Francisco (right hamstring) was injured May 26, and he didn’t start May 27.
–C David Ross (groin pull) left the May 25 game, and he didn’t play May 26-27. He’s day-to-day.
–C Brian McCann (flu-like symptoms) did not play May 22-24. He was pressed into duty May 25, but he didn’t start May 26-27. He is day-to-day.
–1B Freddie Freeman (blurred vision) did not play May 24. He returned May 25, but he didn’t play May 26-27.
–3B Chipper Jones (bruised left calf) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to May 24. He had his bruise — officially a hematoma — drained May 26.
–RHP Peter Moylan (right shoulder surgery in October 2011) was long-tossing as of mid-May. He might throw his first bullpen session in late May.
–RHP Arodys Vizcaino (Tommy John surgery in March 2012) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to March 26. He is expected to miss the entire season.
–LHP Robert Fish (left elbow tendinitis) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to March 26.
RHP Tommy Hanson
LHP Mike Minor
RHP Brandon Beachy
RHP Randall Delgado
RHP Tim Hudson
RHP Craig Kimbrel (closer)
LHP Jonny Venters
LHP Eric O’Flaherty
RHP Kris Medlen
RHP Cristhian Martinez
RHP Chad Durbin
RHP Livan Hernandez
1B Freddie Freeman
2B Dan Uggla
SS Tyler Pastornicky
3B Martin Prado
INF Juan Francisco
INF Jack Wilson
LF Matt Diaz
CF Michael Bourn
RF Jason Heyward
OF/INF Eric Hinske
By Kevin Wilson, Nashville Predators
Nashville, Tenn. (May 30, 2012) – Nashville Predators President of Hockey Operations/General Manager David Poile announced today that the club has signed free agent defenseman Joonas Järvinen (YOH-nuhs JAHR-vehn-en) to a two-year, two-way contract.
Järvinen, 23 (1/5/89), played his first season with Pelicans Lahti of the Finnish League (SM-Liiga) in 2011-12, ranking second among all league skaters in plus/minus rating (+28), fourth in penalty minutes (125) and among the League’s Top 20 defensemen in points (5g-18a-23pts). The 6-3, 220-pound blueliner posted six points (3g-3a) in 17 2012 playoff games, helping Lahti reach the SM-Liiga Finals and earn a silver medal. The native of Turku, Finland spent his first four professional seasons with his hometown team, TPS Turku, helping them claim the SM-Liiga title in 2010.
Järvinen participated in his first World Championship tournament earlier this month, recording three assists in 10 games for Finland. He has also represented Finland on the international stage at the 2008 and 2009 World Junior Championships, and the 2007 World Under-18 Championships.
Murray State’s Canaan, Eastern Kentucky’s Kosgei Named OVC Athletes of the Year
BRENTWOOD, Tenn. – For the second-straight year athletes from the sports of men’s basketball and cross country/track and field have been selected as the Ohio Valley Conference Athletes of the Year for 2011-12 in voting by the league’s athletics directors and sports information directors.
Murray State University junior guard Isaiah Canaan, the OVC Player of the Year and a first-team All-American, was selected as the OVC Male Athlete of the Year, while , the 2011 OVC Cross Country Athlete of the Year and 2012 OVC Indoor Track Athlete of the Year and an All-American in both cross country and indoor track, was named OVC Female Athlete of the Year. The two winners will receive their awards at the League’s annual Honors Brunch on June 1 in Nashville.
Austin Peay's Vanja Tomic was a nominee for OVC Female Athlete of the Year.
Other female nominees for the award included Austin Peay senior tennis player Vanja Tomic, Eastern Illinois sophomore pole vaulter Jade Riebold, Jacksonville State senior libero Lauren Harkins, Morehead State junior golfer Marisa Kamelgarn, Murray State junior sprinter Alexis Love, Southeast Missouri State senior midfielder Lauren Bozesky, Tennessee State senior middle blocker Shaquita Williams, Tennessee Tech senior guard Tacarra Hayes and UT Martin senior shortstop Jenny Bain.
Other male nominees for the award included Austin Peay junior tennis player Sean Bailey, Eastern Illinois senior sprinter Zye Boey, Eastern Kentucky senior shortstop Richie Rodriguez, Jacksonville State senior pitcher Todd Hornsby, Morehead State senior third baseman Andrew Deeds, Southeast Missouri State senior quarterback Matt Scheible, Tennessee State senior triple jumper Avian Hughes, Tennessee Tech senior wide receiver Tim Benford and UT Martin junior pitcher Dan Tobik.
Canaan was the leader of the Murray State men’s basketball team that completed a 31-2 season (tying the most wins in OVC history), won both the OVC regular season and tournament championships, advanced to the third round of the NCAA Tournament, was ranked as high as No. 7 nationally (the highest-ranking in school history and first OVC team to be ranked in the Top 10 since the 1970-71 season), was the last undefeated team in Division I at 23-0 and the only team to be undefeated in road games (13-0). Canaan averaged 19.0 points/game which ranked him 24th nationally, while also ranking among the national leaders in 3-point percentage (6th, 45.6%) and 3-pointers made/game (13th, 2.97). He scored a season-high 36 points against Southern Miss in the championship game of the Great Alaskan Shootout (the output was the ninth-most in single-game Great Alaskan Shootout history), leading the Racers to the title at the 34th annual event. Canaan was named MVP of the tournament after averaging 25.3 points, 5.7 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 1.7 steals/game in the three Murray State victories. He also led the Racers to victories over nationally-ranked Memphis and Saint Mary’s during the year. Following the season he was named an All-American by seven different outlets including the Wooden Team (one of 10 total players), The Sporting News (first-team), CBSSports.com (first-team), Associated Press (second-team), USBWA (second-team), NABC (third-team) and Lute Olson Team. He was also one of five finalists for the Bob Cousy Award, given to the nation’s top point guard.
Canaan is the sixth different Murray State student-athlete to be named OVC Male Athlete of the Year and first since De’Teri Mayes earned the honor in 1997-98. All the winners (who have won eight combined awards) have been men’s basketball players. Overall it marks the fourth time in the last five years that the OVC Male Athlete of the Year has been a men’s basketball player.
Kosgei capped her career at Eastern Kentucky by earning All-American honors in both cross country and indoor track and field during the 2011-12 season. She began the year by winning the OVC Cross Country Championship in a 5K time of 17:43.69 (the fastest winning time since 2007) and being voted the OVC Female Cross Country Athlete of the Year. At the NCAA Southeast Regional competition she was second out of 240 competitors in becoming the first-ever Eastern Kentucky female (and just sixth OVC female runner) to qualify for the NCAA Cross Country Championship. At the national meet she finished 37th out of 254 runners, marking the second-best finish in OVC history and earning All-American honors. During the indoor track and field season Kosgei was named OVC Female Track Athlete of the Week five times and set EKU records in both the 3,000 (9:21.40) and 5,000 meters (16:03.66), the later breaking a 34-year old school record. Prior to the OVC Indoor Championship she was named OVC Female Indoor Track Athlete of the Year award for the second-straight season and after winning the 800 (in the second-fastest time in school history), the mile and the 3,000 meters was named the OVC Track Athlete of the Championship. At the NCAA Indoor Championship was earned second-team All-American honors after finishing 11th in the 5,000 meters. Kosgei was also the only runner (male or female) in the OVC to be named to the prestigious USTFCCCA All-Academic Cross Country team.
Kosgei is the fifth different Eastern Kentucky student-athlete to be named OVC Female Athlete of the Year and second in a row, as Kat Pagano was named the award winner last year. Each of the five EKU winners (who have won the award six total times) have been part of the cross country and track and field programs.
The OVC first awarded a Male Athlete of the Year award in 1977 and gave out the first Female Athlete of the Year in 1981.
Because of their unaesthetic approach to the game and their sharp-tongued, no-nonsense coach, the Spurs have long been labeled as a “boring” team by many casual fans.
After nearly running the Thunder out of the gym in a 120-111 win in Game 2 of the Western Conference Finals, the Spurs didn’t quite shed their boring label Tuesday night.
Instead, they simply peeled it off and slapped it on a suitcase bound for Oklahoma City.
Also on the suitcase? A note attached reading, “Next stop: NBA Finals.”
At some point during Tuesday’s win which gave the Spurs a commanding 2-0 series lead, a large percentage of the country seemed to collectively embrace that this Spurs team is special.
Tweets, calls and text messages began to flow as the boys from San Antone began to flex their muscles against the Thunder – the chic pick (including this genius right here) – to challenge the (presumably) Heat in next month’s NBA Finals.
Up 55-44 at the break, the Spurs lead began to balloon throughout the third quarter as Tony Parker and Tim Duncan began to look more and more like the dynamic duo that helped guide the franchise to three titles within the last decade.
(Parker was especially brilliant, finishing with 34 points on 16-of-21 shooting while handing out eight assists.)
In the fourth, however, the upstart Thunder began to slowly chip away at the Spurs lead, trimming the deficit to 103-96 with 4:16 to play.
That’s when another Spurs championship stalwart – Manu Ginobli – took over, scoring eight back-breaking points and lifting Popovich’s squad to within six wins of another NBA title.
And while the Thunder could surprise us and suddenly make this a series, don’t count on it.
Through two games, the Spurs (led by Parker’s seemingly unstoppable pick-and-rolls) have shredded the Thunder defensively to the tune of 110.5 points per game.
The Thunder entered this series as the ninth-best defensive team in the playoffs, allowing just 92.8 points per contest.
Still not convinced the NBA Finals won’t be starting in San Antonio on June 12?
Think about this: With Tuesday’s win the Spurs have now won 20 consecutive games (10 of which have come in these playoffs).
With the series heading back to OKC, the Thunder have to beat the Spurs four times in the next five games to stave off elimination in the conference finals for a second consecutive season.
So while Duncan, Parker, Ginobli and the rest of the Spurs prepare to head to OKC for Game 3 and 4 on Thursday and Saturday, I wouldn’t anticipate a return trip.
That’d suit the boring old Spurs just fine.
After a great Memorial Day weekend, it’s time for a dose of the CSN/From the Sideline Titans Feed for May 29, 2012.
In this edition, TitanSized.com knows the Titans aren’t in a rush to name a starting quarterback between Jake Locker and Matt Hasselbeck.
CBSports.com’s Matt Rybaltowski has the latest RapidReports about the Titans, including the five to watch in OTA’s.
The Tennessean’s John Glennon pens on Nate Washington’s hopes to continue last year’s success.
NFL.com’s Dan Hanzus opines that the pressure is on Chris Johnson to get back to what he was.
Things never quite materialized the way TyShwan Edmondson or the Austin Peay-fan base had quite hoped during his two years at Austin Peay.
In his first season in 2010-11, Edmondson was instrumental in helping the Govs go 6-0 in the OVC. But team was never quite able to keep that early momentum going and went 15-13 over the next two seasons, finishing 13-5 and 8-8 in league play over the two years and ending with a stunning first-round loss to Jacksonville State in the first round of the 2012 OVC Basketball Tournament. Just the Govs second loss ever to JSU.
Edmondson was recently featured in a HoopsWorld.com story by Yannis Koutroupis, Senior NBA Writer & College Basketball Editor titles: “Seniors Under The Radar: Part Four”, a part of his evaluation of draft talent for the upcoming NBA Draft.
You can read the entire story here, TyShwan’s portion of the story is below.
You can also listen to Yannis Koutroupis talk about his story on From the Sideline at 3 p.m. today on WJZM and WJZM.com or catch the podcast here.
Senior Slump Motivating Edmondson/HoopsWorld.com story by Yannis Koutroupis, Senior NBA Writer & College Basketball Editor
There were high hopes surrounding the Austin Peay basketball team coming into this season. They were the preseason favorites to with the Ohio Valley Conference, thanks largely in part to Tyshawn Edmondson. Edmondson, who originally played at St. John’s out of high school, was coming off of a big junior year in which he averaged 17 points a contest.
Those high hopes quickly turned into disappointment as the Governors failed to live up to expectations. They finished the year 12-20 and just 8-8 in league play. Edmondson’s scoring average fell all the way down to 12 points in what was just a nightmare season. It’s a season that has really motivated Edmondson over these last few weeks and will continue to do so the rest of his career.
“We had the same team as last year but we just didn’t click together for some reason,” Edmondson said to HOOPSWORLD. “Some guys were more selfish than others. Some of us wanted to play team ball. We weren’t really flowing together, doing what we need to do to win. We were picked the win the league, but we just weren’t playing together like we were the year before. Some were trying to get theirs, others were trying to play together so we could win.
“I’m happy that I had the opportunity to play D-I basketball and being able to show my talent. I wasn’t as good as everyone expected me to be. We didn’t finish too well, we were a really good team. I could have done some things differently to help us out, but I have to live it. It’s definitely something that I think about. It’s always in the back of my head. I think if my season went different I might have a better chance than I have now. I feel like it’s definitely motivation because I just know that I can play with the top players. I’m happy I’m getting to opportunity to play at the pro level.”
The weeks leading up to the draft will be all about Edmondson showing the things that he wasn’t able to show at Austin Peay during his final year of eligibility. If that’s the only time you saw Edmondson play, then you only got a glimpse of who he truly is.
“I don’t think too many people have seen me explode like I can,” Edmondson said. “They know I can shoot, but I don’t think they know I can run the pick-and-roll as well because the stuff we ran at Austin Peay wasn’t really guard oriented. It was more for the big man. I wasn’t really able to show what I can do often, but I’m sure I’ll be able to show them throughout this summer.
“I know the game real well when I’m out there. I can use the pick and roll real well, pick and pop. I can shoot it well. I’m explosive as a point guard. Many point guards aren’t explosive. I’m one of them. I feel like I can do some big things. I’m quick, fast, so I feel like I can do good in the NBA.”
Edmondson spent most of his time in college playing shooting guard, but wants to make the transition to being the primary ball handler at the next level.
“I think that’s something I can be comfortable with,” Edmondson said. “If they need me to score, I can. But, I can also find other people real well and put other people in situations where they can score real well. That’s something I’ve been practicing on every day, finding other people and trying to see ways I can get other people open instead of trying to score all the time.
“I’m hoping that (my height) helps me stand out. I can also play combo guard. I’m leaning more to try and play the point because I can really be good at that. I can see over most guards. I can see the floor real well. I’m hoping that will stand out and put me a little bit above the other competition.”
The more Edmondson shows to NBA teams the better, because as he acknowledged he does have some ground to make up after a down year at Austin Peay. Luckily, he has plenty of time and opportunities to do so.
… Colby Wilson was unable to write his usual column this week. He’s visiting shamans in Tibet right now, seeking to find a divine solution for the Braves hitting problems. If that leads to us all chanting hymns to Ryan Klesko, making bat hats and leaving rum for Jobu, so be it.
In place of the usual Braves Report, Colby’s good-natured and sarcasm-free cousin Bernard will fill in. Bernard is a full-time Braves follower as well, only instead of the profanity-laced tirade this debacle of a week deserved, Bernard will educate us on the finer points of this Braves team that made a mockery of the game of baseball for the past seven days.
Bernard, the floor is yours …
It’s a pleasure to be with you today. Boy, wasn’t the weather nice this week? Ah, May the most magical of months. What a lovely week. I hope you all had a splendid Memorial Day, and a big shout-out to our troops for allowing us all to live in this great nation.
This Braves team did not have the most success last week, there can be no doubt. It was a very tough time for the boys of summer who reside in Turner Field. Sweeps at the hands of the Reds and Nationals sent the crimson-and-navy spiraling to the bottom of the National League East in the first true rough patch since the opening weekend of the campaign.
It’s true that times are hard right now. But we’ve not quite exited May yet; is it possible that the sky isn’t falling? Four games out in August would be worrisome; four games out in May can be made up as quickly as it was lost. Remember: the Marlins fired their manager in May back in 2003 and went on to win the World Series. Teams can bounce back, especially a veteran team like this.
Not only is being four games out an easy fix in May, but let’s also remember who we didn’t see on the line-up card this week. No Chipper Jones, no Brian McCann and very limited appearances from Freddie Freeman are detrimental to a line-up no matter the opponent. Once those guys get back to full strength – or full vision, in the case of Freeman – the line-up will once more have more punch than your average fifth-grader.
With those three gone, the Braves would need more than a bit of luck to tread water against terrible opponents. Unfortunately, the Reds and Nationals are division leaders and thus, much better than terrible. Few teams could survive losing a vital cog of their line-up and beating those two squads; the Braves lost three of the best hitters in the line-up. These things happen – albeit usually not all at once – and teams struggle. It’s not the end, people.
Some of the role players needed to take on a bigger role this week but just weren’t up to it. Led by Eric Hinske, who hit a ghastly .059, the reserves weren’t able to adequately fill the usual starters’ shoes over the past seven days. But isn’t that why they are reserves? What are we to expect of Hinske, who can only hit righties, and Matt Diaz, who can only hit lefties, when they have to contribute more than that? What about career minor-leaguer J.C. Boscan, who went from catching in Triple-A to starting in the bigs in less than 48 hours after David Ross went down? I kept expecting bullpen coach Eddie Perez and his awesome mustache to come out of the bullpen and catch a few games at 44 years old.
And lost in all the gloom and doom of the past few weeks has been continued excellence of Martin Prado. The leftfielder has been raking (.468 average over the last two weeks) while the rest of the line-up has been wilting and is the seventh-best hitter in the National League for the season at .326. Well-done, Martin.
The season goes on, same as it has in the past and much as it will in the future. Each day there will be a new opponent and a new opportunity to snap this losing streak and get back to winning. And it will be a blessing when that time comes because the schedule offers no quarter for the foreseeable future. The Cardinals and Nats are this week’s opponents and the month of June proffers the entire American League East, a division where every team is currently at or above .500.
So for those of you lost in a wave of unhappiness – such as you miserable mucks who booed Jason Heyward for the unpardonable sin of slipping on the outfield grass on Sunday night – fear not. Either the Braves will turn this around and embark on a long winning streak to render this a mere blemish on an otherwise well-run campaign or the painful memories of last season will combine with the woes of May and sink this team before the halfway point, thereby giving you all something to be miserable about.
The old saying is that it’s always darkest before the dawn – let us hope that is true of this Braves season. And that dawn is almost upon us.