Bud L. Ellis's Atlanta Braves Fan Profile

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Atlanta sports news, opinions and discussion

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Former sports writer who lives outside Atlanta and follows all Atlanta sports.

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Bud L. Ellis's Weblog Posts

Woodson has earned the right to stay at Hawks' helm posted on 06/12/2008

ATLANTA -- With a swipe of his pen, Mike Woodson will remain as head coach of the Atlanta Hawks.

Good move.

When things go wrong, the coach often gets the blame. But has any coach in recent professional sports history inherited more of a mess than Woodson, whose four years on the job has been marked by a complete overhaul of the roster, a 13-win season, mostly empty seats at Philips Arena, a failed move by then-general manager Billy Knight to fire him, and a nasty ownership spat that still sits unresolved in the courts.

But something seemed to click with the Hawks toward the end of last season. Atlanta -- which hadn't qualified for the NBA playoffs since 1999 -- won 37 games, not impressive, but in the Eastern Conference, enough to earn the eighth and final playoff spot.

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Roster shuffle leaves Anderson out ... for some reason posted on 06/12/2008

Josh Anderson can run.

The speedy outfielder stole 40 bases at Triple-A Round Rock last season. Called up to Houston in September, he hit .358 in 21 games. This season, at Triple-A Richmond, Anderson stole 13 bases in 16 attempts.

Promoted to the Braves when Mark Kotsay landed on the disabled list with back problems, Anderson hit .318 with two stolen bases, and showed that speed -- something the Braves has historically lacked -- could help jump-start an offense that struggles in the clutch.

So what is the reasoning behind shipping Anderson to Richmond on Wednesday and promoting Brandon Jones, a corner outfielder who struck out twice in the Braves' 7-2 loss at Wrigley?

The only reasonable thought I can come up with on this one is the Braves are showcasing Jones as part of a package to acquire pitching help for their injury-riddled and overworked staff.

Continue reading "Roster shuffle leaves Anderson out ... for some reason"

The beat goes on ... posted on 06/12/2008

Two games down on the current road trip. Eight games to go. One baseball team, sinking fast.

The Braves ran their losing streak to five games Wednesday night and never had a chance against the team with the best record in the bigs. The Cubs lit up emergency starter Jeff Bennett for seven runs and seven hits in two-plus innings, Atlanta falling 7-2 to drop two games below .500.

Bennett climbed the bump after Jair Jurrjens was scratched from the start early Wednesday afternoon. Jurrjens slipped leaving the clubhouse following Tuesday's road-trip-opening 10-5 loss, injuring his ankle. It happened on the same day Tom Glavine left after three innings with a strained elbow, landing the future Hall of Famer on the disabled list, and on the same day John Smoltz underwent season-ending shoulder surgery in Birmingham.

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New starter for tonight's game posted on 06/11/2008

Yep, the injury bug now has bitten one of the Braves' youngsters.

According to some reports on the Web this afternoon, Jair Jurrjens injured his ankle while leaving Wrigley Field last night and will not make his scheduled start tonight against the Cubs.

Jeff Bennett will toe the slab for the Braves, making his first start since April 23. Bennett has made three starts this season: against Pittsburgh on April 3 (the Mike Hampton warming-up, then straining his pec game), against Los Angeles on April 18 and at Florida April 23.

What else can happen to this team? In a span of one day, John Smoltz underwent season-ending shoulder surgery, Tom Glavine landed on the disabled list with a strained elbow, and Jurrjens hurt his ankle.



Continue reading "New starter for tonight's game"

Braves learning a hard lesson on aging pitchers posted on 06/11/2008

By Bud L. Ellis 

ATLANTA -- As the Atlanta Braves prepared to leave Lake Buena Vista, Fla., and close spring training, the franchise that built its success on pitching felt pretty good about 2008.

After five years with the New York Mets, Tom Glavine had returned home to provide stability to the middle of the starting rotation. Mike Hampton threw the ball great in spring and looked poised to return to the majors for the first time since August 2005. And John Smoltz was coming off three very successful seasons as a starter.

But you know what they say about the best-laid plans …

Here we sit on June 11, and combined, the three veteran hurlers have five victories this season. And that number isn’t going to change anytime soon:

Smoltz underwent season-ending surgery Tuesday and has a damaged labrum in his right shoulder. Whether or not the future Hall of Famer can pitch again will be determined in the months to come, but initial reports don’t look favorable for the only man in major league history to win more than 200 games and earn more than 150 saves.

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