Here is our first installment of MLB Power Rankings featuring thoughts on each team from Mark Zuckerman, Chase Hughes and myself, Steve Roney:

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Post info: By Chipper on April 17th, 2014
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Post info: By Chipper on April 17th, 2014
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Completion is set for February 2017

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Post info: By Chipper on April 16th, 2014
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Mother Nature provided the Phillies with an extra day to heal the wounds of Monday nights harrowing 9-6 loss to the Atlanta Braves. The Phillies got excellent work from their bullpen — three wins and a 2.13 ERA — in sweeping the Miami Marlins over the weekend, but Monday night was a different story. B.J. Rosenberg allowed home runs to the only three batters he faced and Jake Diekman, pressed into closers duty because Jonathan Papelbon needed a break after pitching three days in a row, had a tough time throwing strikes before Dan Uggla took him deep for a game-deciding grand slam. After 13 games, the Phillies have the highest bullpen ERA in the National League at 5.53.

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Post info: By Chipper on April 16th, 2014
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The Braves extended their win streak to four games on Monday night with a wild win in Philadelphia, a game that saw them blow a 5-1 lead in the eighth inning, then win it on a Dan Uggla grand slam in the ninth. Ervin Santana was excellent in his second start with the team. The Braves also, however, revealed Craig Kimbrel is dealing with a sore shoulder. Still, it is something to watch as Kimbrel is one of the Braves’ best players and a guy who has killed the Nationals over the years.

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Post info: By Chipper on April 15th, 2014
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It was only a matter of time until Dom Brown got a hold of one, manager Ryne Sandberg said before Monday nights series opener against the Braves at Citizens Bank Park. In the eighth inning with two on, one out and the Phillies trailing by two runs, Brown took what was offered to him from lefty Luis Avilan and ripped it into the seats in right field. The blast gave the Phillies a one-run lead and seemed to put the exclamation point on the end of an improbable comeback against a division rival. After all, the Phillies went into the eighth inning trailing by four runs after reliever B.J. Rosenberg became the first pitcher in at least 100 years to face three batters and allow three homers.

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Post info: By Chipper on April 15th, 2014
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Goodbye, Braves-Though the Nationals would have loved to avoid the sweepthis weekend, they have to be happy to leave Atlanta. The Braves have continued their dominance over the Nationals, pushing their record against Washington to 18-7 over the last two seasons. This year the Nats are 1-5 against their rivals and have been outscored 32 runs to 16. The Nationals continue to have trouble stopping the Braves’ lineup, most notably Justin Upton and Freddie Freeman.

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Post info: By Chipper on April 14th, 2014
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Just a few weeks into the season and the Arizona Diamondbacks are already shuffling their rotation. Arizona will try to avoid its second four-game skid of the season Monday night when it opens a three-game series against the visiting New York Mets. After consecutive 81-81 seasons, the Diamondbacks (4-11) hoped to take a step forward and at least compete for a playoff spot in 2014. Those problems continued Sunday, as Trevor Cahill allowed seven runs over four innings in an 8-6 loss to the Dodgers.

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Post info: By Chipper on April 14th, 2014
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Third baseman Ryan Zimmeran tried to put a positive spin on his broken right thumb and the Washington Nationals’ list of injuries. ”Hopefully we’ll get all this out of the way,” he said, ”and everyone will be healthy the rest of the year.” Zimmerman was placed on the 15-day disabled list Sunday and is expected to miss between four to six weeks. He was injured in the fifth inning of Saturday’s 6-3 loss to the Atlanta Braves while getting picked off as he dove back to second base. ”I thought just my nail had bent back, because the nail was black and blue and bleeding,” Zimmerman said.

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Post info: By Chipper on April 13th, 2014
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Your browser does not support iframes.
Given their sometimes inconvenient positioning on the field, it’s almost inevitable that an umpire will find himself in the line of fire and at some point wear a line drive. Unfortunately for veteran Angel Hernandez that moment came during Friday night’s game between the Washington Nationals and Atlanta Braves at Turner Field.
As the second base umpire, Hernandez was positioned on the infield grass to the first base side of the bag in case of a stolen base attempt. It’s basically the prime position for a field umpire to get hit, because he’s the closest to the plate he’ll be the entire game and he’s wide open on the field of play. Sure enough, Nate McLouth smoked one that was ticketed for right center field but ended up clipping Hernandez’s left ankle.
It was a bad break for the Nationals. With Bryce Harper in motion, he would have easily advanced to third if the ball made it through. It didn’t, and since the umpires are considered in play the play continued unimpeded, meaning he was stuck at second base.
You could also say it was a nice break for the Braves, which may explain why some fans broke out in cheers.
Umpire Angel Hernandez gets hit with a line drive. Braves crowd cheers…
— Brannon Evans (@BrannonEvans) April 12, 2014
Of course, another theory going around is that Hernandez’s reputation as a controversial umpire — see the botched home run review in Cleveland last season — precedes him, and the smug manner in which he handles his on field confrontations hasn’t endeared him to managers, players or fans alike. In other words, the fans were just happy to see Hernandez get lit up by a liner.
It’s entirely possible, because it was just last season that retired Braves legend Chipper Jones encouraged fans to boycott games umpired by Hernandez based on his track record. A boycott is tough to coordinate ahead of time, but it’s definitely easy to boo or cheer him when you know he’s in the stadium.
Not that fans have ever have been shy about expressing their opinions on Hernandez regardless of location.
With Angel Hernandez getting drilled, this was a night that all baseball fans were winners.
— Cochese (@TheCochese) April 12, 2014
To put it simply, if baseball gods really do exist, some prayers were probably answered in Atlanta. Hernandez wasn’t injured. Chances are he wasn’t humbled. But it wasn’t a comfortable night at the office.
BLS H/N: Larry Brown Sports
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Mark Townsend is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at bigleaguestew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!
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View full post on Yahoo Sports – MLB – Atlanta Braves News

Post info: By Chipper on April 13th, 2014
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