Three Cuts: Braves trip D-backs; Kimbrel breaks saves record
Jun 7, 2014 at 7:02a ET
1. Craig Kimbrel will forever be The Man in Atlanta, saves-wise
FOX Sports South's Zach Dillard addressed Kimbrel's record-breaking 155th save in great length here.
The 26-year-old wunderkind officially eclipsed John Smoltz (154 saves) as the Braves' all-time saves leader -- a mark that only took 49 months of MLB service time to achieve.
As a result, Kimbrel has an excellent chance of piling on 45-50 saves for each of the next 6-8 seasons -- thus putting great distance between himself and any other future Braves closer who dreams of being top dog with the franchise.
Kimbrel's historic save was somewhat uneventful, with Aaron Hill and David Peralta lining out to open the ninth inning ... before Tuffy Gosewisch -- perhaps the coolest name of any professional catcher -- popped out to end the game.
Of course, that has been Kimbrel's modus operandi in his four years as the Braves' closer (he was Billy Wagner's setup man as a rookie -- 2010).
Of his last 12 appearances (including Friday), Kimbrel has allowed one or zero runners to reach base 10 times.
And last year, citing a phenomenal stretch from mid-May to early September, Kimbrel yielded just one earned run over 46 appearances ... while collecting 35 saves during that span.
Think about that for a second.
2. The Braves (32-27, 1st in NL East) were wise to bring their hot bats on the road trip
For the second time in 10 days, the Braves 1-8 hitters tallied at least one hit in the same game. It's a modestly impressive feat for a club that ranked in the bottom-six for hits, on-base percentage and runs heading into this crucial West Coast swing (seven games).
On Friday, Jason Heyward and Jordan Schafer were the lineup anchors -- literally and figuratively -- rolling for three hits apiece in the 1st and 8th slots.
In Schafer's case, this marked his first multiple-hit game of the season ... and just his second, third and fourth hits since April 23.
As for Heyward (three hits, three runs, three RBI), his two-run homer in the fifth inning (scoring Schafer) gave the Braves a lead they'd never fully relinquish.
After Arizona tied the game at 2 in the bottom of the 5th, Atlanta added one run in the 7th (thanks to Andrelton Simmons' RBI double) and two more in the 9th (the result of Heyward and Justin Upton RBI singles).
Overall, it was a productive night for an offense has the potential for six more games of five-plus and/or double-digit hits on this trip (Arizona, Colorado) -- as the Braves get a taste of two hitter-friendly ballparks (Chase Field, Coors Field).
3. Julio Teheran is steadily (and stealthily) making his case for the All-Star Game
At age 23, perhaps Teheran doesn't yet harbor grand aspirations of representing the Braves at the Midsummer Classic next month (Minneapolis). On the flip side, maybe it's one of his prime motivating factors every fifth day.
Either way, the kid has been electric in his second full year in the majors, posting a seasonal ERA of 1.89 and allowing just two runs or less in 11 of 13 starts.
Teheran was in control of the Diamondbacks throughout the night, surrendering just two runs and five hits over seven superb innings.
Yes, he allowed a solo homer to Didi Gregorius and an RBI single to pitcher Brandon McCarthy ... but the Atlanta ace also didn't face more than five hitters in any frame -- avoiding the big inning at every turn.
3a. It'll take time getting used to saying the 'first-place Miami Marlins' ... even when it's not relevant
On Friday afternoon, just moments before the Marlins and Cubs opened up a weekend series at Wrigley Field, the MLB Network analysts were having a field day with Miami's (temporary) rise to power in the National League East standings, suggesting the franchise could make the playoffs sooner than expected.
Yes, the Marlins (32-29) deserve credit for holding strong in the standings -- despite the season-ending loss of ace pitcher Jose Fernandez -- but it's not realistic to say they'll be playing meaningful games in mid-to-late September.
The Marlins are a feel-good story, for sure. But here's the reality of the situation:
**Miami is 10-18 on the road
**The Marlins are batting just .245 away from their home digs, with an equally marginal on-base percentage of .301.
**Beginning July 3, the precocious Marlins will be staring at three long road trips -- of nine games or more -- over the final three months of the season.