Maholm happy to be a Brave
Maholm, you should know, has landed sunny-side up.
Two days ago, Maholm was a red-hot pitcher for one of the worst teams in the Major Leagues, the Chicago Cubs. Saturday, he will start for the Atlanta Braves, who are in the middle of a pennant race.
“It’s exciting,” Maholm said by cell phone. “It’s like being called up to the Big Leagues for the first time again. I loved playing in Chicago, but if I could pick another team to play for it would have been the Braves. They were my team growing up.
“They’ve got a really good team and I’ll be throwing to two great catchers, Brian McCann and David Ross, in baseball. Hopefully, I can go out there every fifth day and give the Braves a chance to win.”
Maholm will make his first Braves start Saturday against the Houston Astros. That gives him a couple of days to recover from the truck driver’s schedule he has experienced the past two days. He drove 15 hours from Chicago to his off-season home in Hattiesburg on Tuesday. Wednesday, with his family in tow, he drove from Hattiesburg to Atlanta.
Maholm, who turned 30 in June, is currently enjoying the best couple months of his eight-year Major League career. He has compiled a 9-6 record for a Cubs team that is 16 games below .500. He is 5-0 over his last six starts with an earned run average of 1.00. Among those recent starts was a 1-0 victory over Tim Hudson and Atlanta.
“Confidence has been a big factor for me,” Maholm said. “I’ve been getting ahead of hitters and I’ve had command of all four of my pitches. I’ve made some adjustments this season, changing speeds more and keeping the ball down.”
Maholm is in the first year of a two-year contract at a salary of $4.7 million per year.
Maholm, born in Greenwood and raised in Holly Springs, was an All-American pitcher for Mississippi State in his junior season (2003) for Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame coach Ron Polk.