McLouth expects to play on Wednesday

Having never previously experienced the excitement of a chase toward the postseason, Nate McLouth certainly isn’t going to allow a little lower back soreness to prevent him from being a part of the excitement he and his Braves teammates have recently created.  <p>

With a secure lead during Tuesday night’s 8-1 win over the Giants, Braves manager Bobby Cox opted to use some precaution by allowing McLouth to rest his back during the final three innings. 

But when reigning National League Cy Young Award winner Tim Lincecum toes the rubber for the Giants on Wednesday night, McLouth plans to be the first Braves batter that he faces.  

“I’ll be in there,”  McLouth said. “I’ll be fine.”

McLouth said he felt a twinge in his back during his first-inning at-bat.  As he beat out a fifth-inning infield single, he showed enough discomfort to at least draw a quick visit from Braves manager Bobby Cox.

As he was receiving treatment in the trainer’s room, McLouth said he was thinking about how exciting the past couple of weeks have been.   With a 13-6 run, the Braves have put themselves in a position that the 27-year-old outfielder never experienced during his days with the Pirates.

“It’s been great the past couple of weeks,” McLouth said. “This is a feeling you want to continue.”

With Arizona’s win over Colorado on Tuesday night, the Braves moved to within three games of the lead in the National League Wild Card standings.  They’re tied with the Cubs and looking up at only the Giants and Rockies.

The Giants and Rockies will stage a three-game series against each other at Coors Field this weekend.   

“Right now, we’re playing all-around good baseball,” Brian McCann said. “We’re hitting great, pitching great and our defense has been unbelievable.   It seems like every night our middle infielders are making highlight plays and it’s rubbing off on everybody else.” 

While McCann supplied four RBIs during Tuesday night’s win, the top highlight was provided courtesy of the acrobatic double play turned by Yunel Escobar and Martin Prado.

“Prado made a great play and Esky the same thing,” McCann said. “They work on that during batting practice all the time.  When you put it to work during the game, it’s fun to watch.   I get the best seat in the house.  Both guys made an unbelievable play.” 

After diving to his right to rob Travis Ishikawa of a first-inning RBI single, Prado flipped to Escobar, who vaulted off the second base bag and made an accurate throw to first base that at least in umpire Tim Timmons’ view beat Ishikawa.

“Somebody said he was safe at first,” Prado said. “It was one of those plays where the umpire gives you that. It was a big play in that inning. I saw him coming to the bag and I just flipped it to the base. That’s the only thing I could do. It was  a reaction play. I just flipped it and he was there and he jumped and threw the ball.”

Prado said that Escobar routinely attempts to make these kinds of acrobatic turns during batting practice.

“Escobar is one of those guys in batting practice that wants to practice those kinds of plays,” Prado said. “That happens once in a while. It happened tonight and he was like ‘You see? I told you it would happen.’ We have a great friendship and he’s a great player. He makes us play harder every day.”

When asked where he would rank this turn among the other turns he’s completed during his young career, Escobar responded  “Numero Uno.”

Then with Jair Jurrjens serving as an interpreter, Escobar added, “You practice how you play.”


Great to see the gap between the media and Esco bridged! I hope to read as many positive comments that Yunel makes great plays both on offense and defense. It’s refreshing that people are finally focusing on the greatness that is Yunel Escobar, and not all of the little negatives (some justified, others unjustly magnified and overblown). Awesome post-game interviews from and about the Braves’ stud, soon-to-be All Star SS. Let’s embrace this young man, and not hate out of ignorance! Thank you, Mark Bowman. -YE19

It was at least good to see Church is very capable of playing CF.

I’m not nervous about Pedro pitching for the Phils, but it is a little unsettling to think of facing a Hamels-Halladay 1-2 punch in September/October baseball. Our pitching could still go toe to toe with them… but they have us with the bats…
I love the way everyone’s playing right now. Everyone is stepping up and making plays. It’s contagious. I want to know where all the Garrett Anderson haters are on this blog now… where are you guys? Funny how everyone’s quiet now.
I must admit I was a big proponent of making a move for another bat… but I really don’t want to mess up any mojo right now. Who knows. We won’t homer anyone to death… but we’ll gap the hell out of you!

I have not seen such good mojo between the Braves plavers since the good old days of the 15 year playoff run .
We might not have the killers bats , but with our pitching , defense , timely hitting , and above all , our hearts we can still be playing baseball in mid october .
Its great to see all the front office additions meshing together into one compact unit . And , i would still pick Bobby Cox over any other MLB manager . His style lets the players show their greatness .
Go Braves

Regardless of what Francoeur does in NY, the Church move was a GREAT move. Not only has his production been so much better, but the addition by subtraction has increased our runs SO much. Getting KJ/JF out of our lineup allows our hitting style to work – lots of singles and doubles to score runs. Yunel will still GIDP but without those untimely K’s, and with the new style we seem to have, we are playing better. Will we make the playoffs? Who knows, but I’m excited again, and even more excited for next year. We have a good team. Let’s see if we can hold it together.

I hope we can sign Infante, Prado, Gonzo, and Soriano after this year… seriously.

Garrett Anderson hater right here…. If that’s what you want to call me. I don’t hate the guy, I just don’t think he is going to help us when it matters. He is a huge liability in left. He makes the routine plays look like a challenge.

Why would anyone come on here and complain about a player when the team is actually doing well? That is just being negative. It’s not like Garrett Anderson is carrying this team, but at the same time he hasn’t done anything to hurt us in the last couple of weeks either.

If I turn on the game tonight and find out GA was traded it sure wouldn’t hurt my feelings.

Neverwhere, I like the comment about addition by subtraction. I have not heard that in awhile, but that is absolutely true. This offense has really loosened up since that trade.

Mark, that was an excellent entry. I think its great that after all the hard times between Yunel and the media it has now been settled and he is having fun. It seems that him having fun is wearing off on the rest of the team….Bravomania: I’m not all to scared about a postseason 1-2 punch of hamels-halladay…have you ever heard of a post season 1-2-3-4 punch of Lowe-Jurjjens-Vazquez-Hanson. Although the Phillies have a potent lineup the Braves lineup can be and has been of late a extremely potent lineup. Look what they have done over the past two nights against the numero uno, as yunel would say, pitching staff in the majors. We have blown them out both games. You can say what you want but I think we have finally tapped into our true potential and a postseason run is in store by seasons end.

I’m not ready to belly up to the KoolAid dispenser just yet, but they sure are playing a more inspired brand of baseball.
So, given that Brooks Conrad has given the Braves that Pete Rose type spark during this good run, what do we do with Kelly Johnson on Saturday? He is more gifted physically, but pretty fragile emotionally, and there almost certainly will be a huge step down in the passion department with the exit of Conrad.
This looks to be an argument of better player vs. better team. My vote is for Conrad to stay and Norton to go. KJ needs to work into the LF mix in my opinion. I’m very surprised he hasn’t played out there in Gwinnett yet.
This will be a tough call and a very important one.

Kelly seems to be swinging the bat well (all-be-it AAA), but when he gets hot he is definately a valuable bat. I like the idea of him working in left. As far as the Conrad-Norton comparison… you can argue but Norton is simply just not producing right now. Yes, he is a veteran and a left handed bat and has a little pop but he’s batting about .100. I think we can pinch hit with Jurrjens and get that production. Conrad has my vote, but hey I do not play or coach in the majors so what do i know…

….also, let’s not forget it will not be that long until Infante is ready to return. It might take a while for him to get his swing back with a hand injury but is bat and versatility is beyond valuable.

Bravo – I have been critical of Garret Anderson. What I want to know is, who is this guy, and what have they done with Garret Anderson? Seriously, I was at the game on Thursday night, and GA had a tremendous game. I could not believe he beat out the infield hit.

What I am seeing now is effort. I must admit I did not see the same effort early in the year. But, he was coming off of a leg injury. At 36, maybe we (I) should have cut him some slack.

I love the way the team is playing – playing well in every department, pitching, defense, and offense. And did you notice that the crowds are picking up? I didn’t expect much more than 20,000 last Thursday, and I think there was over 30,000. I think the team is responding to the crowds too. Let’s hope things stay interesting through August. We have a key stretch coming up with 7 games against the LA Dodgers around the corner.

I basically made that rant every day for about a year. But he’s a Met now. Isn’t that enough reason to be happy and forget the whole thing? The Mets are such a joke.

Firstly, great run at the moment, we are looking good! Secondly, I need to rant about something so here goes:

ANyone with half a brain cell could see that JF was hopeless, and that he just ruined our lineup, because he was an automatic out every time, meaning we couldnt get any big inning/ rallies going. His numbers have been so horrendus for so long, and YET BOBBY AND WREN CONTINUED TO THROW HIM OUT THERE EVERYDAY! EVERyday!!!!! That cost us so many games. How on earth didnt they ditch JF after he was the WORST OF HITTER IN BASEBALL FOR 900 AB. How did he manage to kill us for so long without bobby ditching him or wren sending him down. Horrendus mistakes by braves coaching and management. And when we miss out on october by 3 games, we wont of lost it in the second half, we will of lost it by throwing JF’s hopeless bat in the lineup every single night. He played everyday too, it was truely horrendus. Thank god he is finally gone, and now shockingly our offense has turned round.

O, and its not just because he has no power, no average, takes no pitchs, never walks and never makes productive outs. It is also the fact that he is mardy when he gets dropped or sent down. I am so ANNOYED that when anyone with half a brain cell could see JF was totally killing us and our season for ONE AND A HALF YEARS, bobby still stuck him in the line up EVERY NIGHT. How could they not see. Its truely awful, shame on bobby I think

zidane.. yeah, he didn’t have a good year. he’s gone now so get over it.
I was reading how Sheffield and HoJo are helping Frenchy with his swing and he’s been hitting about .350(?) with about 7 RBIs since he was traded.

Geez Zidane.

Did someone pee in your cornflakes or what? I guess that your a little chagrinned that he is performing in NY, huh? Wonder why that would be?

Would love to ask wren whether getting escober a long term deal is a possibility.

Mark, what are the pro’s and con’s of doing this? And do you think its a possibility the braves are exploring?

Esco Rules!!!! Can we please sign him to an extension. 4 runs should be enough, but don’t take any chances.

I say let Escobar chew out reporters, Jump and twirl and throw his bat. He is more fun to watch than any Brave in a while. I’m ready for him to start getting the sneaky steals again. Just think where we would be if FW had gotten the Peavy deal done. Peavy on the DL. Esky gone, with god knows who playing short(Hernandez?) and probably half our great young prospects playing in SD(Heyward, Freeman, Hanson). Yikes, we might be challenging Washington in the Draft sweepstakes.

I basically made that rant every day for about a year. But he’s a Met now. Isn’t that enough reason to be happy and forget the whole thing? The Mets are such a joke.”

I guess, but still not going to be happy if we crush the second half and miss the playoff’s by a game on two because bobby/wren didnt have the ruthlessness )needed in all buisness) to ditch JF after may

I have always said that to hell with ABC baseball. The best play in Baseball is the three run homer.

bill.. you say this is the same team but it’s not. The tandem in right is perfect for the bottom of the order. Anderson will play much better with more starts. I mean.. he has NEVER hit below .280 out of 16 seasons including this one. McLouth won’t hit for average but he’ll do his part. Escobar and Prado are thriving in their respective spots in the order. Even when we were winning a few games here and there earlier in the season, it didn’t feel like this.
I’m still on the fence about trading Vazquez for a big 1B bat if Hudson keeps progressing like he has and have Medlen make about 5 starts until he’s available. But then I remember the words of John Smoltz when he decided to return to the rotation. He said that power strikeout pitchers win in the postseason, which is absolutely true.

And while we’re talking about who to send down when KJ and Infante come back, why hasn’t anyone brought up sending Diory back down? I say send him down and either release or demote (if that’s a possibility) Norton. I really wish KJ was playing LF in Gwinnett to make him a backup for Anderson if we aren’t planning to make a trade. That would give us plenty of depth all over the place.

I would send norton and conrad down for infante and KJ

I just think some of the moves are lateral at best. The team is playing great right now but the jury is really still out on this offense. If Esky Prado and McCann hadn’t been lights out lately we would be playing a LOT differently. As Much as I want to drink the kool-aid, I am a patient observer and want to see this last a bit longer than the two weeks that it has been sustained. I like what I see, I just want to keep expectations in check. WE ARE STILL 6 games out of 1st place and the wild card will be fierce this year.

Yeah but you could say that about any team. If two of the best hitters on the Phillies weren’t playing exceptionally well do you think they would have won 10 straight?
Haha.. a little off topic, but I’m streaming the game on and they just showed a commercial for Umpire Camp. It was ALL fat dudes stretching on the field. I guess it’s probably a little more rewarding than just going to fat camp for 35+ year old guys.

Kelly will likely be activated tomorrow or Friday…My guess is that they’ll part ways with Norton. Until Infante is ready, you have to keep Diory around to serve as the backup SS.

I’m pretty sure 2B is definitely Prado’s spot to lose. You don’t sit a guy who’s hitting that well in any circumstance.

I think Prado will play some 2nd, 3rd, and 1st while KJ will play some 2nd and possibly some OF. By the way, it’s official. This team is on a roll. And Yunel Escobar is an incredible player.

Escobar’s homer was the first Lincecum has surrendered against a right-handed batter this year. It was also the first three-run shot surrendered by The Freak

Oh dear, once KJ gets back, will bobby still play prado everyday? I really hope he doesnt start giving KJ regular starts at second unless prado really cools off.

PW, basically covered it. Prado will continue to serve as the regular second baseman. When he plays one of the corner spots, Johnson will play 2B. We could also see Johnson finding some opportunities to play left.

Man, Soriano is getting stronger every month this year. He has really matured as a pitcher and he has such great stuff. He and McCann are firing on all cylinders in the ninth now. The pitch selection, the command and the nasty stuff is just a joy to watch.

Someone, PLEASE tell Kawakami that Zito won the Cy Young, but leave out which year and that he has sucked since 06. Then we’ll definitely get the sweep.

About Anderson – What did you guys really expect from him? Would you rather have Griffey? He has been a consistent .280 + hitter his whole career, let alone this season. Were you expecting a gold glove caliber outfielder? I hope not. Were you expecting a speedy base runner? I certainly hope that’s not the case either. On TV, his mellow persona and his slow approach to the game come off as laziness. But he’s been nothing but professional his entire career. When I’ve seen him play live, he has a quick bat and he runs hard. When this season is over, it is likely he will have 15+homers and a +.290 average. That’s not bad for 1.5 million.
I really hope Kelly-I can’t hit my way out of a paper bag-Johnson doesn’t ruin our mojo right now. Let’s keep him on the bench for now and make him earn his way back. I don’t really care what he did in Gwinnett. Conrad needs to stay!

GA’s jury is still out. Bravo’s right that there were a lot of things NOT to expect from the guy, but I think most of that speaks to the questionable signing to begin with. If you know a guy doesn’t walk, doesn’t field, doesn’t possess great power, doesn’t run well, and is in his upper-30’s, what exactly is the point of signing him? Frankly, GA is about on pace to do about what you’d expect him to do. Whether that’s a “good” or “bad” thing is up for debate. I have appreciated the increased effort by him though. He’s been running a lot harder than he was at the beginning of the season.

I’m glad Johnson will return to the team (hopefully at the expense of Norton). However, I pray we keep him benched for a bit at least. The current mix is working well. Having Prado’s great bat in the 2-hole with Escobar establishing that he’s been misplaced in the line-up for a long while, I do not want to see Bobby start inserting Johnson just to get work. I fear that’s too much to ask. Bobby loves to get guys called up into the line-up, but it seems wrong at this point.

As an aside about Escboar: I am LOVING his AB’s hitting lower in the order. He looks so less anxious and more effective batting lower. I don’t necessarily mean he’s working deeper counts, but he now seems to be hitting with a purpose. When he was batting higher in the order, he’d frequently swing at the first or second pitch just hoping to get something started. Now he appears to have a much better idea about what he wants to do in a given at bat. Should he get the pitch he wants early, he’s still gonna swing, but he’s swinging with purpose and it’s an amazing transformation to see. Let’s keep it going boys.

Not sure if you noticed my updated story on Johnson. His rehab stint definitely ended on Wednesday night. But the Braves wouldn’t confirm he will definitely be activated on Thursday. That doesn’t mean he won’t. But I guess they could just take a look at him during batting practice in the same manner that they did with Norton earlier this month. My guess is that he’s activated within the next couple days. But I will have to admit, I won’t be completely shocked if they continue to try to trade him. We’ll have a better idea tomorrow morning.

OK, a show of hands, who didn’t get traded to the Red Sox last night?

Nice one, rother.

Johnson activated and Conrad optioned to Gwinnett. Just posted a new short entry about this.

rutt roh

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