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.”