Shorthanded lineup going for sweep
While trying to complete a three-game sweep against Chris Carpenter and the Cardinals on Sunday afternoon, the Braves utilized a lineup that was absent both Chipper Jones and Brian McCann.
A couple of days ago when neither of these guys were providing any offense in the middle of the lineup, this might have provided the opportunity to playfully say that this was a wise strategical move.
But whenever going up against Carpenter, who is 11-0 with a 1.97 ERA, in his past 13 starts, there’s never much reason to laugh about the fact that you’re going into the game shorthanded.
Braves manager Bobby Cox stuck with his plan to give McCann a day off and Jones was forced out of the lineup because of a strained left groin that he suffered while quickly stopping at third base during the ninth inning of Saturday afternoon’s win.
Jones is hopeful that he will return to the lineup on Tuesday. When asked if this groin has bothered him at any point this year, the veteran third baseman said, “there hasn’t been much that hasn’t bothered me this year.”
Carpenter is 2-0 with a 2.62 ERA in the four starts he’s made against the Braves dating back to the start of the 2005 season.
Jones has three hits, including a double, in six career at-bats against Carpenter and McCann has gone 2-for-7 with a homer against the right-hander.
With eight hits in his past 13 at-bats, McCann has at least interrupted the maddening funk that has followed him most of the past three months.
If the Braves were still in legitimate postseason contention, McCann might have found his way into the lineup, especially after Jones was deemed unavailable. But the All-Star catcher has been fatigued by this mentally-trying season and definitely could benefit from the opportunity to have two days off before the Mets come to Atlanta on Tuesday to begin a three-game series.