Braves looking to claim first sweep of the season
After being swept in two consecutive series, the Braves are hoping to be the ones pushing the brooms by the time they conclude this afternoon’s game against the Astros.
Whether the Braves have taken advantage of the schedule or shown signs of an offensive resurgence shouldn’t really matter. Frustrated throughout a nine-game losing streak, they needed to right themselves in the manner that they have while winning the first two games of this weekend’s series.
Braves manager Bobby Cox once again has Nate McLouth in the leadoff role for this afternoon’s game against right-hander Bud Norris. It appears Cox plans to utilize a platoon in the leadoff spot, with McLouth getting the nod whenever the opposing team is starting a right-hander.
When the Nationals start left-hander Scott Olsen on Thursday night, Omar Infante could be back in the leadoff spot. Yunel Escobar is still struggling to recover from his groin strain and Cox said on Sunday morning that the club could opt to put him on the disabled list within the next two days.
If Escobar is disabled, Infante would likely handle the shortstop duties and Brandon Hicks could be promoted from Triple-A Gwinnett to serve as a backup infielder. Hicks is hitting just .163 this year. But with limited options the Braves would likely still tab him because of his tremendous defensive skills.
Jordan Schafer will begin a Minor League rehab assignment with Class A Rome on Monday. If Schafer’s surgically-repaired left wrist continues to cooperate, he should become a part of the Gwinnett roster in the near future.
BRAVES LINEUP vs. Astros 5/2/2010