Returning to work on regular rest
Like Jair Jurrjens, I am returning to work tonight on regular rest. Over the past four days, I’ve drained both a bank account (down payment) and countless calories (moving boxes, furniture and whatever else Tammy wanted) while moving into our new house.
Still I wouldn’t say this past weekend was as draining as the experience Jurrjens had last Wednesday, when he squandered a 10-1 lead and played the central role in what had to be the worst meltdown I’ve witnessed during my 10 seasons on the Braves beat.
What? You guys have all moved past that Coors Field disaster. Sorry to rekindle a nightmare, less than 24 hours after Matt Diaz and Brian McCann gave the Braves their Major League-high 23rd last at-bat (11th walk-off) win of the season.
But to once again show why I believe this Braves team is a team of destiny, I had to remind you of the short time span that elapsed between this demoralizing loss and yet another thrilling victory.
During a radio interview with 790 The Zone Friday afternoon, I was asked if the loss to the Rockies would create a debilitating hangover effect. It might have seemed like it a few hours later when Tommy Hanson endured a second straight rough outing. But in all honesty, this was a question that didn’t elicit a quick and clear response.
The question was certainly justifiable. But while watching this team score a Major League-high 240 runs after the seventh inning this year, I guess I’ve forgotten the fact that they might at times be prone to the mental pitfalls that exist in both life and the athletic world.
There’s no doubt that the flight from Denver back to Atlanta was a little more somber than the many others the Braves have experienced this year. But this isn’t a bunch that was going to replay Wednesday’s events in their heads too long.
Instead, this never-say-die bunch was unknowingly positioning itself to fittingly become the first team to ever win a game that ended with an instant replay review. OK. The review obviously wasn’t instant. But the 86-second review process proved to be shorter than the added argument that would have ensued.
Infante Watch: Omar Infante went hitless during the opener and finale of this past weekend’s series against the Marlins. The last time he went hitless twice in a span of three consecutive starts was July July 17 (vs. Brewers) and July 20 (vs. Padres).
Infante’s .341 batting average would lead the National League if he had enough plate appearances to qualify to be listed among the league leaders. The versatile Venezuelan has collected 360 plate appearances and would need to average 4.4 plate per game to reach the 502 plate appearances necessary to qualify for the batting title without penalty.
Infante has averaged 4.6 plate appearances per game since moving into the leadoff role on a permanent basis on Aug. 2. If he continues to produce like he has over the past couple of months, there’s certainly reason to believe he could win the batting title after his batting average is adjusted to show him hitless over the number of plate appearances that separate his season total and the 502 needed to qualify without this penalty being assessed.
Using the assumption that Infante could be given three days to rest down the stretch, his current average would drop from .341 to .327 if you were to account for him going hitless over 15 at-bats. The red-hot Carlos Gonzalez enters this week leading the National League with a .326 batting average.
As Infante continues to compile plate appearances, there will be a less significant effect on his adjusted average.
Cox’s last ejection? You have to wonder if yesterday marked the last time that we will see Braves manager Bobby Cox ejected. With 32 regular season games remaining, Cox has been tossed four times this year (once every 32.5 games). When you account for the fact that one of these ejections (Jonny Venters’ hitting Prince Fielder) didn’t even include a heated exchange with umpires, there’s certainly a chance that the beloved manager will head into retirement with his all-time ejections record total sitting at 157.
NOTES: Jurrjens is 5-0 with a 1.81 ERA in seven home starts and 0-4 with a 6.62 ERA in nine road starts this year. He has notched each of those five wins while posting a 1.71 ERA in the five starts he’s made at Turner Field since returning from the disabled list…Freddie Freeman has hit .352 with 13 homers since June arrived. The highly-regarded first base prospect might be too young to fill an everyday role in the midst of a pennant race. But you’d have to think he could certainly help the Braves in September and maybe even October.