Braves can overcome this rash of injuries

Anything interesting happen since I was last with the team.  Everything seemed quite peachy when Brian McCann hit a couple clutch homers just before I began last week’s short break.   Well I guess this past week has reaffirmed the fact that momentum is a fickle thing in the baseball world.

As you know the Braves have lost much more than simply four of the first five games of this road trip.  Over the past few days they have disabled two-thirds of their starting outfield (Jason Heyward and Nate McLouth) and revealed that Mike Minor will start Wednesday afternoon in place of Tim Hudson, who can only hope his back discomfort does not linger.

Things seemed much simpler last week, when the primary concerns were Chipper Jones’ right knee and the possibility that the primary relievers would be overburdened.

Now as the Phillies are getting healthy, the Braves have to simply hope they can essentially do what the Phillies have done the past seven weeks, while playing without Chase Utley and some of their other top contributors.

If Hudson’s back discomfort lingers and he is not able to make next Monday’s start against the Padres, there will be greater reason for concern in Atlanta.   Brandon Beachy has been cleared to begin playing catch again.  But he still could be sidelined for three more weeks.

With Minor, Julio Teheran and Rodrigo Lopez, the Braves have depth in the starting pitching department.  But they would rather not go a couple weeks with two of their regular starters sidelined.

More importantly, they certainly would like to soon get a sense that Hudson’s back won’t prove to be a lingering problem throughout the season.

While the Braves would certainly be hurt if Hudson misses significant time, they can seemingly get by for a few weeks without both McLouth and Heyward.   In fact, these two outfielders have been nothing but a burden to the lineup over the past couple weeks.

McLouth has shown promise and glimpses that he has escaped last year’s horrific struggles.  But in the 16  games played before straining his left oblique muscle Sunday, he hit .143 with a .226 on-base percentage.  Now that he has been given the opportunitiy Jordan Schafer is certainly capable of providing more consistency at the plate and more speed on the base paths.

The Braves have placed Heyward on the disabled list because of the sore right shoulder he says has bothered him dating back to Spring Training.    Fortunately everything in his shoulder appears structurally sound, or at least more sound than his swing and approach at the plate.

When the Braves ended their first homestand in mid-April, scouts were talking about the holes in Heyward’s swing.  This was mentioned in this blog after the 21-year-old right fielder went hitless in his next 14 at-bats in Los Angeles.

Then when the Giants and Padres pitchers gave him opportunities to extend his arms and hit some pitches out over the plate, he hit .419 with three homers over the next six games.   That short successful stint led Heyward to continue keeping his shoulder discomfort a relative secret.

In addition, it simply halted the struggles that displayed  as he has hit .098 with a .229 on-base percentage and one extra-base hit (a double) in the 17 games played this month.    He struck out in 15 of his past 41 at-bats.

Heyward may need a couple days to rest his ailing shoulder.  But once it starts proving less bothersome, he is seemingly more in need of spending time with the club’s hitting guru Lee Elia.   It may benefit the club to allow them to spend some time together at the Spring Training complex, where Heyward could get as much attention as necessary in a relatively stress-free environment.

Without Heyward and McLouth, the Braves will provide opportunities to Schafer, Wilkin Ramirez and Joe Mather, who has certainly shown his value while recording 11 hits, including three doubles and a homer, in his past 21 at-bats.

With Schafer and Ramirez, the Braves have a pair of talented athletes who can run.  Of course this will only help if they prove that they can also consistently get on base.

I do apologize that this blog had not been updated since Wednesday afternoon.  This marked the first time in the past 10 years that I was not present for five consecutive Braves games.   Still I wouldn’t have traded the opportunity that I had this past weekend to proudly watch my stepdaughter graduate from Norcross’ Wesleyan School. 

70 Comments

If they can stay around .500 for the next month, then I think they will return some key players and take off. Of course, this is assuming Uggla does not continue to be the place RBIs go to die.

I read that Buster Onley thinks Coco Crisp is a good fit for the Braves is that any truth to what he wrote or are the Braves thinking bout anyone else?

Ive heard that too not sure if it was from Buster or not or if the Braves are acutally looking at him.The Braves tend to target The “Club House” type too much if you ask me but while I dont know if Crisp is that kinda guy aslong as hes not a cancer I think he would fit in nicely.This all depends on if Schafer doesnt run away with the postion when he comes up.

Congratulations on your stepdaughter’s graduation. I have two of those myself and one of my proudest moments was when the oldest one asked me to present her with her certificate upon her graduation from the South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy.

Well it looks like another Wren trade down the drain man he has hurt the Braves in every trade he as made since coming into the position of GM i think after this year the Braves need to look else where for a New GM hey i hear Omar MInya is looking for a job

Once again, I just love it when NC agrees with Bill. Sometimes I wonder if he is posting under two names.

I pondered that a while back, and he just retaliated by saying Zidane and I are the same person. I think NC just gets scared of what Bill will say sometimes, so he just agrees with him.

All eyes are on Jordan Schafer. It is ashamed that he will have this kind of pressure on him. But really, don’t you think this is his last chance to prove that he can be a major league baseball player? He came to Spring training this year with a GREAT attitude and worked hard. And although he got off to a good start, he didn’t keep it going and did not make the “squad”. Let’s up that the potential that he has rises to his desire to play the game in the majors. It could just be the best thing to happen to the Braves this season. Then again, it could also be ….. same old, same old….

Time to see is Bill is really as Prophetic as he thinks he is. Schafer and Conrad starting tonight, so that must mean Schafer will throw out every runner and Conrad will go 4-4,

And NOT drop a ball.

Shafer scores run Conrad drives in one. Doesn’t that just mess you up Brandie and Zippy.

No, I’ll bet those two are Braves’ fans and are actually pulling for Schafer and Brooksy. I think that’s our problem Bill. You seem to pull against our guys.

Haha, yes brandon. The braves should win 10 games in a row now because the only reason we have lost games previously has been because of nate

Yeah Barry, I spend all this time worrying about the team because I hate them. Pinhead.

Man. I bet Bill’s “Brooks Conrad” blow-up doll got a workout tonight.

Bravo, with your expertise in blow up dolls, I will certainly defer to you in this matter. Happy inflating.

Schafer went 0 for 4 Bill. You gonna rag on him??

It would be nice if Schafer can find his swing and hit leadoff for us. Last night’s run scored will be just a preview if we can get a guy to hit ahead of Martin.
Also, I think it’s worth stating the JJ is absolutely dealing this season. If he can get some offensive support, he is going to have a phenominal year. All of our starters have been very good, but he seems to be the shining diamond this year with Hanson a close second.

Did you guys get to see Dubya’s near encounter with the foul ball at the Ranger’s game. The “My Pet Goat” look on his face was priceless. But then again, what can you expect from a guy who couldn’t find a 6’5″ Arab dragging around a dialysis machine despite spending a trillion dollars trying to do so?

Bill’s right we should be ashamed. WE know he’s always right. It looks like hunting has completely hindered Chippers ability to drive in runs.

Hey Brandie see Shafer get the double and score a run again to put us ahead? What do you know? he actually catches the ball in the outfield too, what a concept.

It’s so weird seeing Matty Diaz in another uniform. As long as we win, I wouldn’t care if he it 4 homers tonight.

Go Gwinnett!

Hi, I’m Bill. I use HTML to try and emphasize obvious things to try and make myself seem like I know everything about baseball.

I’m going to try and use channel Bill’s way’s here guys; I predict someone will get out this inning. I also predict in a later inning that someone will get a hit. And when someone knocks in another run, I predict someone will have scored that run.

I’m loving Schafer’s confidence. Showing he’ll lay down a bunt for a hit for two games now, and still completely catches them off guard when he finally does.

Mark, that is one of the finest reasons for not updating the blog… congrats on the graduation and the right priorities.

Bravo Brooksie!

Oh my Brooks Conrad what’s wrong with him and that Prado guy?

He made errors for a week straight at two different positions and drove us out of the playoffs early. But don’t worry, a winning homerun against the Pirates completely evens it out. Not to mention he’s hitting about .175 even after that. Idiot.

Nice selective memory there Brandie/Zippy. Braves wouldn’t even have been in playoff but for Brooksy. He had 6 GWRBI’s last year mostly as a pinch hitter. Your Mancrush, Nate had 2 with 288 PA’s and probably cost us 5 games with that club hand he wears a glove on. Hell he’s cost us at least 2 in the last 2 weeks just by dropping pop flies.

Chipper Jones calls Brooksy “one of my favorite teammates of all time”. It must be because he sucks so bad as a baseball player, huh? You guys really know nothing about this game. That’s why we disagree so much. This ain’t fantasy league, kids.

Love seeing Brooksy do what he does best.

Bet Chipper wasn’t thinking that way last October.

Bet he was because he like me and anyone who has ever really played the game knows that everyone has a bad week/month/season in baseball. Brooks got thrown onto the National stage in the middle of a pennant fight after waiting his whole life for a chance to play “everyday” in the Majors. Not April, not May or June.He let his nerves get the better of him and got a bad case of the yips. After all that happened he took every question from every journalist and manned his way home every night. I can’t think of a better teammate than that. Chipper knows that a teammate is a teammate when he’s struggling and when he’s killing it. But you probably know better than the 1st round HOFer.

Wow, whenever one of Bills favourties does well we sure do hear about it on here dont we? Bill rags on nate’s glove work and yet he champions conrad. The irony!

All-time pinch hit records

Most pinch hit at-bats

Lenny Harris – 804

Most pinch hits career

Lenny Harris – 212

Most pinch hit grand slams

Rich Reese, Willie McCovey, Ron Northey – tied with three each

Most pinch hit home runs

Matt Stairs – 23

Most pinch hit game winning grand slams

Brooks Conrad – 2

Most pinch hit grand slams by one team in a season

Atlanta Braves, Brooks Conrad, Brian McCann – 3 total in 2010

Those are great pinch hitting statistics, Bill. But what started this crazy discussion is your insisting that Conrad play every inning of every game last year. The things is – we were all praising Brooks for his pinch hitting and late inning heroics. I think we all love Brooks Conrad in that role. So you’re pinch hitting stats really have no purpose. In innings 7-9 he is the man. In an every day role he blows. And he ended our season with his defense.

bravo sums it up nicely. Also Bill tries to get at me and brandon by saying we were questioning prado. So everytime prado does well bill comes on here and says “man that prado blows doesnt he?”.Let me just go on record as saying that nobody has questioned how good prado is or how important he is to the braves. Got that Bilbo Baggins?

Who do I believe, You(ha) or my lying eyes?

I wonder if we were all a little too tough on TP last season. We can’t hit this year either….
We need Uggla and Heyward this year to get over the top. I’m not going to back off of that statement. Most of the other guys are doing good enough at this point, but those two guys are really bringing us down offensively. Luckily Hinske is swinging a hot bat.

Last I noticed, TP is still “lurking” about.

And Uggla is who Uggla is. He will hit 20 – 25 home runs, drive in 75-90 runs, hit between .220 and .240 (which is optimistic at this point) and strike out over 150 times. Said it before.

That’s interesting that you short change Uggla’s power numbers. He has only hit below 30 HR once in his career, which was his rookie year when he hit 27. His lowest RBI total is 88. He no longer has to hit shots over that teal scoreboard either. I agree with you about his average. He will never win a batting title, but I don’t a .220-.240 average is “optimistic”, but more likely expected. I am not the king of the Dan Uggla fan club, but I think you are underestimating the guy. But at this point, I don’t know if i blame you.

No, I predicted the home run numbers would drop at Turner Field. I have posted earlier in the season that Uggla’s K numbers were trending lower than usual, and that was boding well despite the BA. However, of late the K’s have caught up with the projected 150. What I have said – even at the time we acquired Uggla was that he would equate at best to Andruw Jone’s last year with the Braves. I asked if that was going to be worth the money. Again, Andruw hit .228 with 26 homers and 94 RBI. Similar approach at the plate and similar results. Down and away sliders are a SURE out.

BTW last post was Barry not Bravo.

Bill you make stuff up, or spin stuff me and brandon say to try and make yourself look smarter than us. Lets face the facts Bill, everyone here loves conrad in his pinch hit role, and playing occasionally. We dont want him to be an everyday guy (unlike you). So we want conrad to play in the role he is proven to be amazing in, and you want him to be in a role where he will cripple the braves like he did last year in the field. Get a grip billy boy!

Quack, quack, Bill’s a jerk. Woof, woof, I didn’t really say that.
Chirp, chirp, Nate McLouth is the best player ever. Meow, meow Brooks can’t catch a cold. Roar, roar, we are the best soccer player/baseball experts.

Everyone remembers last year how Bill had nothing to say when Conrad wiped us from the playoffs, but every time he gets a hit(as the .167 average indicates, very rarely), he’s lubing up. Nate McLouth goes on a tear for two weeks, and Bill is no where to be found. He has two rough games, and suddenly Bills back. He also has the audacity to argue with cold hard facts(for anyone who missed the OBP argument). How could someone be that ignorant, you say? Well I have no idea, let’s ask him, shall we everybody? Why, Bill, do you have this very same selective memory you spoke of above? Why is it that Nate McLouth can do no right, and Brooks Conrad can do no wrong? Are you just one giant troll? I doubt it, trolls do it for fun; you seem to be enjoying being an ignorant and oblivious rookie league baseball fan, who probably has never played outside of a sandlot. Are you clinically insane? Plausible. That’s the only good reason I can think of for arguing with numbers(they don’t lie, by the way) and then resorting to 5th grade taunting and name calling when backed into a corner by people who actually know what they’re talking about.

Oh Brandie/Zippy you really should stay on those meds.

That’s the best you have, Bill? Looks like we have a winner.

Brandon, you realize he’s just trying to get you fired up….right? Looks like it worked.

Shhhh, Speedy! Don’t tell em.

The problem is that it doesn’t; everything I stated is true, and everyone knows it, even Bill, as shown by his witless and tired puns and lack of questioning my sexual orientation. I do what I do to show people like Zidane here(apparently Zippy was the best he had) that all Braves fans aren’t idiots who just found out how to use a computer and seemingly have to bitch about every little thing.

Bill, all of your arguement are based on stuff me or brandon never said. We never ragged on prado. Brandon just said “why is nobody ragging on prado?” to make a point about how ridiculous you are for ragging on some players. It was irony bill! Anyway, I must admit I am disapointted that Nate has lost confidence in his ability to steal a base. If he ran more then it would be a good thing. Its not like we have ryan howard behind him who is going to hit a ton of homers to drive him in

Methinks thou doth protest too much…… Boy it took exactly 2 games for Blondie to lose his job. Just having Shafer out there is a dramatically different visual. Runners are stopping at 2nd on singles up the middle. Nobody has run into a corner outfielder. No dropped pop ups. And base running, wow. In a couple of weeks B/Z will be claiming they never said anything bad about Shafer. This is so much fun.

We didnt say anything bad about shafer. We had two good wins, and thats despite bad referee decisions in the first game vs the pirates with that chipper double on fan interference

Their called umpires Zippy. No referees in baseball son.

GOALLLLLLLLLLL!!!!!!!!!!!!

“They’re” of course.

I challenge Bill to do what he does best; care enough to reach into the past blog entries to find anywhere that Zidane or myself have said anything bad about Schafer. C’mon Bill, do one of your infamous little back checks and show me. And don’t pretend like you’re too good for that. That would make you even more ignorant, a though so terrifying that it might tear the very fabric of time.

GOALLLLLLLL!!!!!!!!!! LMAO

Brandie, I’ll produce the quotes right after you give up that picture of your name that is “painted on a soccer field” somewhere. You swore you had one. Cough it up.

Well, unlike you Bill, me and brandon want the braves to win every match. You only want them to win if its due to a few players like conrad! We are true fans! I respect your opinions though Bill, its just you should realise that your not always right about things. Frank Wren has built a side which is in the top 8 in baseball when the payroll isnt in the top 8. Thats the end of the story Bill.

Zippy, they’re called Games not “matches” . He scores again……. GOAAAAAALLLLLLLLLLLLLL!!!!!!!!!!!!

Once again bill you refuse to enter into any sort of debate with me and brandon! Anyway, lets just discuss the braves and people can make their own mind up about your double standards with respect to alot of the braves players.

Brandon: 1, Bill: 0. If Schafer can be as aggressive as he was these last two games for about another two weeks, I think it would be safe giving him the job full time. Not afraid to show bunt, running hard on every play. I haven’t seen him play defense really these past two games, but if he’s anything like 09, I think he’ll be good to go. Having Schafer leadoff is also another great thing. Get a fast lefthanded bat in the leadoff spot, push Prado to the 2 hole where he belongs, drop Heyward back to sixth(or even 5th if Uggla keeps struggling). I just hope Schafer keeps it up.

I don’t think Schafer’s decline over recent memory had anything to do with his “aggressive” play. I think that he was coming off of a suspension and got injured early. The lack of AB’s, bad attitude, and reduced grip strength most likely led to his downfall. I have been a very harsh critic of Schafer in the past due to his attitude/demeanor. However, the way the kid has played so far this season from the first day of spring training has made me see him in a different light. I hope his changes are permanent. No one that I can think of has ever questioned Schafer’s ability and potential, his struggles have always been mental IMO. He is a huge upgrade in CF and I am much more comfortable having him out there as compared to McLouth. If Schafer continues to hit well, I think the Braves will give McLouth a chance to win his spot back, but only with a short leash.

+1, I also think being back around Martin will be really good for Shafer. Shafer saw how hard prado works at his game during the offseason and I can only imagine that the bond they had will be reinforced.

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