Open thread, 5/29, Braves vs. Luis Leals
It’s strange to be disappointed when all your regulars are in the line-up, but here we are — no Schafer, no Gattis and no Chris Johnson.
1. Simmons SS 2. Heyward RF 3. J. Upton LF 4. Freeman 1B 5. McCann C 6. Uggla 2B 7. Francisco 3B 8. B. Upton CF 9. Medlen P
I’d prefer CJ get the bulk of playing time at third base, and I suspect he will if Fan-cisco doesn’t turn things around. Juan has been awful in May, batting .171 with 18 Ks in in 41 ABs. In his last 48 AB’s, he’s struck out 24 times. Johnson, on the other hand, has been one of the few consistent Braves hitters, batting .369 in April and .304 in May.
We all know about the Gattis dilemma, but I’d argue Schafer has an even bigger impact when he starts. Consider that when Evan’s in the line-up, another productive hitter, usually B-Mac, is on the bench. But typically when Schafer starts it means B.J. isn’t. So far, that’s been a win-win, as Jordan has gotten on base 42 percent of the time compared to B.J.’s godawful .236 OBP.
At a certain point the Braves face a tough decision, and that time is rapidly approaching. Maybe we’ll see a straight platoon, with Jordan playing against right-handed pitching and B.J. vs. lefties. Bossman Junior may leave Fredi with little choice.
He’s not the only one. Jay Hey has been nearly as awful. Though he came back from the DL swinging well he’s faltered of late, hitting just .211, with no power, in May. His .260 slugging percentage is half what most assumed it would be.
The Braves have little excuse not to score big tonight, with Esmil Rogers (6.24 ERA in 22 career starts) toeing the slab for Toronto.
His opponent, Med Dog, seems to be righting the ship, though he’s still leaving way too many pitches up in the zone.
Meanwhile, the ‘pen gets a much-needed reinforcement with the activation of Jordan Walden. Cory Rasmus was optioned to Gwinnett to make room. And Brandon Beachy looked sharp today, allowing three hits and striking out three in five scoreless frames for Rome.
I’d prefer to see Brandon work out of the ‘pen when he returns, but Fredi told DOB the plan is for him to start in a June 18 double-header against the Mets.