You have to think today will be the day. The Braves get another crack at the Cubs, who start the struggling Edwin Jackson, while the Nats face their second doubleheader in a week.
There should be a sense of urgency. Fredi needs to give Avilan and Carpenter rest and Walden more work because if those three aren’t clicking the Braves have no chance of advancing in October.
Which leads to the question: Would Alex Wood have a bigger impact pitching out of the ‘pen than starting a possible Game 4 in the NLDS (and, hopefully, beyond)? I say yes. Wood could take on a role similar to that of David Price for the 2008 Rays while Garcia and Maholm are veterans who, fingers crossed, might give you six decent innings.
Ending on a positive note, let’s take time to praise Chris Johnson, who has provided a component overlooked by stat geeks and old-timers alike: Consistency.
First half: .330 BA, .841 OPS; Second half: .335 BA, .829 OPS
Home: .342 BA, .836 OPS; Road: .323 BA, .835 OPS
RISP: .349 BA, .956 OPS; None on: .345 BA, .851 OPS
His defense is shaky and he may not walk enough, but Johnson’s contributions shouldn’t be overlooked. Consider the alternative: Juan Francisco, whose .748 OPS in a pitcher-friendly park is well below Johnson’s .835.
Heyward 8, JUpton 9, Freeman 3, CJohnson 5, McCann 2, Gattis 7, Simmons 6, EJohnson 4, Teheran 1