UPDATE: Schafer gets the start in CF — clearly Fredi’s going with a platoon. B.J. admits as much, and credit to him for taking it like a pro. “I have no argument” about not playing, he told DOB. Credit to the Braves, too, for putting performance ahead of salary. This team has a legitimate shot at winning it all, and if it takes benching your (gulp) highest-paid player, so be it. The line-up:
1. Heyward RF 2. J’Upton LF 3. Freeman 1B 4. McCann C 5. C Johnson 3B 6. Schafer CF 7. Simmons SS 8. Janish 2B 9. Minor P
Maybe it’s a good sign that, on a unseasonably cool night which felt like one of those October evenings where the Braves lose a playoff game, the local nine won.
Still, there’s a slight sense of dread heading into tonight’s contest. Though it’s highly unlikely either Wood or Avilan hit Harper on purpose, the Nats will likely feel compelled to respond. And things have been going so well …. I’ll stop there. I’m sure you guys understand.
Line-ups haven’t been posted yet. I’ll be interested to see who gets the start in CF against Strasburg. If it’s Schafer, you can assume that Fredi has decided to go with a platoon, although B.J. has been even worse against southpaws, batting .180 with just 4 XBH.
In other news and notes:
- Scott Downs is the highest-paid pitcher on the active roster.
- The Braves’ playoff rotation is likely to include only one pitcher making over $1 million, Kris Medlen. And that’s no guarantee, the way Alex Wood is pitching. If the Braves draw, say, the Reds in the NLDS, you could make a strong case for starting Wood. Consider: Cincy’s three best hitters bat from the left side, and lefties have only 1 XBH and 25 K’s against Wood in 54 AB.
- As badly as the Braves need a middle infielder, has there ever been a better defensive DP combo than Simmons and Janish? Seriously.
- Don’t be surprised if the Braves pick up the heavily tatted Ryan Roberts, designated for assignment the other day by Tampa. His 2013 numbers aren’t that impressive (.247-5-17) but in 2011 he hit 19 HR with a .341 OBP and can played second and third base adequately.
- In 19 games since switching to the lead-off spot — a move advocated by the Office for months — Jay Hey is batting .385 with 21 runs and 12 RBI. He has multiple hits in five consecutive games.
- Last night’s attendance at The Trop to watch the playoff-bound Rays: 15,433.
- Hopefully Tampa Bay fans will show up in October. I’m seeing the Rays and Tigers in the ALCS, Braves and Dodgers in the NLCS.