We normally do a Morning Chop, because normally there is a ton of news floating around about the Atlanta Braves. Normally yes, but not so much during the break. The breaking news right now is the excitement over the fact that real baseball is about to begin again for our beloved Atlanta Braves (54-41). They will take the field tonight at U.S. Cellular Field in Chicago and play a three game set against the struggling Chicago White Sox (37-55). This will be their first meeting this year, and these two teams are beginning the 2nd half of the season with different goals – The Braves hoping to continue their 1st half success, and the Sox hoping to put together a 2nd half that is even remotely better than the first.
As you know, Jason Heyward, B.J. Upton, Justin Upton, and Freddie Freeman were injured at the very tail end of the 1st half. There are high expectations that three of those four will be back in the lineup tonight to face the Sox, but I have not yet seen anything definite about that as of this writing. B.J. Upton is on the 15 Day DL and the Braves are not likely to have him back in the lineup until late July.
Bench players’ Reed Johnson, Joey Terdoslavich, and Jose Constanza played very well in place for the Braves’ injured regulars, and with B.J. Upton out for awhile now, Reed Johnson could see a bit more playing time than he is accustomed to, which is in my opinion not a bad thing when you’re replacing a player who has struggled like B.J. Upton.
There is a bit of intrigue bubbling around Braves’ Country regarding what the starting pitching rotation could look like after the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline. There are rumors that Alex Wood could become a starter, that Kris Medlen could be sent to the pen to help in middle relief, and with the possibility of Brandon Beachy‘s return soon, it’s really anyone’s guess at this point what the rotation will look like in August. I won’t go into that in this piece except to say that we’re keeping a close eye on any and all rumors and reporting as the facts become known.
Friday: 7:10 p.m. CST
Saturday: 3:05 p.m. CST
Sunday: 1:10 p.m. CST
Some Things To Note
Atlanta Braves’ own hitting coach, Paul Walker will return to the land where he was once the Sox’ hitting coach. Perhaps they miss him, because the Atlanta Braves lead the National League in homers. Freddie Freeman has had to deal with an injured thumb, but the Braves are hopeful he will be back in shape tonight. Freeman has hit safely in 7 of his last 8 games, and has been the most consistent player for the Atlanta Braves. For the Sox, keep your eye on Alexei Ramirez who has a current seven game hitting streak.