Atlanta Braves’ Roster Health Will Be Key Down the Homestretch
COMMENTARY | The Atlanta Braves beat the Philadelphia Phillies 6-3 on August 14, maintaining their dominant 14-game division lead over the disappointing Washington Nationals.
In the third inning with the Braves leading 5-0, the discussion among the local television analysts turned toward the “rest versus rust” conundrum that Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez now faces. Which, by the way, is the kind of problem every other manager would love to start addressing in the middle of August.
The discussion focused on the idea of keeping the core players fresh and healthy for the playoffs, and how Gonzalez might best manage the need for regular rest with keeping the regular starters “sharp” and “hungry,” as the analysts put it.
One would hope that the Braves players could find the motivation to compete. The only real issue that Gonzalez and general manager Frank Wren should worry about is the health of the roster.
‘Historic day:’ MLB to accept radical changes in instant replay
COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. — Major League Baseball decided Thursday to implement instant replay on virtually every play but the strikezone – including three manager’s challenges per game – that will begin in 2014, Commissioner Bud Selig announced.
“It’s a historic day,” Selig said.
MLB vice president Joe Torre, Atlanta Braves president John Schuerholz and advisor Tony La Russa presented the all-encompassing replay proposal to the 30 ownership groups, which was widely accepted, Selig said, and expected to be formalized at their quarterly owners’ meetings Nov. 13-14 in Orlando, Fla.
The replay will include up to three challenges that mangers will be provided during a game, one in the first six innings, and two beginning in the seventh inning through the game’s duration. If a manager is successful with his replay challenge, he will not be charged with a review.
VIDEO: A live bat briefly disrupts Atlanta Braves game
You probably all saw this one live, but in case you missed it, here is a video of a live bat (the winged variety) interrupted a recent Braves – Phillies. Game. Enjoy, if you can.
Preview: Nationals at Braves
When the schedule was announced in the offseason, a mid-August series between the Atlanta Braves and the Washington Nationals looked like an event to be circled. Instead, when the Braves host the Nationals for the start of a three-game series on Friday, they have no chance of exiting the series without a huge lead in the National League East. Atlanta will kick off the set with a 14 1/2-game cushion over Washington.
The Nationals had a five-game winning streak come to an end on Thursday and are 9 1/2 games behind the Cincinnati Reds for the second NL wild-card spot. Washington was on the verge of crawling back to .500 on Thursday before a blown save shoved them back to 59-61. The Braves have won 17 of their last 19 games thanks to a pitching staff that has allowed an average of 2.4 runs in that span.
TV: 7:30 p.m. ET, MASN (Washington), FSN South (Atlanta)