The 2013 National League East champions will now have the final six days to try to overcome another obstacle, winning home field advantage throughout the playoffs.
But what is more important, winning home field advantage or resting some of lingering injuries?
Well, if you’re a competitor like myself, you’d say win every game and worry about injuries as they come but after this long injury plague season, I’d say lets rest these guys.
When visiting a game in August, I noticed Freddie Freeman limping and then a few days later heard he is dealing with a knee issue. Freddie’s an everyday man so this issue probably hasn’t gone away.
With winning the division comes not having to worry about that wildcard game. This also is a time to heal some injuries as the Braves will see an extra three days off after the season and before the playoffs begin.
“Some of the guys are a little banged up and we can use this to get them recharged,” Fredi Gonzalez said. At the end of the season having, I think, three days off is going to help cure some of those bumps and bruises but we’ve got to keep the pedal to the metal.”
The players may have a different approach though, they want to be on the field.
“We’ve got seven games left, but I’d rather just pitch like we were still chasing the division,” league leader in saves Craig Kimbrel said. “I just don’t want to take two days and get out of the groove. If we have a situation where I would normally go in and pitch, than I would go in and pitch.”
I think Fredi will be smart down the stretch here, he will rest his players but still keep them on the field. Giving them a day or two off and possibly letting them play 5 innings or so and taking them out.
“There is still a lot of stuff left, having the best record in the National League is important,” Gonzalez said. “Some guys need rest and I’m going to take these next seven days to give one or two time or a day…I’m not going to give four or five at the same time.”
GM Frank Wren spoke on the season that was/is, “When you look at the last 225 days since we started in spring training, we’ve had a lot of ups and downs and I think it’s a real proud moment for the organization and a proud moment for all of us that live it day by day. It’s been a lot of fun. But the interesting thing about a season like this is we still have this last week to play for home field advantage and playing here at Turner Field in front of our fans, has been an advantage.”
Another Braves regular will have a day off on Monday, as Brian McCann‘s wife Ashley gave birth to their daughter, Colbie, 7 lbs 8 ounces. McCann helps his Braves clinch the division and then goes off to have his second child – decent two days for BMAC. The Braves intend to have him rejoin the team tomorrow.
The season is close to complete but for Braves scouts, it’s still tough at work
“We’ve got advance scouts that have been out for the past week that has been covering the last four series of any potential opponent and we’ve been out in two man teams covering those potential playoff teams,” Wren said. Once we know who we are playing, those scouts will fly in and make a presentation to our team based on what they’ve seen.”