At this rate, it’s starting to get a little concerning about who the Atlanta Braves will be able to suit up this weekend – or next week.
At this point, Atlanta Braves manager Brian Snitker may have to take a show of hands to see who might be healthy enough just to finish out the regular season… never mind the opening round of the playoffs.
- Ronald Acuna is shut down for a full week+ (left side groin; Grade 1-to-2). Note that this is an injury he also had in July last year.
- Freddie Freeman has a sore elbow (bone spurs). Expected to play this weekend, though just how much is a bit of a mystery. Expect a (relatively minor) surgical cleanup during the off-season.
- Barring a setback, Ender Inciarte should get some field time this weekend (hamstring).
- Happily, Dansby Swanson is fully back now (heel) and Nick Markakis (wrist) is still a Professional Hitter.
- Others who have been fighting nagging concerns within the past month: Francisco Cervelli (quad), Austin Riley (knee), Brian McCann (knee), Johan Camargo (shin), Charlie Culberson (broken face). Only the first 3 are back.
We’ve talked about just how awesome it has been that the Braves have the bench depth they’ve managed to acquire, but the importance of having that productive depth is now so much more obvious.
Still… it feels like this team is very fragile right now. Oddly enough, it’s the pitching that seems to be most healthy (which is almost shocking at this time of the year).
Just gotta get through the Mets series without anything else bad happening.
For fun… kinda… I reviewed every game that the Braves played this season meeting one of these criteria:
- Opening game of a series
- Games played after an off-day
Overall, the team is 97-62 (a .610 win percentage). Witness the numbers for those scenarios, though:
- 1st half:
- HOME: 8-7
- ROAD: 6-7
- 2nd half:
- HOME: 7-4
- ROAD: 4-5
- HOME: 15-11
- ROAD: 10-12
- TOTAL: 25-23 (.521)
- 1st half:
- HOME: 2-5
- ROAD: 1-5
- 2nd half:
- HOME: 3-2
- ROAD: 3-1
- HOME: 5-7
- ROAD: 4-6
- TOTAL: 9-13 (.409)
It’s hard to suggest that this will be a trend that runs into the playoffs: playoff games are a different beast with an all together different vibe to them.
The 1st round schedule is as follows (all games broadcast via the TBS network):
- Off days: Mon-Wed; Sept. 30 through Oct. 2
- ATL games: THR/FRI; October 3 and 4
- Off day:
- STL or MIL games: SUN/MON; October 6 and 7
- Off day:
- ATL game: WED: October 9
This edition of the Atlanta Braves have shown an inclination to needing a day to get focused on an opponent in the post-season before ripping their hearts out.
It’s not universal, of course, but for virtually every other kind of split you can conjure up, they are doing very well:
- Home (19 over .500), Road (16 over)
- Other than March, every month above .500
- Extra-innings: 11-5
- 1-run games: 28-15
- Inter-league: 13-7
- Day/Night: 24-16, 73-46
Actually, there is one more problematic split: days of the week beginning with the letter T: Tuesdays and Thursdays. Seriously.
The Braves are 9-15 and 9-12 on those days of the week, respectively.
So be careful for NLDS Games 1, 3, and 5… but especially Game 1, which hits three of the bogeys noted here: Opening game, game after an off-day, and a Thursday.
Well Done, Old Friend
The 31-year-old Mike Minor probably won’t appreciate being called ‘old’, but here’s a shout out to a former Atlanta Braves pitcher having an outstanding bounce-back year for the Rangers:
- 208.1 innings
- 200 strikeouts
- 3.59 ERA
On Thursday, nearly finished the game – it would have been his 3rd complete game of the season – while throwing 126 pitches in his last start.
It’s a career high in innings, batters faced, and best ERA as a starter since 2013… when he was in the National League. He was also an All-Star for the first time this year.
You gotta like stories like this after the adversity he’s had to work through to get healthy over multiple seasons. Good on him.
Let’s get this last weekend done and get on to the playoffs!