Injuries to Atlanta Braves regulars Matt Adamas and Ozzie Abies Tuesday night, forced the team to shuffle their active roster.
Matt Adams gave the Atlanta Braves the lead with a leadoff homer off Matt Shoemaker in the bottom of the second. Two innings later, he pulled a hamstring trying to leg off a laser flagged down by Jays’ second baseman Cavan Biggio in short right field. This morning the club put him on the 15-day IL.
Joining him on the IL is second baseman Ozzie Albies. Albies reported pain in his wrist for two weeks; he was either hurt when the season began or immediately after it started.
Other than a three-hit game three-hit game against the Mets on July 26, he’s done literally nothing at the plate, but manager Brian Snitker kept running him out there every day. The Braves finally rested Albies last Sunday, giving Adeiny Hechavarria the start, but he was back in the lineup Monday against the Mets and again went hitless.
The situation became too obvious to ignore when the switch-hitting second baseman chose to bat left-handed against Anthony Kay in the seventh inning of Tuesday’s game. Mark Bowman quoted the Skipper in a post this morning.
“The left-handed swing isn’t bad,” Snitker said after the win. “I just didn’t want to take him out, because we had a lead and I wanted him to play defense.”
I’m sorry, what? The Atlanta Braves led the obviously rusty Blue Jays 6-1 at that time, and Snitker was concerned that Hechavarria’s defense was so inferior to Albies, that he left an injured player on the field.
I know Hechavarria isn’t a second baseman by trade, but he has 219 innings there, and I doubt he’s so bad at second, that five runs would score because of his play. Charlie Culberson has 326 innings there as well, and while he’s not an All-Star there, he’s dependable enough for two innings? Sorry Skip, that dog won’t hunt.
The return of Markakis
Unless Tyler Flowers strained something carrying all his newly-added extra weight around the bases, Jackson’s recall looks like they needed a bat and he drew the long straw.
Adams’ injury will take weeks to heal. In the interim, it would make sense to start Adam Duvall and use Marcell Ozuna in his best position (anywhere he doesn’t need a glove), DH. Markakis’ return muddies the waters.
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Markakis spent the time since he decided to return, at Gwinnett, getting at-bats in intra-squad games. No word on where or if he played the field in those sessions, but it’s reasonable to assume to old pro would take the field every game.
We know that Markakis’ return means he’ll be in the lineup most of the time, the question is, does he play left or DH?
The answer is – yes, a little of both. As slow as Nick’s become, he’s still a better defender than Ozuna.
Of course, Adam Duvall and Scott Schebler are better defenders than both, but we know Ozuna has to play because he’s killing the ball, or was until Sunday. His bat is too potent to sit, so I expect he, Markakis and Duvall to form the left field / DH crew.
I expect Hechavarria at second tonight, but we might see Johan Camargo there to get his bat in the game at some point.
That’s a wrap
The return of Markakis is a great thing for the clubhouse, how Snitker manages the lineup is something we’ll have to wait to see. With Ryu on the mound tonight, I expect Duvall in Left and Ozuna at DH, but we all know our Skipper makes some odd lineup calls.
UPDATE: TONIGHT’S STARTING LINEUP
- Ozuna (DH)
- Duvall (LF)
- Riley (at first base)
- Camargo (3B)
- Culberson (2B)
>> No Freeman.
Speaking of odd calls, playing Albies with a sore wrist is a bad idea. I guess seeing Freddie Freeman struggle with a similar injury didn’t register.
Austin Riley crushed a hanging slider last night but is otherwise his tepid bat has produced only four hits – two homers, a double and a single – in 29 AB, to go with four walks and 11 strikeouts. Camargo has a mini streak going with hits in the last three games, and that means he’ll play.
Tonight the Atlanta Braves need Sean Newcomb to remember how to consistently throw strikes. As rusty as the Blue Jays are, taking a walk doesn’t require hard contact.