At this point in the long season that is baseball, players get hurt. It’s the way our national pastime works. With 162 games, injuries are as much a part of baseball as peanuts and pop flies. However, the Atlanta Braves have been forced to endure more injuries to key players while still playing great baseball than most teams in a long time. It is amazing that they are doing as well as they are with such injuries. Currently, the Braves are without arguably one of their best hitters in Jason Heyward. Justin Upton, their leading home run hitter, recently missed time after he too got hit with a pitch. Dan Uggla was also recently on the DL. Brandon Beachy is currently on the DL. Tim Hudson, their veteran in the rotation, got hurt a while ago and is out for the season. Two of their best starters and three of their better hitters have been injured recently, yet the Braves keep winning! Let’s just say, Braves fans are glad baseball is a team sport.
Teams who overcome adversity at this point in the season often do well in the playoffs. The Braves have nothing to worry about in the National League East. However, these games are extremely important for home-field advantage on the NL side of the playoffs. Not to mention, the coveted best record in baseball is still up for grabs, and the Braves have a good shot at winning it. Even with all the injuries, players are stepping up and contributing to pick up the slack from the injured players.
In particular, Alex Wood as well as Julio Teheran are having great years. Teheran is clearly the future ace of the Braves while Wood has made a huge late-season emergence in the rotation. Without these two pitchers, the injuries to Beachy and Hudson could have endangered the Braves and their chance of even making the playoffs. Conversely, the excellent play of Chris Johnson all year has been the single most important reason the Braves hit as well as they do. With all the home run hitters on the team, a guy like Johnson makes it all possible. He gets on base, scores runs and allows guys like Uggla and the Uptons to swing away.
Collectively, the play of the bench players, as well as the players not in the immediate spotlight for the Braves, have kept this team together. With a healthy team down the stretch, the Braves can go as far as they want to. The future looks bright for this young team, but so does the present. It is time to get back to playoff-winning baseball in Atlanta, and this is the team to do it. This is the year the Braves return to glory, and they have gotten here by shear determination and effort. Overcoming all the adversity brings a team together and makes them stronger. This is the time to finish out the regular season and play well into October. It’s exciting to watch and hopefully there is much more to come!
David Galleher is an Atlanta Braves writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @theDaveGalleher.