The Atlanta Braves were unable to win a close game on Saturday and send themselves celebrating at Wriggly Field against the Chicago Cubs. We learned a few good things during this loss about the Braves. First of all Kris Medlen is on absolute fire right now and might make the case to be the number one starter in MLB postseason. Scott Downs’ broken finger on his glove hand has clearly affected his previously stellar work from the bullpen. Most of all we learned that Dan Uggla and B.J. Upton should enjoy being the highest paid bench players in postseason history.
I admit that we all probably have suspected this but the difference between Friday and Saturday makes the fact clear. Jason Heyward returned and played center field on Friday. He went hitless but walked and scored a run with the Braves putting a 9-spot on the board. Saturday he rested so Upton got the start in center and went hitless. The best part was how he and Uggla ended the game with consecutive strikeouts. That is the biggest problem they cause.
Whatever good they bring or could bring, they create a strikeout vacuum in the line-up that is not healthy for the team’s success. There was no way the two of them and back-up catcher Gerald Laird were going to start a huge rally today. You could feel it. Obviously we know by now that Elliot Johnson isn’t a great hitter but he puts the bat on the ball most of the time. Anything can happen when contact is made. It’s like throwing the puck at the net in hockey.
In the outfield it is abundantly obvious that the best option for a starting outfield will be Evan Gattis in left, Heyward in center and Justin Upton in right. There is no reason at this point for Fredi Gonzalez to even entertain the thought of starting Upton and Uggla. I hate it and I hope they can contribute off the bench as Uggla proved he could do this past week. They shouldn’t start though, without a doubt.