Braves WON… but…
Hudson lost for season: Tim Hudson was having his best start of the year — he had a season high in strikeouts, he had hardly allowed a hit, and all of his pitches had copious amounts of bat-missing movement on them. He was looking like a true ace. Then on a bang-bang play covering first, his ankle was stepped on, and Huddy went down in pain. He was carted off the field and will have season ending surgery to repair a fractured right ankle. Not for the faint of heart, so be warned, but here is a GIF of the injury.
Injury clusters: The week before the All-Star break Jordan Schafer was placed on the DL. Then a few games later Jason Heyward injured his hamstring. The very next game both B.J. and Justin Upton had to leave with injuries. The entire Braves outfield got injured in the span of a few days. And just a few days ago Paul Maholm had to leave his start with an injury, and will be placed on the DL. Now Hudson goes down. Let’s hope there are no more injuries anywhere on the team.
An entire team of injuries: It’s hard to believe that the Braves are in first place by 8 games with all of the injuries to key players that they’ve had this year. They could field an entire team from the players who have been on the disabled list:
Lineup: C-McCann, 1B-Freeman, 2B-DeWitt, 3B-Janish, SS-Pena, OF-Heyward, OF-Schafer, OF-B.Upton, DH-Gattis
Rotation: Beachy, Maholm, Hudson, (Graham), (Gilmartin)
Bullpen: O’Flaherty, Venters, Walden, Martinez, Ayala
Beachy ready: While the Braves were losing Hudson in New York, they were seeing another good rehab start from Brandon Beachy, who started for triple-A Gwinnett. His fastball was apparently around 91-92 and he kept hitters off balance: 6IP, 2H, 2R, 1ER, 4BB, 3SO. He needs to control the walks, but I’ll take that ability to miss bats any day. Beachy seems ready to join the Atlanta rotation in Huddy’s spot next Monday night at home against the Rockies.
Starting pitching depth: With Beachy taking over for Hudson, and Alex Wood filling in for Maholm, the Braves are left bereft of their once plentiful starting pitching depth. The next starter that could be called upon could be, in no particular order, Omar Poveda, Cody Martin, or David Hale. I say ‘no particular order’ because none of these guys are likely Major League ready, though they could probably give the team a few good starts in an emergency. If one of these guys were needed, I imagine the Braves would choose the one whose turn in the rotation was closest to when they needed him. Injuries to J.R. Graham and Sean Gilmartin, two of the more promising starting pitching prospects in the Braves system, are limiting the rotation depth for Atlanta. The Graham injury is especially problematic; had he not missed the past two months, he would be close to where Alex Wood is right now.
Trade: There will of course be rumors running wild about the Braves in search of a starting pitcher, and with the July 31st trade deadline less than a week away, GM Frank Wren and company don’t have much time if they feel they need to make a trade. Odds are they’ve already been talking with teams and know what the market is like out there. Jake Peavy has already been the most oft-mentioned trade target, but he would cost a lot in terms of prospects, and he has two years and $29 million left on his contract, and that could be a bit rich for the Braves — especially for a guy with a lot of injury problems of his own.
Or sign: I brought up last night on Twitter that the Braves could look to increase their pursuit of Cuban free agent pitcher Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez. I wrote last week that he “has a fastball in the mid-90s, a changeup, forkball, and curveball,” and is apparently close to being Major League ready. He won’t come cheap, but he would be cheaper than Peavy, and wouldn’t cost any prospects (something the Braves are in short supply of).
Minors, bleh: None of the main Braves minor league teams won last night, so no need to recap and pile on the bad news.
Happy news: Lets end with some happy news! Evan Gattis hit a monster home run last night, and was 2-for-4 in the game. Since the All-Star break he has hit safely in all six games, batting .375. The Bear is BACK!