So that was a forgettable weekend for Braves fans. The offense went into slumber mode at the hands of two really good pitchers, and a sweep ensued. The Braves offense is mostly absent. BJ has returned to the depths of his season-long slump, and he seems to be dragging his brother with him; between them they have 21 strikeouts in their last 49 at-bats. Since returning from the DL, Dan Uggla is hitting .133 (4-for-30). Brian McCann’s bat has cooled off considerably.
Still the Braves enjoy a 12-game lead, and their magic number is at 9. And they’re heading to face the Marlins, so one would hope a couple of winnable games should be awaiting the team in Miami. I say “a couple” because the Braves will face Jose Fernandez and Nathan Eovaldi in the final two games of the four game series. At some point the Braves are going to have to figure out how to win against great starting pitchers, so these games are good practice.
At least the Braves mostly avoided injuries in Philly, with only Scott Downs suffering a broken finger on a ball hit off his glove hand. The Braves also still have the best record in the NL. Maybe all this is just the swoon in their season right before they get hot again in October.
Mississippi loses playoff series: The M-Braves managed to even the series at a game a piece on Friday, but the bullpen — a strength for the team all season — blew the lead on Saturday to go down a game, and no one rose to the occasion on Sunday as the team got blown out to lose the series. It was a good season for the M-Braves and I’m sure we’ll be seeing some of these guys in Atlanta in the near future…
Bethancourt recalled: According to reports the Braves will call up catcher Christian Bethancourt to Atlanta today.
Braves will call up Catcher Christian Bethancourt today. 21 year-old hit .277/12/45 at Double A Mississippi this year.
— Tom Hart (@tom_hart) September 9, 2013
Bethancourt is often talked about as being the heir apparent to Brian McCann as Atlanta’s starting catcher, and it seems the Braves want to give him a taste of the Majors. In his second season at double-A this year he seemed to finally put it together in the second half, hitting .297/.325/.486 after the All-Star break. His bat is still mostly a huge question mark. He’s never been a patient hitter or, prior to the second half of this year, much of a power hitter. His defense is all-World though, and that’s why there’s hope that he can be a productive Major League backstop.
This call-up is kind of a slight to McCann. At least auditioning the future catcher tells McCann that the team really is going to let him walk at the end of the year.
I’d also like to see the Braves call up second baseman Tommy La Stella, but then why would we want a second baseman who can actually hit a baseball.