Just a few weeks ago, some counted the Braves out of the playoffs, Suddenly, a five-game win streak has changed the tides in Atlanta and the Braves are making a run at the Wild Card. The Braves thrashed the Pirates 11-3 on Tuesday to put them six games over .500. A strong 8.1 innings of three-run ball from Aaron Harang (who also added an RBI single) was enough to earn the win, and continue the win streak.
It's safe to say that the days of B.J. Upton batting leadoff are over. That ship has sailed ( and crashed in the process) leaving questions at the top of the order. As we've come to find out, it may be Jason Heyward's job to lose. He's got nine home-runs out of the leadoff spot (despite a relatively low average at .257) but the Braves are winning more games when he's there. According to Fredi Gonzalez, Heyward will be finding hmself at the top of the order more often than not:
"It’s nice, and we’ll keep running him out there."
Baseball is full of strategies, probably more than any other major sport. Looking over splits among players is one of the biggest, but is Fredi G ignoring these valuable points of reference to help construct a lineup everyday? The guys at Tomahawk Take took a look at the lineup, and broke down why the manager might not be using splits to his advantage.
Tommy La Stella has been one of the few younger guys to make an impact on this Braves squad. Coming up in late May, he made an impact mostly because he wasn't Dan Uggla. Our own Scott Coleman looks deeper into La Stella's stats, and makes the point that he's barely a MLB regular as of now.
Stephen Strasburg went eight strong innings on Wednesday night to give the Nationals an 8-1 win over the struggling Arizona Diamondbacks. Washington holds a strong six-game lead over the Braves in the NL East, and show no signs of slowing down while they look to make a deep playoff run.
The new Cuban flavor of thee month goes by the name of Rusney Castillo, and he could be coming to a ballpark near you (well, if you live near the Yankees, Tigers, Red Sox, Phillies, Cubs, or Mariners). With the success of recent Cuban imports Yasiel Puig, Jose Abreu, and Yoenis Cespedes, the price tag for the 27-year-old will likely be a gefty sum of cash.