The Atlanta Braves have now gone three years without beating the San Diego Padres at Petco Park. The good news about that stat is that they only go there once a year so it's not the worst thing in the world, but it's still annoying. The latest Braves loss in San Diego was of the "We couldn't get our pitcher enough run support after he pitched a great game" variety, as Julio Teheran made it into the seventh inning with only one run allowed. However, this was when the bullpen entered the game and promptly gave up the lead. Nick Markakis added a RBI double in the eighth, but it was Atlanta's second run of the day, and they needed three to tie it and potentially send it to extras. Instead, it was just another loss in San Diego.
The Braves' saw a familiar face return to their lineup on Wednesday afternoon as Freddie Freeman made his first start since August 3rd. Freeman's done well to recover from an oblique strain, and now his focus is on finishing the season as strong as possible, even if the Braves' postseason hopes are hovering around a solid 0%.
"There's still not an [elimination] X by our name," Freeman said. "It's baseball. The Nationals are supposed to win 100 games. You never know what can happen. I'm going to keep believing. You play this game for one reason, and it's to get to the playoffs. Until I'm officially eliminated, that's what I'm going to keep playing for."
Yesterday's loss moved the Braves one step closer towards the bottom of all of baseball. Although they're currently seventh in the draft order as I type this, there's always a possibility that a serious tailspin during this final month-and-a-half or so of baseball could put the Braves into pole position when it comes to the draft. Right now, top 5 would be a reasonable target; Top 3 would be pretty nice, and #1 is still a dream (or nightmare, if you think about the number of losses we're going to have to sit through in order to snatch that spot). The main point is this: It's probably going to get a bit darker before the sunrise of future promise arrives for the Braves.
The good people at FanGraphs have just finished up their in-season rankings of prospects in baseball, with the most important ranking being their Top 26 MiLB Prospect list. As it turns out, a familiar name showed up on their list at #12: Braves infield prospect Ozhaino Albies. This seems like as good of a time as ever to show off our scouting report on Albies, in case you missed it back in July.
Chase Utley's thirteen-year stint with the Philadelphia Phillies finally came to an end on Wednesday afternoon, as the Dodgers acquired the services of the veteran second baseman in exchange for a couple of mid-level prospects from their system. There's been talk all season of a potential Utley trade as the Phillies continue their blow-up, and the deal finally occurred in August via waivers. Now, the Dodgers have an injury replacement for Howie Kendrick, Utley gets to rejoin his longtime Phillies teammate in Jimmy Rollins, and there's a good chance that Utley will get to end his career playing for his hometown club.
You ever get the feeling that some teams just have to be a team of destiny? That's probably the case for the Houston Astros, who won a game via walk-off for the third time in four games. The Astros managed to scratch past the Rays after 13 innings of hard-fought baseball, and Carlos Correa played the role of hero again. He hit a 2-out single into right field to bring home the game-winning RBI. The Astros are now two-and-a-half games up on the Angels in the AL West, and even though most of their wins have come the hard way, they're still wins and nobody will complain about how those come.
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