Greetings from the ballpark where “76 Trombones” is playing right now for a parade of Little Leaguers around the stadium – gotta love a little Music Man to start your Sunday – and dogs are making their way into the upper deck for a little Bark in the Park.
Lots of activity going on, including in the lineup. Get to that in a second. It’d be nice not to have to endure what DOB did the last two days with some inopportune showers. I don’t think the stuff is supposed to roll in until the late afternoon, so maybe we’ll squeeze this one in.
OK, the lineup. Before anybody thought Jordan Schafer was going to stay in the leadoff spot, and Kelly Johnson would be back in there again today. No. With left-hander Wandy Rodriguez going for the Astros, Omar Infante is batting leadoff and Jordan Schafer is back in the eighth hole. And Kelly Johnson is out the lineup again.
I can just feel some blood pressures rising out there, but let me throw this stat out at you that was pointed out to me. Omar Infante is hitting .440 (11-for-25) in six games in the leadoff hole with a .500 on-base percentage. He has five hits in his last two games in the leadoff spot. Schafer reached base twice yesterday on hits, but struck out the other three at-bats, and got picked off. But I still say it was a good sign for him that Bobby put him up there to get a taste of it. There will be more of that to come.
The fact that Omar was back in there at second base could also raise some eyebrows. After sitting for a couple of games, the slumping Johnson was back in at second Saturday, only to sit Sunday. Maybe this is the start of another platoon at second base, something Kelly dealt with for stretches last season.
The irony there, of course, is that Kelly is hitting left-handers (.308) much better than right-handers (.174).
Here’s the lineup:
1. Omar Infante 2B
2. Yunel Escobar SS
3. Chipper Jones 3B
4. Jeff Francoeur RF
5. Martin Prado 1B
6. Matt Diaz LF
7. David Ross C
8. Jordan Schafer CF
9. Jo-Jo Reyes
Jo-Jo Reyes is still looking for his first win since June 13 vs. the Angels. He’s 0-8 with a 6.56 ERA in 16 games since then, 15 starts. But if he pitches like he did against the Cardinals, that win should come soon, perhaps in a couple of hours…..Of course the Braves have to score more than two runs to give him a shot, and they haven’t managed to do that if four of their last six games.
They do have some bats scheduled to come back this week, or that’s the idea. Garret Anderson is eligible to come off the disabled list Tuesday against the Mets and that’s his plan. He’s run the bases each of the last two days and had no problems with his quadriceps.
He elected not to go out on a minor league rehabilitation assignment – which Bobby left up to him – because he doesn’t think he’s been out long enough to warrant it.
Brian McCann is eligible to come off on Friday. He’s still waiting for his prescription Oakley’s to come in and when they do, he’ll head up to Gwinnett for a game or two to see how they feel.
BIG SERIES UPCOMING
Jair Jurrjens only went two innings yesterday which means the Braves could have brought him back to pitch on Tuesday vs. the Mets and Johan Santana. Kenshin Kawakami has had some shoulder fatigue and had his start pushed back to that day, so it would have made some sense. But Cox said he would keep his rotation in order and Kawakami was OK to go.
Jurrjens did make a point about the upcoming road trip that was pretty strong. After the Mets come in here for two games Monday and Tuesday, the Braves travel to play Florida, Philadelphia and to play the Mets at the new Citi Field.
“This road trip is going to be the whole season for us,” Jurrjens said. “(Starting in Florida) this is the team we’re going to be fighting the division for. I think when a team beats you the first series they have more confidence coming into the other series. We just need to win at least two of the series coming up against our division rivals.”
JJ was referring to the series sweep the Marlins dealt the Braves on April 14-16. The Marlins swept the Nationals after that, only to lose their next seven in a row. The Marlins have gone 6-9 since that series with the Braves.
More from Jurrjens: “Try to win series. We just need to come together as a team and do small things. We started doing things yesterday and got away from it. Try to move the runner. Pitching too. Get the big outs. Pick people up.”
Jorge Campillo is eligible today to come off the disabled list today. His shoulder is feeling better, and he’s been playing long toss. He plans to throw a bullpen session Tuesday and throw another side session or two before heading out on a minor league rehabilitation assignment.
I asked him if he regretted playing for Mexico in the WBC which might have caused him these issues, and he pointed out that his mistake might have been not playing winter ball. This was the first time in his career he didn’t play winter ball. So he went from light throwing to fairly serious competition on one fell swoop. I asked him if he would choose not to play in the WBC if Mexico asked again. He said not necessarily. Just next time he would play winter ball.
OK, that’s it. More as we go!