LIVE: Braves close homestand (and about Brian McCann)

Brian McCann is back in lineup today after being sat for consecutive games.  (AP photo)

Brian McCann is back in lineup today after being sat for consecutive games. (AP photo)

According to CoolStandings.com, the Braves have a 29.5 percent chance to overtake Washington and win the National League East, a 63.5 percent chance to win a wild card spot and a 93 percent chance to make the playoffs.

I would go into more detail, but we all learned last season what these percentages really mean: bupkis.

The Braves, who start the day four games behind Washington, close a homestand today against Los Angeles. Then they’re off for D.C. for a three-game series against the Nationals. Even with the Stephen Strasburg saga hanging in the air, it seems more likely than not that the Nats are not going to collapse, and that the Braves’ best chance to catch them will hinge on the six remaining games between the two teams (three this week, three more at Turner Field Sept. 14-15-16.

I predict nothing. It’s safer that way.

The most intriguing thing may be how the Braves’ starting rotation plays out. They’ll go from a six-man rotation back to five starters at the end of the month. Tommy Hanson is coming off a strong start. With Ben Sheets giving up four homers in Saturday’s 6-2 loss to the Dodgers and significantly tailing off of late — 3-0, 0.50 in his first three starts; 1-3, 4.85 in his next four — he suddenly may be the odd man out.

One more thing before we get to today’s game. Catcher Brian McCann had some strong comments in today’s blog by David O’Brien. He was frustrated about being sat for the second straight game because of shoulder issues and a slump. McCann revealed he has a cyst near a joint in the shoulder and a frayed labrum, which might require offseason surgery, and he seemed upset that manager Fredi Gonzalez told the media it was a shoulder subluxation. (Fact is, the labrum injury can be related to the subluxation.) McCann is determined to play through the pain.

“So I mean, yeah, I’ve got things going on in there,” McCann said. “But it’s something that I’m managing, I’m going to play through, and at the end of the year see what I’m going to do [to fix it, if necessary].”

McCann rarely vents publicly about anything. For those who don’t know him, it would be easy to take the comments the wrong way. In truth, this is a guy who’s just frustrated because he wants to play — and, suffice to say, he’s not accustomed to carrying .229 batting average (his career average coming into the season was .286).

As I wrote back in May, this also is an important season for McCann, who will be entering the final year of his contract next season (assuming the Braves pick up his $12 million club option).

McCann is back in the lineup today. Chipper Jones gets a day off.

Now, if you want to ready to chat about the game, or something else, I’m here.

By Jeff Schultz

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175 comments Add your comment

TheOnlyBravesFan

August 19th, 2012
12:43 pm

First… Go Braves and BMac

Steve

August 19th, 2012
12:50 pm

I think anyone who gets excited about and always says “First” should be banned for life. In baseball news, how funny is it that Melky made-up a website to try and prove his innocence? Wow.

Sucks that Chipper is out of the line-up today as hot as he has been. Guess it would be best to have him in there though against Washington.

jake

August 19th, 2012
12:54 pm

I can’t stand the new wild card format. 162 games boiled down to 1. If the two best teams in their league are in the same division, then the second one has a good chance of getting gypped for a good season.

BUGGSY

August 19th, 2012
12:56 pm

I see a Braves win today…Well maybe?Homeruns from B-MAC and Uggly..Well maybe on UGGLY HR…I see dead people too…

JC Boscan III

August 19th, 2012
12:58 pm

I understand professional pride and all, but when a guy’s been hitting .111 over a 2-week period, with only 1 RBI and a lot of key outs, he really has no solid ground to stand on to file his complaint.

Backdoor Slider

August 19th, 2012
1:00 pm

FREDI’S INEPTITUDE

When someone like Fredi gets Brian riled up, who’s been the consummate team player, there’s a sure sign that there’s trouble in River City.

Is Fredi’s middle name Valentine?

Sonny Clusters

August 19th, 2012
1:02 pm

If we was a fan that drove in from out of town to see ol’ Chipper play one more time . . . we’d be a little upset that he’s taking the day off today. Now, some people are going to disagree with us but there’s just a few home games left and it seems like Chipper ought to be playing in all of them. What? You say he needs to be rested for the Nats? That would remind us of last year when he decided they could coast for awhile because they had a big wild card lead and save it up for the Phillies. How did that work out? Chipper is having his best run in a long time and we think he is needed in the lineup right now with all the men left on base and the Ugglafication going on.

Steve

August 19th, 2012
1:03 pm

Backdoor Slider so you are saying Fredi is a moron for giving someone who has not hit in weeks two days off? Plus it’s not like Ross is a bad second option.

Steve

August 19th, 2012
1:04 pm

Sonny Clusters, why it is when you post on here you don’t use proper grammar?

JSS

August 19th, 2012
1:06 pm

Chipper got any big talk like he had for the Phillies and Cardinals last August? It’s about that time of the year for him to arthritic foot in his mouth!

Sundrop Kid

August 19th, 2012
1:09 pm

Sorry Mr. Schultz, but the word “BUPKIS” does not appear in the dictionary. I enlisted the help of dictionary.com and it inquired did I mean any of the following: yupiks, buppies, bunkos, or buzukis? The SUNDROP KID has never had the pleasure of those words entering my ear canals either. Could you, in your infinite wisdom, enlighten those of us who are intellectually challenged as to what a ‘bupkis” is?

Jeff Schultz

August 19th, 2012
1:09 pm

Steve — Melky story hysterical, especially since he got caught.

Jeff Schultz

August 19th, 2012
1:10 pm

Sonny — I agree on Chipper. I say flogging is too good for him. Who’s with me!!!

stevie zero

August 19th, 2012
1:11 pm

jeff, who are your starting 5 in braves ro…? i like huddy, maholm, meds, sheets, minor

Sundrop Kid

August 19th, 2012
1:11 pm

Oh, by the way, the SUNDROP KID is the anti-Sonny Clusters!

Sundrop Kid

August 19th, 2012
1:14 pm

Actually Fredi G’s middle moniker is “JESUS” I kid you not. That’s a fact per WickedPedia.

JSS

August 19th, 2012
1:15 pm

It is a darn shame that kids like Steve never had the chance to read ‘Huck Finn!”

Kevin Chop

August 19th, 2012
1:15 pm

I wouldn’t pick up BMac’s 12 million. The Braves are nothing more than an illusion that have some people fooled. The collapse is coming …no way this is a world series team. Fredi needs to be fired after we fail to make any noise.

Backdoor Slider

August 19th, 2012
1:16 pm

STEVE’S QUESTION ANSWERED

I’m saying that the way one goes about giving someone two days off makes all the difference in the world.

Fredi, based on Brian’s reaction, clearly went about it in the wrong way.

And yes, I don’t believe Fredi is the best choice to manage the Braves; I’d like to see a more competent manager.

Steve

August 19th, 2012
1:20 pm

Backdoor, so if Fredi were fired today, who would you choose to manager Atlanta? I love McCann but Fredi is his boss and the boss makes the decisions. I have no problem seeing Ross in there.

Steve

August 19th, 2012
1:21 pm

Steve

August 19th, 2012
1:26 pm

Where did Paul Byrd come from suddenly doing the Braves pregame???

flagger

August 19th, 2012
1:28 pm

Brian may not know it ,but he needs the time off. His batteries need charging, he is clearly pressing and
although i don’t agree with Freddie all the time i believe he should give him more rest than he does..

Stinger2

August 19th, 2012
1:34 pm

Clusters: You have a right to think that Chipper should play today. We have been through all this before I am not and have never told you how to think.
There will be many fans (including me) who are disappointed he is not playing.However, one point is that he and Fredi know a lot more than any of us fans about what is best for the team ( to or not to play him) in a particular game.

Jeff Schultz

August 19th, 2012
1:36 pm

Stevie — Right now, Sheets or Hudson are out. Depends on next couple of starts for both.

The Wad

August 19th, 2012
1:37 pm

Let`s look at this like big boys and girls.
* McCann had a stellar first 6 years of his career. However, the past 2 1/2 have been AA-AAA worthy and we can`t pay superstar money for that level of production. His body will not allow him to have a 15 year career in the field OR at the plate. Eyes, oblique, and now shoulder. For a below 30 year old catcher these do not add up to a future franchise player contract and Wren knows it. I love this guy as a player but the Braves would be foolish to keep him past this year. His body is telling us that to gamble on him returning to a semblence of his first 6 years would be stupid. The Braves have too many young guys who are all maturing at relatively the same rate that will require big money to keep. McCann can`t be given 12 million for a re-hab year when that money will be the difference between losing or keeping Medlin, Minor, Delgado, Bourne, Heyward, Freeman, Simmons, Prado,….you know, the guys who are producing right now.

Jeff Schultz

August 19th, 2012
1:39 pm

First pitch . . .

stevie zero

August 19th, 2012
1:42 pm

wow jeff, youd possibly sit hudson? i was thinking hes our big game guy. kinky stuff, man

"Chef" Tim Dix

August 19th, 2012
1:42 pm

The Braves are a really good defensive team, led by McCann in defensiveness.

Steve

August 19th, 2012
1:43 pm

I think Jeff meant Hanson.

Sundrop Kid

August 19th, 2012
1:43 pm

AND I still don’t know what a “bupkis” is.

"Chef" Tim Dix

August 19th, 2012
1:46 pm

The Janish pick up maybe the best yard sale item Wren ever got.

Jeff Schultz

August 19th, 2012
1:47 pm

CHECK THAT!!!! Hanson, not Hudson …
So once again, in my rotation, HANSON or Sheets are out.

Stinger2

August 19th, 2012
1:47 pm

Clusters: FYI. On DOB`s current blog (just posted a few minutes ago) he is saying that Chipper is out today to rest his aching knees. He should be ready for the Nats tomorrow night.

batter walked on 4 pitches next batter swings on first pitch or on 3-0 count and flies out. How Dumb?

August 19th, 2012
1:47 pm

Some of our hitters need educating on when to swing at a pitch. How many times do they swing at a pitch at their feet or ankles or take strike three on a pitch down the middle. Education- Do not swing at a pitch below the knee and don’t take strike three down the middle. Announcer will alibi that the hitter was looking for an off speed pitch and not the fastball. Baloney. Always look for the fastball and you still have time to hit the off-speed pitch. Pro baseball player should swing at anything across the plate but not at those below the knees (feet and ankles or in the dirt)

Jeff Schultz

August 19th, 2012
1:48 pm

"Chef" Tim Dix

August 19th, 2012
1:49 pm

Wonder if any telecast producer ever thought that Glav mumbles too much?

Jeff Schultz

August 19th, 2012
1:50 pm

Stinger2 — As a general rule, when Chipper sits out, it’s to rest of his aching knees. He has at least one day off built into the week.

Peter R.

August 19th, 2012
1:52 pm

Fred should make use of a take sign.

Birdhair

August 19th, 2012
1:53 pm

Jeff,

I think atlanta sports writers and fans forget that Wren gave away Scott Diamond in a rule 5 trade. Obviously, I guess our scouts didn’t see what Minnesota saw in him? His stats so far have been very impressive with the Twins.

I think Wren gets way too much credit. He created a hole and then gets credit for filling the hole with someone that isn’t as good as the one that he gave away.

We are winning in spite of Wren. The players that were brought in under JS’ watch are the ones that are carrying us.

"Chef" Tim Dix

August 19th, 2012
1:54 pm

I’m more concerned with our free swingin first baseman right now than McCann.

Stinger2

August 19th, 2012
1:55 pm

Jeff: Understand and he needs at least one day off a week especially now when they are playing 20 games without an off day and will be traveling from coast to coast next. week. By the way, your collegue (DOB) commented that he thinks Chipper may try to play all three games against the Nats.

The Wad

August 19th, 2012
1:56 pm

How about a little honesty here guys! Show me another MLB mgr who lost 2 of his starters in the first month. Then played the merry-go-round all comers tryout looking for an effective replacement in rookie pitchers. Then had to go on the scrapheap for a miracle 6 game .500 record from a retired pitcher in the middle of a pennant race. Has his starting SS reveal he is really a year away from being MLB ready and then his replacement throw All-Satr stats out for a month until he goes Heyward on us and breaks his hand! Then we get a 29 yr old SS at the deadline who has just now after a month started putting the bat on the ball once a game. Had his former All-Star catcher play at AA-AAA level all year. Had his 65 mil star pickup barely hit his weight all year. Has a broken down 40 yr old 3rd baseman(who is stroking the ball like a demon) who can`t play more than 5 games without 2 days off. All the while his bench proves it can hardly be counted on for anything while they trot off one by one for surgery or retirement(Hinski). I believe Fredi makes a strong case for mgr of the year.

Steve

August 19th, 2012
1:57 pm

Uggla is on pace for 185 strikeouts, which would obliterate the franchise record of 156 that he set last season. No other Brave has ever struck out 150 times.

Yuck.

Jeff Schultz

August 19th, 2012
1:58 pm

Birdhair — I don’t know if you can go as far to say that JS players are “carrying” the team, but there has been both good/bad moves under Wren. Bottom line is they need to reach postseason and have some success.

Jeff Schultz

August 19th, 2012
1:58 pm

Stinger2 — I’d be surprised if Chipper DIDN’T start all 3 vs. Nats.

a

August 19th, 2012
1:58 pm

bowman

August 19th, 2012
2:00 pm

Hate to say this, B-Mac being a local boy and all, but long-term prospects in Atlanta don’t look good. The Braves will pick-up the costly $12 million option but it likely will be his last year with the team. His lack of fitness and breaking down physically at an early age means the Braves will not make a big-dollar long-term offer. As of today, Christian Bethancourt will be No. 1 catcher when the Braves open the 2014 season.

Steve

August 19th, 2012
2:01 pm

Bowman, that’s not a bad thing at all.

Birdhair

August 19th, 2012
2:04 pm

Jeff,

Thank you. I am glad an atlanta sports writer can acknowledge as much. Folks really do not realize the impact that his poor spending has had. KK, Lowe, Uggla. He’s tied his own hands. He doesnt value OBP enough. Buster Olney has even stated as much.

I want to be competing for division championships and not wild cards. And we should be with the talent base that Wren was given.

Overall, I think it’s blatantly obvious that Wren is not the guy to get us to that level. I know that’s a very derisive statement, but someone has to say it. Thanks again for your “level headedness” and comical contributions at the same time!