The Braves have dug themselves a big enough hole already, so they certainly didn’t need to add to the difficulty. But they did anyway. Inadvertently, of course, but possibly disastrously: Martin Prado hurt his hip while swinging at a pitch in the fifth. It’s been diagnosed as a hip pointer, and he “may be out awhile,” according to Bobby Cox.
Of course, the Braves don’t have “awhile.” They have five games left and they’re tied in the loss column with the Padres for the wild card. Their replacement for Prado will be Brooks Conrad. You might remember Conrad hitting big, late-inning pinch-hit home runs against the Reds and Astros earlier this season. Which were great. But a team that was already depending on guys like Omar Infante (i.e. nice players who are being stretched beyond their capabilities), they don’t need to be depending on even more of them.
If the Braves do make the playoffs, it will be after spending a big portion of the season with a lineup consisting of a ton of guys who would be bench players on most playoff teams and with a rotation with at least two pitchers who likely would have ended on AAA rosters for most clubs.