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.
The Cubs soundly defeated the Cardinals on Monday night, 10-2, sending their magic number down to one. They will try to clinch the NL Central on Tuesday with another win against the Cardinals. Alternatively, if they lose, they can still clinch if the Brewers also lose on Tuesday.
The Cubs, of course, won the Central last year en route to winning their first World Series since 1908. It wasn’t nearly as easy this year as the club was below .500 entering June and was exactly at .500 entering July. A 16-8 July, 17-12 August, and 15-8 September have helped put the Cubs back in position to return to the postseason.
Not to be forgotten, the Cardinals were eliminated from NL Central contention with Monday’s loss. Now they have their sights set on the second NL Wild Card slot and currently trail the Rockies in that race.
The matchups for Tuesday’s action:
Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union Tribune reports that Padres pitcher Carter Capps will undergo surgery this offseason to address thoracic outlet syndrome, which doctors believe caused the right-hander’s blood clots. The Padres hope to have him ready by spring training next year.
Capps, 27, underwent Tommy John surgery last year and didn’t debut this season until August 7. He made 11 relief appearances, yielding nine runs on 12 hits and two walks with seven strikeouts in 12 1/3 innings. He went back on the DL on September 12 due to the blood clot issue.
The Padres acquired Capps from the Marlins last July in the Andrew Cashner trade which ended up having a lot of moving parts. Capps will enter his third and final year of arbitration eligibility this offseason. It’s quite possible the Padres choose to non-tender him.