The bad news keeps piling up for the Braves. B.J. Upton had to exit tonight’s game against the Reds in the first inning after straining his right abductor muscle on a dive attempt. Justin Upton had to leave with a strained left calf after the end of the bottom of the seventh inning. He had come up limping a bit after grounding out to shortstop to lead off the inning. Reed Johnson, who had moved from right field to center after B.J. left, moved back to right field and Tylor Pastornicky took over in center field for Justin.
Justin Upton entered the night with a .255/.353/.463 slash line, but since a hot April that had him in early MVP discussions, he has hit .237/.333/.353 since May 1.
The Braves also learned that x-rays on outfielder Jordan Schafer’s right ankle revealed a stress fracture. David O’Brien says Schafer will likely be out six weeks. He is in his second week out of action, though he suffered the injury on June 26.
If you’re counting, that is four injured outfielders, three in the last two nights. While the Phillies had their game postponed and the Nationals lost to the Marlins 8-3, the Braves lost to the Reds tonight 4-2.
Diamondbacks pitcher Shelby Miller left Sunday’s start against the Dodgers after four-plus innings due to tightness in his right forearm, the team announced. He’ll be reevaluated tomorrow. Needless to say, though, a forearm injury is very concerning. In his four innings, Miller gave up three runs on four hits and five walks with three strikeouts, raising his ERA to 4.09.
Miller, 26, has had a nightmare of a time since joining the Diamondbacks in December 2015. Last year, he made 20 starts and posted a 6.15 ERA. He suffered a finger injury suffered from scraping his hand on the pitcher’s mound with his follow-through, and he was also demoted to Triple-A during the summer as well.
Pirates starter Ivan Nova has been outstanding in his first three starts of the 2017 season. He yielded only five earned runs in 20 innings for a tidy 2.25 ERA. But even more impressively, Nova didn’t issue a walk in any of those starts.
That changed on Sunday afternoon against the Yankees, but in a most peculiar way. Nova had struck out the side in the first inning, notched a 1-2-3 frame in the second, and got two quick ground outs to begin the third inning, bringing up Yankees pitcher Jordan Montgomery for his first major league at-bat. Montgomery never batted in the minor leagues, either, so Sunday’s AB against Nova was his first since his senior year of high school in 2011. Montgomery took the first two pitches for balls, then a called strike, a ball, and another called strike to even the count. Nova came in with his sixth consecutive fastball but it missed low, walking the Yankees’ pitcher for his first free pass of the 2017 season.
Nova got out of the inning without any further issue. He wound up going seven innings, giving up a lone run on four hits and a walk with seven strikeouts, lowering his ERA to an even 2.00.