Shocker: Brooks Conrad is out of the Braves lineup tonight

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And the lineup is:

1. Infante 2B
2. Diaz LF
3. Lee, 1B
4. McCann C
5. Gonzalez SS
6. Heyward RF
7. Glaus 3B
8. Ankiel CF
9. Lowe P

I know Troy Glaus can’t field anymore either, but what choice does Bobby Cox have? All the players said the right things last night, but you know deep down none of them want Conrad at second base. And the fans? Well, Bobby Cox doesn’t give a hoot about what they think, thank goodness, but they wouldn’t be too pleased themselves. If Glaus screws up, well, yeah, that will suck, but at least he saved everyone’s bacon on Friday. At least he’s a veteran. At least it’s not doing the same thing and expecting a different result, and people will accept that a hell of a lot better than they’d accept Conrad fielding a ground ball again.

The truth is that there are no good options here. Diory Hernandez may have an OK glove, the Braves wouldn’t be in the mess they’re in if they could hit a lick, and Hernandez’s bat is probably worse than Glaus’ glove. When you do battle in the playoffs with your sixth or seventh infielder starting games you’re pretty much screwed no matter what you do.

Maybe more interesting in all of this: unless it’s a blowout, Bobby Cox is almost certain to use Brooks Conrad as a pinch hitter. Which, by the way, is the position that got him where he is today. His big hits this year helped the Braves into the playoffs. And while that doesn’t excuse his defensive lapses, he at least has a chance to add some value in that role.

I hope that, if he does get to bat tonight, Braves fans cheer for him.  I fear they won’t, but I really hope they do.

Max Scherzer, with broken nose, strikes out 10 Phillies over seven shutout innings

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Nationals starter Max Scherzer bunted a ball into his face during batting practice on Tuesday, breaking his nose in the process. He ended up with a gnarly looking shiner around his right eye, making him appear a bit like Terminator. Scherzer still took the ball to start the second game of Wednesday night’s doubleheader against the Phillies.

Despite the injury, Scherzer was incredibly effective, limiting the Phillies to four hits and two walks across seven shutout innings, striking out 10 batters in the process. He might even have had some extra adrenaline going, as he averaged 96.2 MPH on his fastball, his highest average fastball velocity in a game since September 2012, per MLB.com’s Jamal Collier. The Nationals provided Scherzer with just one run of support, coming on a Brian Dozier solo home run off of Jake Arrieta in the second inning, but it was enough.

Wander Suero worked a scoreless top of the eighth with a pair of strikeouts. Victor Robles added a solo homer off of Pat Neshek in the bottom half. Closer Sean Doolittle took over in the ninth, working a 1-2-3 frame to give the Nats their 2-0 victory.

Over his last six starts, Scherzer now has a 0.88 ERA with a 59/8 K/BB ratio across 41 innings. He has gone six innings, struck out at least nine batters, and held the opposition to two or fewer runs in each of those six starts.