A couple days after the Ryne Sandberg-Jimmy Rollins foofaraw broke, Ryne Sandberg is still insisting that benching Rollins for a couple of days is not a disciplinary thing or about him sending a message. People in the know aren’t buying that.
Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com is one. He wrote last night that the timing was too perfect to accept that it was merely about wanting to give Freddy Galvis reps:
Sandberg’s there’s-nothing-to-see-here story became a little tough to believe when it became clear he was bothered by a recent comment that Rollins made in the Philadelphia Daily News.
On Monday, with the losses and the 0-fers piling up, Rollins said something to the effect that he wasn’t concerned about the way things were going because it was just spring training.
“Who cares?” he said.
The comment hit the paper Tuesday morning, the same day that Rollins was abruptly scratched from the lineup.
And then there is this tweet from Jayson Stark this morning:
Apparently Rollins and Sandberg spoke yesterday. For everyone’s sake apart from the reporters, you hope they resolved things. Because this sort of drama is no way to start off a season.
The Braves clinched a postseason berth with Saturday’s 10-1 win over the Nationals. Now, the only question is whether they’ll get there with an NL East division title or via one of two wild card spots currently up for grabs.
Granted, things are looking pretty good on the division title front. After losing their second straight game to the Braves, the Nationals sit 10.5 games back of first place in the NL East, and every other division rival is at least 15 games out. The Braves, meanwhile, carry a magic number of four; should they clinch, it’ll be their 19th franchise title and 14th since they migrated to the East division in 1994.
They certainly looked like postseason contenders on Saturday. Mike Foltynewicz led the charge with six innings of one-run, five-strikeout ball, limiting the Nationals to four hits while rookie right-hander Austin Voth kept the Braves scoreless through 5 2/3 frames. Things started to tip in Atlanta’s favor in the sixth inning: Nick Markakis put the team on the board with an RBI single, and a four-run breakout in the seventh helped cement a sizable lead. Over the last three innings, the Braves found opportunity after opportunity against the Nationals’ bullpen, capitalizing on walks, throwing errors, and productive outs as they climbed toward a double-digit finish.
The win didn’t come without some sacrifice, however. The Braves lost Charlie Culberson to a facial injury after he was struck by a Fernando Rodney fastball in the seventh inning, and they’ll likely be without him for the remainder of the regular season — pending a formal diagnosis, of course. Culberson’s loss isn’t the only one the club is feeling right now, either, as Johan Camargo ended his season with a hairline fracture in his right shin and Freddie Freeman is playing through a minor bout of elbow soreness after making an early exit from Friday’s 5-0 shutout.