For every good there’s a bad. For every yin a yang. The yang to Lonnie Chisenhall’s spectacular .385/.429/.615 yin is the roster crunch it will likely occasion for the Indians. And the odd-man out is probably going to be Jason Giambi.
Anthony Castrovince of MLB.com looks at the issue today, and he sees it pretty realistically: once Nick Swisher returns from the disabled list Terry Francona will have to figure out where to play him, Chisenhall, Carlos Santana, Mike Aviles and Giambi. If you assume Chisenhall has earned the right to stick at third base, that Santana’s recent concussion and the presence of two other catchers is going to limit his time behind the plate and that the DH slot is going to feature a rotation of Santana, Swisher and whoever needs some rest, it’s going to be really hard to justify carrying Giambi, who is basically a platoon DH now.
Some may say too many bats is a good problem to have — and it’s way better than the alternative, no question — but such a state of affairs may very well end the career of one of the best and most interesting hitters of the past 20 years.
If that makes you sad, do realize that this state of affairs also gave Castrovince the opportunity to refer to Nick Swisher as “the $56 million bro,” which may be the nickname of the year.
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.