The Cardinals get the Atlanta Braves for a short series at soon-to-be vacated Turner Field this weekend. If nothing else, manager Mike Matheny can use the time to get a handle on his postseason 25-man roster, which the St. Louis Post-Dispatch‘s Derrick Goold reports may have an 11-man pitching staff in order to bring in an extra bat.
Regardless, here’s what you’ll be seeing from the Cardinals’ opponent this weekend.
Players you’ve never heard of. Braves skipper Fredi Gonzalez has had 60 different players on the roster at one
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point or another this season, which the Elias Sports Bureau says is a franchise record (topping the 50 players used in 2007). The Braves are the second team in Major League history to use as many as 60 players in a season. Plus, 16 of those players have made their Major League debuts.
Young pitchers. Rookie pitchers account for 27 of the Braves’ 64 wins, the third highest total in Atlanta-franchise history (since 1966) for a single season. Leading the way is righthander Matt Wisler. He and fellow righty Williams Perez each have seven wins and more than 100 innings. The 23-year old Wisler, who the Braves acquired from the Padres over the winter in the Justin Upton trade, is scheduled to take the mound on Sunday.
Double plays aplenty. The Braves’ defense leads the majors with 181 double plays turned on the season. Shortstop Andrelton Simmons leads all players at his position with 125 turns for the year. That’s fourth most by a shortstop in a single season since 2000.
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Um, no you won’t. The Braves hit just 13 dingers in 27 games last month. That gave them just 96 on the season, dead last in the Majors. Only two Braves have double digits. First baseman Freddie Freeman has 18 long balls and centerfielder Cameron Maybin has ten. If Atlanta doesn’t get four more this weekend, it’ll be the first time the team hasn’t cracked the century mark since 1988, which any Braves fan will tell you falls within the Dark Ages of the franchise. It was three years before the team went on its miraculous run of winning seasons under Bobby Cox.