The return of team spark plug INF-OF Martin Prado seemed to kick start the 2nd half as the Atlanta Braves continue to play inspired ball at 56-39 as of July 17th. Prado(Shin) DL-ed with a freak staph infection injury since June 7th made immediate impact in his first game back July 15th, going 2 for 5 with a home run,2 runs and 2 rbi in the 11-1 victory vs the Washington Nationals. With an abundance of OFs, the versatile 6th year man is now playing 3B due to injury. Prado’s bat is vital to a club that has struggled to score runs now that regular 3B Chipper Jones’(Knee surgery) stick is on the 15 day DL. Recent signs point to an offensive upturn with 1st year 1B Freddie Freeman on a tear and 2B Dan Uggla showing signs of life after being in a season long funk. The pitching has been outstanding throughout the year(Do not rank higher than 6th in all 4 major categories among the 30 ML teams: 2nd in ERA and Batting average against, 6th in quality starts, 3rd in WHIP) so any offensive improvement would be a key component to make a run at the post season.
MASSIVE MCCANN: Braves all star C Brian McCann is having an incredible season, leading the club in all 5 major categories!!! He is hitting .308 with 16 home runs, 53 rbi and 93 hits as well as a .379 OBP. This man has to draw major MVP consideration among National League players. Quite simply, this team would be done without him.
BRAVES NOTES: Freeman continued his strong freshman season with a game winning 9th inning single July 17th and is now hitting .273 with 13 homers and 47 rbi after hitting .231 in April. A great addition with plus defense as well, Freeman has to be a major candidate to win the 2011 National League Rookie of the Year award…. Jones(Knee) swung a bat Saturday July 16th and felt good. He hopes to begin a rehab assignment this Thursday(July 21st) and rejoin the club when he is eligible July 25th… Both RHRP’s Peter Moylan(Back surgery) and Kris Medlen(Tommy John Surgery) are progressing well in rehab and hope to return sometime in August….Atlanta became the 3rd franchise in major league history to win 10,000 games with the 11-1 win over the Nationals July 15th. The Braves joined the Giants and Cubs in achieving the feat.
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