The Braves have decided to mostly rest their regulars for the last few games of the season after some theatrics last night against Milwaukee. After a near-brawl with Milwaukee in the first inning last night, the Braves decided to fill the opener of their series tonight against the Phillies with several reserves and recent callups - and one very welcome DL returnee.
Jason Heyward hit a leadoff homer (his 14th on the season) as the Braves notched five runs in the first inning en route to a 7-1 win. Elliot Johnson went 1-for-3 with 2 runs in the 2-hole, and David Hale picked up his first major league win with six strong innings.
The win put the Braves in a dead heat with the Cardinals for best record in the NL. The five playoff teams are set, but the position could be any one of a dozen combinations. The Braves could end up facing the Cardinals, Pirates, Reds, or Dodgers in the first round, as all five teams are very close in the standings and only the Braves and Dodgers have clinched their divisions.
The Braves' starting position players will likely play sporadically over the weekend, except for Heyward. After being out a month, any at bats that help him get back into the swing of things - even after a homer tonight - will help before the playoffs begin. However, the Braves will finish setting up their rotation for the playoffs by running out Kris Medlen (14-12), Mike Minor (13-8), and Julio Teheran (13-8) in their last three games.