Despite major injuries, the Atlanta Braves refuse to pass quietly into the night.
It must be voodoo.
How else do you explain overcoming injuries to three major starters, including Tim Hudson, Mike Hampton and John Thomson? How is it possible that night after night, they insert two or more rookies in their lineup and get decent production out of all of them? How do you explain a walking corpse named Franco batting cleanup some nights and stealing two bases in one game, hitting two home runs the next? And have you seen John Smoltz lately? He's just a stump with a head and slings the ball to the plate with his mouth.
The fact the Braves haven’t sunk like stones must be magic.
Or just typical Braves’ baseball. And the worst has yet to come.
Phans have experienced this story 13 times before. We know it by heart. We know what happens in the next chapter. Head zombie, John Schuerholz, will make his deal.
You know the deal, right? The one that rewrites the landscape of the division and helps them win their 14th consecutive pennant.
This year, the deal could be for a number of top starters, and it could happen very soon. How about Jason Schmidt for the stretch run? He’d make a nice Brave. Or maybe a package deal that includes both Schmidt and Alou? Wouldn’t that be something. Barry Zito would be a good fit, as would Kip Wells or even Roger Clemens.
Schuerholz's magic lies in his unbelievable patience, coupled with and an endless amount of prospects – tools Wade doesn’t have or utilize effectively. While Wade grabbed Ugueth Urbina as an insurance reliever, Schuerholz pushed on with an even weaker bullpen. Now he’s waiting for the chips to settle, and when he finally pulls the trigger, it’s guaranteed to be huge – much bigger than Uggie.
The Braves lost last night, but over the past 10 games they’re slowly creeping back into the picture, pulling to a half game back of the Phils and only four out of first.
If history repeats itself, they're destined to go on a run while the rest of the division treads water.
And right now, the zombie's hand is grasping at the ankle of the Phillies.