Chopcast: Braves pace-setting NL East race

ATLANTA — The Braves keep making significant changes to their 25-man roster and they keep extending their lead in the N.L. East. At this point, following an 11-3 rout over the Blue Jays with many of their key players sitting (Jason Heyward, B.J. Upton, Dan Uggla, is there any move Frank Wren and Fredi Gonzalez wouldn’t dare to make?

Even the team’s newest rookie — hyped reliever and 2012 draftee Alex Wood, who received his first call-up Thursday night — did well in his debut, setting down the Blue Jays to end the game and give the Braves a 5 1/2 game lead over preseason favorite Washington.

However, there are concerns that linger, despite the teams success. A few of the teams most prominent names, many of them mentioned above, continue to struggle and the pitching staff continues to be a work in progress in terms of consistent production (despite solid numbers overall).

To discuss all of this and more, 92.9 The Game’s Braves insider Grant McAuley joins the Chopast. Here are the highlights:

— With Juan Francisco being designated for assignment to make room for Wood, what is his future with the team? Have the Braves seen enough of Chris Johnson and Ramiro Pena to feel comfortable moving the power-hitting, platoon third baseman?

— What is Alex Wood’s future in the organization? Is he a reliever or a starter?

— Should Fredi Gonzalez play the hottest bats or continue to coax the aforementioned/struggling big names along through the season until they come around. What’s the best way for a guy to tweak his swing midseason? Can B.J. Upton turn it around?

— How did Cubs pitchers have a better month than the Upton brothers?

— Is Evan Gattis an All-Star? Is a movie script — much like the many musical tributes already circulating, including friend of the podcast Ricky Mast’s version — in the works?

— What player or coach in the Braves organization is most likely to listen to Run DMC?