Caray: Braves bats get much-needed spark; more
FOXSportsSouth.com checks in with play-by-play announcer Chip Caray to get the latest on the Braves.
FOX SPORTS SOUTH: An offense that had been sputtering for most of the month of September seemed to get the spark it needed after the ejections of Fredi Gonzalez and Alex Wood on Wednesday in D.C. How did you think the team responded?
CC: I talked to several people and they said thy’ve seen some fired-up teams before, but there was some intensity and stuff in that dugout that they had not seen before. The consensus is that’s the kind of win that can really jump-start a ball club, emotion, fire, controversy.
Then, they come back and win the game and accomplish two goals: they move closer to winning the division and and move closer to eliminating their fiercest rival in the division — and you overcome what was perceived to be a bad call.
The guys that stepped up were ones that needed to step up for the club: Dan Uggla hit a homer; Justin Upton hit a homer; the bullpen came through. David Carpenter worked an 1 1/3 of perfect relief and Craig Kimbrel got a redeemer save and the Braves got out of town winning one out of three.
Now they set their sights on the Cubs, a Chicago team that’s on pace to lose 100 games. A lot of good things came out of yesterday and we’ll see if they can ride it for a while.
FSS: Do you believe we saw a turning point amid those September struggles? Dan Uggla had a hit in every game vs. the Nats and in that season finale they got a home run via Justin Upton and Brian McCann’s double. This looked a lot like the early-season offensive shows we got accustomed to.
CC: I hope so. You don’t know but you hope so.
Justin Upton hit his second home run since Aug. 22 and a lot of things went well in that ballgame. Dan Uggla would be the first to tell you that he has not had a good year; B.J. Upton would be the first to tell you that he has not had a good year. If the Braves are going the reach the ultimate goal, which is to win a world championship, they need those guys playing well.
In Game 3 they played a very complete, very successful and winning game and that’s going to be the patten. If they can get ahead after six innings they’re going to turn it over to the bullpen and they’re going to have a very good chance of winning the ballgame.
But they’ve got to score, they’ve got to take advantage of the opportunities and they’ve got to manufacture runs and they’ve got to hit a home run every now and then. All those things worked for the Braves last night.
FSS: Jason Heyward is back in the batting cage and if there are no setbacks he could return early next week. How key is it to get Heyward rolling again atop the lineup before the postseason begins?
CC: Obviously you’d like him to come back and swing the bat exactly like he did before he got hurt. But I don’t know how realistic that is.
He’s missed a lot and I think where he gets his start is an open question. Is it in the instructional lead or does he just join the major league roster and get back at it once the Braves clinch. Personally, I think I’d rather him face major league pitching than guys who spray the ball all around and maybe hit him.
I think it’s unrealistic to expect Jason to come back and hit .400. I also think it’s unrealistic to think that Jason Heyward can come back and hit .100. He’s too good a player.
The truth lies somewhere in between, but honestly if Jason Heyward is a force getting on base, scoring runs and making all the plays in the outfield he’s going to be an upgrade over everyone else that’s lead off since he got hurt and that’s no disrespect but the numbers bear that out.