It's not very often that a team can sustain a large number of injuries and still hold on to the division lead, but as we hit the All-Star break, that's exactly where the Braves find themselves. At 54-41, Atlanta holds a 6 game lead on Washington and a 6.5 game lead over third-place Philadelphia.
After losing their entire starting outfield to injury within 24 hours, the Braves ended the first half of the season by fielding an outfield which consisted of Jose Constanza in left, Reed Johnson in center, and Joey Terdoslavich in right. And in their first game together, the unlikely trio combined for 7 hits- more than the vaulted trio of Heyward and the brothers Upton combined for during any one game prior to their injuries.
Looking at my second series checklist, I just realized that six of the twenty players are either out of the lineup due to injuries or are out for the year after undergoing season ending surgeries. A seventh, Evan Gattis, was recalled yesterday after missing nearly a month with a strained oblique. Gattis' recall came after spending only two games with AAA Gwinnett; Atlanta really had no other choice but to recall El Oso Blanco after All-Star first baseman Freddie Freeman injured his thumb on the first play of Saturday's win over Cincinnati.
2013 Chops #26 Justin Upton
2013 Chops #27 Jordan Schafer
2013 Chops #29 Ramiro Pena
As with Schafer's injury, Pena's loss comes as one of the biggest blows to the team. As their key utility player, Pena had filled the void left by the trade of Martin Prado. Ramiro underwent season-ending surgery to his shoulder after having been placed on the DL on June 21st.
2013 Chops #30 BJ Upton
2013 Chops #36 Blake DeWitt
2013 Chops #40 Eric O'Flaherty
Out for the year after undergoing Tommy John surgery, and an upcoming free-agent to boot, you've got to believe that EOF has pitched his last game as a Brave. Despite Luis Avilan's emergence, Atlanta really misses O'Flaherty on the back end of its bullpen.