Originally posted on Fox Sports South  |  Last updated 7/12/13
ATLANTA Here are three things we learned from the Braves' 4-2 loss to the Reds on Friday night, before a boisterous, red-clad crowd of 43,275 at Turner Field: 1. Atlanta's absurd rash of outfield injuries have fortuitously come at an ideal time On Thursday, Jason Heyward (two homers, nine RBI, 10 runs since June 14) incurred a strained hamstring against the Reds, the result of a hard slide into third base. Twenty-four hours later, brothers Justin Upton (strained calf) and B.J. Upton (strained adductor muscle) were also shelved, due to injury. Throw in the sobering news of Jordan Schafer's stress fracture (ankle), sidelining him for roughly a month, and you have a suddenly decimated Atlanta outfield that was healthy before the series began. Asked if he would prefer the All-Star break to kick in right away, Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez didn't soft-pedal his response. "I wish it was tomorrow, but we've still got two more games to play, against a tough team," said Gonzalez. "But right now, we're pretty banged up." As such, Gonzalez said the Braves would probably put their heads together overnight, brainstorming a short-term solution to their weekend problem. It may involve calling up an outfielder from the minors, although Evan Gattis (oblique) won't be rushed back to the majors, as a means of curtailing any rehab starts. B.J. Upton's injury occurred in the first inning, awkwardly diving for a line drive. With Atlanta trailing 2-0 and two outs, he rushed to make a play on Todd Frazier's low-to-the-ground liner. But the center fielder dropped to his knees just a fraction too early, momentarily losing sight of the ball which caromed off the glove and then onto Upton's upper left thigh before reaching the grass. B.J. then collapsed to the ground, writhing in pain. He would eventually walk off the field, assisted by the Atlanta trainers. "It's crazy," said B.J. Upton in the post-game media scrum, reflecting on the long-shot odds of brothers going down to injury on the same night, in the same game. "I don't know what to make of (it)." Justin's injury turn came in the seventh inning, after running out a routine groundout. The statuses for Heyward and the Uptons could be "day to day" after Saturday morning re-evaluations, said Gonzalez. However, with the All-Star break looming and Atlanta (53-40) presiding over comfortable leads in the National League East (5 12 games on Washington, seven on Philly), the club might choose to ride out SaturdaySunday with Reed Johnson (0 for 4 on Friday), Tyler Pastornicky and rookie Joey Terdoslavich (0 for 3) logging the outfield starts. "I felt better (Friday) than I did last night," Heyward told Braves.com before the game. "More flexibility in my hamstring, less pain. It's not as uncomfortable, but there still is pain. I'm still really sore. Still day to day, and that's how we're going to take it and see how I feel each day." 2. The epitaph from Kris Medlen's blah night could have been much, much worse Medlen surrendered four runs and nine hits over four innings, while fanning four and walking just one. In the grand scheme of things, it won't greatly affect his seasonal stats. However, Medlen was very fortunate to exit with only pedestrian numbers. Of his four-plus innings (retiring zero batters in the 5th), Cincy's leadoff hitters reached base three times. And amazingly, the Reds twice loaded the bases with no outs against Medlen or 40 percent of his time on the mound. And yet, Braves reliever Alex Wood coolly retired Jay Bruce (sacrifice-fly RBI) and Brandon Phillips (fielder's choice) in the frenetic fifth inning, setting the stage for another weird turn of events: In the 5th, Cincinnati (52-41) loaded the bases with zero outs (all against Medlen), scored one run and sent only five "official" hitters to the plate without a double play. How is that possible? Frazier was caught stealing with Zack Cozart at the plate. Hence, the five batters and minimal damage from an inning that, from Atlanta's perspective, had disaster written all over it. Regarding the bigger picture, Friday clinched the first time in Medlen's five-year MLB career that he has allowed 10 earned runs over the course of consecutive outings. 3. The Braves' anemic offensive effort can best be summed up in one nifty sentence For the first eight innings, Atlanta didn't register multiple hits in the same frame or send more than four batters to the plate at any time. In the 9th, Freddie Freeman's RBI single actually put the Braves (four total hits) in position to bring the tying run to the plate. But that was a short-lived period of euphoria, as Reds closer Aroldis Chapman (21st save) retired Brian McCann (solo homer in the 7th) for the final out.
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