The Atlanta Braves can essentially clinch the NL wild card this weekend with a big weekend in St. Louis. While they technically won't clinch, winning at least one game would put their magic number down to 10. There is still a chance the Cardinals could go on a crazy stretch of 15-1 or something the final three weeks, but that's pretty unlikely at this point. And even if they did, it might not be enough to catch the Braves even if the team struggles down the stretch.
Let's take a closer look at the 76-67 Cardinals:
#5 / First Base / St. Louis Cardinals
Jan 16, 1980
|2011 - Albert Pujols||128||499||91||147||25||0||34||85||56||51||7||1||.295||.367||.549|
Do you want to know something that's really scary? Even with those numbers, this season is by far the worst year of Albert Pujols' career. He'll likely end his season with an fWAR of 5.5 or so, which is stellar for anyone other than Pujols. For a player who put up at least 7.5 'wins' the last nine years, a season like the one he's having in 2011 is pretty weak. The nerve of some people, thinking they can have all-star-caliber years even when they struggle a bit.
Friday, 8:15 -- Randall Delgado vs. Edwin Jackson
|2011 - Randall Delgado||0-1||3||3||0||0||0||0||15.0||12||8||7||3||6||10||4.20||1.20|
|2011 - Edwin Jackson||4-2||8||8||0||0||0||0||52.1||60||26||20||8||14||35||3.44||1.41|
Saturday, 7:15 -- Derek Lowe vs. Jaime Garcia
|2011 - Derek Lowe||9-13||30||30||0||0||0||0||168.1||182||92||87||11||65||124||4.65||1.47|
|2011 - Jaime Garcia||11-7||28||28||2||2||0||0||170.0||184||88||69||13||47||138||3.65||1.36|
Sunday, 2:15 -- Tim Hudson vs. Jake Westbrook
|2011 - Tim Hudson||14-9||29||29||1||1||0||0||189.0||162||75||66||14||51||136||3.14||1.13|
|2011 - Jake Westbrook||11-8||31||29||0||0||0||0||166.1||188||93||86||16||62||93||4.65||1.50|
Chipper Jones, No. 2 Hitter?
#10 / Third Base / Atlanta Braves
Apr 24, 1972
With the lineup in a funk the last few weeks, Fredi Gonzalez decided to hit Chipper Jones second in the batting order. In the doubleheader on Thursday, the Braves scored a total of 11 runs. Once again on Friday, Jones is hitting 2nd and Martin Prado is down to the sixth spot. Will it continue to work? I like the idea of it.
Lineup For Friday:
Bourn - CF
Jones - 3B
McCann - C
Uggla - 2B
Freeman - 1B
Prado - LF
Heyward - RF
Wilson - SS
Delgado - P
It appears Alex Gonzalez is just getting a game off tonight, though we'll update you if any injury news is announced.