Braves-Marlins: Injuries cast shadow over Atlanta victory

James HulkaAnalyst IJuly 23, 2008

Tim Hudson made quick work of the Marlins tonight. Then, a tender right elbow made him a quick spectator.

By the time Chipper Jones and Tim Hudson left Wednesday evening's finale in Atlanta with injuries, the Braves offense had put the game out of reach, scoring five times in the first four innings off Ricky Nolasco. In his second game back, Yunel Escobar had two RBI doubles following up Gregor Blanco who went 4-5 with a triple, three runs scored and three RBI.

Buddy Carlyle's sudden inability to close out a potential shutout made the game closer than Bobby Cox would have liked, as Mike Gonzalez came on to get the final two outs in the ninth inning. Losing the shutout was surely not his main concern.

Jones left the game in the top of the fourth inning after grounding out and pulling up lame at first base making the final out of the half-inning. Frank Wren mentioned after the game the injury is likely not serious.

With an off day on Thursday, we still may see Chipper in the lineup some time this weekend against the Phillies. One thing we have learned about Chipper is that it's always day-to-day.

Perhaps of greater concern was Tim Hudson. He was cruising through six innings only allowing three hits and one walk and throwing only 68 pitches. It may only be some tightness as the in-game report mentioned, but potential elbow injuries are nothing to take lightly. One thing is for sure - if Hudson goes down for any extended period of time, the Braves' already slim playoff chances just flew out the window.

If the eyes of the baseball world weren't already with the Braves with an important series in Philadelphia ahead this weekend, they certainly will be now. With all the injuries the Braves have survived to this point, I'm not sure the loss of their best hitter and best pitcher will be able to be overcome. Will the bidding begin on Mark Teixeira, Will Ohman, and Mark Kotsay? Braves fans will likely find out this weekend one way or another.