Over the season, I've had to hear the media lament over key injuries. Surprisingly, when the unlucky injury-bugged teams are mentioned, the Atlanta Braves are normally overlooked.
For most baseball fans, they would look at you as if you were crazy if you mentioned that Braves have battled through several key injuries. The Braves are believed to be lucky when it comes to the injury bug, with the exception of Chipper Jones.
I can't blame them, since little has been mentioned about the Braves' injuries. So far, they've lost Chipper Jones and Kris Medlen to season-ending injuries. Jair Jurrjens, Eric O’Flaherty, and Matt Diaz have spent over a combined five months on the DL. Those are pretty big losses for a team that relies heavily on pitching and situational hitting.
Don't forget that the Braves have lost production from players playing through injuries as well. Jason Heyward and Troy Glaus are the best examples in this regard. Key support players, such as David Ross and Takahashi Saito, have had to take time to heal as well.
This loss of quality pitching and offensive production is a pretty big challenge for any team. How well a team deals with these challenges is normally what separates great teams from good teams.
The 2010 Braves have faced these types of challenges better than anyone else in the NL. That's why they've been sitting in first place for the past two-and-a-half months. It's also why I feel we've yet to see the Atlanta Braves play their best baseball.