6 Braves Who Need To Step Up To Take Their Team To The Postseason

Jonah P DAnalyst ISeptember 12, 2010

6 Braves Who Need To Step Up To Take Their Team To The Postseason

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    ATLANTA - SEPTEMBER 01:  Jason Heyward #22 of the Atlanta Braves congratulates Rick Ankiel #28 after Ankiel scored against the New York Mets at Turner Field on September 1, 2010 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    The Braves have not recently been performing to their full extent, and some of their best players have been slumping for the past few weeks.

    If these certain players do not step up to take the Braves to the postseason, they will most likely finish behind the Phillies.

    Every one of them is very capable of carrying the team, they just need to have the ability to get the key hits or outs in certain points of the game.

Tim Hudson

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    ATLANTA - JUNE 28:  Pitcher Tim Hudson #15 of the Atlanta Braves against the Washington Nationals at Turner Field on June 28, 2010 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    It appears that Tim Hudson has nearly pulled himself from the Cy Young ballot.

    His past few performances have been nowhere near Cy Young quality.

    His ERA is climbing rapidly and he has dented his record with a few losses in the past week.

    It may be too late for the Cy Young, but if he performs really well these last few weeks , he may be able to boost the Braves to the playoffs.

    And with his postseason experience, he could be quite useful.

Jason Heyward

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    ATLANTA - SEPTEMBER 01:  Jason Heyward #22 of the Atlanta Braves against the New York Mets at Turner Field on September 1, 2010 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Jason Heyward, although he has had a fantastic season and may be a main factor that leads the Braves to the postseason, is not currently first in the standings for Rookie of the Year.

    He does have great statistics, with 17 home runs and 68 RBIs, but he may currently be getting outperformed by Jaime Garcia or Buster Posey.

    But, as I said before, with his great ability to come across hits in crucial points of the game, if Heyward stays hot, he may lift be the Braves ticket to the postseason.

The Empty Spot...

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    ATLANTA - AUGUST 31:  Alex Gonzalez #2 of the Atlanta Braves against the New York Mets at Turner Field on August 31, 2010 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    There is one spot that is left, for the most part, empty in the Braves batting order.

    This is the spot where there are almost always runners in scoring position, and they usually end up stranded on base.

    There are a few players that usually get into this situation. They are McLouth, Gonzalez, Cabrera, and Lee.

    If two, or even just one of them were to step up and do something other than strike out, I believe the Braves would find themselves winning more often.

September Call-Ups

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    ATLANTA - SEPTEMBER 01:  Freddie Freeman #5 of the Atlanta Braves against the New York Mets at Turner Field on September 1, 2010 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    As all teams do, the Braves have called a few of their best players up from the minor leagues this month.

    Their main pick-up was Freddie Freeman, a 1st baseman, who has pinch-hit in nearly every game since having been brought up from the minors.

    However, he is hitting only .083, quite a contrast from his minor league average of .318.

    The Braves have also acquired three new relief pitchers, and a new addition to the bullpen is almost always a good thing.

Troy Glaus and Derek Lowe

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    WASHINGTON - JULY 29:  Derek Lowe #32 of the Atlanta Braves pitches to Adam Dunn #44 of the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park on July 29, 2010 in Washington, DC.  (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)
    Greg Fiume/Getty Images

    Both of these veterans have previously had good experiences in the postseason, and given the chance, can probably do it again.

    But neither have had a fantastic season.

    In fact, Lowe is probably having his worst season so far, and at least since his topnotch seasons with the Dodgers.

    His ERA is in the fives, and he does not display a winning record.

    If he can manage to pitch like his former self, he could help guide the Braves toward the postseason.

    Troy Glaus, around halfway through the season, led the league in RBIs for a while. But he has since then faced injuries and is no longer in this position.

    He has gotten numerous key hits for the Braves in the past, but has not started for many games.

Omar Infante

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    ATLANTA - AUGUST 31:  Omar Infante #4 of the Atlanta Braves against the New York Mets at Turner Field on August 31, 2010 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Infante is currently gunning for the NL batting title.

    He does not have enough plate appearances to qualify, but by the end of the season if all goes well, he should have that title under his belt.

    Infante has stepped up in previous situations and carried the team. When Prado was injured, he stepped in for a while, later taking Jones' place at third permanently.

    If Infante can continue to perform well in these key situations, he may be one player who can boost the Braves to the postseason.

Closing

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    HOUSTON - AUGUST 10:  Brooks Conrad #26 of the Atlanta Braves is congratulated by Alex Gonzalez #2 after hitting a two run home run in the ninth inning against Matt Lindstrom of the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park on August 10, 2010 in Houston, Texas.
    Bob Levey/Getty Images

    There are many Braves who can possibly single-handedly carry their team to the postseason.

    Not that it will be easy, but each one of them is quite capable of doing this.

    I am hoping that one of them will step up, and with any luck we will once again see the Braves in the World Series.