The NL East-leaders Braves have seen in the last few weeks that their advantage against the second-placed nationals is easing somewhat. At 61-43, the Braves still have a 5 1/2 cushion, but it seems that their lineup is about to make two notable hits. The club could lose shortstop Dansby Swanson and right fielder Nick Markakis on the casualty list, Gabriel Burns of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution squadrons (links here).
Swanson injured the base Tuesday from his heel and has not played since. The Braves will make a decision on Saturday on a possible IL mission for Swanson, per manager Brian Snitker. The news sounds much worse for Markakis, who took a fastball from his left hand on Friday by Phillies Southpaw Cole Irvin . While Braves won the game, they probably lost Markakis. He will visit a doctor on Saturday, but Markakis said after the game that "it does not look good" and Burns writes that Snitker was "pessimistic" about his status.
Both Swanson and Markakis were a solid addition to the leading players in the Braves in Ronald Acuna Jr. Freddie Freeman Josh Donaldson and Ozzie Albies ]. 25-year-old Swanson is well on the way to a career season, scoring 0.265 / 0.330 / 0.468 (1
Part of Markaki's attraction throughout his career was his praiseworthy durability. He started in 2019 with six consecutive campaigns with more than 155 games, including a full table with 162 games last year, and appeared in all 104 of the Braves this season. This series seems to end now for sure.
If the Braves lose Swanson and Markakis, they could turn to Johan Camargo and -or Charlie Culberson . These two are also among Brave's reserve outfield options such as Matt Joyce and veteran Adam Duvall . Duvall, who ran twice in a row against the Reds in 2016-17, lost considerable ground in a 18-year split between Cincinnati and Atlanta. Duvall has spent the whole season at the Triple A level, but he will likely help fill Markakis' gap, David O'Brien of The Athletic Tweets.
& Markakis # 39; The impending absence could also allow the Braves to bring the downgraded Ender Inciarte more frequently into the mix. Inciarte made it clear on Thursday that he does not want to be traded, and is now unlikely given Markakis' injury.