How much more can the Braves offense take?

The Braves lost 3B Martin Prado to a hip injury in last nights 2-1 win over the Marlins.

It’s uncertain just how much time Prado will miss, but this is the last thing the Braves needed right now.

Prado took over the 3rd spot in the batting order when the Braves lost Chipper for the year and now they will once again be looking for someone to bat third in the order.

I would have to guess that Derrek Lee or McCann will fill the void. Infante will continue to lead off and Heyward will bat second. It’s nice to be able to pencil Lee or McCann in the 3-spot, but it’s not something you wanted to be forced to do.

The Braves simply cannot catch a break. The loss of Chipper Jones on August 10th has sent the Braves into a downward spiral. The Braves are just 23-21 since the Chipper injury and they have struggled to score runs this month.

Several players stepped up after Chippers injury, but they have not been able to carry their hot hitting over into September. Jason Heyward and Omar Infante led the Braves offense in August with 5 homers apiece. Infante also hit .344 in August. He’s hitting .279 this month with 1 homer. Heyward has continued hitting the ball well into September posting a .286 average so far, but he only has 2 homers this month.

Alex Gonzalez has driven in 36 RBIs since the start of August and has 15 RBIs this month despite hitting .236.

Prado was also a key contributor to the offense in August. He hit .333, but has not produced the same results in September. Prado hasn’t been healthy for a while and perhaps that has been affecting him at the plate. He’s batting .257 this month with no homers.

The same players just haven’t stepped up this month. The Braves have really struggled on offense and now they will be without the man leading the team in average (most qualified at bats) for the rest of the regular season possibly.

Can the Braves find someone else to step up?

Here’s the lineup for tonight via @ajcbraves:

1. Infante 2B
2. Heyward RF
3. McCann C
4. Lee 1B
5. Cabrera LF
6. Gonzalez SS
7. Conrad 3B
8. Ankiel CF
9. Hudson

Melky is the #5 hitter? Yikes.

Tim Hudson will be pitching on three days rest tonight and Lowe will follow tomorrow. The Braves are switching to the three-man rotation out of necessity. I assume Hanson will also pitch on three days rest to open against the Phillies, but I’m not positive. Jurrjens injury may be more than a small tear and if that’s the case, this staff will be shorthanded once again.

First pitch is set for 6:10 and there shouldn’t be any rain interrupting the game tonight.

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