In a span of days, the Dodgers-Braves series has become more noteworthy for who won’t be on the field than who will.
The Atlanta Braves announced their roster Wednesday morning, and second baseman Dan Uggla will not be on it. Nor should he be; Uggla is hitting .179 — the lowest full-season average for a qualifying hitter since Rob Deer in 1991 (also .179). Elliot Johnson has gotten more time at second base in September and hit a more respectable .261. Johnson is also the better fielding second baseman, by a little.
Maholm is making $4.25 million this year. Uggla is making $13 million. And those expenses hardly compare to the Dodgers’ bench.
Andre Ethier ($13.5 million) might not be available for the Division Series because of his bum left ankle. Matt Kemp ($20 million) has already been ruled out. Forget about injured pitchers Chad Billingsley ($11 million) and Josh Beckett ($15.75 million).
There are still some tough decisions for the Dodgers to make, though not as expensive. Their roster must be submitted to the league by 7 a.m. Pacific Time tomorrow. Rosters are submitted to MLB’s baseball operations department on a form that the league prepares, and are usually scanned back to the Commissioner’s Office.
It’s an important piece of paper, but the missing names might be more interesting.
Some bullet points for an Oct. 2 (Happy Birthday mom!):
• Clayton Kershaw tells colleague Jill Painter: “That’s all we hear around here, the ’88 team and all that stuff. It’d be nice to stop hearing about it and start our own history.”
• Yasiel Puig took video of the Dodgers boarding their plane to Atlanta yesterday afternoon. We were able to identify Edinson Volquez, Scott Van Slyke, Ronald Belisario, Ricky Nolasco, Chris Capuano, J.P. Howell, Hyun-Jin Ryu, Brandon League, Zack Greinke, Dee Gordon, Brian Wilson and A.J. Ellis:
• The Braves have claimed the “underdog” role in the series. Apparently Kate Upton loves underdogs.
• I imagine an SI cover featuring A.J. Ellis, Mark Ellis and Bret Easton Ellis wouldn’t sell as well.
• The Texas Rangers fired their first base coach, former Dodgers infielder Dave Anderson.
• The setup for this video clip: Johnny Cueto hears his name being chanted in Pittsburgh, takes the mound, drops the baseball, serves up a home run to Russell Martin. Martin, the former Dodgers catcher, hit another solo home run in the seventh inning and finished 3-for-4. The Pirates won 6-2 and will play the Cardinals in the other National League Division Series.
• The Padres’ payroll will increase next season.
• Warpaint’s version of “Ashes to Ashes” is my favorite.