Braves place struggling Wickman on DL.
I'm somewhat releived by this news for a couple reasons. First, it means that Wickman's inability to find the strike zone or get hitters out over the past week had a physical cause, rather than Wohlers-esque collapse of confidence. Second, it means that Soriano and Gonzalez can now close games and they are both better than Wickman. I'm still a little angry at Wickman for trying to pitch for the past week with his back conditions, as he cost the Braves two games and was a nice catch by Francoeur on Friday night from costing them a third. His heart was certainly in the right place by trying to pitch while hurt, but he was costing the team by being so determined. In other words, his efforts were noble, but counterproductive. If the Braves are going to challenge the Mets for the division, they can't afford to throw games away. This is especially true for the bullpen, which has received a significant amount of the team's relatively limited spending and therefore needs to be a strength. The Braves' margin for error is very small, given the lack of depth in the rotation. Wickman's refusal to take himself out when his back started hurting cost the Braves two games that might come back to haunt them.
Because I'd like to end this post on a happier note, I looked at the box score this morning and noticed that Kelly Johnson has a .473 on-base percentage. .473!?! I know the sample size is small, but holy hell, he's been even better than I thought! The man-crush of 2005 has returned in spades.