Both the Atlanta Braves and Milwaukee Brewers were considered to be contenders at the beginning of the season, but have been decimated by injuries. Neither team looks much like the squad that broke spring training and both have struggled to find their way.
The Braves have seen John Smoltz (season-ending shoulder injury), Tom Glavine (elbow), Mike Hampton (a variety of injuries), Mark Kotsay (back), Matt Diaz (knee), Rafael Soriano (elbow), and Mike Gonzalez (still recovering from ligament replacement surgery) make trips to the Disabled List this season. The injury bug also bit Chipper Jones, Yunel Escobar, Kelly Johnson, and Jair Jurrjens, but not to the extent to warrant a DL trip. The Bravos have been great at home (25-11) and awful away (7-24) this season and even worse in one-run games (3-18).
The Brewers have seen Chris Capuano (season-ending elbow injury), Yovani Gallardo (season-ending knee injury), Eric Gagne (shoulder), David Riske (elbow), Randy Choate (finger) and Rickie Weeks (knee) make trips to the DL this season. J.J. Hardy has also been battling a shoulder injury and might need to see time on the DL and Ben Sheets is always a DL candidate having battled triceps problems already this season. The Brew Crew also has a huge home field advantage (19-10) while struggling on the road (16-21).
When a team sees a key hitter go down with injuries, it can be disappointing to the team and the offense can struggle. But when pitchers go down, it can be downright destructive to their season. If a starter goes down, the team has to find a lesser pitcher to start and he usually pitches fewer innings, which means the bullpen gets used more. A more taxed bullpen isn’t as sharp when they need to be and often falter when called upon. It’s no wonder why both teams are in third place in their respective divisions and 7 1/2 games out of first place.