As potentially devastating as Jason Heyward’s broken jaw could be to the Braves if he doesn’t return before the postseason at least they are probably breathing a little easier after seeing Jordan Schafer’s performance in the leadoff role in the past few games after a couple of weeks when he struggled following a five-week DL stint.
Schafer had three hits two RBIs and two stolen bases in Wednesday’s 3-2 win against the Indians making him 5-for-12 with one walk one strikeout three RBIs and a couple of runs scored in the Braves’ past three games all wins.
This comes after the speedy outfielder went 3-for-34 in his first 10 games back from the DL with no extr-base hits no RBIs three walks and 12 strikeouts. The Braves were 5-5 in that stretch including 0-3 in the first three games with Schafer batting leadoff after Heyward’s jaw got pulverized by a Jonathon Niese fastball.
“He can do a lot of stuff” Fredi Gonzalez said after Schafer had a double and a triple in the Braves’ 5-2 win in Sunday’s series finale at St. Louis. “He can beat you with the bat with his legs and defensively.”
Heyward’s .994 OPS and Schafer’s .821 OPS rank first and fourth among the 29 NL hitters with at least 75 plate appearances from that spot in the order. Heyward is the leader by more than 100 points above the NL’s next-highest (Cincinnati’s Shin-Soo Choo’s .889).
Before his five hits in the past three games Schafer had been 1-for-23 in his previous seven games and I asked him Sunday morning if the DL stint had taken a toll on him if he was still trying to get back in a groove.