The Braves finished this past week at 3-2 after the rain washed out the middle game of the Florida series. They ended up trading blowouts with the Marlins after taking 2 of 3 against the almost totally incompetent Nationals.
This Week’s Stats
Here are some links to the WPA graphs of each game this past week:
Now the WPA stats for the past week:
Some familiar names returned to the top of the hitting leaderboard, with Chipper and Andruw leading the way at about +1 win total (and three homers each). McCann returned from his superhuman first week to post a -.211 second week (4-for-15 with a double and two walks), which I guess was to be expected. Except for the shutout against the Nationals, the offense was solid, posting a .255/.366/.453 line overall.
Tim Hudson was the pitching stud of the week, going 2-0 and allowing just a single run in 14 innings of very strong work. Hopefully he can keep this up all year and be the second ace that Schuerholz (perhaps mistakenly) brought him in to be. Chuck James also had a great start, and Smoltz was solid despite picking up a loss. Mark Redman had a horrendous start and probably doesn’t belong in the major leagues. He can eat innings, and that’s about it. While there is some value to that, it’s very difficult to win games when your inning-eater has an ERA of almost 13.
Tyler Yates had a strong week of mop-up duty, which is exactly what the Braves need from him. With Chad Paronto injured, the Braves may have to rely on him a bit more in the coming days. Pete Moylan was called up in his place and promptly gave up three runs in a third of an inning. Macay McBride also had an awful week, with his control completely escaping him. Hopefully this won’t force Bobby to use Mike Gonzalez in LOOGY situations, but that may be what it comes down to.
I’ve created a new page for the Braves’ season WPA stats, and you can view that here.
Brian McCann is still the hitting leader, but Tim Hudson has taken over atop the overall team leaderboard. Matt Diaz is firmly entrenched behind three of the big bats (McCann, Renteria, C. Jones) in overall WPA, and he’s actually been better on a per-plate appearance and leverage neutral basis than everyone except Edgar. It’s almost like he’s playing for a full-time role, but don’t tell Ryan Langerhans, who is hitting .100/.217/.100 in 23 plate appearances. Ryan has not hit a line drive yet this year, and he has struck out nine times.
Looking at the pitchers, four Braves are very close together in pWPA/LI, all coming in between 0.63 and 0.67: Hudson, Soriano, James, and Wickman. Smoltz has mostly been treading water, and Davies is actually at -0.56 despite what looked like a strong start. He’ll need to stop messing around and keep his pitch count down if he wants to keep being successful, but he doesn’t look like a terrible #4 option for now.
The Road Ahead
The Braves will play two at Washington, then two at home against the Cubs before heading back north to New York for the weekend. The short homestand will probably feel like a road trip, so the Braves have to love the schedule makers right now.
Another winning week would be fantastic. It would be nice to sweep the Nats this time, then a 3-2 or better mark the rest of the week would be great.