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:
4/10: Braves 8, Nationals 0
4/11: Braves 8, Nationals 3
4/12: Nationals 2, Braves 0
4/13: Marlins 11, Braves 4
4/15: Braves 8, Marlins 3
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.
3 thoughts on “Braves finish a successful second week”
Redman’s first start as a Brave was a fluke, Braves fans should stop reading too deeply into one solid outing from a pitcher. I mean, c’mon…there was a reason we signed him out of his living room.
He was pretty much thrwoing batting practice to the fish. I’m still not exactly sure what the disadvantage would have been to give Smoltz and extra day of rest (Sabbath) and let him take on dontrelle willis.
The braves are always claiming that they we be light on the use of smoltz early in the season so that his arm is saved for september and the postseason. But it doesn’t appear they back up what they say…he threw over 120 pitches. The pitch counts for his 3 starts have gone 97, 118, 122!
If the Oakland Hudson truly is back, then we don’t really have to rely on smoltz that much, yet we are. I hope his arm can hang on for another season.
Oh, and you probably alread saw this, refering to WPA and WE, but if not…here it is:
It’s pretty neat
Yeah, I worry about the Braves over-using Smoltz. If they’re going to stick him out there every 5 days regardless of off days, which they appear to be doing (he’s starting again today after going on Thursday), then at least they shouldn’t let him throw 120 pitches a game. Livan Hernandez is the only pitcher in recent years who has been able to consistently handle that kind of workload.
For comparison’s sake, Hudson and James have now started 3 times (like Smoltz). Hudson averages 95.0 pitches/game, while James has thrown just 87.7. That seems like a sustainable load. It’s helped them to be both good and efficient, because they’ve had to face fewer batters. Plus, they’re more efficient than Smoltz on a per at-bat basis (Hudson 3.56 P/BF, James 3.87, Smoltz 3.83).
I don’t know if that says anything about Hudson and James, but I worry more about Smoltz’s sustainability. I also worry a little bit that Redman and Davies won’t be able to get in a rhythm from start to start. I’m not sure if that’s a valid thing to worry about, but I worry about it.
That was a great article, btw…I had noticed the headline but didn’t bother to read it when I first ran across it. Tradesports is a great site, and it’s good to see the parallel between their charts and Fangraphs’ charts.
I’m glad Fangraphs is getting a little pub (today in the Kansas City Star, among other places) because we’re moving toward a point where everything written about WPA/WE won’t have to explain the basics about what it is.