The Braves went 4-3, starting the week with a so-so set of splits against the Nationals and Cubs, but then a series win in New York grabbed the East back from the Mets. 12-6 is a half-game off of the best record in baseball (the Dodgers are 13-6 and the Red Sox are 12-5), so that’s not bad at all.
This Week’s Stats
Here are the links to this week’s box scores and game graphs:
4/16: Nationals 5, Braves 1
4/17: Braves 6, Nationals 4
4/18: Braves 8, Cubs 6
4/19: Cubs 3, Braves 0
4/20: Braves 7, Mets 3
4/21: Mets 7, Braves 2
4/22: Braves 9, Mets 6
And the WPA stats:
Season-to-date stats (also located on their page):
Biggest plays of the week
- Kelly Johnson’s 3-run homer off Aaron Heilman to give the Braves a 9-6 lead and the win on Sunday (+.432)
- Johnson’s 2-run single off Scott Eyre to give the Braves a 7-6 lead in Wednesday’s 8-6 win over the Cubs (+.372)
- Edgar Renteria’s 3-run homer off Scott Schoeneweis to tie Sunday’s game at 6-6 (+.327)
- Pete Moylan induced Ryan Theriot into a double play with the bases loaded and the Braves up 8-6 in Wednesday’s win (+.260)
- Jeff Francoeur’s 2-run single off Tom Glavine to give the Braves a 3-1 lead in Sunday’s game (+.242)
Kelly Johnson busted out in a big way this week, raising his hitting line all the way to .297/.423/.547, just a hair shy of Chipper Jones’ team-leading OPS of .988. It took a .520/.600/.840 week (13-for-25, 2 doubles, 2 homers, 5 walks) to get him there, but he’s certainly there, right at the top of the Braves’ season WPA standings. His +1.135 week was by far the best by a Brave this season. Johnson is also firmly atop the hitters’ WPA/LI (leverage-adjusted) leaderboard at +.653
Tim Hudson continued his season-opening stretch of dominance, lowering his ERA to 0.62 and raising his WPA to +.995. Hudson now tops the team’s WPA/LI list at +.848, and his WPA/LI leads all the pitchers. When you factor in that he’s pitched 29 innings in four starts at this level, he’s staking his claim as the “only” ace instead of the “second” ace. Of course, that requires the help of John Smoltz, who is dangerously close to the bottom of the team’s WPA list at -.415. Smoltz will have to do a better job keeping tight games tight (-.355 in Clutch), but I’m sure he’ll turn it around.
Jeff Francoeur had a good week, even notching five walks to go with his five hits. Sadly, he’s not hitting well enough for average to make his on-base percentage look decent (.325), but hopefully that will change. McCann, Chipper Jones, and finally Andruw Jones all had solid weeks in the positive numbers.
Not all the news is good this week, though. Left field is quickly turning from a problem area to a full-on disaster. Diaz and Langerhans combined for -.562 in WPA, going 1-for-29 with a walk. Diaz had the hit, and Langerhans had the walk. Perhaps if Thorman’s positive trend continues (he had a .308/.357/.692 week), Craig Wilson might get some outfield time, although the Braves have some trading chips if they want to take that road to fill the void out there (Escobar or Andrus, anyone?).
On the pitching staff, Chuck James saw a subpar outing turn his WPA/LI into the red (-.19), although his WPA has stayed above zero (+.163). Mark Redman is still at the bottom of the list, but he pitched well going up against Rich Hill to at least stay above -1 wins (-.448).
The only other issue I have for this week is a game strategy problem that I’ll go into with a forthcoming post this week.
The Road Ahead
The Braves have three in Florida and three in Colorado this week. I think 4-2 sounds pretty good, with a win in each series. They’ll have to get after it tonight against Dontrelle Willis.
3 thoughts on “Braves wrestle the division from the Mets”
yeah, LF is killing us. langerhans is humorous, 2 hits all season! that makes me girly giggle. Although in his Langy’s defense, I really feel like Cox hasn’t learned how to use langy yet. Even though he is a left handed hitter, he hits lefties a lot better than righties. I wonder how much of his struggles have to do with the fact tht cox uses him improperly.
Diaz is just weird, i used to feel like he was one of the most underrated players in the game and would easily start on most teams. Now he’s proving me wrong.
our options are limited. We either have to go into the farm to get Blanco (there’s no way Salty moves to Left field…Bob Wickman could probably beat salty in a foot race, although if i’m wrong it’d sure be fun to watch) or we have to go shopping for one.
traderumors (a website i hate and normally ignore what it says until proven reliable, but nonetheless) says the Cubs are shopping Jacque Jones (most likely so they can keep felix pie)and the Braves are interested. not a big fan of that idea…jacque jones has career numbers similar to matt diaz but would cost about 9 mil, whereas diaz costs….not 9 mil. we’ll see what happesn
Oh, and Tim Hudson won NL player of the week according to MLB.com. I don’t have a problem with that, certainly tough to argue that he didn’t deserve it after giving up one earned run over 15 (8 of which were against the mets lineup) innings this week. Just thought maybe johnson was overlooked
Yeah, I thought about Jacque Jones too when I was reading about the Cubs’ interesting situation earlier (In order to call up a 12th pitcher, do they send down Pie for a month, send down Murton, send down Cedeno and go with just one other backup infielder, or DFA Daryle Ward?). I’m with you…I think $9M is a bit much when we have Diaz at the league minimum ($380K this year and $390K next year).
I wonder how easy it is for a two-start pitcher to win the player of the week award compared to a regular position player, a one-start pitcher, or a reliever.