It’s been a pretty miserable week for Braves fans. They lost two more one-run games over the weekend after my last post, falling to 2-16 for the year. This poor performance can be chalked up to terrible luck, because I’m not sure that a team with mostly the same players as past years can really be that much worse at winning close games than every other major league team. It’s incredibly frustrating to watch, and now they’re back at a single game over .500, in fourth place by percentage points and trailing the division-leading Phillies by 3.5 games.
This Week’s Stats
Will go here when I update them later…I’m working on a very slow computer.
I’ll be forgoing top plays this week, since I’m on vacation and need some more time out in the sun.
- Tim Hudson was great against the Brewers but struggled yesterday before leaving the game with an injury. The rest of the staff has been plagued by blisters, a circumstance which is helping Bobby Cox completely destroy the bullpen. Hudson has usually been good for 7 innings this year, so hopefully he’ll be able to go again later this week.
- Jair Jurrjens had his first rough week of the season, but I’m still mostly bullish on his chances to succeed this year after the first few weeks of the season. His command numbers are still pretty good (1.7 K/BB), and his FIP is still under 4.00. The latter is helped by his slightly fortunate 6.3% HR/FB ratio, but he’s still be in great shape if he allowed another long ball every now and then.
- As for the rest of the rotation, Tom Glavine seemed to get his control issues in check, which is nice for him because he’s not a good pitcher at all if he doesn’t have that as a strength. He doesn’t miss many bats anymore, that’s for sure.
- Jo-Jo Reyes actually had the best start of the week, a 7-inning gem in Milwaukee where he finally started to show that he could be efficient with his pitches. He still walked three (and struck out nine!), but he kept his pitches-per-batter under four and allowed only two hits. He didn’t even top 100 pitches, so it was a fantastic outing all around, except for the fact that Bobby Cox left him in just long enough to let the eventual game-winning run on base. The run eventually scored, and Reyes picked up a hard-luck loss because Jeff Suppan was somehow shutting down the Braves’ offense.
- Speaking of the Braves offense…actually, let’s just not speak about that. Even Chipper Jones came back to Earth somewhat over the weekend. Mark Teixeira had a pretty good week, and most of that came in the Braves’ lone win Thursday afternoon in Milwaukee.
- Not helping matters on offense is that the Braves are carrying 13 pitchers and have two outfield regulars on the DL. With Diaz and Kotsay out, Josh Anderson debuted this week. I’m not expecting him to hit a lot, and I prefer Blanco long-term. That might not be saying a lot, either, since Blanco probably will never be much of a power threat.
- Yunel Escobar had easily the worst week for the Braves at the plate, and that really is saying a lot. He had 7 hits, but they were all singles, and he was caught stealing when the Braves really could have used a run on Friday in Cincinnati. Brian McCann had some struggles as well, managing just four hits himself.
The Road Ahead
The Jekyll and Hyde act will hopefully continue this week as the team heads home for seven against the NL East’s top two teams so far. They host the Marlins for four and the Phillies for three, and they could really use this week to gain some ground.
I’ll pass on providing the probable starters for the week and point you to MLB.com’s page instead.
It looks like John Smoltz and maybe even Mike Gonzalez will return this week, so the bullpen should be stronger than ever. I think Royce Ring is the next to lose his spot on the team, with either Phil Stockman or Buddy Carlyle right behind him.