Braves’ March: Jair Jurrjens for NL Cy Young?
Jake: “This guy used to throw you inside, right?”
Jake: “Good, grab a bat and lean into one.”
The rest is history. We all know what happens next. Dorn gets hit by the pitch. The Indians end up winning.
Why can’t the Braves try this? The hitting is struggling, and much worse than the Indians on “Major League II.” Their on-base percentage is at a staggering .314 with a batting average of .245.
God Bless, that pitching is still there. Sporting a National League leading 3.01 team ERA will do wonders. I’m very afraid for when the pitching decides to take a few weeks off. It happens to most teams at least once during a season. More on this below.
Back to the black hole, which seems to be the whole lineup, except for the Brian McCann/David Ross duo and whenever Eric Hinske is in the lineup. Yes, the entire lineup is batting well below standards, except for those three, of course. I don’t know how any of the Braves are making the All-Star ballots, except for McCann. Seriously, how is the entire lineup in the top five for each position?
Calm down Braves fans. I’m on your side. I know it’s hard to believe because, let’s be serious, I usually focus on the negatives; but I’m going to try to spin this positive. I promise. It’s about the same promise as Phil saying he’s not going to participate in the World Series of Poker. Guess he’ll be browsing for the best online casinos!
When a team as good as the Braves underperforms to my expectations (yes, I demand 162-0) then I get a little unraveled. Every game tends to decrease years off my life. I thought smoking would kill me. Looks like I should stop watching the Braves and take up smoking, I might live longer.
For those of you who are saying Martin Prado is playing well and shouldn’t be included in the biggest black hole in any lineup, you are a little blinded. He’s only batting .279 with a meager .326 OBP. Folks, that’s well below his .307 AVG and .350 OBP last year. He’s looking like a star this year because he’s batting 30 plus points higher than the team average. This year has still been disappointing for him. If he was having this kind of year on a team that was hitting a lot better, everyone would be agreeing with me.
The OBP last year was the key for the Braves. Did they hit that much better last year? No. Only about 12 points higher than this year so far. The 2010 Braves had five players with a .350 OBP or higher. We have two this year. McCann and Chipper Jones. (Jordan Schafer’s .385 OBP isn’t included because of limited at-bats, although he has been playing tremendously well so far.)
This team is batting worse than the team that kept running a gassed-out Troy Glaus at first base, an anemic Nate McLouth, a punchless Yunel Escobar (0 HRs .238 AVG through 75 games) for the first half, a Melky Cabrera that seemed out of it at all times and an injury-loaded batting lineup. This makes me wish that internet roulette could be played with a gun! Maybe Fredi should pick his lineup by playing Roulette online. I wonder who would get the start if “00” came up?
Are you worried as much as I am yet?
Pitching – Jair Jurrjens for Cy Young?
The pitching has been tremendous and shows no signs of slowing down. Actually, they are seemingly getting stronger. Tim Hudson, Tommy Hanson, Jurrjens, Brandon Beachy have all pitched excellent. The Mike Minor and Julio Teheran substitutions have done as expected and Derek Lowe has come back down to earth.
Jurrjens continued his hot start by throwing eight innings and allowing only one run to pick up his seventh win on the season against the Cincinnati Reds. He’s propelled himself to the front of the Cy Young race.
Taking a look into the NL Cy Young race:
Jair Jurrjens – nine games – 7-1 with a 1.51 ERA, 1.02 WHIP, 11 walks, 38 Ks, in 65 innings
Josh Johnson – nine games – 3-1 with a 1.64 ERA, 0.98 WHIP, 20 walks, 56 Ks, in 60 innings
Kyle Lohse – 11 games – 7-2 with a 2.13 ERA, 0.92 WHIP, 15 walks, 47 Ks in 80 innings
Five of those 10 come from the NL East. Whew.
Top-five biggest concerns
- Hitting – Fill this in yourself. There are plenty of choices.
- Speed – Schafer seemed to help when he came up, but his time is almost up. Now what?
- Bench – Is it strong enough to handle the injuries of Heyward and Jones? What if there are more?
- Mendoza Warning – Looks like everyone finally started to pull out of it, except for one, and another just decided to join. Dan Uggla is looking to grab honors at .175. Let that sink in. Jason Heyward is creeping at .214.
- Health – Heyward and Jones have been struggling through injuries. Can this lineup take any more?
Odds and ends
- McLouth comes off the DL on June 7. What will they do with Jordan Schafer?
- Heyward has said there isn’t any change in his shoulder … I wouldn’t be surprised to see him out till the All-Star break.
- Kris Medlen is close to being ready. Will he go to the bullpen or the rotation?
- Six of the next eight series come against teams that are .500 and below! The other two are the Marlins and the Rangers. Time to make up ground!