Sorry for the delay in this column folks, I didn’t want to jinx the Atlanta Braves’ win streak. I’m a superstitious guy, so if the Braves are rolling while I’m not posting, then I’m completely fine with that. Although, a lot of things have happened since I last posted about our beloved Braves.
- Roger McDowell decided to go off the deep end and was caught sending slurs and threats to the fans at San Francisco. He was suspended for two weeks and was fortunate to keep his job.
- Coincidentally, since McDowell was suspended, the Braves rallied off six straight wins with pitching coach Dave Wallace, and a lot of those wins have to do with great pitching.
- Derek Lowe decides to follow in Miguel Cabrera’s footsteps. Two starts later, he almost throws a no-hitter. Hey, I think we’re on to something here.
- I released the article earlier this week on Julio Teheran’s big spot start. To everyone that knows and follows the Braves, it was way more than a “spot start.”
- Nate McLouth had a tremendous day during a recent doubleheader. He knocked out his first home run of the year and proceeded to go 5-5 at the plate in the two games.
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Oh, there’s more that has happened, but let’s not make this too long. During the four game sweep of the Brewers (remember everyone, including me, saying they will win the Central?) the Braves outscored the Brewers 25-6. In the following two games, the Braves shut out the Phillies 5-0 and then lost 3-0. They are pitching phenomenal.
Let’s take a look at the offense:
They are fourth in the NL in runs scored (ninth overall).
They rank 11th overall in the NL in Batting average (21st overall).
The fact they are fourth overall in runs scored with a .240 batting average amazes me. Just imagine when they raise that batting average! Right now, timely hitting is definitely fueling the team. Now, let’s take a look at the stellar pitching staff:
They are first in ERA (2.87) in the National League and second overall.
They are second in the National League and third overall in quality starts (23).
They are first overall in WHIP and BAA.
Which team has the best rotation in the majors? That’s right, the Braves.
Have you seen the Jason Heyward video? If not, check him out before the game tonight. The video airs during the Braves – Phillies game.
Here are my top-five concerns:
- Hitting — How can we take this off the list? They are scoring runs, but when Nate McLouth is in the top three for team average, it’s not a good thing.
- Brooks Conrad and Bench — So, Brooksie had his first walk-off of the year, and Hinske is starting to pound the ball. I’m still not convinced it will last. I believe Hinske will be valuable, but we need more off the bench than just David Ross, who plays once a week.
- Mendoza Warning — Dan Uggla is at .213, Freddie Freeman is at .222 and freaking Jason Heyward is rocking an incredible .231 average … what the hell is going on here?
- Stolen Bases — Jason Heyward is leading the team with … two.
- Bullpen — Peter Moylan is about to have back surgery, and the Braves need to fill that void. As a result, the Braves bullpen was out of whack for a few days, resulting in two blown saves.
I decided to keep Chipper Jones’ injury items as part of the Suicide Watch. No need to keep putting him in my top-five concerns; he has been tremendous. He’s fourth in the NL in RBIs and sports a .281 average. Not his best, but we’ll take it.
- Derek Lowe — It’s going to be any day now …
- Chipper Jones’ body
- George Sherrill and Scott Linebrink — Can they replace Moylan? My guess: No.
- Jair Jurrjens’ health — hey, here’s a bet: Who will get injured first, Chipper or Jair?
- Mendoza Boys