The Braves trip to the west coast is not going as planned—again. For some reason, the Braves cannot score runs against the Giants. I know, I know they have Lincecum, Cain, Zito, etc. but aside from a dominating Tim Lincecum, the Braves struggled mainly against the bullpen and the likes of Dan Runzler, Brandon Medders, Sergio Romo and Waldis Joaquin. What the hell is a Waldis Joaquin?
After flying out of the gate against the Cubs, the “new look” Braves offense bears a striking resemblance to the 2009 team; inconsistent and poor hitting with runners in scoring position—two things that don’t make for a winning club. Of course only 7 games into a season you can’t judge this small sample, but that’s all we have to go by right now. I know the Braves were off yesterday, but I think Troy Glaus just struck out again with the bases loaded.
Then there is San Diego…ugh. Well, at least it only counts as one game! It’s the same as a 2-3 loss in the standings, but it sure is deflating… something I wouldn’t expect from Jurrjens, but hey everyone has a bad day now and then—this won’t happen again. The best thing to do is forget about it and start again on Wednesday…
Now that the negativity is over, let’s focus on the positive…
Marin Prado leads the the league with a .519 AVG and has a hit in every game this season, and dating back to last season has an 11-game hitting streak—45 more to go! Prado is also playing great on the other side— defense. He has filled in great for Chipper at 3B and as usual, he has been solid at 2B.
We all know how Jason Heyward began the season, but after his amazing first two games, he cooled off rapidly to the tune of an 0-11 slump (with 7 Ks). As he as he has done time and time again, Heyward impressed us with quick adjustments, going 3-3 with a HR on Saturday and adding another HR on Sunday. Maybe even more impressive, the home runs were to left field. After being pounded inside with sliders and away with fastballs, Heyward began to take the sliders and hit the fastballs away—HARD! If he continues this trend (one that reminds me of how Ryan Howard does it) he will be one of the most dangerous hitters (not just rookies) in the game.
Going into the season the Braves strong point was thought to be its pitching. So far, so good, kind of…
The Braves “weakest” pitcher (I say weakest because I will not say worst about any of the starters), Derek Lowe, is 2-0 despite struggling with his command. There has been a lot of bad luck so far this season. Jair Jurrjens should have gotten a win in his first start against the Cubs—Tommy Hanson also pitched well enough to win against the Cubs—Tim Hudson was robbed of a win Friday against the Giants—Kenshin Kawakami received a tough luck loss against Lincecum, and Kris Medlen does not deserve a loss on his record (Thanks Tim Tschida!). I am going to chalk it up to some bad luck and believe things will begin to even out as the season unfolds.
Finally, I just want to say ‘congratulations’ to a couple former Braves on their hot starts. Jeff Francoeur is sizzling this first week batting .476 2 HR 6 RBI 1.538 OPS—and even better (for me), he is doing with the Mets losing. Kelly Johnson has been hitting BOMBS in Arizona compiling .368 3 HR1.426 OPS (And from what I hear former Brave Marcus Giles has been doing some hitting himself). I’m not saying that if these guys were here they would be doing the same thing, but a change of scenery is doing them well. I’m happy for them and wish them the best…for the most part.
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Until next time…Go Braves!