In spite of dropping the last two games of the Pittsburgh series, and getting hammered 2 of 3 by the Orioles, I remain positive about the 2009 Braves. Maybe the chemical imbalance endured by the endorphin rush of Tommy Hanson’s first win has me ignoring the stretch of bad luck and quiet bats.
I’m glad I didn’t drive down to Baltimore Sunday to see the Orioles take batting practice against the Braves (because I would have come back with a scratchy voice from cheering David Ross’ 2 bombs). As always, there is a silver lining; I had no internet, forcing Derek Lowe’s rising sinkers to remain on my fantasy team’s bench. Last week is over so this could be the first week of the rest of the Braves season!
It starts with the Cincinnati Reds…a team very similar to the Braves—solid rotation, good bullpen (for the most part) and an inconsistent offense. I am looking forward to my birthday (6/18!) present being Tommy Hanson’s trip to the hill on get-away game against RHP Matt Maloney. From there the Braves travel to Boston, as do I. I will have a full report from the city where the Braves were born so long as ‘Sully’ and his boys at Jillian’s don’t take offense to my large tomahawk and throw me out. I also hope to see John Smoltz pitch, or attempt to—I still haven’t reconciled how I feel about that whole thing, but speaking of current Braves aces…
Jair Jurrjens (5-4) has probably had the worst luck of any pitcher in recent memory. He just can’t catch a break. Jurrjens has posted a 2.85 ERA so far and in his 4 losses, hasn’t allowed more than 2 earned runs.
Javier Vasquez takes the mound in Game 2 of the series and has had similar results. His last start was 8 innings of 2-hit ball, striking-out 12 Bucs. He got a no decision. Vasquez is 2nd in the majors in strikeouts, one behind Justin Verlander, yet has only one win since May 9th.
Kenshin Kawakami has not received a win since his masterpiece against the Blue Jays and Roy Halladay on May 22nd, though he has not allowed more than 3 earned runs in any game since. What do Braves starters have to do to get a win?!
The answer is simple: NOTHING! They are doing everything right. They just need to score runs. The acquisition of Nate McClouth appeared as if it was going to spark the offense, but after one week the Brave’s bats are still sputtering. So what can kick the Braves in the pants? The acquisition of another bat? Where could they use one? It pains me to say this…but RF and 2B.
Jeff Francoeur and Kelly Johnson are two of my favorite players in baseball. I want them to play for the Braves but more importantly I want them to do it well. I ask myself: would I rather watch a team of players I like, or watch a team win? I had both for 14 years. I was spoiled. We all were. I want these guys to win, but when do we draw the line and give up on untapped potential? Hopefully we don’t have to find out and they’ll break out of this 2 ½ month slump and rip the ball like they are capable of. There are just over 6 weeks until the trade deadline, so I suppose the plot shall thicken until then.
Follow me on Twitter @ BRAVEinNY.
Until Next Time…Go Frenchy and Kelly!