Braves’ current record: 7-5 (T-2 in NL East, 2 games behind Washington Nationals)
April 13: Won 10-8 vs. Milwaukee Brewers
April 14: Won 2-1 vs. Milwaukee Brewers
April 15: Won 7-4 vs. Milwaukee Brewers
April 16: Lost 6-1 vs. NY Mets
April 17: Won 9-3 vs. NY Mets
April 18: Won 14-6 vs. NY Mets
When the Braves completed Thursday afternoon’s victory over the Mets, no team in the majors had a higher total of runs scored. Not the Tigers. Not the Rangers. Not the Phillies. Now, I understand that the Braves had an extra game under their belt, but even so, the offense has risen from the dead after an awful first week.
That’s a good thing, because teams are supposed to hit better at home. After not scoring more than six runs in a single one of their first six games, the Braves scored more than six runs in four of their six games this week, including that 14-run outburst on Thursday. Three of Atlanta’s starting eight position players had seven hits during the home stand — Michael Bourn (who I lambasted last week for his inability to get on base), Brian McCann and Jason Heyward. Heyward was promoted to the No. 2 spot in the lineup, and the Braves are clicking on all cylinders.
After batting .212 in their first week, the Braves batted .252 as a team this week. That’s a winner.
The Braves made five errors this week after committing six errors in the first week of the season. Better, but still not awesome. Dan Uggla has already made three errors at second base this season, and while he’s never been known for his glove, that’s not good. On the other hand, four starters — Heyward, McCann, Bourn and Freddie Freeman — haven’t made an error yet this season.
In the first week of the season, opponents batted .312 against the Braves, and nearly 40 percent of hitters were reaching base against Atlanta. Both numbers improved this week, as opponents had a batting average of just .264 and an on-base percentage of only .326. Five pitchers allowed no runs this week, and two of them were starters.
Brandon Beachy and Mike Minor are starting to shine in this staff, as both pitchers threw at least seven innings in their outing this week. They allowed a combined five hits and no runs in 14.1 innings pitched, and both got victories in dominant trips to the mound.
Then, there’s starter Tim Hudson, who will be returning from the DL next week. If healthy, Hudson might be the ace of this staff. One of the starters will need to be sent down to the minors to make way for Hudson; amazingly, that pitcher might be starter Jair Jurrjens, who has been one of the most reliable arms over the past few seasons. After three starts, Jurrjens has a massive 8.10 ERA with no wins to his record. He’s been the one reason why this staff isn’t getting a higher grade.
The week ahead:
Thursday: Arizona Diamondbacks (road), 9:40 p.m.
Friday: Arizona Diamondbacks (road), 9:40 p.m.
Saturday: Arizona Diamondbacks (road), 8:10 p.m.
Sunday: Arizona Diamondbacks (road), 4:10 p.m.
Monday: Los Angeles Dodgers (road), 10:10 p.m.
Tuesday: Los Angeles Dodgers (road), 10:10 p.m.
Wednesday: Los Angeles Dodgers (road), 10:10 p.m.