Braves’ current record: 19-13 (T-1st in NL East with Washington Nationals)
May 4: Won 9-8 at Colorado Rockies (11 innings)
May 5: Won 13-9 at Colorado Rockies
May 6: Won 7-2 at Colorado Rockies
May 7: Lost 5-1 at Chicago Cubs
May 8: Won 3-1 at Chicago Cubs
May 9: Lost 1-0 at Chicago Cubs
The Braves had a schizophrenic week at the plate, scoring 29 runs in three games at Coors Field, followed by just five runs in three games at Wrigley Field. You’ve heard it for years — the runs add up really fast in the thin air of Denver, but does the atmosphere really make that much of a difference?
The simple fact is this: the Braves faced a hot team in Chicago that has been winning a lot with pitching lately. Their staff has only allowed six runs in one game since April 21, and less than that in every other game during that span. Good pitching usually wins the battle against good hitting, and that seemed to be the case in Chicago. Tip your hat and move on — there’s nothing to worry about in this department.
Two errors in six games this week is not bad at all. Two outfielders threw out baserunners, one of them in Saturday’s game when Michael Bourn threw out Michael Cuddyer at second base.
The other assist was a gem from right fielder Jason Heyward in Wednesday’s game when Starlin Castro tried to turn a triple into an inside-the-park home run. Heyward fired the ball back to catcher David Ross, who was waiting to tag Castro out. At the time, it preserved a scoreless tie when it appeared the Braves were going to have trouble scoring runs. The Braves lost the game, but the play kept the momentum from swinging to the Cubbies, and it’s always refreshing to see Heyward’s arm pay off.
It’s not that the Braves’ starting pitchers were bad, but they seemed to be laboring a lot in most of the games this week, didn’t they? Tim Hudson allowed seven runs in six innings in Friday night’s win. Mike Minor allowed eight runs in five innings Saturday night. And even though they didn’t get much help from the offense, the starters seemed to give up a crucial hit at the wrong time against the Cubs.
Brandon Beachy continues to be masterful — his 6.1-inning, two-run performance in Colorado is certainly commendable. Hudson also rebounded well to pitch a solid seven innings of one-run ball on Wednesday against the Cubs.
Three different relief pitchers got a save this week: Craig Kimbrel (he got two), Livan Hernandez and Cristhian Martinez. Since the Braves built leads in Colorado, Kimbrel was able to rest while other relievers closed the games, which will help at the end of the season.
The week ahead:
Friday: at St. Louis Cardinals, 8:15 p.m.
Saturday: at St. Louis Cardinals, 7:15 p.m.
Sunday: at St. Louis Cardinals, 2:15 p.m.
Monday: vs. Cincinnati Reds, 7:10 p.m.
Tuesday: vs. Cincinnati Reds, 7:10 p.m.
Wednesday: vs. Miami Marlins, 7:10 p.m.
Thursday: vs. Miami Marlins, 7:10 p.m.