Braves’ current record: 24-15 (1st place in NL East)
May 11: Won 9-7 at St. Louis Cardinals (12 innings)
May 12: Won 7-2 at St. Louis Cardinals
May 13: Won 7-4 at St. Louis Cardinals
May 14: Lost 3-1 vs. Cincinnati Reds
May 15: Won 6-2 vs. Cincinnati Reds
May 16: Lost 8-4 vs. Miami Marlins
May 17: Won 7-0 vs. Miami Marlins
With every week that passes, the Braves’ lineup resembles a Murderer’s Row more and more. The heart of the order basically starts at the No. 2 spot with Martin Prado and extends through the No. 7 spot with Jason Heyward. In the leadoff spot, they have Michael Bourn, who leads the league in hits, and in the No. 8 spot, they have Tyler Pastornicky, who filled in for Bourn at the top of the batting order Wednesday night. Where do the outs come from?
The Braves scored at least six runs in five of their seven games this week they won all five of those games. Translation: when this Braves lineup does what it was built to do, they are going to win almost every time. The pitching staff will keep the opposing lineup quiet for long enough to win ballgames.
Interesting fact: the Braves had at least eight hits in every game this week, and at least 10 hits in six of seven games.
We saw three types of pitching this week from the Braves’ starters: great, good and ugly.
Let’s start with the ugly. Mike Minor isn’t getting it done this month, but as Mark Bradley from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution explains, we can’t really demote Minor. In both of his two starts this week, Minor didn’t make it out of the fifth inning, allowing six runs in 4.2 innings against the Cardinals and the Marlins.
But there was also the great — Brandon Beachy. Twice this week, Beachy followed up a bad start by Minor with a masterful performance. Saturday’s six-inning, one-run effort was just an appetizer for the complete-game shutout he threw Thursday night against the Marlins. It was the first complete game by a Braves pitcher this season, and it was poetry in the form of 122 pitches.
Props to Tim Hudson and Tommy Hanson, who each got victories this week as well.
The Braves are fine in the field. Their defense is no longer a liability, and they’re getting off the field and helping their pitchers out on a regular basis. People only notice the defense when it’s bad, so it’s nice that it has rarely been noticeable in the past few weeks.
The week ahead:
Friday: at Tampa Bay Rays, 7:10 p.m.
Saturday: at Tampa Bay Rays, 4:10 p.m.
Sunday: at Tampa Bay Rays, 1:40 p.m.
Monday: at Cincinnati Reds, 7:00 p.m.
Tuesday: at Cincinnati Reds, 7:10 p.m.
Wednesday: at Cincinnati Reds, 7:10 p.m.
Thursday: at Cincinnati Reds, 7:10 p.m.