Braves’ current record: 28-24 (4th in NL East, 2 games behind Washington Nationals)
May 24: Lost 6-3 at Cincinnati Reds
May 25: Lost 7-4 vs. Washington Nationals
May 26: Lost 8-4 vs. Washington Nationals
May 27: Lost 7-2 vs. Washington Nationals
May 28: Lost 8-2 vs. St. Louis Cardinals
May 29: Won 5-4 vs. St. Louis Cardinals
May 30: Won 10-7 vs. St. Louis Cardinals
In a three-game span (Saturday through Monday), the Braves struck out 34 times. The holiday weekend came with a rock-bottom feeling that the offense couldn’t get any worse. Monday afternoon’s loss to the Cardinals was ugly, but I saw something in nine innings of anemic offense — they were hitting the ball hard, and were getting ready to break out of their slump.
The Braves would win the final two games of the week, including that 10-7 win that was the first double-digit run total since May 5. Getting Brian McCann and Freddie Freeman back in the lineup was a key boost, and if Chipper Jones can return any time soon, the offensive depth will help the Braves rush up the standings again.
In five of their last six games, the Braves’ pitchers have allowed at least seven runs. That’s more than one full trip through the starting rotation, and it’s very disconcerting for Braves fans to see that a lot of it has been the starters’ fault.
Mike Minor might be on his way down to the minors, as soon as Kris Medlen can get ready to become a starter again. Tommy Hanson has been getting knocked around. In the bullpen, Jonny Venters can’t seem to get anybody out. It’s possible that these issues will work themselves out over the course of a long season, but what if they don’t?
It seemed like the Braves failed at situational baseball at the wrong times in the field this week. At a turning point in Monday’s game, Hanson got in the way of an infielder trying to finish off a groundout, which extended the inning and led to the Cardinals adding to their run total. Jason Heyward still seems to have problems hitting the cutoff man. At least once in the same game, a throw by Heyward sailed over his cutoff man, eliminating any chance of throwing out a scoring baserunner. We all love Heyward’s arm, but he needs to learn to contain it and throw the ball to the correct teammate.
The week ahead:
Friday: at Washington Nationals, 7:05 p.m.
Saturday: at Washington Nationals, 4:05 p.m.
Sunday: at Washington Nationals, 1:35 p.m.
Tuesday: at Miami Marlins, 7:10 p.m.
Wednesday: at Miami Marlins, 7:10 p.m.
Thursday: at Miami Marlins, 7:10 p.m.