Braves’ current record: 32-25 (2nd in NL East, 1 game behind Washington Nationals)
June 2: Lost 2-0 at Washington Nationals
June 3: Won 3-2 at Washington Nationals
June 5: Won 11-0 at Miami Marlins
June 6: Won 2-1 at Miami Marlins
June 7: Won 8-2 at Miami Marlins
The Braves chased four good pitchers from ballgames this week — Gio Gonzalez, Anibal Sanchez, Josh Johnson and Mark Buehrle. But the offense didn’t just chase them from games, they sent all four to the showers with a loss. That is reason enough to overlook a tough loss on Saturday to Stephen Strasburg and the Nationals.
The offense bashed the Marlins all over their brand-new field for a three-game sweep, rushing past the Fish in the standings. Dan Uggla got back to his old ways, enjoying his time on South Beach. He hit a monster home run in Wednesday’s victory that was described by Braves Radio as landing “between the flamingos and the sun dial.” It tells you two things: your team definitely isn’t playing in Fenway Park, and Uggla’s homer was a tape-measure shot. The offense averaged seven runs per game in three games against the Marlins, earning a gold star from this writer.
In all five games this week, the starter got a decision — good news when your team goes 4-1 for the week. In other words, four of the Braves’ starting pitchers picked up a victory in the last four games, a sign that they were pitching deeper into games and holding opposing offenses down. Perhaps the most encouraging sight of the week was Mike Minor’s outing on Thursday night: five innings and only one run allowed on four hits. Minor has struggled mightily in the last two months, and while he walked five and had to work out of trouble all night, he managed to get outs when necessary and kept the Marlins at bay.
Two words: Andrelton Simmons. Since the Braves promoted the shortstop from AA Mississippi, the infield hasn’t been the same — in a good way. Fans were getting tired of seeing the young Tyler Pastornicky boot grounders, and while Simmons’ bat is supposed to be weaker (Braves fans really haven’t noticed that, though), the defense has seen a major upgrade since the arrival of the 22-year-old from Curacao.
The week ahead:
Friday: vs. Toronto Blue Jays, 7:35 p.m.
Saturday: vs. Toronto Blue Jays, 4:05 p.m.
Sunday: vs. Toronto Blue Jays, 1:35 p.m.
Monday: vs. New York Yankees, 7:10 p.m.
Tuesday: vs. New York Yankees, 7:10 p.m.
Wednesday: vs. New York Yankees, 7:00 p.m.