The Braves’ Week in Review: June 29 – July 5

AP Photo/David Tulis

Braves’ current record: 43-39 (3rd in NL East, 6 games behind Washington Nationals)

Last week:
June 29: Lost 5-4 vs. Washington Nationals
June 30: Won 7-5 vs. Washington Nationals
July 1: Lost 8-4 vs. Washington Nationals
July 2: Lost 4-1 vs. Chicago Cubs
July 3: Won 10-3 vs. Chicago Cubs
July 4: Lost 5-1 vs. Chicago Cubs
July 5: Won 7-3 vs. Chicago Cubs

Offense: C

The Braves are struggling at the plate, to the point where several starts per week are being spoiled by no run support. Pitcher Randall Delgado threw another decent outing Wednesday, but the Braves only scored one run in that loss.

Dan Uggla’s struggles at the plate are becoming more bleak — he had just two hits in six games this week, dropping his average from .235 to .225. A lot of people in the baseball world are questioning why he was named the NL’s starting second baseman on the All-Star team, and his play lately isn’t going to quiet the critics.

If there’s one bright spot, it’s the bat of Jason Heyward. The Braves’ right fielder had another great week, hitting two home runs and knocking in four runs in seven games. Manager Fredi Gonzalez has rewarded Heyward, bumping him up in the batting order, which gives him more chances to score runs for the club.

Pitching: B-

If I told you the Braves would get two wins this week from Mike Minor and another quality start from Delgado, you’d probably think the Braves had an awesome week, right? You’d probably guess they went 6-1 or 5-2 at the worst, wouldn’t you?

The staff did get two wins from Minor this week, but they also got losses from Tommy Hanson and Tim Hudson, two starters that have been the rocks of the rotation when the younger arms were struggling. There’s good and bad to this — if the young arms remain strong, and the Hanson-Hudson duo can get back to their winning ways, the Braves’ starters are heating up when they’re most needed. If the duo is fading, it’s going to be bad news for the Braves, and no matter how well Minor and Delgado pitch, it won’t matter.

Kudos to Jair Jurrjens, who threw another decent outing this week: he allowed three runs in five innings Tuesday, but still got the win.

Defense: C

The Braves made three errors in their two losses to the Nationals, a frustrating sight when the Braves needed to play their cleanest baseball. They opened the series against the Cubs by making two more errors Monday night, and in the series, they made four errors total. The fielding wasn’t the sole reason why the Cubs (who are now 12-31 on the road) left Atlanta with two wins in four games, but it didn’t help.

The week ahead:
Friday: at Philadelphia Phillies, 7:05 p.m.
Saturday: at Philadelphia Phillies, 7:15 p.m.
Sunday: at Philadelphia Phillies, 1:35 p.m.
All-Star Break: Monday-Thursday

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