Braves’ current record: 54-44 (2nd in NL East, 4.5 games behind Washington Nationals)
July 20: Won 11-10 at Washington Nationals (11 innings)
July 21, Game 1: Won 4-0 at Washington Nationals
July 21, Game 2: Lost 5-2 at Washington Nationals
July 22: Lost 9-2 at Washington Nationals
July 23: Lost 2-1 at Miami Marlins
July 24: Won 4-3 at Miami Marlins
July 25: Won 7-1 at Miami Marlins
The Braves seem to be heading down the same path they’ve been going down for many weeks. Michael Bourn was stellar, as was Freddie Freeman and Jason Heyward. Brian McCann was pretty good this week, and so was Chipper Jones. But what do all of these players have in common?
They’re all left-handed hitters. Only Chipper is a switch-hitter, but he hits from the left side more than 50 percent of the time.
Right now, the only right-handed bat the Braves can rely on is Martin Prado, who is still maintaining a batting average above .300. Second baseman Dan Uggla was given Thursday off, likely because his bat continues to slide. The Braves might be in the market for another right-handed hitter, but it’s looking less likely with every day that ticks away until the trade deadline on July 31. Until then, we might have to deal with games like Saturday night and Sunday afternoon, when the lineup was stifled by a left-handed pitcher.
This pitching staff isn’t going to get the Braves to the playoffs. Jair Jurrjens isn’t going to fix his problems this season, and Tommy Hanson seems to have trouble trusting his pitches. Those are two big holes in the starting rotation. As a result, you see the Braves trying to make a trade before the deadline, but we’ll see if that leads to anything at all; a deal to trade for Cubs pitcher Ryan Dempster has already fallen through and appears to be dead.
Thursday’s start by Hanson was absolutely insane — somehow, he got the win and only allowed one run to score despite walking seven and allowing seven stolen bases. Against a decent lineup, Hanson would have allowed eight or nine runs with that kind of performance.
The Braves could always promote Kris Medlen from the bullpen if they can’t secure a pitcher via trade. But something needs to be done about the holes in this rotation or another winning streak won’t be possible.
Why wouldn’t a team that throws out several opponents at home plate not earn an “A” for their efforts? Additionally, I’d say this play deserves a gold star.
The week ahead:
Friday: vs. Philadelphia Phillies, 7:35 p.m.
Saturday: vs. Philadelphia Phillies, 7:10 p.m.
Sunday: vs. Philadelphia Phillies, 1:35 p.m.
Monday: vs. Miami Marlins, 7:10 p.m.
Tuesday: vs. Miami Marlins, 7:10 p.m.
Wednesday: vs. Miami Marlins, 7:10 p.m.
Thursday: vs. Miami Marlins, 7:10 p.m.