Braves’ current record: 60-45 (2nd in NL East, 2.5 games behind Washington Nationals)
July 27: Won 6-1 vs. Philadelphia Phillies
July 28: Won 2-1 vs. Philadelphia Phillies
July 29: Won 6-2 vs. Philadelphia Phillies
July 30: Won 8-2 vs. Miami Marlins
July 31: Won 7-1 vs. Miami Marlins
August 1: Lost 4-2 vs. Miami Marlins
August 2: Won 6-1 vs. Miami Marlins
The Braves knew what they needed out of this week — improve the record at Turner Field, and beat up on two opponents that have been falling apart in 2012. To do that, they’d need to hit the ball and take the pressure off their pitching staff.
Scoring at least six runs in five of those seven games was above and beyond what the lineup needed to do, and it paid great dividends for the team. If we’re handing out superlatives for the week, shortstop Paul Janish certainly deserves one. In the final four games of the week, Janish jumped his batting average from .152 to .203 (admittedly, easier to do when you don’t have as many at-bats as the others on the team) and provided a decent bat in the No. 8 spot of the batting order. His presence has been a great replacement for Andrelton Simmons while he nurses an injury.
Additionally, the Braves sent some pretty good arms to the showers with a loss — Roy Halladay, Cole Hamels and Mark Buehrle all earned losses at Turner Field during the week.
If you told me before this week began that the only pitcher who would earn a loss for the Braves in seven games would be Ben Sheets, I would have assumed you were lying to me. But it’s true — after three consecutive wins to start his tenure in Atlanta (including the Friday night win over the Phillies), Sheets was dealt a loss Wednesday night when the Braves couldn’t manage to squeak out any run support for their starter.
This week will be interesting to watch, as the Braves’ rotation will be in flux. Kris Medlen has become a starter, as will the newly-acquired Paul Maholm. Jair Jurrjens has moved to the bullpen and Tommy Hanson has been placed on the Disabled List. They won’t be facing two of the most prolific offenses in the league, that’s for sure, so they should be able to absorb the blows and get adjusted to the changes.
I know it looks strange that I’m giving this team straight A’s, but they earned it this week. The defense is no exception.
I can’t remember a single play this week that went haywire and led to an opponent taking advantage, and that’s not surprising since the Phillies and Marlins went a combined 1-6 against Atlanta. Janish keeps making big plays at shortstop, proving his worth as a solid backup to Simmons when the Braves’ starter returns. Martin Prado had a ridiculous play to stop Jose Reyes from trying to score, then he made another diving catch later in the week. Maybe it’s just me, but I think the Braves’ left fielder might have a case for the Gold Glove!
The week ahead:
Friday: vs. Houston Astros, 7:35 p.m.
Saturday: vs. Houston Astros, 7:10 p.m.
Sunday: vs. Houston Astros, 1:35 p.m.
Monday: at Philadelphia Phillies, 7:05 p.m.
Tuesday: at Philadelphia Phillies, 7:05 p.m.
Wednesday: at Philadelphia Phillies, 7:05 p.m.