Braves’ current record: 70-51 (2nd in NL East, 5 games behind Washington Nationals)
August 13: Lost 4-1 vs. San Diego Padres
August 14: Won 6-0 vs. San Diego Padres
August 15: Won 6-1 vs. San Diego Padres
August 16: Won 6-0 vs. San Diego Padres
August 17: Won 4-3 vs. Los Angeles Dodgers (11 innings)
August 18: Lost 6-2 vs. Los Angeles Dodgers
August 19: Lost 5-0 vs. Los Angeles Dodgers
I’m willing to concede that the Braves were solid against the Padres in the final three games of that series. But they only managed a total of seven runs in the other four games this week, and that’s what led to a 2-2 record in those four contests.
Perhaps the most frustrating part of the last week came in Saturday and Sunday’s games against the Dodgers. The Braves had a real chance to be aggressive at the plate and win a huge series, but they could only scrap together a total of two runs and eight hits in 18 innings. They could have taken huge strides in a seven-game homestand, but instead they showed the world they’re still vulnerable against one of the best teams in the National League.
Brian McCann needs to bust out of his slump as soon as possible, because the Braves start a three-game series in Washington tonight. McCann has fallen all the way to seventh in the lineup because he is batting just .103 in the month of August.
Mike Minor, ladies and gentlemen! The Braves’ young lefty threw two more solid outings this week, showing manager Fredi Gonzalez that he’ll be a valuable piece of this pitching staff down the stretch, and even into the postseason (hopefully). And can you guess how many wins he earned this week?
In Minor’s last eight starts, he has allowed a total of 13 earned runs in 51 innings pitched. He hasn’t surrendered more than three runs in a single outing since June. And he’s 2-4 in those starts. His record continues to get worse while he seems to be pitching better every time he takes the mound.
Kris Medlen threw a complete-game shutout Thursday night, and Tim Hudson had another strong outing Tuesday evening. Believe me — pitching isn’t the problem.
On Sunday afternoon, right fielder Jason Heyward lost two fly balls in the sun, which certainly didn’t hurt the Dodgers’ chances of adding crucial insurance runs in the later innings of the ballgame. But anyone who has played an outfield position in the daytime will attest to the difficulty of finding a fly ball once it goes into the sun, even if you’re wearing sunglasses. It just happens sometimes, and I’m not going to blame Heyward for those errors.
The Braves remain the best fielding team in the National League, having only made 61 errors in 121 games. The league average is 78 errors, and nearly every team has made at least 70.
The week ahead:
Monday: at Washington Nationals, 7:05 p.m.
Tuesday: at Washington Nationals, 7:05 p.m.
Wednesday: at Washington Nationals, 7:05 p.m.
Thursday: at San Francisco Giants, 10:15 p.m.
Friday: at San Francisco Giants, 10:15 p.m.
Saturday: at San Francisco Giants, 4:05 p.m.
Sunday: at San Francisco Giants, 8:00 p.m.