Braves' Struggles continue through week 2

Disappointing. That’s the only way to describe this past week and the season so far. The Braves started the week 4-6,  3 1/2 games back of the Phillies. After showing signs of life against the Marlins while beating them 5-0 behind Tommy Hanson on Tuesday, they dropped the next two losing to a pitching gem by Josh Johnson 5-1 and 6-5 on a not so good night of pitching Thursday. On Friday the Mets came to town but so did storms that resulted in a postponement that night and a double header Saturday. The Braves swept the Saturday twin bill winning 4-2 behind another good pitching performance from Derek Lowe and following that with a 4-0 shutout behind Jair Jurrjens who went 7 innings and struck out 4 in his first outing of 2011. They entered Sunday with a chance to get back to .500 prior to a long and difficult west coast road trip. In spite of playing a Mets team that looked lethargic and uninspired throughout the series, the Braves lost to rookie Dillon Gee 3-2. The Braves finished the week 7-9,  4 games back of the Phillies and in 4th place behind the Marlin and the Nationals.

The story of the week must have seemed familiar to Braves fans who watched last year. The lineup struggles to get runners into scoring position and fails to bring them home when they do manage it. Going into Sunday’s game the team was currently 4th in homers (15) but in the bottom half of the league in everything else; 11th in slugging (.376), 14th in hitting (.230) and 16th in on-base percentage (.292.) The home run stat is misleading however as 14 of their 15 homers have been solo shots. Heyward’s homer today was a solo shot as well.  Something must change soon. Although we’re only 16 games in and some have said it’s been a rough early schedule – the Mets rough; Really? We really should have won Thursday as well. – games lost here can really hurt later in the year. The lineup has looked flat. Uggla isn’t hitting good pitching, McLouth strikes out about 20% of the time -not good for a number two hitter without home run pop; in general the lineup has not yet clicked against good pitching.

Starting pitching remained good to strong though Tim Hudson and Brandon Beachy got knocked around by the Marlins. The relief corps had a mixed week. Kimbrel, Venters and Linebrink pitched well while O’Flaherty has a bad inning against the Marlins. Bad news came when Peter Moylan was put on the DL due to back issues. Word is that this isn’t the same kind of issue he hand a decade ago but he is scheduled to have an MRI on the back and won’t make the west coast trip with the team. The Braves called up Jairo Asencio (the pitcher formerly known as Luis Valdez) to take his spot in the bullpen.

Tomorrow the Braves begin a their 10 day trip in LA against the Dodgers.  Pitching matchups in LA art scheduled to be:
Tim Hudson v Ted LillyBrandon BeachyHiroki Kuroda , Derek Lowe (on short rest) v Jon Garland, Jair Jurrjens v TBD – probably Clayton Kershaw.  Unless something changes for us our rotation will roll over with Hudson starting against the World Champs on Friday. The Giants starters haven’t been released yet though on their current rotation it would be Madison Bumgarner, Tim Lincecum, and Jonathan Sanchez. Well now, that shouldn’t be too difficult now should it?

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Tags: Weekly Recap

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