The less said about the weekend sweep at the hands of the Phillies, the better. Tim Hudson came back to earth on Friday night, Buddy Carlyle pitched about how you'd expect a 29-year old AAA pitcher to pitch on Saturday, and Kyle Davies reverted to the form that he shows against pretty much every team other than the Mets on Sunday. Fortunately, Chuck James pitched well yesterday in Milwaukee and got both relief help from Rafael Soriano (who has been an absolute steal) and Bob Wickman and an extremely fortunate line drive right at Scott Thorman to eke out a 2-1 win. The win did little to reduce concerns about the team's slumping offense, which has produced 17 runs in the last six games. Over that stretch, the Braves are 2-4 and their two wins have both been 2-1 nailbiters. Chipper Jones's absence is quite noticeable.
And if the news couldn't get any worse, Mike Gonzalez is out for the rest of this season and a good chunk of next year with a torn elbow ligament. This is something I really don't like about baseball: it seems as if any time a pitcher has any sort of malady, the ultimate diagnosis is beyond the worst-case scenario. Lance Cormier experiences a little tightness in his triceps at the end of spring training and hasn't thrown a pitch for the Braves two months into the season. Mike Gonzalez experiences a drop in velocity and after three MRIs, it turns out that he is out for a year (and with Murphy's Law in full effect for pitchers, we can expect him to return some time in the next decade). And we haven't even mentioned my wife's least-favorite Brave Mike Hampton.
And it's not just Braves fans who get to experience this joy. Imagine being a Yankees fan, watching crappy start after crappy start. Your team calls Phillip Hughes up, he flirts with a non-no in his second start...and then promptly hurts himself and is out until G-d knows when because all pitching injuries have epic recovery times. These injuries highlight just how unnatural the act of pitching really is. They also remind us that John Smoltz is truly Der Übermensch, since he didn't miss a start after dislocating a finger on his pitching hand.