Monday, May 16, 2005

And as soon as I note that the Braves hit a lot of doubles and few homers...

They hit eight homers this weekend in taking two of three from the Dodgers (and with some better defense in the 8th inning on Friday night, it would have been a sweep.)

Some thoughts:

1. Assuming that the Braves, Cards, Marlins, and Dodgers are the class of the NL this year, the Braves are now 7-4 against those three teams. And far be it for me to say something nice about Dan Kolb, but he hasn't allowed a run against any of those three teams.

2. This weekend was a better offensive weekend for the Braves in the sense that they were consistent scoring runs. Rather than their pattern earlier in the year when they would score 1, 2 and 11 in a three-game series, this weekend, they scored 4, 5, and 5. With this starting pitching (and no bullpen melt-downs,) 4-5 runs should be sufficient to win most games.

3. The Braves have trouble against the oddest pitchers, with yesterday's poor showing against Scott Erickson, whom the Braves' announcers described as pitching for his career, another example. How could the Braves whiff at him for six innings before teeing off on Yhency Brazoban and his 1.88 ERA in the 9th?

4. Tim Hudson was Steve Avery-esque yesterday, allowing hits aplenty, but in the end, his line of six innings pitched and two earned runs allowed was good. He's eight starts into his Atlanta career and he's 4-2 with a 3.18 ERA, which is good. Ultimately, the major concern is whether he'll be healthy for the whole season or whether his abdominal issues will return in August, but short-term, the concern is that he's allowing opponents to hit .274, which is a high for a front-line starter (or anyone, really.) Opponents have a .736 OPS against Hudson, which would be a career high. He's kept his ERA low by pitching out of trouble and by allowing only three homers in 51 innings. It's worth remembering that 1/4 of his starts have been on this road trip, a struggle in Colorado followed by a game yesterday in which he didn't have his best stuff.

5. The time is coming when the Braves are going to have to give Adam LaRoche some at-bats against lefty pitchers. He's leading the team in RBI, which is pretty impressive for a platoon guy and could be even more impressive if they increased his at-bats. Again, there are sample-size issues because we're glimpsing his stats when he's coming off of a great weekend in LA.

6. Brian Jordan (.506 OPS) and Raul Mondesi (.664 OPS) have been weak in May. Schuerholtz has to be thinking about other options in the outfield. What's Mike Devereaux doing?

1 comment:

peacedog said...

Kelley Johnson raised his average to .324 just recently, and now has 8 homers. Unfortunately, if he comes up he needs to play, and it's crowded right now. Doubly unfortunately, just getting rid of someone isn't enough. Johnson may not pan out, or struggle early. . .

So I figure on Shuerholtz finding a quick fix and Johnson being an option next year. Though he may geta look this year, we need to have another competent outfielder around somewhere.

Langerhans doesn't have good overall stats but he has hit well of late and he plays good D. His next 4 weeks are going to be interesting, I think. it looks like he may be the guy to play LF, but we'll see.