Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Braves. Was I wrong? Now the Phillies stink.

Back in early May, I posted this, "Braves stink."

This was as the Braves were recovering from a 9 games losing streak and their continued inability to win on the road.  Since then, buoyed by series against Milwaukee, Arizona, and going 5 for 6 versus the Pirates, they have been the NL's best team in May.

At the same time, since May 12th, when the Phillies were called out for cheating for stealing signs from the bullpen, they have been in a tailslide, were shut out 4 of 5 games, and scored 2 in the final 18 innings of their just-completed series against the Marlins, only winning when Roy Halladay pitched a perfect game.

But, this is about the Braves, not those cheating Phillies.

Back in the May 7th post, I said some of these hitters would improve - so what have they done since then:
  • Matt Diaz - .178 (.190 on 5/7) - on DL, perhaps out for an extended period.
  • Melky Cabrera - .241 (.191 on 5/7) - definitely improving
  • Nate McLouth - .179 (.187 on 5/7) - there is still a problem with this guy. There are 2 starting pitchers hitting better than him.  Trade?  Would anyone take him?  DFA?
  • Chipper Jones - .250 (.228 on 5/7) - still only has 3 homers, but Chipper's bat seems to be coming around
  • Troy Glaus - .274 (.228 on 5/7) - Hitting now ABOVE his lifetime average, Glaus has carried this team for the month
  • Yunel Escobar - .212 (.215 on 5/7) - Yunel spent 15 days on the DL during this time, and has only now gotten back in the lineup.
  • Brian McCann - .259 (.243 on 5.7) - McCann also has spent some time injured but is improving of late, and he still has
The one batter I didn't mention then was a guy not getting much playing time, but who, the last 3 weeks has been fantastic, and that's been Eric Hinske, who is now hitting .329 with 4 HR's and 22 RBI's in very limited playing time.  Of course, Martin Prado (.323/4/26) and Jason Heyward (.292/10/38) have stayed consistently good.  I look forward to Chipper moving to the 2 spot and Heyward batting 3rd.  Those three guys have been the spark the last few weeks - moving Prado to lead-off and Heyward to 2, then Hinske gatting a lot of playing time.

Meanwhile, I lambasted the pitchers, and they have improved as well, to wit:
  • Hudson - Lowered his era from 2.82 to 2.24
  • Hanson - Had one rotten start (the 10-9 comeback versus Cincinnati), and his ERA has climbed from 2.83 to 3.83
  • Lowe - has been resurgent, lowered his era to 4.86 from 6.16 and leads with 7 wins.
  • Kawakami - despite still not recording a win, has lowered his era from 5.47 to 4.66
  • Jurrjens remains injured, but, in relief, Kris Medlen has been very good and has era at 2.85.  What will the Braves do when JJ comes back from the DL because Medlen has earned a starting spot, while KK has also earned the right to keep his.
  • The bullpen has been just great and Billy Wagner who I believe had 2 saves on 5/7, now has 7, but, the Braves haven't been in that many close games since then, either.
My new prognosis?  Dramatic turn-around, and a team capable of 90 wins. Capable.  We will see

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