Thursday, June 15, 2006

Braves looking like a fish out of water

If the Braves are to win another division crown this year they better figure out how to win back to back games. That's something they haven't done since they swept the Cubs back on May 27th and 28th, a span of 16 games. In the same span they have a abysmal record of 3-13 including a four game sweep by Arizona. With the loss to the Marlins tonight they have lost the last 5 series against the Dodgers, Diamondbacks, Nationals, Astros and Marlins. They now stand 12 games back of the Mets and are just half a game ahead of the fourth place Nationals. Things don't get any easier for them in the next two weeks as they have to play Boston, Toronto, at the Devil Rays and at the Yankees.

Offensively they aren't really getting much production out of the leadoff spot which Giles currently owns. He sports an avg of .238, to say that the Braves miss Furcal in this spot is a huge understatement, he was the table setter. Giles isn't your prototypical leadoff guy.

Here's a look at the current lineup and their respective stats.

Hitter Avg H R RBI BB SO OBP (on base %)
Giles .238 59 36 21 32 47 .327
Renteria .328 75 39 28 26 34 .401
C Jones .291 58 39 34 32 42 .386
A Jones .269 66 39 56 22 57 .333
McCann .368 49 19 21 13 13 .421
Francoeur .252 69 32 47 4 55 .269
LaRoche .246 47 30 35 27 51 .338
Langerhans .246 43 21 16 22 52 .333

See anything there that just pops out to you? 5 hitters average .270 or worse and only two players with an OBP higher than .400. Players just aren't getting on base enough and strikeouts are at an alarming high as 4 players have 50+. The only two bright spots in this lineup right now are Renteria and McCann who's been hurt some.

Pitching wise it doesn't get much better. The Braves supposed staff ace is Tim Hudson who has a 6-4 record with a 3.79 ERA. The rest of the starting staff has a losing record and Jorge Sosa isn't getting it done at all, he's got a record of 1-8 with a ERA of 5.58. It also doesn't help matters that the bullpen has questions everywhere including former closer Chris Reitsma who has an ERA of 9.11 with four blown saves in 12 chances. Only one player with at least 20 innings pitched has an ERA in the 2's and that is Ken Ray who was promoted to the closers role and his ERA is just under 3 at 2.93.

Things aren't looking good for the Braves and the Braves faithful fans. You knew the time would come when we wouldn't continue this record streak of Division Championships but you'd hope that we could at least be competitive but that isn't happening.

The Braves need to use some of the talent in minors as trade bait to bring someone in to juice up this lineup. Where's Fred McGriff when you need him.


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