And again. Once again, the Braves’ offense couldn’t get going, and once again the starting pitcher wasn’t good enough to keep the game tight, and once again they were hurt by defensive breakdowns.
Mike Hampton is still winless on the year, but could have gotten away unscathed with a little more defensive support. In the third inning, he got what might have been a grounder to end the inning but Jesse Garcia’s throw was wild. (It was scored an infield hit.) Two batters later, the first two runs of the game scored on a single. Single runs scored each of the next two innings (one on more sloppy defense), and the Braves were on their way to another defeat. Hampton wasn’t good, but he wasn’t that bad.
The offense, once again, was bad. Drew homered with Marcus on first in the sixth to score the Braves’ only runs. Mark DeRosa led off but was 0-4. He is now hitting .208/.274/.300 for the season. Again, leadoff. Rafael Furcal was restricted to pinch-hitting duties again. I don’t think it a coincidence that the Braves’ run of haplessness began with the leadoff hitter on the bench. Whatever’s wrong with his finger is obviously not as minor as it was initially made to sound.
Day game today. You would think that John Thomson versus Jeff Suppan would be a matchup favoring the Braves. Suppan will probably pitch a perfect game.
We’re not very good right now. We’ve got replacement level play at short, third, and first which is not going to get the job done.
For us younger Braves fans, this season has the look of a season that I have not experienced with the team – .500 ball. I started really following the club when they were the dregs of the NL West. In those days I was excited whenever they got a win. Basically when you had Murph, and 23 guys who were either journeymen or past their prime, you were expected to lose. For the last dozen years we have all been spoiled. Now the team has a few all-star caliber players, solid major leaguers, etc. I don’t know what I am getting at, but between highs and lows this club has experienced in the last 17-18 years, this team actually may be the toughest to watch and follow on a day to day basis.
On AJC, they are saying Furcal may not even be ready to start during the Milwaukee series.
Chris, I was thinking the same thing. This looks like a .500 ball club. We can trot out all the “slow start” evidence, but I can’t see what this team has that’s not being employed now (except Furcal) that will make much of a difference.
The starting pitching has been disappointing, but not atrocious. I’ve actually been pleasantly surprised by the bullpen (except for Smoltz). The hitting has been spotty and injuries have been bothersome, so my jury is still in deliberations about that side of the equation.
During the stretch of success, the Braves have slept walk a bit during the season and than transformed themselves into Galactus the “devourer or planets” for a month or two and cruise to the division title. I don’t think Galactus will be in this issue, however. I don’t see the high water mark of this team being enough to pull off the “monster” month they are probably going to need.
DeRo’s just not doing it and Jesse is starting to show the kind of wear and tear that a utility player experiences when thrust into a long stretch of starting. Mental fatigue, whatever, he’s starting to make mistakes.
Hello my name is Johnny and I’m a spoiled Braves fan. I started following the Braves in the mid 70’s so I’ve endured about a decade and a half of bad baseball. As much as I’ve reveled in the success of the past decade I knew that at some time the end of the run would come. The Braves section of BP had a very good article on our transition to a mid market club. The book also made predictions about DeRo and LaRoche that are looking all to prophetic.
Being the eternal optimist I still thought we could contend. However it looks like the convergence of unlikely events necessary for us to do so is not going to happen like it did last year when a couple of players had career years.
As hard as it is, I’m going to continue to think that we’ll get out of our funk and start hitting. My only worry is that we’ll be deep down in the standings when that happens.
No need to panic… I’ve said this before. Nobody on our team is really exceeding expectations. Yet there are several that have been huge disapointments so far. I honestly believe that we have the most talent in the division. All star caliber players at every position except two (1st and 3rd). 5 pitchers that could realistically win 15 games if they get their act together and get the necessary support. One of the best bullpens in baseball. If we win the next four games and get completely healthy (both are very realistic scenarios) we will be heading home with some momentum. When we had a healthy team, we owned the Marlins. At the end of this month and the beginning of the next, we will get two big series with the Phillies. I remain optimistic that this is the annual slow start.
love the optimism reaganman – living up to your namesake. i’m starting to lose mine, but i think you’re right that it’s a little too early to lose hope and faith.
Anyone else notice the mayor of richmond cleared waivers? Given his solid play the week he was up I was sort of hoping some team desperate for a 5th OF-PH type would pick him up. Oh well.
You would think at some point that the Braves are going to get really disgusted with themselves, call a team meeting to dicuss what’s going wrong, and hopefully come out of it more focused with the belief that they are still a force in the NL East just one good run away from climbing back on top. This is a big test of the leadership of this team to keep the new guys motivated.
All the injuries they’ve experienced have kind of hit the reset button for the offense who now have to get their timing back like they’re still in spring training mode. I expect some bats to start coming alive at once pretty soon, but the defense can’t be allowed to perform like it has lately.
I don’t fault the front office for cutting payroll and moving into middle-market territory. I think it was a smart move. Besides nothing says that spending nine figures on payroll will get you into the playoffs. The talent is in place, it’s just getting them to believe that they can do it that’s the issue.
On a different note:
Much has been made about the 5 inherited runs that Gryboski has allowed to score. Nothing to this point about the 6 uninherited runs allowed by Reitsma. I expect this trend to continue.
Well, that’s a new lineup:
I like it – it’s time to let Betemit sink or swim and move DeRo back to a super-utility role. No point in him learning 3rd if he’s not going to be there next year (knock on wood).