Monday, April 29, 2013

Series Recap: Tigers

We all know the back end of a road trip is tough, and this series with the Tigers was no exception. You saw a team this weekend look tired and lost. Also, they looked cold because it never seemed to stop raining, snowing, or freezing. With a myriad of lineup changes, the weird injuries, and the fact we helped the Tigers set a franchise record for strikeouts by a starter, you'd think it's time to hit the panic button on this team. It's not. And no, I'm not some pie-in-the-sky optimist as you well know. There's a logical reason we hit the skids on this road trip, and there is a logical reason we'll turn things around this week.

In 2012, when the Braves went on the road, they went 19-18 in the last series of their road trip. They were fairly average in the last series, even though they had a 46-35 road record for the season. They got tired, they got mentally out of games in the last series, and as a result they didn't finish road trips well. Enter 2013, and our current final series road record of 3-3. We went to Washington and swept them, we went to Detroit and got swept. Our current road record is 9-7, which projects to a 45-35 record overall. Look familiar? It should since it's almost exactly like last season. So, the first point is that we've seen this before, and it hasn't been a problem for our overall winning percentage on the road.

The second point is how the Braves react to road trips. In 2012, the Braves record in the first series after a road trip was 26-11. They excel at bouncing back, and they actually had 5 sweeps in 2012 coming off a road trip. That's why I expect the Braves to play well this week. I think they react to suffering some road heartache by taking it out on the Nats with the bats.

Note, I'm not really talking about the actual Detroit series here much, because we all know it was terrible. Here's some lowlights though: we were outscored 25-7, we got swept, we struck out 39 times, we went 4-21 with RISP, our starters gave up 19 runs in 15.2 innings for an ERA around 10.90 combined. Should I continue? We stunk, plain and simple. It was cold, wet, and we didn't want to be there. I think you'll find that any time we get swept this season, the conditions will be similar. It will be late in a road trip, we'll be miserable at the plate and mentally out of it.

You know the good news? We're home. We are 2.5 up over the Nats and we play them this week. The Nats are 4-6 in their last 10 and we're 3-7. We are still tied for most wins in the NL. We still have one of the top 3 run differentials in the NL. Justin Upton has been hitting .333 on the week with 3 homers, Juan has been hitting .333 on the week with one homer, and Chris Johnson has been hitting .313 on the week with two doubles. We are ready to turn the corner this week.


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