If you like hits, you were sorely disappointed. The Braves only had two of them, and they lost the game 2-0. It's the same old story. Starter gets in early trouble, gives up 1 or 2 runs, Braves get no hit for half the game, and nobody can rally late. With 6 walks, the Braves had ample chances to get something going, but they could never put good wood on the ball. As a result they only went 1-8 with RISP, and that 1 didn't score a run. CJ continues to be a standout on the team with his hitting, and Freddie couldn't get anything going this time. BJ had the other hit, and it looks like he's seeing the ball a lot better in his last 10 games than anything we saw in the first two months. In fact, he's hitting near .260 over the last week with 2 homers and 2 doubles, along with 5 RBIs. BJ Upton, and here's the really depressing part about the state of the Braves, has provided nearly 25% of the Braves RBIs this week. CJ and Freeman have put up almost half. The rest of the team filled in the nearly 30% gap. That's a lot of non-production from regular starters. Simmons has none, Uggla has none, and McCann has none. Brian has frankly been awful, even though nobody wants to discuss it. He's hitting .176 on the week with almost a third of his ABs as Ks, and he's scored only a single run.
So with all the slumping, isn't it time we took a look at what a hot lineup would look like? I think it is, because Fredi has to be pulling his hair out. Here's what the perfect lineup looks like right now.
CF - Schafer leads off with his nearly .395 OBP and 7 steals
3B - CJ hits second with his .320 average on the year
2B - Pastornicky takes over for Uggla with his hot start of .308
1B - Freeman cleans up with his .464 slugging
LF - Justin goes in the 5 slot for his .454 slugging
C - Laird catches since he's hitting 60 average points higher with .400 slugging
RF - Heyward plays right since he's hitting over .300 in June with an OPS over .800
SS - Simmons stays in short for defense, but bats last because he's become a liability with his OBP.
That's how your lineup would looks. BJ, Mac, and Uggla would be sitting right now. BJ would probably get platooned with Schafer because he's been hitting over .230 in June, meaning it's coming around, but McCann is below the Mendoza line in June with a .188 average, and Dan Uggla is hitting .128 with RISP on the season. You can't keep putting him out there. At some point, we're going to have to cut our losses with Dan, because we're bleeding games in the standings before the All-Star break. I think that Fredi will give this "new contacts" excuse/solution until the All-Star break, but if he's not better? Pastornicky or a healthy Pena will take his job.
I also have to take the chance to update the series preview. The Brewers have learned something I've already illuminated to you readers. The Braves are awful against pitchers they've never faced before. Like, potentially no-hit awful. As a result, the Brewers moved out Gorzelanny, a guy the Braves had a multitude of ABs against, and put in Donavan Hand, a guy who's never tossed a single pitch against Atlanta. You know what that means? It means we're in big trouble. The CPA will fill in the gaps.
CPA Prediction Game 2: Brewers 3 - Braves 1
Until Fredi changes the lineup, or the Braves prove they can hit without having film on a guy, the CPA will never predict them in a winning situation against a new starter. Hand will be making his first ever career start with a career ERA of 3.38, and Huddy will be facing a Brewers lineup he pretty much controls. I expect the Braves not to have a hit until the 4th inning. Tim has also struggled in the first two innings, so the Brewers could jump out to a quick lead. Overall, the numbers are bad. Somebody needs to be a hero in the lineup and hit one out when people are on base. That seems to be the only way the Braves win these games.