Monday, April 11, 2016

Braves v. Cardinals Weekend Reflections: April 9-10, 2016

Yeah here's my reflections on the weekend. Holy crap. I mean really what in the world did I just witness? The Cardinals laid 24 runs on the Braves in two games back-to-back, and the worst part was the Braves probably should have WON the second game again. Yet, they blew it in horrific fashion with some bad umpiring calls and horrendous bullpen pitching.

The defense is even worse than I ever expected, and I was expecting bottom third of the league. Oh we're bottom third all right. We're 27th in the MLB in errors, and that's only because of some home cooking that kept another 3 errors off the board. I actually witnessed Nick Markakis flounder for a pop fly in right center, and then make what I can only describe as a dolphin dive miss that cost us a run. I watched AJ Pierzynski miss ball after ball after ball that eventually cost us another run. I watched Garcia commit a throwing error that cost the Braves another run. It just kept getting more and more laughable as the game went on Saturday.

And you know what the worst thing is? The Cardinals were making just as many if not more errors out there. Yet they swept us because they have hitters, and they have a bullpen. The Braves hitting is certainly better, but the bullpen is still just as bad, and now with the loss of Dan Winkler to a broken elbow, I'm not sure we have anything in the pen worth their salt except for Vizciano. And I fully expect him to get hit by a meteor at some point in the season given our luck.

Am I panicking? No, I would only panic if I thought something was on the line. This is more about whether or not we fall into an abyss of despair that even tubs of Ben & Jerry's ice cream couldn't dent. Because I think Joe Simpson said something very important in the Sunday broadcast, "You never look as bad as when you're terrible defensively." Well, that's where we are right now with the Braves, they are terrible defensively, and it takes away from the fact that other things that are going pretty well.

What if I told you that the Braves have a .305 OBP as a team? That's actually middle of the pack, and not too bad. What if I told you Nick Markakis is hitting .300 on the season, or that Drew Stubbs had a surprise homer, or that Bud Norris was actually holding things together as our best starter by ERA right now?

The problem is that the Braves are slugging .290 as a team which is 28th in the majors, ahead of only the Angels and the Mets. The hitting is bad, but the pitching is worse. The bullpen ERA is 8.66 in the first 5 games. Only Colorado is worse, and if you don't understand why then you're never been at altitude before.

I have two takeaways from the weekend:
  1. AJ Pierzynski cannot play anymore if he's going to catch like this. He's an absolute 100% liability behind the plate right now, and until he fixes that he simply can't start. It's not going to work.
  2. We have 7 position players hitting under .200 right now. That's not going to last, mostly because if that does go on for another 2 weeks, people are getting cut. This is the major leagues, and we have too many good prospects to watch journeyman veterans flail away.
Braves lost 12-2
Braves lost 12-7

Lord have mercy on us as we go to a 4-game road series with the Nationals.


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