Both games were losses so the overall score here isn't much of a concern for me in these games. The details of the pitching were a much bigger factor, especially in game 3 as we got to see Aaron Blair for the first time. I'm really excited about this season if we can continue to call up the young players that may form the building blocks of this franchise for the next 5 years. I'm less excited about writing blogs on Jeff Francoeur, Kelly Johnson, Bud Norris, AJ Pierzynski, Eric Aybar, Tyler Flowers, Gordon Beckham, and the rest of the fading vets that won't be part of this rebuild after 2016 or 2017. Every day that goes by where we see old players instead of the new prospects is a waste of time for the fans.
Chacin pitched game 2, and he did a very mediocre job. In 5.2 innings he had 4 runs, 3 earned, 7 hits, 2 walks, and 5 Ks. Ho-hum, that kind of line is going to lose for this team 95% of the time. On another team? Maybe not so bad because the offense could bail him out. But not this version of the run-starved Braves.
Game 3 featured Aaron Blair, and I think the future is bright for that kid. He's got good command of the ball in the lower half of the zone, he throws a lot of strikes, and he's not afraid to challenge hitters into contact. That kind of confidence is big for a young pitcher making his debut. Did it go well? Meh, it went as well as I expected. I thought about 5.2 innings, 3 runs, a ND, with 4 Ks, and a walk. He pitched 5.1 innings, 3 runs, a loss, 1 K, and 2 walks. That's actually a good outing for a young guy making his first start in the major leagues. The Braves just couldn't push across more than two runs all day.
The hitting is probably the most confusing part of this team, because it's bad in a bunch of really strange ways. I think you can call it the POWER-OUTAGE lineup. Let's take a look at why:
Bad Braves Hitting Fact #1 - The Braves actually have a higher on-base percentage (.304) than slugging percentage (.289)
Bad Braves Hitting Fact #2 - The Braves are 30th, dead last, in OPS (.593) which is 56 points behind the 28th team in the league (oddly the Chicago Cubs).
Bad Braves Hitting Fact #3 - The Braves average 203 ABs per homer. That's obviously dead last. The next team down the list only has 61 ABs per homer. It's a gap of 142 ABs, which is insane.
Bad Braves Hitting Fact #4 - The Braves grounder/fly ball rate is 1.12, tied for second to dead last in MLB. You know what ground balls never do? Leave the ball park.
Bad Braves Hitting Fact #5 - The Braves PH batting average is .071, worst in the NL, 28th in the MLB. And that's only because two AL teams don't really PH at all. They should be dead last. You know what pinch hitters are supposed to do? Get hits late in games to score runs.
That's enough for now. There will be more as we go, but good grief Braves. You need to get it together so we can have some hope for this team.
Braves lost 8-2 on Saturday, and lost 3-2 on Sunday. They've lost 5 in a row now.