Wow so the long Braves national nightmare is over now that they actually won two games in a row. That's quite the turnaround from losing 6 straight over the last week before they arrived in New York to play the hapless Mets. How bad are the Mets? Well, they've lost 6 in a row, they are 1-9 in their last 10 games, and they are now (thanks to the Braves kicking their behinds) dead last in the NL East. Weren't the Mets supposed to contend for a playoff spot? Welp, too bad because they are 7.5 back of the Nationals, and they play them this weekend. Honestly, the Mets could be double digits back in the division by the end of April. Yikes. Not that I take pleasure in the Mets misfortunes...
HAHAHA, no I totally do take pleasure in their misfortunes, that was a bald-faced lie.
The Braves are 8-12, so it's not like we're a good team either. We're only 4-6 in the last 10, but we're on a two game winning streak heading into a series with Milwaukee. Downside to that series is that the Brewers are the 2nd hottest team in the NL with a 3 game winning streak and a 12-11 record. However, I like our chances against the Brewers and here's why. The Braves are going to see Chase Anderson, Jimmy Nelson, and Matt Garza as starters. The Braves lineup is hitting OPSs of 1.005, .884, and .620 respectively against those pitchers. I would expect to be very offensively oriented in the first two games, and when the Braves see Garza he'll be going against Folty who has pitched really well. If the Braves can scrape a couple of runs, I don't see why they can't win this series.
The do need to improve a few things of course. First the grounder/fly ball ratio for the Braves is 1.09 which is worst in the majors. Grounders never ever leave the park, and usually aren't a sign of a good AB, so you'll usually find a really high correlation between teams that hit a ton of ground balls, and teams that don't win a ton of games.
Here's the 2016 top grounder teams: Miami, Arizona, Atlanta, Philadelphia, and Milwaukee.
Here's their 2016 win totals: 79, 69, 68, 71, 73. Not a single team went over .500 that topped that list, and not a single team made the playoffs. In fact, in 2016 the Dodgers hit the 9th most grounders and made the playoffs. Everybody 8th or higher was out. And the reason the Dodgers made the playoffs wasn't their offense, they were 14th in the league in runs scored. So you can see how hitting into a ton of grounders long term really kills your offense and your playoff chances.
The other thing the Braves need to improve as a team? They have absolutely no pinch hitting. At some point, GM Coppy is going to have to bring up some young talent to at least try to get a pinch hit, because the Braves are hitting 3/30, which is a .100 average, with only 2 RBIs. Basically the bench is giving you nothing, which is really terrifying because if a regular starter has to sit, you don't really have anybody to drop into a slot. And if you need a key PH with the pitcher coming up, which happens a TON in the NL, you have no good options. I'd like to see another journeyman guy from the minors get a shot in that role rather than Emilio Bonafacio suck on a daily basis.
So that's that. I'll be at a wedding this weekend at the lake, but I'll try to do another Twitter Q&A on Periscope, so if you want to send me your questions for that on Saturday, feel free! Have a great weekend!