Sorry for the delay everyone, I was in Washington DC having fun visiting my girlfriend's family for the first time. And apparently I missed quite the home winning streak. That is until the Nationals came to town and continued their dominance over the Braves. Yeesh. Let's go over what I haven't covered so far.
The Braves had a 2-gamer with a Marlins that they split 1-1, then they came home to their shiny new ballpark and swept the San Diego Padres in a 4-game sweep. They followed that up recently with a 2-loss section against the Nats, the final game still outstanding today. I don't hold high hopes for that one either way. They are 6-8 in the W/L column as of today.
Freddie Freeman is having a career start to the season, batting .440 with .920 slugging and a 1.453 OPS. He's leading MLB in average, and he's tied for 4th in home runs. And yet, with 6 homers to his name in this short season he has exactly 8 RBIs, because nobody in front of him can get on base consistently. Why is that?
Because the top of the order has major issues. Freddie is batting 3rd behind Ender Inciarte and Dansby Swanson. Brian Snitker is always going to be slow to make changes I believe, because he's an old-school guy like Bobby Cox who wants his players to play through any challenges rather than move them around. I think that mentality needs to go the way of the dodo. In my mind, you look at the season in 16 game chunks. I'm more than willing to give a player 10% of the season to figure something out (that's usually around 2.5 weeks). Then, I'd make a change for the next 10% to see how he responds. It's a marathon of a season, so you don't want to judge a guy on small samples, but moving people around in the order based on production isn't as big of a deal as people make it out to be. And Dansby Swanson has FAR from earned the #2 spot as a birthright when he's still a rookie.
Dansby is currently hitting .131/.159/.197 and his OPS is .355, basically in that small sample he should be batting #8 in the lineup, and not #2. I have no idea why this is taking so long for Snitker to make a change, but eventually he'll have to because Matt Kemp will come back. Inciarte has started to heat up a bit from his bad start, so I have no problem leaving him in the leadoff spot. He's fast, he's good at bunting and making contact, and he's showed some pop with 4 homers already. But I think Brandon Phillips as the veteran is the obvious #2 hitter on the team, not Dansby Swanson. I'd follow him with Freddie, and then Kemp in the cleanup slot when he's back. Here's my ideal lineup right now.
Ender Inciarte - CF
Brandon Phillips - 2B
Freddie Freeman - 1B
Matt Kemp - LF
Nick Markakis - RF
Tyler Flowers - C
Chase d'Arnaud - 3B
Dansby Swanson - SS
Why Chase at third over Adonis Garcia? I don't think Adonis has earned the right to play yet. He's hitting .170 with a .460 OPS and he's started every game. I think it's time to shake that up, because he's not some gold glover 3B we're invested in. He's holding a spot while we're waiting on somebody better. Right now Chase has a .375 average and he's the hotter hand.
Also that lineup balances out your L/R hitters so that you don't have any of your top 5 hitters in a row for reliever easy innings. I think it's logically what Snitker should do, so I'm hoping he comes to that same conclusion if Dansby can't snap out of this funk by the end of the week.