Things to Know About the Braves

The Mets head down to Atlanta this weekend for a three game series against the Braves. Here’s some stuff you might want to know about them:

Record: 5-8
Manager: Fredi Gonzalez
Park: Turner Field. Slightly decreases scoring and slightly favors righthanded hitters.

Lineup:
LF – Martin Prado
CF – Nate McLouth*
3B – Chipper Jones#
C – Brian McCann*
2B – Dan Uggla
RF – Jason Heyward*
SS – Alex Gonzalez
1B – Freddie Freeman*

(Just like Baseball-Reference. The * denotes a lefthanded batter, the # a switch hitter)

Every team comes into a season banking on a couple of questionable players — unfortunately for Atlanta, the early returns on two of their bigger question marks, rookie first baseman Freddie Freeman and veteran center fielder Nate McLouth, have not been good. Freeman is hitting .205 with just two walks and two doubles, while McLouth is hitting .220 with three walks and three doubles. Not that anyone is hitting all that well: five of the eight Braves regulars have sub-.300 on-base percentages. The result is an Atlanta team that ranks last in the National League in on-base percentage (.280) and has scored 3.3 runs per game over the first two weeks of the season. This is why they’re 5-8.

Of course, this also means that they’ll inevitably score double digits against the Mets every game this weekend, and Chipper Jones will consume a live puppy dressed in a New York jersey after hitting a walkoff home run on Sunday.

Rotation:
4/15: RHP – Derek Lowe
4/16: RHP – Jair Jurrjens
4/17: RHP – Tommy Hanson
Miss: RHP – Tim Hudson
Miss: RHP – Brandon Beachy

The always alliterative Jair Jurrjens will come off the DL and make his season debut on Saturday, joining a Braves staff that has kept their otherwise lifeless offense afloat. The Braves have been like the opposite day Mets — great pitching, good defense, solid bullpen, no offense. Atlanta’s starters rank third in the league in ERA and second in innings pitched, such that they’ve only been outscored by 3 runs despite their offense scoring more than 4 runs on just four occasions. In particular, Game 1 starter Derek Lowe has pitched well in his first three starts of the season, giving up 0,1, and then 2 runs in that order. So he’ll give up 3 runs today? Sunday’s starter Tommy Hanson has been shakier, getting MMMBopped in his first two starts before throwing up seven scoreless against the Marlins in his last time out.

Bench:
C – David Ross
IF – Brooks Conrad#
IF – Brandon Hicks
OF – Eric Hinske*
OF – Matt Young*

They’ve all been awful. .074/.178/.074 batting line on the season for the group in 29 collective trips to the plate. It’s early, but it’s also not totally surprising. Hinske and Ross are the only ones who can hit.

Bullpen:
RHP – Craig Kimbrel
LHP – Johnny Venters
RHP – Scott Linebrink
LHP – Eric O’Flaherty
RHP – Peter Moylan
LHP – George Sherill
RHP – Christhian Martinez

Like the starters, the bullpen has performed well in the early season, ranking fourth in bullpen ERA. Also thanks to those same starters, they haven’t been overworked thus far. The bad-for-Atlanta-good-for-New-York omen is that while this group has been great at pitching themselves out trouble, they’ve also been great at pitching themselves into a good deal of it. Kimbrel and Venters have been locking down in the ninth and eighth innings, but the middle relief group of Linebrink, Sherill, O’Flaherty and Moylan (also an Irish law firm) have combined to allow 34 baserunners in 17 innings. The results have been better than the process, so the question is which one evens out first for the Atlanta ‘pen.

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4 Comments

Filed under Mets, Words

4 responses to “Things to Know About the Braves

  1. Thanks for the update on the braves….But, the Mets should have a chance playing this team. At least I hope for a better performance from our starting staff than we have seen so far.

  2. Well, a series with the Mets should boost their confidence a little.

  3. Ah, good; now that someone else has paved the way…

    “Park: Turner Field. Slightly decreases scoring and slightly favors righthanded hitters.” — Love this; please keep it.

    “(Just like Baseball-Reference. The * denotes a lefthanded batter, the # a switch hitter)” — Unless you’re going to include this with every summary, as an aid to those of us who don’t read hieroglyphics, it would be much easier to understand if you put a ‘—R, —L or —S’ after each hitter’s name.

    “Rotation:
    4/15: RHP – Derek Lowe
    4/16: RHP – Jair Jurrjens
    4/17: RHP – Tommy Hanson
    Miss: RHP – Tim Hudson
    Miss: RHP – Brandon Beachy” — Great feature; please retain this. Think about adding the projected Met starters. (No need to list the Mets skipped.)

    “…the middle relief group of Linebrink, Sherill, O’Flaherty and Moylan (also an Irish law firm)…” — Oh, you kid!

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