Series Recap - Braves @ Cubs
Nate McLouth. Thank god he's starting to heat up. A 6 for 14 series boosts his average 8 points, and his OPS on the season is up to .830. That kind of production in center field is such a massive upgrade over what Schafer was doing over the first 2 months of the season. All we need now is a little production out of right field, and things will be gravy.
Starting pitching. Jair Jurrjens didn't pitch too well, allowing 4 runs in 6 innings, but Javier Vazquez & Kenshin Kawakami combined to allow half that amount in twice as many innings. Good to see Kawakami get back on the right track after his rough start against the Nats last Friday. Vazquez has been lights out all year, thank god. I still think all the talk about trading him is nonsense, unless we can do a straight up swap for a proven right fielder who can give us the option to send Francoeur out into a field to graze and find a mate.
Bullpen. 8 innings pitched, 0 runs allowed. Awesome way for Soriano, Gonzo, Moylan, and the rest of the crew to rebound after having some rough times against the Nats over the weekend. I think a lot of the key members of the pen (most notably...heck, for the mostpart, the 3 players I mentioned) are getting overused a little bit and could really use some rest. After all the garbage Bobby has been put through with guys like Blaine Boyer and Jeff Bennett this year, I think he's so paranoid about blowing a lead or seeing a tight game get cracked open like a coconut that he doesn't want to put a reliever who's not one of his aces into the game and let things get out of hand, and as a result, those 3 get thrust into every high leverage situation the team has, and guys like Medlen and Acosta are only getting innings in mopup work.
The rest of the offense. 8 runs in 3 games isn't going to get it done. Martin Prado cooled a little bit from his torrential series against the Nats, and Matt Diaz didn't recieve a lot of playing time (in favor of the horrible Jeff Francoeur). When you take your hottest bat out of the lineup, the offense is going to hit a wall. Chipper Jones missed the final 2 games of the series, but Brooks Conrad performed admirably in his stead. Lots of crappy luck...a bunch of hits pounded out, but only 8 runs. Unreal.
Jeff Francoeur. Beat that dead horse Joe, just keep on beating it. I don't even know if beating a dead horse is a proper term for the Francoeur situation anymore...I, along with most of the rest of the intelligent baseball fans out there, am flogging the everloving bejeezus out of the horse. He can't get it done anymore, plain and simple. After a 2 for 9 series, his OPS sits at .611. He's got 16 extra base hits (as a comparison, Nate McLouth has 14 home runs). Every current Brave regular except Garret Anderson has an OBP higher than his SLG, and 6 current starters have a batting average higher than his OBP. Its just embarrassing and redundant at this point.
After some mishaps trying to get this draft underway...now we're ready to go with a recap of the mildly successful Cubs series. Lets take a look.