It has been a little while. I just spent the weekend up at the lake unable to watch the Braves. Turns out that probably was a good thing. I really don't understand how a team can look so good against their division leader and then lose 2 out of 3 to the slum of the Major Leagues. With these last two series, it is evident that the back end of the bullpen is wearing down. Mike Gonzalez has been struggling of late. He got the loss in the second game of the Nationals series blowing a 2 run lead in the 8th. He came close to giving two games to the Phillies as well. If he continues to struggle, I wouldn't mind seeing him packaged in a trade to get that desperately needed bat. This is not the same team as the last couple years. This team has the pitching, and will be getting more pitching when Hudson comes back in mid-August. He is set to start making a rehab stint right after the All-Star break.I know that there records are worse, but the pitchers can not help the fact that the Braves can't produce enough runs. We Braves fans know that a number of these loses for both Javy and JJ have been games in which the Braves can NOT produce. There have been a handful of games in which the Braves have scored 2 runs or LESS with these guys out there. It's crazy how even managers don't look at the numbers, but base their choices on popularity. That's something you expect out of the fans, not a manager that just won the world series.
Speaking of the All-Star Break, Brian McCann will be headed to St. Louis as a reserve. How Molina is starting over him, I don't know except maybe because it's his home town. Brian McCann deserves to start. He is leading in almost every offensive category. It's nice to have a representative (I know each team has to be represented) but there are two others on the Braves team that deserves a All-Star nod, Jair Jurrjens and Javier Vazquez. Let's compare these two to another starter who made the team.
There has been a lot of trade talk swirling around Braves nation. A couple names that have been thrown out their are of course Jeff Francoeur, Yunel Escobar, and Javier Vazquez. The Braves are deep with pitching. They have the necessary pawns to make a move that could seriously help this team. Over the past week, another weekness has arose, the bullpen. With Mike Gonzalez struggling his last three outings, it leaves questions in us fans heads. Has Bobby already abused Mike too much? Let's hope not.
Jeff Francoeur at this point has little to no trade value. He is sitting tonight for the third game in a row. Finally Bobby sees whats right in front of him. Two hitters batting around .300 and hitting with some power/production. To top all of this off is his attitude. Last year when he was sent down for three games, he pitched a fit. He is continuing that trend now complaining about not playing. Does he not understand that in order to play in the Major Leagues you have to be good and actually provide a little something for the team. David O'brien breaks it down for us. He says that since May 2, Frenchy has hit .256 with 2 homers and 17 rbis. In that same time period Garrett Anderson has hit .296 with 5 homers and 30 rbis. Matt Diaz has hit .380 with 2 homers and 12 rbis in less games than his inefficient counter-part. From the numbers, it's clear who should be sitting and Bobby has finally realized it. It's amazing seeing some players focusing on the pitchers in the dugout as to prepare for their upcoming at bat while Frency is sitting on the bench goofing off. Just seems like something a tee ball player would be doing.
Yunel Escobar is another hot topic around the Braves. Yunel has been out here recently with a injury/punishment. I say that because some people believe that Yunel was benched after mouthing an explicative and pointing towards the official. Bobby Cox does not and should not tolerate this kind of behavior but you do not TRADE him. You do what Bobby did, bench him so that he realizes he needs to grow up. Just posted was a new blog by Mark Bowman. He basically says the same thing, its ridiculous to trade one of the clutch hitters. You don't give up a bat to get one.
Martin Prado. Not much to say about him besides NL PLAYER OF THE WEEK! The kid has taken his newly acquired starting 2B job and done more than asked. He is on fire right now.
Pitching tonight: Jair Jurrjens. Boy would it be nice to get this kid some runs to play with early. He is fifth in the NL in ERA and is sitting at 6-6 on the year. I'd say hes been a little cheated by our lack of offense.
It's about game time so I'm going to go grab a beer and help cheer on our boys! GO BRAVOS! KICK SOME CUBIE ASS!