Conventional baseball wisdom says the Braves will start scoring runs. The clutch hits will fall.
Will they? When?
At best, this team is slump prone, to say the least. The Braves strike out a ton. The only offensive category in which they are better than league average is home runs. They don’t get on base. They don’t walk. They don’t hit behind runners. They can’t bunt. The club is 14th (of 15 NL teams) in batting average; last in hits; 14th in runs/game; 13th in walks; 14th in OBP; 13th in OPS; 14th in doubles. No point going on. It’s ugly.
If a team-wide slump lasts a month and a half, maybe it isn’t a slump. Maybe this is the Braves’ offense. That’s a sobering thought.
Meanwhile, of course, the team is at the top of the league in virtually every pitching category. I wonder if there has ever been a team with such a dichotomy between the offense and the pitching. I can’t recall a Braves team this dichotomous. (Yep. It’s a word. In your face, Tom Teepen.)
Anyway, the somnolent Braves’ attack has CB and me wondering how the team will fare over the brutal stretch of the schedule that began yesterday. (Colorado, St. Louis, Milwaukee, and Boston loom.) Could this offense conceivably do anything even if it did make the playoffs? Hard to imagine it. So for the long-term good of the team, might it be better if they fall out of contention and could then move a marketable player or two to acquire some young hitters who can get on base? If he’s still pitching well, Floyd might be a valuable chip at the trade deadline. Same for Santana, but we’d like to keep him if it’s doable. Maybe you move J-Up? Do you dare consider trading Heyward if it comes to it? He’d probably fetch a decent return, unless he’s still flirting with the Mendoza Line.
That sort of talk should be for another, darker day, a few weeks away. Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that. For now, I’ll be happy if the Bravos can escape Frisco without being swept. In tonight’s tilt, it’d sure be good to see Minor throw well after the Cardinals roughed him up last time out. The enemy hurler Vogelsong is no Juan Marichal. Then again, neither is Lincecum anymore, and we know what happened last night.
to come J-Hey, J. Upton, Freeman, Gattis, CJ, BJ, Simmons, Minor, Pastornicky.
* The douchey George Will wannabe Carlson is a San Francisco native.