Sunday, June 04, 2006

All or nothing

Since last we met, the Braves have lost thrice, not won, made Damion Easley and Tony Clark, a pair of utility players, look like Ruth and Gehrig and further solidified themselves as a boom-and-bust team.

Jeff Francoeur, who has a paltry .260 on base percentage but is on pace to hit about 30 homers and knock in 110, personifies this club. The 06 Bravos are so far a whiff or longball club: 10-14 in April, 18-11 in May, 0-4 in June. We already have two losing streaks of four games and one of five games, and a four-game win streak.

The home team has scored in double figures seven times but allowed double-digit runs eight times. By contrast, the Mets have scored 10 or more just three times but have allowed double digits but once, to the Braves. It seems the home team has trouble blending hitting and pitching. Nine times we’ve posted five or more runs and lost; our rivals in Flushing have done that four times.

While the home team remains among the top three National League clubs in runs, we’ve been limited to 3 or fewer scores 23 times. The Mets, on the other hand, are well down the rankings in runs scored, but have posted three or fewer 20 times. This Bravos club simply must start making more contact – only Milwaukee and Florida have fanned more -- moving runners, bunting, pitching more consistently early, and late, in games. Then there's the semi-regular defensive blunder, not always an error but a missed cutoff man or clunky would-be double play that becomes a fielder's choice.

Back to Easley and Clark. Those two hit six home runs in this four-game sweep, more than the entire Braves team. In the season’s first 52 games, they had totaled five homers. As for the cripple bullpen, current semi-closer Ken Ray had his worst outing last night to ensure that a huge comeback was moot. Today former closer Reitsma had a similar ninth to snuff out another, albeit smaller, comeback attempt.

Chip Caray said on the radio the Braves hadn’t been swept in four since the Phillies did it in 1995. That team won the World Series. It’s nigh ludicrous to suggest a repeat from the 06 edition as presently constituted.

-- CD


At 9:10 PM, Anonymous Jeff said...

I'm not usually one to get my red flag out in June, but I'm thinking about putting up the flagpole if they don't turn things around very, very soon. IMO, this team needs a kick start, a trade like the McGriff one in the early 90s, something...


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