Monday, April 26, 2010

The Series Cynic: Braves searching for an identity

Posted By on Mon, Apr 26, 2010 at 2:00 PM


Nutshell of Cynicism: Losers of two consecutive series and five games in a row, Atlanta (8-10) isn't making my search for cynicism very easy. As the Braves continue to disappoint fans with feeble hitting and amateurish disregard for the rules of the game, my job of ignoring silver linings to unearth the team's fundamental flaws has become near impossible.

The Bad: Wasting good outings will eventually tick off a pitching staff.

Atlanta's offense stinks---a National League-worst .228 team batting average proves that---but the pitching has been decent.

In fact, the Braves have allowed just 4.2 runs per game and boast a bullpen ERA of 3.34 which is the sixth-lowest in the NL.

But following their aberrational 16-run performance on Opening Day, Atlanta is crossing home plate an average of 3.2 times per game---good for 26th in the Majors.

Tim Hudson gets 3.3 runs per game. Jair Jurrjens and Tommy Hanson are getting 2.5 runs per game. And Kenshin Kawakami receives only 1.7 runs of support when he takes the hill.

Any chemistry that this Atlanta team is trying to cultivate will quickly evaporate unless the Braves' bats begin to awaken from their season-long slumber.

The Worst: Booby Cox reportedly held a "closed door meeting" after Saturday afternoon's 3-1 loss.

Whenever that three-word phrase is uttered around a Major League clubhouse, you know that something is seriously wrong---as if we didn't already know that.

To be calling a "C.D.M." less than 20 games into the season seems a bit rash as it appears that Cox might be making those retirement plans a few months earlier than expected.

The Apocalyptic: Team chemistry is nowhere to be found.

The underlying problem with the 2010 Atlanta Braves seems to be a collective lack of interest execution chemistry?

Chipper Jones---who's always one sneeze away from a trip to the disabled list---acts as the team's crotchety old man who seems more likely to yell at Jason Heyward to get off his lawn than to provide the heir to the Braves throne with any sage advice.

Yunel Escobar fills the role of the apathetic teen who just got his drivers license and no longer cares what mom and dad have to say---Yunel does what Yunel wants when and how Yunel wants to do it.

Troy Glaus is the unemployed uncle living in your basement who doesn't really bring anything to the family but is just happy to have a pullout sofa to sleep on.

Nate McLouth and Melky Cabrera are like those nerdy new kids from next door who you're forced to play with because your mom wants you to "welcome them to the neighborhood."

All in all, this Braves team is an under-performing bunch---an eclectic ensemble of rookies and veterans, talented and talentless---that is currently in the midst of an identity crisis.

Let's just hope they figure out who they are before we figure out something else to watch.

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