Monday, May 10, 2010

The Series Cynic: Braves still searching for answers

Posted By on Mon, May 10, 2010 at 1:45 PM

Cynicism

Cynicism Nutshell: Following two consecutive inter-divisional series losses, the Braves (13-18) now sit in last place in the N.L. East and are six games behind the division-leading Phillies.

The Atlanta offense ranks 15th (out of 16 teams) in the National League with a .232 team batting average but ranks first in gut-wrenching disappointment—not an official statistic, yet.

Kudos to Bobby Cox for playing musical chairs with the third spot in the lineup for Sunday afternoon’s series finale, but I’m not too sure if Melky Cabrera (.192, 0 HR, 8 RBIs) is the best option.

The Bad: Let’s just stick with the obvious: a batting order with four position players batting under .200 ain’t gonna cut it.

With Chipper, Escobar and Heyward on the shelf due to injury and Brian McCann revisiting his ophthalmologist, runs have been hard to come by—scoring an average of 3.5 runs over their last 30 games.

As hard as it is to win with an average offense consisting of only three of four decent hitters, it’s nearly impossible to win with one of the league’s most pathetic lineups whose only complete hitter should be a sophomore in college.

The Worst: Can somebody please get a hold of one?

Not only is the Braves offense incapable of scoring runs but they're just plain boring to watch.

Atlanta had a total of two, count 'em, TWO extra base hits in the three games in Philly and currently boasts the third-lowest slugging percentage (.337) in the Majors.

So what does that number mean exactly?

It means that on the seldom occasion when the Braves do get a hit, it's more than likely a dribbling single or a lazy pop fly that lands just short of an outfielder's feet.

Yawn.

If you're not going to win games, at least be somewhat entertaining by knocking an occasional home run or two---something that only one Brave not named Heyward has done this month.

The Apocalyptic: The hole isn't getting any shallower.

The Braves now find themselves closer to the league's most inept teams---only 4.5 games ahead of the lowly Baltimore Orioles (9-23)---than the teams at the top of their own division (6 games back of Philly).

That's not good.

Despite the fact that a baseball season consists of 162 games, almost a fifth of the 2010 edition is in the books and Atlanta is still looking up at four teams in the NL East with no sign of figuring things out.

Ya know, things like hitting and fielding (.979 fielding percentage)---third-lowest in the NL---just those fundamentals of the game that somehow prevent the Braves from winning games.

Strange, I know.

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