The Atlanta Braves finished April with a 10-13 record. The offense has been pretty hot, with the starters hitting a collective .284 (That includes Dansby hitting below the Mendoza Line.) Even the starting pitching hasn’t been bad. What has hurt the Braves, though, is the bullpen’s inconsistency and the lack of depth on the bench. In the Braves most important parts in the game, when they call on a pinch hitter, Brian Snitker looks down the bench and says…”Bonifacio, grab a bat.” That’s not good enough and Braves GM John Coppolella has to know this. Finding depth on the bench and more consistency out of our bullpen will fix some of the Braves woes they’ve had this season.
The Week That Was
The week started out with a washout. The first game scheduled in Citi Field this week was rained out and pushed back to a double header in September.
Game 1 of the series, the Braves jumped all over the Mets starting pitcher in the first with a 5-run outburst. That to be honest was all they needed as the Mets only scored 2 all game. The Braves added 3 more runs of insurance and won the opening game of the series 8-2 behind a strong outing from Julio Teheran.
Game 2 had fomer Met R.A. Dickey take the mound vs. who Met fans call “The Dark Knight”. Thankfully for Braves fans, the offense stayed hot and put up 6 runs before he was knocked out of the game. Mets made it a bit interesting late, but the Braves swept the Mets winning 7-5.
Braves traveled to Milwaukee for a 3-game set with the Brewers. Bartolo Colon only went 5 innings giving up 6 runs and the Braves were losing 8-4 entering the 7th inning. Starting with the 7th, the Braves put up 6 runs to close out the game in come from behind fashion. Braves win the opening game of the series 10-8.
Game 2 of the Brewers series the Braves threw out Jamie Garcia. Garcia was strong. He pitched 6 innings of 3-run baseball and the Braves bats stayed hot pushing 11 runs across the plate. Braves won the game 11-3. Won their second consecutive series and their 4th straight.
The final game of the series in Milwaukee, Mike Foltynewicz took the bump and pitched really well. 6 innings, 4 runs, only 1 earned with 6 strikeouts. Unfortunately for the Braves, Matt Garza matched Folty on the mound and only gave up 3 runs. Braves lose the final game 4-3 and headed back to Atlanta for a 7 game homestand.
Matt Kemp and Freddie Freeman
This past week we saw the 3-4 hitters in the Braves lineup catch fire. Last week I gave you some numbers of Freddie Freeman. This week I’m going to show you what both Freeman and Kemp have done. Let’s start with Kemp. He hit .304 this week with 3 HR’s, a double and 10 RBI’s for the week. That’s solid and it looks like he’s back to what he was before his stint on the DL. Freddie Freeman hit .381 2 HR’s, 2 doubles and 5 RBI’s. Thanks to Kemp hitting behind him, he also scored 6 runs. The Braves hope and pray this duo continues to do this all season long.
I haven’t really mentioned Dansby in my previous columns, aside from his game winning hit to close out the Padres series, but now is the time. Dansby is hitting .151/.202/.226 in the month of April. He was moved out of the two hole in the batting order to maybe get his stuff together, but we still haven’t seen anything come of it. In the final game of the Brewer series his error proved to be costly as that’s the reason Folty gave up 4 runs, but only 1 of them earned. I’ll say it right now: I’m not for sending him down. I want him to act like the player everyone has said he is. Hit the film room. Figure out why pitchers are getting you out. Get out of this slump, and be the SS we need on this team.
Can we talk about Folty for a second? Living in Atlanta I’m privied to listening to sports talk radio and while driving home, i heard one of the hosts call out Folty saying he needs to get better. His last 3 outings this season he’s pitched 7 IP, 7IP, 6IP with a 1.80 ERA and a .183 BAA. I’m not sure what the sports talk host was talking about, but you can’t get much better than this. What Folty needs is a little more run support. For the season he’s 0-3 with a 2.81 ERA (which is best on the team by the way). Keep going out there Folty and pitching gems. Our offense will pick you up soon.
The Week Ahead
The Braves begin a 7-game homestand on Monday May 1 against the New York Mets, who they’ll entertain for 4. The Cardinals get their first glimpse of SunTrust Park beginning Friday as they come in for a 3-game weekend series.
Until next week, in the words of the incomparable Skip Caray: “So long everybody”
Cover photo courtesy of @Braves twitter.