Here are some thoughts on the series and the season so far.
On Troy Glaus
I know we are only three games into the season.
I know that Troy Glaus is adjusting to a new team and a new position.
I know Troy Glaus is coming off major surgery that caused him to miss almost all of last year.
But I can’t help but worry after watching the horrid start that Glaus is having. The numbers themselves aren’t necessarily awful (.273 BA), but the situations that Glaus has failed in have been particularly disturbing.
In the Braves' 3-2 win on Wednesday, the Braves won more in spite of Glaus than anything else. Aside from making an error that led to both Cub runs, he managed to get the Golden Sombrero (striking out four times in four at-bats).
One of the strikeouts came with the bases loaded and one out. All Glaus needed to do was hit a sac fly and the Braves would have at least had a run.
In the Braves' 2-0 loss yesterday, Glaus again failed to produce in a key situation. With the bases loaded and one out (again), he managed to do something worse than whiff: Glaus grounded into an inning-ending double play.
When the Braves signed Glaus, it was with the expectation that he was low risk, high reward. In that sense, the fact that he has failed to produce isn’t that surprising.
What is surprising is that Glaus has cost the Braves runs, as opposed to getting injured and simply needing someone else (who wouldn’t be as good) to play.
While Bobby Cox typically is very loyal to players, Glaus needs to be kept on a short leash. With Chipper Jones missing the next few games, the offense is going to need production from other places and can’t afford the black hole that Troy Glaus has been so far.
On the Pitching (and its run support)
If you don’t want to read it, the general gist of the DerekLoweWin is that a pitcher is awful and still manages to pick up a win. Needless to say, Lowe is second in the majors since 2000 (Jon Garland was first).
At this point, I’m not super concerned about Lowe, but I am concerned with the way that our pitchers are getting supported.
Last year Jair Jurrjens received little run support, and if the trend continues, the Braves may again fall short of expectations.
With their plus-94 run differential in 2009, the Braves' expected record would be 91-71 (their actual record was 86-76).
In one series this year, the Braves are seeing more of the same. A 2-1 record is good, but if the Braves' attack was more balanced, they would be 3-0 at this point.
On the Leadoff Spot
I know that Nate McLouth struggled mightily this spring, but he is still a better leadoff hitter than Melky Cabrera.
Thus far, McLouth has gotten on base 50 percent of the time (compared to Melky’s 20 percent), and if the two had been switched in the order, the Braves likely would have scored more (especially with Martin Prado killing the ball).
Even in a terrible 2009 split with the Braves, McLouth got on base at a .354 clip, which is above Melky’s career .330 mark.
Even when McLouth isn’t hitting, his ability to draw walks makes him a better leadoff hitter than Melky Cabrera.
The Braves open up with San Francisco today at 4:35. It might be rough going across the country to play a day game, but hopefully the Braves are ready.
The pitching matchups for the series will be:
Friday: Tim Hudson vs. Jonathan Sanchez
Saturday: Derek Lowe vs. Todd Wellemeyer
Sunday: Kenshin Kawakami vs. Tim Lincecum
At least we avoid having to face Matt Cain in the series. I’m hoping for another 2-1 series win, with the Braves taking the first two games before falling on Sunday.