Atlanta Braves Offense: Moving Through April's Gauntlet

Benjamin upchurchContributor IIApril 22, 2010

LOS ANGELES, CA - AUGUST 09:  Martin Prado #14 of the Atlanta Braves hits an RBI single in the third inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers on August 9, 2009 at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, California. The Braves won 8-2.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

The Atlanta Braves offense has produced less than stellar numbers so far this season. At the moment the majority of their offensive stats are in the bottom third of the league. Not the greatest beginning for a team that suffered from lack of run production during the first half of the season last year.

The subject of offense has been the biggest worry for Braves fans.  Still, before calling for the heads of hitters, lets look at what they've had to face this season.

I'd say the Braves have had if not the toughest, at least one of the top three toughest schedules this April. Right now the Cubs have the worse record of all the opponents they have faced.

The pitching talent that's been thrown at them has been top notch.  So far this season they have faced Tim Lincecum, Ubaldo Jimenez, Jonathan Sanchez, Randy Wells, Ryan Dempster, and Roy Halladay.  

Six of the starting pitchers the Braves have faced are in the top 10 in K's at the moment, and all six have had 200 K seasons in the past. Adam Wainwright and Chris Carpenter are also among the top 10 in K's. The Braves will face them next week.

Three of the pitchers they have faced have ERA's under 1.00.  Another two pitchers have ERA's below 2.50.  Dempster has an ERA of 3.15 at the moment.  

Almost half the games the Braves have played have been against high quality starters.  This would be a stat killer for any offensive lineup.

This is not to say that the Braves do not have weaknesses in the lineup.  They definitely have some slow starters at the moment.

What this does say is that the Braves low stats are more reflective of the schedule and not their ability.