10 Things The Atlanta Braves Learned This Weekend
The Braves, who settled for a series split against the Milwaukee Brewers this weekend, learned much about thier team in the process.
10. Tommy Hanson is 23 years old
There is no doubt that Tommy Hanson will be the ace of the staff for a long time, but he has reminded all of us that even though he is an outstanding pitcher, this is only his second year in the Big Leagues.
Tommy will eventually settle in and find his consistency, but until then, we just don't know what to expect from the young hurler.
9. Matt Diaz is back...for good
Matt Diaz is batting .448 since returning from the DL with five doubles and three home runs. Two of those home runs came this weekend. Matt has secured his spot in Left Field for the rest of the season, which will keep Eric Hinske on the bench and available for pinch-hit situations.
8. Alex Gonzalez is a good fit for Atlanta
When Alex Gonzales walked into the Braves locker room for the first time, the he got a standing ovation from his teammates. Gonzalez has already shown some offensive production in his first few games with the Braves. Not to mention, he turned one of the best double plays I've seen all year in the final game against the Brewers, so we have seen both aspects of his game in just four short days.
Apparently, he has also already found a friend in Martin Prado. They grew up ten minutes away from each other and love to sit next to each other on the bench. Isn't that romantic?
7. The Phillies are the team to worry about again
We all knew it would happen eventually.
The Phillies are in second place, and the Mets have been struggling. Neither pose a real threat right now, but there is no doubt that it will be a tight division race once Philadelphia gets their act together.
6. Corey Hart would look good in a Braves uniform
Corey Hart had a HUGE series, to say the least, and the Braves have shown interest in Hart for a long time now.
Although Matt Diaz has proven that he is an every day player again, there is still a lot of question about who will be the Braves third outfielder. With the way Nate Mclouth was playing before he got hurt the Braves would be insane to leave him in the lineup unless he can prove himself before July 31st.
A trade for Hart makes the Braves outfield one of the best in the game.
5. It feels good to have Jason Heyward back out there
Don't you just love watching Jason Heyward hit the ball well again? The one-two punch of Prado and Heyward is back, and there is nothing that we all love more than watching that incredible rookie do his thing.
5. Brian McCann is having a GRAND year
I guess being selected All Star Game MVP wasn't enough for Brian McCann. He just had to get all greedy and hit a Grand Slam and five RBIs on Sunday afternoon.
If Big Mac continues to swing the bat like this the middle of the order will look a lot more intimidating.
4. All Derek Lowe needs is some Run Support
In Derek Lowe's previous four starts before Sunday he was 0-3 with an ERA below 3.00 and he only received three runs total in all four starts combined.
This time was a little different. D-Lowe got eight runs of support, and when you give Derek that much wiggle room, he can settle in and win your team a ballgame. He pitched five plus innings, struck out five Brewers, and allowed three runs. Two of which were Rickie Weeks solo homers.
3. Chipper Jones needs to get healthy
The team just isn't the same when Chipper isn't out there. Chipper did get a home run in the first game of this series, but injured his hammy in the second game and had to miss the rest of the series. We need our captain to stay healthy so that he contribute to the team like we all know he can.
2. Martin Prado is back to his old self
Before the All Star Break Martin Prado was a home run machine, but that is not Martin Prado. Martin Prado is a base hit machine, and possible the best leadoff man in baseball.
The Iron Man got back to his old form this weekend with a couple of multi-hit games and as long as he can do that all year, and stay healthy, there are no concerns regarding the top of the lineup.
1. The Braves Lineup, at full strength, is very dangerous
On Sunday, with the exception of Chipper, we got to see all of our starters play at their respected positions and bat where they belong in the lineup. It's no coincidence that we scored 11 runs.
If everyone can stay healthy, and we can possibly answer the questions in center field, then this Braves lineup has the potential to be the most productive lineup in all of Major League Baseball.