With the Atlanta Braves-Milwaukee Brewers game rained out on Tuesday (double header scheduled for Wednesday), I thought it would be a good time to take a look at what is going on with the Braves on the field and not talk about the nonsense that has been going on off the field with them.
Jair Jurrjens adds depth to the rotation: The Braves already had a solid rotation without Jurrjens with Derek Lowe, Tommy Hanson and Tim Hudson leading the way, but with Jurrjens, the Braves’ starting rotation is one of the best in the game.
In his first four starts of the season, Jurrjens has a 1.52 ERA, 1.01 WHIP, 1.52 BB/9, and 5.46 K’s/9. He even has a very rare these days complete game to his credit. While Jurrjens might not be striking out as many batters has he is accustomed to in the past, he’s throwing more groundballs than ever (52 percent) and giving up less line drives than ever before (13 percent).
With Jurrjens in the fold, the Braves’ starting rotation is tied for second with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim with a 4.4 WAR.
Their rotation should keep them in the playoff race throughout the season.
Alex Gonzalez is really underrated: I never really understood why the Boston Red Sox just let Gonzalez go after the 2009 season, but guess which SS has the fourth highest WAR in baseball since the start of the 2010 season?
That’s right, it’s Gonzalez. Gonzalez is sitting with a 4.1 WAR since the start of the 2010 season right behind guys like Troy Tulowitzki (7.8), Stephen Drew (5.8) and Hanley Ramirez (4.2). He also is second amongst all shortstops in HR’s (27) over that time period as well.
When people talk about the best shortstops in the game, Gonzalez never gets mentioned. Maybe it’s because he refuses to walk or maybe because he has bounced around a lot throughout his career.
But whatever the reason is, the fact is that Gonzalez has turned himself into one of the more solid shortstops in the game both with the bat and the glove.
Dan Uggla is struggling: Uggla really hasn’t had the start in a Braves’ uniform he was hoping for. Yes, he does have five HR’s, but that’s about all he’s done in his first 115 AB’s.
Uggla is hitting .209/.266/.391 and his ISO is 50 points lower than it was last season (.221 to .183) and his OPS is down by 220 points (.877 to .657).
Uggla’s main downfall so far has been his struggles against left-handed pitching.
Uggla is hitting just .129 against lefties this season and all five of his HR’s have been against right-handed pitching. Considering that Uggla had a .983 OPS against left-handed pitching last season, I expect him to eventually turn it around.
Like most hitters who go to a new team and have high individual expectations, Uggla is probably pressing a little bit right now.
He will eventually settle in and start raking in Atlanta. He’s too good of a hitter not to.
You can follow The Ghost of Moonlight Graham on Twitter @ theghostofmlg
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