Apr 11, 2016 — 12:13pm
After one week of the 2016 season, the Braves find themselves winles at 0-5. But you can make the case that this team just as easily could be 3-2 or even 4-1 had they been able to take care of the baseball and not issue as many walks as they did last week. So, let’s take a look at how they got to this point and most importantly, where they go from here…
Through the first 46 innings of the new season, Braves pitchers have already issued 27 walks, which is fourth-most in the Majors. The bullpen’s ERA through five games is already north of 8, while the team has collectively posted a 6.65 which is second worst in the National League. This offseason, the bullpen was a priority and on Monday, it will get a boost as lefty Hunter Cervenka and righty Joel de la Cruz are added to the mix, while Jose Ramirez was DFA’d. That pen also suffered a major blow Sunday afternoon as Dan Winkler suffered a fractured right elbow on a pitch that sailed behind Stephen Piscotty. The 26 year old Winkler underwent Tommy John surgery in June of 2014 and spent quite a bit of time working his way back.
The weekend series against St Louis wasn’t exactly the cleanest defensively. Saturday night, Atlanta commited three erros and through five games have already made six defensive miscues. Erick Aybar, acquired from the Angels in the Andrelton Simmons trade is already responsible for half of those which already has the club considering a potential change at short. If they decide to go a different route, Daniel Castro could be called up from Triple-A to take over the regular duties, with Aybar shifting over to second base.
The week ahead: Atlanta now heads to the Nations Capitol to open a four game series against the Natinoals tonight. Bud Norris gets his second start of the season against Max Scherzer. Tomorrow, the Braves are expected to call up Jhoulys Chacin to add to the rotation now that they need a fifth starter. After four in DC, the club heads to South Beach to take on Giancarlo Stanton, Jose Fernandez and the Marlins who are off to a 1-3 start, splitting a rain shortened weekend series here at Nationals Park. The wins will come, but the road ahead won’t be easy. Perhaps a change of scenery and a seven game trip can help turn things back into the Braves favor.
– Kevin McAlpin covers the Braves for the @BravesRadioNet. Follow Kevin on Twitter @KevinMcAlpin