Apr 27, 2016 — 3:29pm
Boston, MA – After opening the season with a nine game losing streak, the Braves bounced back with a sweep of the Marlins and won their fourth straight as they defeated Alex Wood and the Dodgers in the opener of an eight game homestand. But, Atlanta enters Wednesday’s opener at Fenway having lost seven straight, tying the worst twenty game start to a season in franchise history (4-16). Even more concerning than the rocky first month is the fact that the club hasn’t hit a home run in over two weeks. Entering play on Wednesday, there’s almost 100 individual players in the Majors that have hit the same or more homers than the entire Braves roster (3). The power outage is confusing to say the least but not entirely unexpected. The Atlanta offense isn’t one that you look at and expect to see three or four guys with 15-20 a year potential. That said, Freeman has struggled to catch up to the fast ball, while Pierzynski and Garcia each have just two extra base hits all season.
One bright spot over the last week is the Braves bullpen. The relief corps is starting to come together and roles are starting to become clearer. Vizcaino has tossed eight scoreless outings, while Jim Johnson has now tossed six consecutive scoreless appearances with just two hits allowed over that span. The addition of a second lefty (Cervenka) has helped take some of the workload off Eric O’Flaherty who leads the team with 11 appearances in 20 games.
But of all the numbers that make me scratch my head through 20 games is the teams success with runners in scoring position. The Braves have combined to hit .309 with RISP which is good for third in all of Major League Baseball. That said, at 65 total runs scored, Atlanta is dead last in that category in the Bigs. Numbers can be misleading in this game, but the only ones that matter to anyone in the Braves clubhouse here at Fenway are 4 and 16. With 142 games left to play, the season is still only ten percent old. But the 2016 Braves need to find a way to generate offense and take some of the pressure off their relatively young rotation.
– Kevin McAlpin covers the Braves for the @BravesRadioNet. Follow Kevin on Twitter @KevinMcAlpin