The Braves went through some ups and down in May and ended the month at .500 on the season by winning one more game than they lost during the month. A lot of the inconsistencies that were there in April were still there in May, but we got several players back from their nagging injuries and several guys started to turn it around.
Hitting MVP: Chipper Jones was the April MVP and he had another good month in May. Yunel Escobar also had a good month, continuing his good work on the year. But the guy who seems to have pulled the Braves lineup together is the catcher with the improved vision. Brian McCann got some corrective vision glasses and responded by hitting almost .400 in May, hitting .394/.481/.576. If it wasn't already obvious, McCann's importance to the Braves cannot be understated.
|2009 - Brian McCann||34||111||15||34||6||0||5||18||19||12||2||1||.306||.414||.495|
Hitting LVP: There were not as many contenders for this dubious award as there were last month, but there were two obvious front-runners. The runner up is our golden boy, Jeff Francoeur. He hit a pitiful .229/.243/.284 in May, with 23 strikeouts verses just 1 walk -- back to the old bad habits. But the unfortunate winner of the LVP is our young center fielder Jordan Schafer who ended his awful month with a demotion to the minors. Schafer hit .158/.239/.188 with 40 strikeouts -- a strikeout once every 2.5 at-bats. With Nate McLouth just acquired, Schafer will now have more time to develop in the minors.
Pitching MVP: It was another terrific month for Braves pitching, with our top-4 starters each putting up ERA's under 4.00. Both Derek Lowe and Javier Vazquez had ERA's of 3.76, putting together solid performances almost every time out. Kenshin Kawakami turned things around in May, recording a 3.03 ERA. Both Mike Gonzalez and Rafael Soriano continued their good work at the end of games, though each blew some saves. The pitching MVP for May goes to Jair Jurrjens. He's become the ace of the staff and turned in another stellar month with an ERA of 3.38 and 3 wins.
|2009 - Jair Jurrjens||5-2||11||11||0||0||0||0||66.0||58||20||19||4||23||40||2.59||1.23|
Pitching LVP: Like the hitting LVP, there are really just two contenders for this award. Buddy Carlyle was used as the mop-up man several times during the month and played the part to dubious perfection by continuing the blood-letting while in the game. As bad as he was, the most disappointing pitcher in May was the once-hopeful young starter for Atlanta, Jo-Jo Reyes. Jo-Jo gave up more than a run per inning in his three May starts, then didn't do any better once moved to the bullpen before being put on the DL with a strained right hamstring. With Hanson taking over in the rotation, Jo-Jo's window of opportunity with the Braves may have just closed.
Once again there were not too many bad performances and several better performances than last month on the team. Our pitching continues to carry the team, and the addition of Nate McLouth should help the offense.