Ending a nine game road trip with two straight losses hurts, especially when each series was lost. The Reds series was a frustrating one, mostly due to excess left on base totals. The Braves left a 32 men on base in the series, a frustrating number to say the least. But as someone noted in the comment section yesterday, it's better to leave men on base then not get them on at all. Eventually, those runs will get pushed across and as long as the Braves maintain their patient approach, the offense should start producing.
What we liked:
Jason Heyward: Heyward only went 4-15 with a walk, but his three double performance in game one, including the go-ahead hit in the 10th inning, was crucial. The Braves may have been swept if Heyward did not come through with two outs against Francisco Cordero.
Omar Infante: The super-utility man went 7-13 with two walks while filling in for the sick Alex Gonzalez and then injured Martin Prado. Infante's ability to play many infield spots and produce offensively while filling in for Gonzalez, Prado, Chipper Jones, or in left field is invaluable. With Prado injured, Infante becomes a very important member of this offense.
Brian McCann: The All-Star MVP went 4-10 with three walks and a home run in the series. McCann has been on fire since the break, putting up a line of .314/.417/.549 with four home runs. Additionally, Brian surpassed his walk total from last year yesterday afternoon, giving him more walks in just two thirds of this season. He needs just seven more to tie his career high of 57.
Tommy Hanson: The big right hander put together another very impressive outing but received a tough luck loss once again. Hanson pitched into the eighth and allowed just one earned run while striking out five and walking just one. In six starts since the start of July, Hanson has a 2.19 ERA and 5.29 strikeouts per walk. Also, Hanson's FIP of 3.14 ranks sixth in the National League and is a better mark than the 3.29 mark of Ubaldo Jimenez .
The Trade: The Braves lost next to nothing on the major league level and picked up a very good reliever and a powerful centerfield bat. The improvement from Jesse Chavez to Kyle Farnsworth was big enough alone, and now we have some extra pop in the lower half of the lineup, which is needed.
What we didn't like:
Troy Glaus: Glaus continued his slump, going 0-9 in his two starts. The Braves could really use the power he displayed earlier in the season, so hopefully he is able to get out of this swoon in the next few days.
Eric Hinske: The left-handed portion of the left field platoon went 1-10 with a walk in this series. With the Braves facing all righties, Hinske failed to produce much. Since May 19, Hinske has a line of .231/.311/.417.
The Injury: Losing a player with more hits than anyone in the league is never a good thing. Despite scoring a nice insurance run in the series opener, losing Martin Prado was unfortunate. Thankfully, it won't require an extended stay on the disabled list.
Defense: Melky Cabrera and Alex Gonzalez made big errors in the final two games. While the Reds would have already had the lead when Cabrera made that awful throw, not giving them another run would have kept the game a bit tighter. Gonzalez's error was inexcusable and turned out to allow the winning run to score.
Runners Left On: As mentioned in the introduction, the left on base totals killed the Braves this series. They should have scored a ton of runs off of Edinson Volquez but managed just one on a Gonzalez home run.
Number of the series: 3
The amount of runs scored in the final two games. The staff allowed just seven runs over the final two games, but producing totals of two and run ones was the main reason for not winning the series. For some reason, the Braves haven't gotten it done on the road. They had just three wins on the road trip, going 3-6 in total. Getting a good start tonight against Johan Santana and the New York Mets would be very nice to see.