Another day, another shutout for the Braves.
Donovan Hand combined with four Brewers relievers to shut out the Braves for the second straight day - the Braves' 11th shutout loss of the season. Hand only lasted 4.2 innings, but he got through 14 outs in just 52 pitches as the Braves swung away to no avail.
The running narrative this season has been the excessive number of strikeouts the Braves' hitters have. During the past week, they have struck out 4, 7, 8, 11 (scored 5 runs), 8, 16, 6, 4, and 3 times. The most runs were scored on the 11 and 3 strikeout nights, and the rest of the week has been offensive misery. The Braves haven't struck out much over the past two days, and they haven't been able to score. We can keep rehashing this if you want, but making contact doesn't correlate with scoring runs. Sometimes, teams offensively slump, and I'm guessing a boom-or-bust offense has more chances of busting than others, though they also have a better chance of booming.
The other thing I worry about is the team trying to make more contact simply to make more contact. This is an offense built on walks, power, and striking out, and if the Braves hitters are choosing to avoid strikeouts at the cost of walks and power - which are good things, by the way - it won't help the offense. These hitters are the way they are, and for good or ill, they should probably stick to what has made them productive to this point in their careers. It's one thing to cut back on strikeouts while maintaining high walk rates and power, but it's another thing to start sacrificing productive offensive outcomes to avoid a negative outcome that is almost exactly the same as the other possible negative outcomes. End rant.
Tim Hudson tried to hold down the Brewers, but even though he only gave up two runs, it wasn't his best outing. He scattered 7 hits along with 4 walks while only striking out 4. The veteran sinkerballer wasn't terribly awesome, but he was able to avoid big innings and keep the damage to a minimum. David Carpenter and Alex Wood finished the game for the Braves, though it's still a bit confusing why Wood is up here just to pitch garbage-time innings.
Today sucked. The first two games of this series sucked. Hopefully, it's just a slump and the team will get back to business tomorrow.
Win Expectancy Chart