After going 16-and-11 in July, the Braves improved to 17-and-11 in August. So far since the All-Star break the team is 26-and-18 (after last night's loss) -- that's not inspired baseball, but it's better than anything we've seen for the past two (maybe three) years.
Hitting MVP: The hottest bat in the entire National League is Matt Diaz, so he is surely our August hitting MVP. For the month, Diaz hit .404/.467/.681. He was second on the team with 6 homeruns and third with 18 RBI -- hitting usually from unfavorable run-producing spots in the order. He also led the team in runs scored and stolen bases (as well as caught stealing) -- perhaps he took his lead-off duties too seriously. Another guy who should get a good mention here is Adam LaRoche. If it weren't for the inhuman month that Diaz had, LaRoche would be the MVP. He hit .365/.446/.646 and led the team with 8 homeruns. Yunel Escobar and Ryan Church also deserve an honorable mention here.
#23 / Right Field / Atlanta Braves
Mar 03, 1978
|2009 - Matt Diaz||101||290||49||95||16||4||10||44||24||64||9||5||.328||.393||.514|
Hitting LVP: There were a couple of not-so-great performances. Kelly Johnson had an awful month, hitting just .133, but in very limited duty. Of course Greg Norton was less-than-mediocre with just 2 hits in 14 August at-bats. Brian McCann, despite 5 homeruns and a team-high 20 RBI, hit only .228 for the month -- perhaps he needs to be protected a bit more and given more days off, especially in the heat of summer. But the guy who I'm picking here is a guy I never would have expected to put in the LVP category -- Larry Wayne Jones. Yep, Chipper Jones hit only .247 and collected only 10 RBIs. He did get walked a team-high 19 times, and maybe he's just not getting anything to hit, but he hasn't gotten anything to hit in two years, so why the decline now. People will point to his age, but the word is that his swing is all messed up from both sides of the plate. This is apparently something Chipper has struggled with most of the year. Keep in mind too, that Chipper is on pace to play more games this year than he has since 2003. All that extra wear and tear could be adding up. Regardless, Chipper is here to drive in runs and be "the man" in the Braves lineup, and last month he was not.
#10 / Third Base / Atlanta Braves
Apr 24, 1972
|2009 - Chipper Jones||117||402||68||111||19||2||16||59||85||69||4||1||.276||.399||.453|
Pitching MVP: Lots and lots and lots of good performances on the pitching side in August. Our bullpen featured some great work by Kris Medlen (2.35 ERA, 12.91 K/9), Peter Moylan (0.73 ERA, 3 Wins), and Mike Gonzalez (0.00 ERA, 0.82 WHIP). The starters were also mostly good. Kenshin Kawakami cranked out a 2.87 ERA in 6 starts. Jair Jurrjens had a 3.65 ERA, and Javier Vazquez had a 3.03 ERA and a 1.04 WHIP. But I'm giving the August pitching MVP to Tommy Hanson. He was 4-and-1 in 5 starts with a 2.93 ERA, a 1.08 WHIP, and an impressive 10.41 K/9 rate. Hanson got it done. Heck, he's been getting it done since he came up.
#48 / Pitcher / Atlanta Braves
Aug 28, 1986
|2009 - Tommy Hanson||9-3||15||15||0||0||0||0||88.2||79||32||31||9||32||73||3.15||1.25|
Pitching LVP: It would be easy to give this to Derek Lowe -- 5.08 ERA and 48 hits allowed in 33.2 innings -- but most of that ugliness was due to one bad inning in New York. He did rack up 3 wins against just that 1 bad loss, so "least" is a bit much. I'm going to give this month's award to Manny Acosta. He just seemed to stink it up whenever he was in the game. He had a 6.48 ERA and a 2.16 WHIP in his 7 games of work. Also deserving might be Boone Logan and his 9.45 ERA, but LOOGY's get a pass since they're not in the game as much.
#46 / Pitcher / Atlanta Braves
May 01, 1981
|2009 - Manny Acosta||1-0||31||0||0||0||0||0||33.1||39||17||16||3||16||28||4.32||1.65|