Atlanta Braves Finally Score Before Sixth Inning, First Time in a Week
The Atlanta Braves did something on Sunday that they hadn’t done since last Sunday: score a run in the first five innings.
From Monday, May 16, through Saturday, May 21, the Braves did not score in innings one through five. The starting pitchers they could not score a run off in the first five:
M: Brett Myers (ERA entering the game: 5.01)
T: Wandy Rodriguez (3.98)
W: Joe Saunders (5.48)
Th: Josh Collmenter (second ML start)
F: Ervin Santana (4.85)
Sa: Joel Pineiro (a most respectable starter having a good year)
The Braves finally scored one run in the first five innings–on a double by rookie Freddie Freeman followed by a single from backup outfielder Joe Mather in a spot start–but would not score the rest of the game.
The last time the Braves had scored before inning 6 was last Sunday, when Atlanta faced some pitcher named Roy Halladay. They got that run in the 4th inning when an infield single by Freddie Freeman drove in light-hitting Braves second baseman Rafael Belliard Dan Uggla.
What should give Atlanta fans heart is the Braves record during this streak: in the games that Atlanta did not score until the sixth inning (at the earliest), they went a kind-of-incredible 3-3. This is very good news for a team that took that long to score in six straight games. The lineup owes their starting staff and bullpen some serious steak dinners for their ability to keep their non-scoring counterparts in games late.
This is a statistical curiosity, but a striking one. The “Fire Larry Parrish” cries have begun (Parrish is the rookie Braves hitting coach, replacing the similarly-maligned Terry Pendleton (whose teams went through similarly-exasperating cold stretches)). The reduced BB rates are troubling, though the only Braves seriously under-performing across the board are Jason Heyward, who played through an injured shoulder before getting DLed earlier this week, and Dan Uggla, who might have financial pressure or re-location anxiety that most rational watchers expect to subside when the weather heats up.
The Braves have two games in Pittsburgh before heading home for a good match-up against Cincinnati. The scheduled Pirates starters are former Brave Charlie Morton (lifetime ERA 5.38) and James McDonald, who lowered his ERA to under 6.00 last week with a good start against the Reds.
Usually this would be good news for a baseball team; but for these Braves, you might want to take the “Under” on “Total Runs Scored” as they face two more starters who are not Roy Halladay. Maybe Atlanta should start taking their warm-up swings an hour earlier than they have been.
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