September 29, 2009 at 12:56 pm by Capitol Avenue Club under Atlanta Braves, Daily Post, Pitching, Player Analysis
Did the Braves just pull off their second 7-game win streak in 18 days last night? I think they did. The Braves didn’t have a single 6-game win streak before September, now they have two 7-game win streaks, going on 8 tonight. Pretty incredible. This it the kind of team I hoped the Braves had out of Spring Training. A bunch of on-base machines with a bunch of guys who hit doubles and a few HR’s.
The Matt Daiz
Would you like a list of things that Matt Diaz leads the Braves in as of two days ago? OK, here goes:
Batting Average, On-Base Percentage, Slugging Percentage, OPS, OPS+, and HBP. He’s been tearing it up this season, hitting .322/.391/.485/.876. The question is: is it sustainable?
I don’t know. With a guy like Matt Diaz, who swings at everything and puts the ball in play all the time, you never know. He’s probably capable of hitting .300 every year. I don’t know about .322, though. He doesn’t seem to have much power and goes the other way a lot. Most of his power is batting average driven. Still, a guy hitting .300/.370/.465 will have a place in a line-up somewhere. Considering the Braves outfield has been such a mess for so long, you might as well hope Matt Diaz can repeat his performance.
Josh Johnson Tonight
In order to make it 8 in a row, the Braves will have to overcome a tough obstacle tonight. Josh Johnson, previously scheduled to start Sunday afternoon, was scratched and will, instead, face the Braves tonight. That’s good news for Garret Anderson, who has a 1.333 OPS against Josh Johnson (2-for-6 with a 2B and a HR). Omar Infante also owns a 1.333 OPS against Josh Johnson in 3 career PA’s. Kelly Johnson has a 1.055 OPS against his cousin* and Greg Norton, against all odds, has a 1.000 OPS against him.
*They’re not really cousins.
The Rockies were off yesterday. They’ll face Chris Narveson and the Brewers in the Mile High City tonight. Narveson is a lefty with a 2-0 record and 3.82 ERA in 37 and 2/3 innings this season. He’s got a 3.92 career minor-league ERA and doesn’t seem like much more than a AAAA starter or MLB swingman. But we’ve seen plenty of those pitchers turn in good outings and let’s hope Chris Narveson does so tonight. He’ll face Jason Marquis, who has a 6.49 ERA in his last 6 starts, dating back to August 29. I have a good feeling about this one. (Knock on wood).
Batting Practice Yesterday
I went on the field for that batting practice thing yesterday. Honestly, it was overrated. I enjoyed watching BP at Spring Training more than this. First of all, by the time they let us out there virtually everyone had already hit. I watched Kelly Johnson take 2 rounds. After that, it was all Omar Infante, Ryan Church, Greg Norton, and Reid Gorecki. Not that I didn’t enjoy watching Omar Infante and Ryan Church take some BP, but I really would’ve liked to seen someone like Yunel Escobar, Garret Anderson (I think it’d be fascinating to watch him take BP, even if I’m not a fan of his game), Brian McCann, Chipper Jones, or just someone I enjoy watching hit. Greg Norton sucks.
It was interesting to watch the coaches interact. At one point, I was about 15 feet away from Frank Wren and Chino Cadahia talking to Fredi Gonzalez. It looked like the team was having fun in the outfield, though I couldn’t really see that far with the angle I had. They were doing things like throwing their glove at fly-balls attempting to catch it. Yunel put on a show, of course. By the way, if you’ve never watched Yunel in the on-deck circle, it’s hilarious. Greg Norton sucks.
The Braves were on the field for all of 20 minutes. Then the Marlins took over. You would think that the planners would have worked this out by now–perhaps they do it on purpose–but 20 minutes of Braves and 40 minutes of Marlins isn’t exactly what I wanted to see. Greg Norton sucks.
Stat of the Day
Since Josh Johnson’s best pitch is his fastball (20.7 RAA), today’s stat revolves around how well Braves starters hit the fastball. I imagine the line-up tonight will be:
1. Nate McLouth* – CF
2. Martin Prado – 2B
3. Chipper Jones# – 3B
4. Brian McCann* – C
5. Garret Anderson* – LF
6. Yunel Escobar – SS
7. Adam LaRoche* – 1B
8. Matt Diaz – RF
9. Tim Hudson – RHP
So, we’ll look at how well the first 8 hit the fastball. Here’s what it looks like:
So, if you need to put money on a Braves hitter, put it on Garret Anderson, who has a 1.333 OPS against Johnson, kills the fastball, and has a platoon advantage. If he gets to a 3-1 count, bet your buddy he hits a home run. It works, trust me. He’ll be amazed that you were able to predict that. Anyway, you can see that Adam LaRoche, as he is in so many other things, is at the top of the list. He’s also a good bet to perform well. McLouth, too. And even though Prado doesn’t have the platoon advantage, if he’s on his game tonight, I bet he’ll have a hit or two.
Elias Rankings Update
- LaRoche is still a B.
- Garret Anderson is still a B
- Rafael Soriano and Mike Gonzalez are still A’s.
- Tim Hudson is now a Type B. He’s still on the border, but he’s qualified for Type B status for the first time this year. And he’s got a good shot at finishing the year a Type B now. Which means the Braves could get a 1st supplemental round draft pick if they decline Hudson’s option, offer him arbitration, and Hudson declines and signs elsewhere. Largely irrelevant. But now the decision to let Hudson walk makes a bit more sense. Still not a ton, though.
Here’s what the 3 relief aces usage looks like over the past 3 days:
Soriano has pitched on three consecutive days, even though he only got 1 out on the 26th. Moylan has worked back-to-back games for a total of three innings. If I were Bobby, I’d rely on Kawakami, O’Flaherty, and Gonzalez (Logan, Medlen, and Acosta if needed) to finish the game. Of course, Bobby will probably bring Soriano in to protect a lead and Soriano will make it very interesting.
That’s all I got for now.