The Atlanta Braves got off to a slow start offensively this season, only averaging 2.5 runs per game over the first five games. Michael Bourne was pretty much nowhere to be found, and Freddie Freeman and Dan Uggla weren't doing very good either.
However, when Chipper came back into the lineup on April 10 against the Astros, everything seemed to take a turn for the better. In that game, Jones hit a two run home run and a single as part of the Braves' first win of the season, 6-4. In the April 15 game Chipper hit a three run home run, and in three games thus far he is hitting .417. So much for entering spring training out of shape.
One player that has really stepped up his game thus far into the season is Jason Heyward, who also hit a towering home run against the Brewers. Heyward is currently hitting .345 with a 1.079 OPS to go along with ten hits and five RBIs. For the Braves to make it into the playoffs and make a deep run this year, they will need to rely on both Heyward's and Freeman's offensive contributions, and while Freddie is still working out some kinks, Jason continues to look impressive this year.
Atlanta had good but not great pitching over the first few games of the season, but have really come into form of late (aside from the April 13 game where the Braves won 10-8). I've been impressed with how Brandon Beachy has pitched this season, only allowing three hits over seven innings in his most recent start against the Brewers. Johnny Venters and Craig Kimbrel have lived up to expectations to this point as well, with neither giving up a run to this point while striking out 14 batters in nine games combined.
On the flip side, Jair Jurrjens hasn't looked very good at all to this point, giving up eight runs in only nine innings pitched thus far. Hopefully he can get it back together until Tim Hudson comes back. In the bullpen, Chad Durbin has fared worse than Jurrjens to this point, with an ERA of 18.00. I think sooner or later the team will have to cut him, probably when Peter Moylan comes back off of injury.
Ryan Kekoufski is a lifelong Atlanta Braves fan. He covers sports for the Yahoo! Contributor Network, and currently resides in Virginia.
- Sports & Recreation
- Atlanta Braves
- Milwaukee Brewers
- Freddie Freeman
- Jason Heyward