Braves fans cringe when they see Fredi Gonzalez headed towards the mound to pull his starting pitchers, and for good reason. The bullpen has been absolutely abysmal this past week, and they currently own the worst bullpen ERA in baseball. Though the offense absolutely demolished the ball this week, the Braves only came away with two victories. The Braves, without a doubt, should have swept the Diamondbacks. Unfortunately, the bullpen blew three huge leads this week. What could have been a 5-1 week quickly turned into a 2-4 week in the late innings. Luckily for Atlanta, they still sit just 3 games out of the division. However, the disappointment is unbearable. Let’s take a look at the standings, results and transactions from the past week:
(6/1): Braves 8, Diamondbacks 1: W: Wood (4-2) L: Bradley (2-3)
(6/2): Diamondbacks 7, Braves 6: W: Chafin (3-0) L: Cunniff (2-1) SV: Ziegler (4)
(6/3): Diamondbacks 9, Braves 8: W: Chafin (4-0) L: J. Johnson (1-3) SV: Ziegler (5)
(6/5): Pirates 10, Braves 8: W: Morton (3-0) L: Avilan (2-1) SV: Melancon (17)
(6/6): Braves 5, Pirates 4: W: Grilli (1-2) L: Worley (2-4)
(6/7): Pirates 3, Braves 0: W: Cole (9-2) L: Wood (4-3) SV: Melancon (18)
(6/1): Braves designated Donnie Veal for assignment, recalled Cody Martin from AAA Gwinnett
(6/5): Braves outrighted Donnie Veal to AAA Gwinnett
Braves designated Eric Young Jr. for assignment, activated Joey Terdoslavich from the 15-Day Disabled List.
(6/7): Braves signed relievers David Aardsma and Dana Eveland to minor league contracts.
Cameron Maybin has been a pleasant surprise for the Braves this season. Though he got off to a slow start on the season, he has skyrocketed his average up to .296 with his red-hot bat as of late. Maybin has hit 15-for-33 in his past seven games, while also providing great defense. He leads the team in steals as well. Though he has had an injury-marred career, Maybin is having a career year under the guidance of Kevin Seitzer. This past Spring Training while still with the Padres, Maybin studied Seitzer’s hitting approach and asked Padres hitting coach Mark Kotsay to walk him through Seitzer’s practices. Little did Maybin know that within weeks, he himself would be in a Braves uniform. Braves Country couldn’t be happier.
There’s really not much to say here. There’s not a single player in this bullpen I’m going to shoulder the load on. The Braves’ bullpen ERA of 4.98 is the worst in baseball, and changes need to be made. Period. It’s a collective effort, and late innings are costing this team far too many games.
Prospect of the Week:
Ozhaino Albies is on fire. The shortstop is killing it for A-level Rome with a .317 batting average on the season. He is currently on a 13-game hitting streak. During this stretch, he has hit 23-for-52 (.442). While Jose Peraza has gotten all the love as the Braves top middle infield prospect, Albies is a name to keep an eye on and is the ultimate sleeper prospect in the organization. He’s undersized at 5’9”, 150 lbs, but his contact bat is elite and he has time to grow into his build. He is still just 18. Albies has flown up my prospect list, and currently sits at #8.