It was a rough week for the Braves, to say the least. They dropped 5 of 6 games just a week removed from being just 2 games out of the division. The Braves simply cannot score without Freddie Freeman in the lineup. It is for that reason the Braves now sit 6 games out of the division lead. They got swept by the division leading Nationals, and dropped a series to the Pirates as well. The Braves look to get healthy with Freeman, Williams Perez and Brandon Cunniff all on the Disabled List. Highly touted pitching prospect Manny Banuelos will make his MLB Debut on Thursday and start in place of Perez. The team will have to find a way to score runs this upcoming week, as they meet Washington once again. If the boys can take a couple games from the Nationals, they can hopefully gain some ground since on the division leaders, as we play the Phillies this weekend, arguably the worst team in baseball. Let’s take a look at the standings, results and transactions from the past week.
(6/23): Nationals 3, Braves 1: W: Strasburg (4-5) L: Wood (4-5) SV: Storen (21)
(6/24): Nationals 2, Braves 1: W: Rivero L: Eveland (0-1)
(6/25): Nationals 7, Braves 0: W: Fister (3-3) L: Wisler (1-1)
(6/26): Pirates 3, Braves 2: W: Melancon (1-1) L: Grilli (2-3)
(6/27): Pirates 8, Braves 4: W: Morton (6-1) L: Teheran (5-4)
(6/28): Braves 2, Pirates 1: W: Wood (5-5) L: Locke (4-4) SV: Grilli (21)
(6/23): Braves placed Freddie Freeman on 15-Day DL (retroactive to 6/18), recall Joey Terdoslavich.
(6/26): Braves placed Brandon Cunniff on 15-Day DL, recall Sugar Ray Marimon.
(6/27): Braves placed Williams Perez on 15-Day DL, call up Jake Brigham.
(6/28): Braves optioned Sugar Ray Marimon to AAA Gwinnett, call up Ryan Kelly.
I’ve shredded this bullpen apart with criticism, but I have to give credit when it’s due. Jim Johnson has been incredible for the Braves in June, and he has seemingly returned to form under the guidance of Roger McDowell. Johnson has a 1.35 ERA in June, allowing just 2 earned runs in 13 appearances. His abysmal 2014 seems to be a thing of the past, and his numbers now are comparable to when he was an All-Star and Rolaids Relief Award winner. While the bullpen has taken a lot of heat, Johnson and Grilli have combined for a nice late innings combo.
What are you talking about, didn’t he have that clutch base clearing double? Peterson perhaps had one of the best offensive plays on the season for the Braves this past week and continues to garner a reputation for being a clutch hitter. However, Peterson struggled mightily at the dish this week, hitting just 3-for-27 (.111) and striking out 8 times. This is just a setback in what has been a fine rookie season for Peterson in which he has established a role as our every day second baseman and leadoff hitter. Peterson will bounce back soon enough.
Prospect of the Week:
Jose Briceno was acquired by the Braves when they traded David Hale and Gus Schlosser to the Colorado Rockies. Briceno had a reputation for being a hitting-first Catcher that was in need of improving his defense behind the plate. However, Briceno got off to an awful start in his first half-season in the Braves organization. He went into the A+ All-Star break with just a .164 batting average on the year. Perhaps Briceno needed a few days to relax. Since coming back, the backstop has hit 9-for-19 (.474). This is a small sample size, but it’s definitely an encouraging sign to see. Briceno and Rio Ruiz underperformed in their first half with their new teams, but it appears they are both starting to turn things around.