Braves winning the close games
As the Braves prepare to begin this three-game series against the Giants, I decided to see where they stood on May 25, 2008. Given how bad the season developed, it was somewhat surprising to see that they were 27-23 and 2 1/2 games behind the front-running Marlins in the National League East race.
But those aren’t the important numbers to utilize while comparing the 23-20 record the Braves carried into Monday afternoon’s Memorial Day game at AT&T Park.
Instead, it’s more important to look at the fact that the Braves got off to that decent start last year, while winning six of their first 22 road games and two of their first 14 one-run games.
Armed with a much better pitching staff this year, the Braves have gone 12-8 on the road and 8-6 in one-run games. The only National League teams with more one-run wins are the Dodgers (9-3) and Padres (12-5).
Four of those one-run victories garnered by the Braves have occurred during the 7-3 stretch they carried into the Giants series.
However you cut it, this Braves team doesn’t seem like the same one that was 11-15 and four games back on May 5. Brian McCann and Garret Anderson have provided the lineup a spark and Jair Jurrjens continues to strengthen a sound starting rotation.
The fact that the Braves produced their seven-run seventh inning after Jurrjens exited on Sunday simply provided more reason for the young right-hander to be frustrated about the fact that he ranks fourth in the Majors with a 2.07 ERA and has just four wins.
During his past eight starts, Jurrjens has gone 2-2 with a 1.98 ERA. In the 50 innings that have encompassed that span, he has limited opponents to a .230 batting average and .285 on-base percentage.
It would be nice for him to gain some of the luck necessary to garner the win total that would allow him to receive deserved consideration when the National League chooses its All-Star team.
Chipper out again: Still bothered by some soreness and swelling in his right big toe, Chipper Jones was out of the lineup again for Monday’s series opener against the Giants. While the Braves would like to see him return to full-time action soon, they know he’s dealing with a very sensitive injury that can be easily aggravated.
It wouldn’t surprise me if Jones remains out of the lineup for the remainder of this series. When you think about it, there’s very little you can do on a baseball field without putting some pressure on your big toe.
It was kind of telling, when Jones said that it took him nearly 10 minutes to make his way back to the clubhouse after taking batting practice on Sunday morning.
As for Yunel Escobar, it seems like he’s still dealing with a day-to-day right hip ailment. He could return to the lineup as soon as Tuesday.