So are you feeling a little more comfortable today, or are you still nervous about this Braves’ team?
I’ll be heading out to the stadium later for the finale of a seven-game home stand that has seen the Braves go 4-2. They are back to .500 (20-20) after a nine-game losing streak had dropped them to 8-14 and general manager Frank Wren had angry torch-carrying villagers climbing the hill to his front gates.
If we divide the season into 10-game increments — and yes, I know the season is 162 games, not 160 — here’s how things break down:
♦ Games 1-10: 6-4 record, 56 runs scored, 47 against (plus-9)
♦ Games 11-20: 2-8 record, 21 scored, 38 against (minus-17)
♦ Games 21-30: 5-5 record, 41 scored, 43 against (minus-2)
♦ Games 30-40: 7-3 record, 61 scored, 38 against (plus-23)
What jumps out obviously are the runs scored. The Braves scored 40 more runs in the last 10 games than they did in the second 10. That’s pretty remarkable when you consider three key members of their lineup — Chipper Jones (.234), Yunel Escobar (.198) and Brian McCann (.261) — are still miles from their average levels of production. Nobody expected the top four RBI men in the lineup to this point of the season would be Jason Heyward (29), Troy Glaus (27), Martin Prado (18) and Eric Hinske (18).
Heyward (29) has driven in nearly as many runs as Jones (11), Escobar (8) and McCann (14) combined (33).
About Prado. I love stories like this. Kid spends most of seven years in the minors and developmental leagues (going back to 2001) and he eventually wins the starting second base job because he just keeps getting better — and also Kelly Johnson implodes. He’s hitting .321 this season and his career major league average is now .309.
It doesn’t matter where Bobby Cox sticks him in the order: Prado is hitting .381 (8 for 21) as a leadoff hitter, .309 (42 for 136) second and .400 (2 for 5) third.
Prado vs. lefthanders: .313.
Prado vs. righthanders: .325.
OK, I’m going to hit the road here. When I get to the park, I’ll check back in and then blog live during the game against Cincinnati. Are you feeling comfortable, nervous or somewhere in between?