So does this mean Terry Pendleton isn’t so bad?
After going 6-5 on what could have been a crushing 11-game road trip, the Braves are 14-5 since a 6-4 loss to Florida – Kenshin Kawakami shockingly was the losing pitcher – and 29-13 (.690) since a nine-game losing streak.
Nobody figured they were that bad at 8-14. Some probably wonder if they’re really this good at 10 games over .500 in mid-June.
But I just wanted to bring something to your attention. Despite still getting little production from their expected primary run producers – Chipper Jones, Brian McCann, Yunel Escobar – the Braves have been climbing in National League statistical categories.
They rank No. 1 in walks (.295), No. 1 in on-base percentage (.352), No. 2 in doubles (124), No. 2 in runs (.327), No. 4 in batting with runners in scoring position (.277), No. 5 in total hits (.565) and No. 6 in batting average (.262). All in all, that’s pretty good for a lineup most of us wanted to blow up in April.
Which leads me back to Pendleton.
During this 14-5 stretch, the Braves are scoring 5.58 runs per game. That’s a full run more than the previous 45 (4.58).
Hitting and pitching coaches get way too much credit and blame. Pendleton wasn’t the reason Jeff Francoeur nose-dived in Atlanta. Similarlly, Pendleton is not the reason Martin Prado has turned into a .332 hitter. Coaches can help only so much in terms of pointing out flaws and making suggestions. Players either adjust or they don’t.
When Leo Mazzone left the Braves for Baltimore, it was comical the way some fans believed the Braves were suddenly going down like Pompeii, as if Mazzone created the greatness that was Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine and John Smoltz.
What happened when Mazzone went to the pitching-poor Orioles? Suddenly, he stunk. All those people who whined when he left the Braves suddenly went mute.
Funny. The same thing is now happening with Pendleton’s critics. We’ve gone from screams to crickets.
If Pendleton is going to get the blame for Nate McLouth, he needs to get some credit for Troy Glaus, Eric Hinske and Omar Infante.
Can’t have it both ways, folks.