So. Is it soup yet?
For those younger than, well, me, there was a Lipton instant soup commercial back in the 1970s in which a son kept asking his mother that question. That’s sort of what we’ve been asking about the Braves most of the season. Are they the Braves yet?
Finally, maybe yes. After a bumpy first 60 games, the Braves won six straight at Florida and Houston before closing the road trip with an 8-3 loss to the Astros. They’re nine games over. 500 (38-29) and start the night 2½ games behind Philadelphia despite injuries and all of their offensive problems this season.
“You’re like, ‘OK, we’ve taken off a little — and now we have a chance to really take off,’” manager Fredi Gonzalez said.
The Braves open a nine-game home stand tonight against the New York Mets, but their home record (17-13, .567) isn’t any better than their road mark (21-16, .568).
There also are signs that Dan Uggla is starting to come around, and Jason Heyward may return this week following a rehab stint for shoulder surgery. Uggla’s average is at only .180 but he had consecutive two-hit games against the Astros for the first time this season.
Tonight’s pitcher (and the likely subject of the game column) is Jair Jurrjens. He is 8-2 with a 1.82 ERA and has been one of baseball’s best pitchers. He) lost to the Mets 5-0 on June 4 but even that wasn’t a horrible outing (three earned runs and six hits allowed in 6 1/3 innings). It was the only time in 11 starts he has allowed more than two earned runs.
Tonight’s lineup: Jordan Schafer (8), Uggla (4), Chipper Jones (5), Freddie Freeman (3), Alex Gonzalez (6), David Ross (2), Joe Mather (9), Matt Young (7), Jurrjens (1).
That’s it for now. As always, I am here to serve you. So, you think the Braves have finally reached the turning point, or is it too early to know?
By Jeff Schultz