Troy Glaus was awful in April, and so was his team. Troy Glaus was terrific in May, and the Braves were likewise. He was OK in June, and the Braves made do. He has been bad again in July, and that’s a troubling sign.
Glaus in April: Nine RBIs, two home runs and a batting average of .194.
Glaus in May: Twenty-eight RBIs, six home runs and a batting average of .330.
Glaus in June: Nineteen RBIs, six home runs and a batting average of .237.
Glaus in July: Five RBIs, no home runs and a batting average of .200.
He was the reason the Braves sprang from fifth place to first in the space of two May weeks. Bobby Cox redid his batting order to get the four men with the best on-base percentage batting first through fourth, and Glaus brought them home. Just when we’d decided he was the worst acquisition of Frank Wren’s tenure, Glaus went out and became the National League’s player of the month.
But now it’s two months later, and Glaus bears scant resemblance to the colossus of May. He has four extra-base hits (all doubles) in July, with more strikeouts (14) than hits (13). From May 1 through June 19 he had 16 multiple-RBI games; he has had none since.
For this offense to hold up over the final 62 games, Glaus has to hold up his end. It’s unfair in a way: Nobody (except maybe Wren and Cox) expected great things from Glaus, and suddenly he became the linchpin of a surprisingly efficient offense. Generally speaking, your linchpin isn’t a 33-year-old coming off shoulder surgery signed at a bargain-basement rate, but that’s the way this careening season evolved.
Glaus wasn’t supposed to be The Man but, with Chipper Jones and Brian McCann off to slow starts, that’s what he became. To stay ahead of the Phillies, the Braves will need more of the Glaus of May. Otherwise opponents will pitch around Chipper and McCann and, as happened in April, nothing much will happen.
Troy Glaus had, we must all agree, one of the greatest months in Braves’ annals. But for this season to extend into October, he has to show he wasn’t just a one-month wonder. He has to get hot again, and soon.