Troy Glaus: The unlikely linchpin of an unlikely Braves team

Troy Glaus hit this two-run double June 17, but not many since. (AJC photo by Curtis Compton)

Troy Glaus hit this two-run double in June, but not many since. (AJC photo by Curtis Compton)

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.

317 comments Add your comment

Section243

July 29th, 2010
7:37 am

A sure out in the middle of the lineup is not good. He is the out-Glaus

DARNELL

July 29th, 2010
7:41 am

THIS ARTICLE MAKES ME SICK TO MY STOMACH TO HAVE TO READ ABOUT LINCHING AND LINCHPINS IN THE SPORTS PAGES OF AJC. SOMEBODY NEEDS TO CALL AND FILE A LAW SUIT ABOUT THIS. THIS WHOLE ENTIRE TOWN IS NOTHING BUT HATERS AND IT IS NO WONDER NO GOOD ATHLETES LIKE LEBRON THE KING WANT TO PLAY HERE. YOU ALL KNOW THAT IS RIGHT TO.

Justafan

July 29th, 2010
7:42 am

You get what you pay for. Good luck Braves!

Coach Cool

July 29th, 2010
7:44 am

The issue is his legs or knees.

He looks very uncomfortable at the plate and like the Dancing Bear @ 1st base.

Ripcord

July 29th, 2010
7:44 am

Randell people like U are whats wrong with this country. U need to stop smoking that stuff snd get a life..

TommyP

July 29th, 2010
7:47 am

And this is what I’ve been saying for quite some time now.

3/4 of the infield? There are questions. 2/3 of the OF? More questions.

DeepDiver

July 29th, 2010
7:49 am

Good stuff Darnell. Keep it coming.

WDE

July 29th, 2010
7:50 am

Mark- any rumors or hints about the Brave’s trade-deadline plans? A reliever or a power-hitting outfielder? I think McClouth just hit into another double-play…

robdawg08

July 29th, 2010
7:52 am

Linchpin ? Maybe a clothespin trying to hold a rag-tag bunch together…
The solution is playing Hinske at first and benching Glaus. Why not see what Freeman can do ? Rookies like Justice,Andruw,etc. were successful early. Still need a power OF bat to hold off Phillies.

robdawg08

July 29th, 2010
7:54 am

Heard on the radio yesstiday that Wren was hoping to get a good player thru the waiver-wire after trade deadline passes. That’s very encouraging and optimistic…Not.

H9

July 29th, 2010
7:54 am

Agree ripcord…………..

Elmer

July 29th, 2010
7:55 am

Sadly, it looks now like the Phillies will win. Our Braves have slipped back to ordinary.

houseman

July 29th, 2010
7:55 am

robdawg08

July 29th, 2010
7:55 am

Nobody named Randell even posted. You are replying to names you ain’t even used yet…

Angus

July 29th, 2010
7:56 am

He did turn a fabulous and key DP last night – and had a single.

If his health and conditioning are in question, what do you do? I say put him on the 15-day DL, but then you risk his timing being worse.

sunny purdue

July 29th, 2010
7:56 am

H9

July 29th, 2010
7:57 am

Waiver wire is a joke. Other teams cut you off. Don’t work 90% of the time.

82Dawg

July 29th, 2010
7:59 am

Wonder how long he will stay for?

robdawg08

July 29th, 2010
7:59 am

They reported that the Braves had room to make a trade and take on salary. They said not many other teams can do that financially. Also reported that Braves had scouts all over MLB looking at other teams OF’s. What are you waiting on Wren ?

BoroBall3

July 29th, 2010
8:01 am

all great points Mark, but I really think a lot more emphasis should be made on how he really SAVED the Braves season from disaster. For a guy making “only” 1.5 million this season, he’s earned every penny. And we know that all it will take it take is a 3-rbi game from him for him to heat up again.

robdawg08

July 29th, 2010
8:02 am

They were saying that other teams won’t block the Braves waiver moves because the other teams couldn’t afford it. Best way is to just make a trade and eliminate that possibilty altogether…

"Chef" Tim Dix

July 29th, 2010
8:05 am

If you follow MB’s monthly tracker, August will be his month.

I hope.

Ripcord

July 29th, 2010
8:06 am

Sorry , Darnell instead of Randell. I was talking to Randell on phone. My Bad.

lefty fielder

July 29th, 2010
8:10 am

Darnell . . . are you the one who’s married to Joy on My Name is Earl? Whasssup, Crabman?

robdawg08

July 29th, 2010
8:15 am

Right now is the time for every player to step up. If any hitter slumps a few days then replace him and see if another guy can do better. The Phillies are coming fast and we can’t have 0 for 30’s up and down the line-up every week and still win the division. Let the hot hitters play. You know the old common sense approach ?

Mitchell

July 29th, 2010
8:16 am

The biggest move the Braves could make down the stretch would be to drop-kick Terry Pendleton’s @$$ out of town.

Get a new hitting coach and a lot of these problems will be solved. I truly believe that.

I still can’t believe how offended people got about the Phillies firing their batting coach. Baseball is a business and with every business, results are important. The Phillies weren’t hitting s***. Bye bye hitting coach. Hello seven game win streak.

Clearly, it has had some effect and even if it is only temporary, it’s still the right move.

If the Braves would just fire Terry Pendleton, it would have lasting benefits.

The Doktor

July 29th, 2010
8:16 am

Not gonna happen – WYSIWYG with this guy… pedestrian offense & defense at best, with an occasional bat that gets ‘hot’. Keeping in mind there’s plenty of major league players that get ‘hot’ for a stint, I’d doubt that’s what any team wants to have in place for their offensive lynchpin tho. IMHO, he’s an American League designated hitter anymore, and that’s a stretch for most AL GM’s – an a skill level that doesn’t cut it for NL teams because he’s not taking runs off the scoreboard on the defensive side. Add the fact that when he actually does get on base, he’s about as mobile as a vending machine. I personally didn’t like the move for this guy when the Braves made it and quite surprised by his May production – but here we are, and reality has set back in. Better get some seat time for somebody over there, cause if you think this guy is worn out now – September has all the earmarks of being downright UGLY… I’m just sayin’ ;-)

Dave

July 29th, 2010
8:16 am

linchpin (noun)

1. Essential element. Somebody or something that is an essential elemtent in the success of something such as a team or a plan.
2. Pin to stop a wheel coming off. A pin placed crosswise through an axle to prevent a wheel from coming off.

Racist? Really? Try learning the language.

Nosepicking Future Hall of Famer

July 29th, 2010
8:21 am

FYI, DARNELL.

lynchpin … Definition: [noun] a central cohesive source of support and stability

You’re welcome.

robdawg08

July 29th, 2010
8:21 am

I think Glaus resembles the second definition instead of the first one… Pretty sad to PIN your hopes on a reclamation project like Troy Glaus. It shows just how far the Braves have fallen…

Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

July 29th, 2010
8:22 am

he needs some DL time, obviously the knee/leg is still bothering him. move hinske to 1B and play diaz/infante in LF for the time being.

Linchpin

July 29th, 2010
8:24 am

•a pin inserted through holes at the end of an axle, so as to secure a wheel; a central cohesive source of stability and security; a person or thing that is critical to a system or organization
en.wiktionary.org/wiki/linchpin

Seriously?...

July 29th, 2010
8:29 am

You guys, there is a thing called “sarcasm.” I believe that was Darnell’s intent. You guys need to take a chill pill with this sky is falling stuff.

Mike S

July 29th, 2010
8:30 am

What we are seeing is clasic Troy Glaus. he has been and always will be a STREAK player. He has horrible cold streaks (April/July) followed by unbelievable hot streaks (May).

His bat will come back around, rest assured as it is the nature of the beast known as Troy Glaus.

He has been this way his entire career, maddeningly inconsistent – but so great when he is hot that you cannoy justify pulling him from the lineup during the cold spells. The braves just need to weather this stretch of BAD GLAUS, because history says that BEAST GLAUS will emerge again soon.

Donny Corleone

July 29th, 2010
8:30 am

Replying too an idiot just makes you crazy and validates his opinion (in said idiot’s mind).

Donny Corleone

July 29th, 2010
8:32 am

Don

July 29th, 2010
8:32 am

wow you write this and just a week ago you wrote this. you’re like the phoney scum stock broker who recommends to buy a stock and a week later, he’s bearish on it and says to sell.
8 reasons why these Braves will NOT squander this lead
They’d suffered a bad loss late Wednesday, and now the Braves had to play an afternoon game against the team with the National League’s best record on a sweltering day. (Heat index: 106.) They won so easily as to make you believe there’s no way the final 10 1/2 weeks of this regular season hold any danger for this dauntless band. The reasons why:

1. They can pitch. It never changes. As long as you can pitch, you can win. The Braves won breezing Thursday — actually, they did some sweating, too — because Tim Hudson never gave the Padres a chance. He worked seven innings and yielded six baserunners, one of whom was erased by a double play. This isn’t a team apt to lose five in a row because the rotation won’t let that happen. Jair Jurrjens looks hale and hearty, and even if Tommy Hanson and Derek Lowe haven’t been dominant they’re fine as Nos. 3 and 4 starters.

2. They’re buoyant. Not 15 hours after a sobering loss, the Braves had taken a lasting lead in the decisive game of a three-game set against an opponent they might well see in October. Said Billy Wagner, who blew a save Wednesday night: “Good teams are resilient. The heat out there today was awful; I guarantee you the Padres had never felt anything like that. We jumped on them early and kept them out there a long time.”

3. They’re daring. The key play of the first inning was the rookie Jason Heyward going first-to-third on Chipper Jones’ single to left field, which isn’t easy to do. (Heyward scored the only run the Braves would need on Troy Glaus’ sacrifice fly.) Said Bobby Cox of Heyward: “His instincts are off the chart, and he’s got some larceny in him. He’s not afraid to take a base.”

4. They’re clever. The 20-year-old right fielder is wise in the ways of older men, and there are a bunch of older guys to backstop him. Back to Heyward taking third: “You’d be surprised how many [left fielders] at this level can’t make that throw,” Jones said. “We’re a smart team. We steal bases at a very high percentage [69.5 percent, to be precise]. We’re very good at taking the extra base.” Then this: “We’ve got ballplayers. We’ve got guys with great instincts.”

5. They have a dependable shortstop. Alex Gonzalez, nicknamed Sea Bass, had four hits Thursday and made another series of deft defensive swoops. Said Cox: “Watching him play shortstop these past few days has really been special.” Jones likened A-Gonz to Ozzie Smith and Omar Vizquel, saying: “It’s that he’s having a great offensive year, but what I want out of a shortstop is defense — to know that 99 percent of the time he gets his mitt on something he’s going to make the play.”

6. They have a healthier Heyward. He was hitting .251 at the All-Star break, but this is in no way a .251 hitter. He carried this team when nobody else could do a thing in April, and he’s capable of more heavy lifting. He hit .321 over the seven-game homestand. He will do even better very soon.

7. They have a working lead but they’re not impressed by it. Said Wagner: “We play as a team. Chipper has said it a million times, but it’s not one person keeping us going. It’s someone new, a new face in the bullpen, helping us win a game. And we worry about one game at a time, and that comes from the manager.”

8. They have it going in a way that makes you believe they’ll keep it going. They didn’t panic when they lost nine consecutive games in April. They didn’t wring their hands over the lost lead Wednesday night. They press on. They’ve won or halved 20 of their past 21 series. Said Gonzalez, on board only a week: “When you watch the way they play ball every day, you think, ‘This is a great team.’ ”

“Great” overstates. This is a good team that has come to maximize every resource. It isn’t without flaws, but after 95 games it holds the best record in its league. Gonzalez again: “We play hard. We do the little things you have to do. We want to put ourselves in position and see what happens at the end of the year.”

What will happen: The Braves will play beyond the 162nd game for the first time since 2005.

Don

July 29th, 2010
8:34 am

Wow a week ago you wrote this MB.
8 reasons why these Braves will NOT squander this lead
http://blogs.ajc.com/mark-bradley-blog/2010/07/22/8-reasons-why-these-braves-will-not-squander-this-lead/

You are like a stock promoter who says to buy and hold a stock and a week later is bearish and says to sell.

Donny Corleone

July 29th, 2010
8:35 am

That being said and correcting typo, Glaus looks like he’s not the answer at first. His streaky hitting ways are not conducive to a solid contribution from him. It is beyond my comprehension how someone can just forget how to hit (barring injury which may be the problem here).

mowreck

July 29th, 2010
8:39 am

Don’t think we will see Freeman this year, or if we do it will be for a short time only. It is probably why we don’t see ANY of our rookie talent. Haywood was exception, because he was, well Haywood. Read an article yesterday telling why the Phillies haven’t called up their minor league “star”, D. Brown. This was even quoted by his minor league coach, I think. Phillies said they didn’t want to start his “clock” yet. In others words they would have to pay him a major league salary to quickly because of artitration and free agency stuff. Sadly, this is hurting a lots of ball clubs except the rich ones (yankees). So if you are a tight financial club, you won’t see such “minor league stars” as quickly as Chipper, Lopez, etc. This is really sad, because of the fans. By the way, D. Brown was called up to the majors yesterday because someone was put on DHL. But, as the story goes, probably for only a short time.

Bmc

July 29th, 2010
8:41 am

How’s Big Freddie doing,in AAA.Not that Bobby would let Troy rest a game or two, a week.

F-105 Thunderchief

July 29th, 2010
8:41 am

Why not make a trade with Arizona for LaRoche, whom they should have signed to a 2-3 year deal in the first place? Glaus is a good player and I’m thankful for what he’s done, but with his bad feet, he needs some rest.

urm

July 29th, 2010
8:45 am

The Astros have reportedly agreed to trade Roy Oswalt to the Phillies…….

Angus

July 29th, 2010
8:46 am

Glaus did start a very key and very good DP last night – and had a single.

I’m baffled as to why he’s not sitting some games. Prado or Hinske can play 1st and Omar needs some ABs.

(Pardon me if both of my posts show up – the first one got caught in the filter for some reason)

juice sourcer

July 29th, 2010
8:48 am

There is just no doubt about it…what you are saying is dead on. Pulling for you Troy…hope you have another streak in you…but it will need to be for more than a month…doesn’t have to be like May..just .250 which will create a lot of RBI’s and maybe a few homers.

Donny Corleone

July 29th, 2010
8:49 am

Troy: “Yeah, get LaRoche. He can rub my feet. Chipper’s too.”

Hankie Aron

July 29th, 2010
8:50 am

It should be required to pass a sports aptitude test before you are allowed to blog about sports. Just my humble opinion

Donny Corleone

July 29th, 2010
8:51 am

Yeah. Just like they do on ESPN.

rekingball

July 29th, 2010
8:53 am

Mike S,Chef Tim, BoroBall…..are right, the Braves are in 1st now, due in large part to Troy.
Troy was hitting good in spring training, cold in Apr., hot in May, warm in June, cold in July.
Maybe he will stay cold into the first couple of weeks in Aug., then hit his hot streak the rest of the way, to the end of the year.
The Braves might have a chance to get into the playoff then.

Adam LaRoche

July 29th, 2010
8:53 am

I do in the offseason anyway. Might as well do it in the clubhouse and pick up a few starts along the way. By the by, did you know my brother is a third baseman? Bring us both in.