Even though Ervin Santana gave up six earned runs to the Colorado Rockies in the series finale, the Atlanta Braves‘ pitching isn’t the reason the team has struggled to win games and series throughout the past month and a half. With a team that ranks 28th in the major leagues in runs, 22nd in batting average and 26th in OBP (on-base percentage), it’s clear to see that even the best pitching in the league couldn’t lead this team to any type of playoff run.
Even though the team, as a whole, has improved somewhat in their offense since 2013, the offense has been so inconsistent that good pitching is being wasted on shut outs. Coming into their series finale against the Rockies, the Braves offense had the seventh-most strikeouts in all of baseball, as well as the 10th-least walks. Also, the Braves nearly failed to score a run in their eighth game of the 2014 season. Along with that, the team has scored three or less runs in 35 of their 64 games, which includes a stretch from April 27 to May 10, where the offense scored more than three runs once and only scored three runs three times.
The inconsistency in the lineup is due in part to the amount of strikeouts that the team has. However, the team has 120 strikeouts with runners in scoring position and have grounded into 15 double plays in those same situations. So, regardless of how the Braves pitch, it seems like the best games are given away to the opposing teams because the offense can’t all put it together.
While the team was playing well, Freddie Freeman was being the Freeman that everyone got used to in 2013, yet in their slide, he is as cold as cold gets. Along with that, when Justin Upton leads pretty much every major offensive category, minus hits (Freeman), while he is second in the majors in strikeouts, you know things aren’t right with your offense. Also, Jason Heyward isn’t a leadoff hitter, period. He belongs in the 3-5 spots in the lineup and I believe that he would make the team a better offensive club if he had more opportunities to drive in runs through games.