After making my case for what is ailing the Braves offense - bad luck on balls in play and a poor line drive rate - the guys at Talking Chop have come up with another reason for the early season failures that have plagued the Braves to a 5-6 record.
The always great pacgnosis has some solid stuff on Atlanta's leadoff numbers:
As a team leading off innings, they have 19 hits in 97 plate appearances, including one hit-by-pitch and two walks.
Martin Prado has four hits in 24 plate appearances as the leadoff hitter, including one walk.
Now, much of this is due to the .263 BABIP the Braves have as a whole, and a .216 mark when leading off innings. Bad luck has been a big part of their early season struggles offensively. But two walks in 97 plate appearances is unacceptable if they expect to win games. This is something I harped on in my piece from Tuesday, that the Braves are jumping on pitches early in the count and haven't displayed good selection.
But as pacgnosis stated at the bottom of the post, some of this can be attributed to the pitchers they have faced to this point. Before Chris Volstad's poor command last night, the Braves faced the combination of Cliff Lee, Roy Oswalt and Cole Hamels in the Phillies series, which is a solid group of command pitchers. The four Brewers pitchers weren't as sharp, but they could still be considered above average in the category. The same goes for the Nationals series.
It's not as easy to score runs without the leadoff man reaching base, and this is certainly a big reason why the Braves have struggled to score so far. Things should even out, though.