The Phillies have scored five runs through five innings against Braves' ace, Greg Maddux, and lead 6-1. Only three of the runs are earned since they scroed after two Braves errors (including a rare one by Maddux, his secnd of the year). The game has actually lowered Maddux's ERA from 11.00 to 9.00.
He has allowed 12 earned runs, 18 runs in total, 21 hits, and 5 home runs in 12 innings over three games so far this year. In 2002, Maddux did not allow his 12 run until May 10 (and that includes a 6-run affair). He did allow his fifth homer until June 5.
And now Paul Byrd is expected to miss 2-4 months due to surgery to remove bone spurs from his elbow.
The Braves staff owned a 5.33 ERA before today's game. Their starters' ERA was 4.57 and the relievers' 6.59. John Smoltz is their only reliever with an ERA under 4.00 (it's a perfect 0.00). They've only played 8 games, but there's not much to be optomistic about there.
They expect Mike Hampton to return with in the week and three of the four starters, besides Maddux, have ERAs under 3.50. One thing to keep in mind is that none of those three starters have more than 4.5 strikeouts per nine innings. So they're competent starts don't instill a lot of confidence.
Here's a stat that caught me eye: the Braves are batting .273 as a team witha .749 OPS. One would think that they would be riding high if they could get their offense to do that well throughout the year.
However, their opponents are batting .286 with an .819 OPS against them. It could be a long year in Coca Cola land.