CHICAGO -- Eric O'Flaherty needed just 12 appearances to allow as many earned runs as he surrendered in 78 appearances during his record-breaking season last year. But Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said he is not concerned about the left-handed reliever.
"There isn't anything glaring or crazy," Gonzalez said. "Anytime you [post a 0.98 ERA] and then all of a sudden you give up some runs, people are going to wonder, 'What's the matter with you?' But I think he's fine."
O'Flaherty enjoyed a magical and historical season while posting a 0.98 ERA in his 73 2/3 innings last year. The 27-year-old became the first pitcher in Major League history to post a sub-1.00 ERA with at least 70 innings in a season.
This year, O'Flaherty has been reminded of the fact that a reliever has little room for error. Six of the eight earned runs he has surrendered have been totaled in two of his 12 appearances. In addition, four of those eight runs have come courtesy of two home runs, a total that also matches the number he surrendered last year.
But O'Flaherty has not simply been the victim of bad luck this year. He has issued six walks in his first 11 innings, and right-handed hitters are hitting .448 with a .529 on-base percentage and a .690 slugging percentage in 35 plate appearances against him.
O'Flaherty issued just one walk in his final 20 2/3 innings last season and a total of 21 on the season. He limited right-handed hitters to a .233 batting average, a .305 on-base percentage and a .294 slugging percentage in 205 plate appearances.
McCann feels good, just not getting results
CHICAGO -- Brian McCann understands that he is still at a point in the season where he could raise his batting average to its expected level with just a few good games. But the Braves' catcher was still a little frustrated by the .237 average he carried into Tuesday night's game against the Cubs.
"I feel good, I'm just not getting results," McCann said. "It's just kind of weird."
While primarily sitting in the cleanup spot, McCann has continued to provide timely power for the Braves. His three-run home run off left-hander Randy Wolf gave the Braves a fifth-inning lead that they would preserve on the way to winning their home opener against the Brewers.
Last week, McCann drilled a game-tying grand slam that allowed the Braves to erase a 6-0 deficit against Roy Halladay and eventually claim a thrilling 15-13, 11-inning win over the Phillies.
McCann's start to this season is somewhat of a contrast to what he experienced during the early stages last year. The six-time All-Star catcher entered Tuesday with five home runs in 93 at-bats. He needed 173 at-bats to notch his fifth home run last year. But through his first 93 at-bats last year, he possessed a .301 batting average.
Braves to recognize Honorary Bat Girl
CHICAGO -- Suzanne Osborne understands the destructive nature of breast cancer. She and her mother simultaneously battled the disease until it claimed her mother's life in 2010.
But through all of this, Osborne has continued to inspire others to understand the significance of fighting against this disease. Her dedication has provided her the opportunity to serve as the Honorary Bat Girl for her beloved Braves at a game later this month.
Major League Baseball announced Osborne as one of the 30 winners of this year's Honorary Bat Girl Program, which recognizes baseball fans who have been affected by breast cancer and demonstrated a commitment of "Going to Bat" in the fight against the disease.
Osborne will be recognized later this month because the Braves are not home on Sunday, when MLB promotes the fight against breast cancer in conjunction with Mother's Day. Each of the 30 honorees will participate in pregame activities, be recognized during an on-field ceremony, receive pink MLB merchandise and two tickets to the game.
Braves outfielder Jason Heyward was among the Guest Judging Panel that selected this year's honorees. Heyward has had multiple relatives afflicted with different forms of cancer. One of his aunts lost a battle with lung cancer.
"I like to help with anything related to any form of cancer," Heyward said. "I know some people like to pinpoint it because they have their own testimonies based on experience. But for me, any time I can be a part of it somehow, it has its own sentimental meaning."
Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.