Tuesday, May 27, 2008

A Few Thoughts on the Braves' Split with the Snakes

Overall, splitting four games with one of the two best teams in the NL isn't a bad result, especially in light of the fact that the Braves did not throw their ace in the series. (On the other hand, the D-Backs didn't throw Dan Haren.)

1. The most encouraging development from the weekend: the Braves hit Brandon Webb for the first time. Any fears that we might have that the Braves' lineup can feast on bad pitching, but cannot hit a quality hurler ought to be somewhat put to rest but the beating that they handed out to the best pitcher in the NL yesterday.

2. In contrast, the Braves couldn't do anything with Randy Johnson on Saturday, but I would expect that the 4 p.m. start time for the game had a lot to do with the Braves' struggles at the plate against the Unit. The combination of shadows and Johnson's delivery made hitting almost impossible. Jorge Campillo matched Johnson and looked very good for a second straight start before succumbing to a blister. Jeff Bennett threw two very painful innings after Campillo left. Bennett only allowed one run, but his apparent desire to walk the world, combined with a double play ball that he threw into center field, made that experience less than enjoyable.

3. Does anyone know if there is a stat for walk-off home runs? I wouldn't be shocked if Jeff Francoeur is right up there in that stat. The rational part of my brain says "there's no way to prove that someone is 'clutch'," but the shameless homer in me is convinced that Francoeur is the guy I want at the dish with the game on the line.

4. Blaine Boyer: 29.2 IP, 29 Ks, 6 BBs. Wow.

5. Please let Jo-Jo Reyes's terrible start on Friday night be a one-off. I don't want to start fretting about the bottom of the rotation any more than I have to. More importantly, I worry about the effects that a three homers allowed performance will have on the psyche of a guy who nibbled way too much last year.

6. Before we sign off, let's have a thought or two on our friends in Flushing. If the Braves are ever in a bidding war with the Mets over a player, Frank Wren might want to use the Mets' last two weeks as evidence that it's worthwhile to take a little less money to be in a market that doesn't hyperventilate when the team slips a couple games under .500 in May. The breathless updates on Willie Randolph's job status on a daily basis are vicarious fun for a Braves fan, as was Billy Wagner's outburst about his teammates not answering questions. Did anyone else notice that he was mostly calling out Latino players on the team? Is it possible that Omar Minaya has not created a post-racial clubhouse of bliss? And speaking of Minaya, was anyone else struck last week by the Mets' lack of the depth? They have the three established stars at the top of the lineup - Reyes, Wright, Beltran - along with a slumping first baseman (does anyone else think twice about giving a massive long-term deal to Mark Teixeira in light of Delgado's decline, as well as the Todd Helton experience for Colorado?) and Ryan Church. My question is this: has the Mets' farm system produced anything other than Wright and Reyes? Wouldn't one expect one of the richest teams in baseball to be able to surround its core players with cheap, talented youngsters? Players like Gregor Blanco or Kelly Johnson? Should I really be that concerned about the Mets' new revenue streams from Citi Field when that money will likely be blown on players on the downward slopes of their careers? In other words, even with more money, won't the Mets still be the Mets?

1 comment:

peacedog said...

They've traded away a decent amount of young talent over the years, though all in all I'd call their minor league system decentish at best.

The Wagner thing is fascinating. It makes me think in part of Sammy Sosa at the steroids hearings. It makes me think about the scene in Atlanta, and I think you're dead on that this has to become a selling point for Wren (difficult sell, though; I'd submit many players have healthy egoes and there may be some "well, I can deal with it" barries to getting the message through), even though I'd prfer our local Media change course a little bit (not alot).

Reyes's start was painful. Glavine's moreso, because he was getting jobbed. I don't want to say regressing to the mean where Reyes is concerned, but we know what he's struggled with in the past so this next month will be really interesting.