1. It might be a little premature to label Jorge Campillo as the second coming of Sandy Koufax or even Jorge Sosa, but wow did he look good last night. Six innings, three hits, seven strikeouts, no walks. There are obvious sample size issues with looking at one start and there is also a concern that hitters will get the measure of Campillo once there is more tape of his pitches. That said, he looked really good last night. It wasn't just that he was getting people out. To my admittedly untrained eye, his pitches looked really good. He was locating everything on the corners, there was all sorts of movement, and he changed speeds nicely. With Chuck James having officially crapped out (the [hopefully] final tally for the year: seven homers allowed in 23 innings pitched), Campillo has an opportunity to wedge his way into the rotation.
2. The Braves have allowed 166 runs this year, which is the fewest in the NL. The next closest NL team in terms of run prevention are the D-Backs at 185. All hail Roger McDowell and a defense that eats up balls in play.
3. After spending a winter ripping Rich McKay and Don Waddell and defending Billy Knight on admittedly tenuous evidence, it's really nice to watch a properly run professional sports franchise. Take the Braves' centerfield situation. Our former centerfielder has a whopping .547 OPS at $18M per year. Our current centerfielder, whom I swear covers more ground that the current incarnation of Andruw Jones, has an .814 OPS and we're paying him peanuts. (One caveat to the Frank Wren love-in: Joey Devine, the pitcher the Braves traded to acquire Kotsay, has been lights out for the A's.) I've been afraid to say any nice things about Mark Kotsay because of his injury history, but now seems as a good a time as any to point out that he's another steal by the Braves' management.
4. Has anyone else found it odd that the Braves have copied the Hawks by being a much better team at home than on the road? A little split between home and road performance is to be expected, but 18-5 versus 6-16 is an awfully big disparity.
5. If the Braves look to improve the team in the trading market, the spots that seem to be ripe for improvement are the corner outfield spots, which ought to be the easiest spots to fill (next to adding bullpen depth, which the Braves won't need if Smoltz, Rafael Soriano, and Mike Gonzalez are all reasonably healthy). The Braves are a really weird team in that respect. They get excellent offensive production from the positions that are hardest to fill: shortstop, catcher, second base, and (to a lesser extent) centerfield. The Braves' lowest OPSs among regulars belong to Jeff Francoeur and Matt Diaz. Frank Wren would likely provoke riots in the northern suburbs if he replaced Francoeur, so left field seems like the one spot where the Braves might look to add a piece in June and July.
(One note: the Braves could obviously use additional starting pitching, but that's true for just about every team in baseball. The trade market for starters is a losing proposition because the demand far outstrips the supply. If Atlanta needs help in the rotation, it's far more likely to find it in the farm system. It's likely that the Braves are going to call on Richmond for help in August and September in light of the fact that Tom Glavine is probably going to wear down because he's old and Jair Jurrgens is probably going to wear down because he's young.)