Wednesday, April 06, 2005

The Braves are 0-1!!! Let's Hyperventilate!!!

After the Braves played mediocre baseball last year well into June before catching fire and winning the division with ease, I'm not going to get too upset by one loss, even if it was a 9-0 pasting. For G-d sakes, the Braves started the season two years ago by getting swept at home by the Expos. Also, John Smoltz's introduction to being a closer in 2002 was a shelling at the hands of the Mets (on the day that I bought my Smoltz jersey and wore it to the Ted, no less,) so we shouldn't get too bent out of shape that he had a rough outing.

The one concern, if we can even have a concern from one game when there are 161 just like it yet to be played, is that the game started off with Furcal and Giles getting on base and then Chipper, Andruw, and LaRoche failing to move them along. I'm pessimistic about Chipper's chances to do very well this year. His OPS has declined for the past several years and he's at the age where one would expect his production to go down, not up. If the first inning yesterday is any sort of harbinger that the leadoff hitters are going to get on base and Chipper is going to strand them, then the Braves are in trouble.

Also, the Braves got what they're paying for from the corner outfield spots yesterday: virtually nothing. I've bought the Raul Mondesi hype just like a lot of other people, but he could turn out to be Rico Brogna II. I like to believe in the transformative effects of playing in Cox's clubhouse and there are plenty of examples of those effects (last year's best hitter and two best starters, for instance,) but sometimes, a player is who he is and Mondesi hasn't been productive for the past several years.

Then again, after all of this criticism of the hitters, it helps to remember that they were batting against Josh Beckett yesterday and Beckett was due to pitch well against the Braves. He's too good to continue to get shelled by any team.

The good news is that Jorge Sosa and Roman Colon were both effective. The day wasn't a complete failure.

No comments: