Tuesday, June 28, 2005

While we're naming streets after Andruw and Smoltz...

for coming through when the Braves needed them the most, how about a little alley for Horacio Ramirez, who has pitched well since he became the second-most senior pitcher on the staff. Last night's 1 ER, 7 IP performance was Glavine-esque: 14 of 21 outs were ground balls that the Braves' infield ate up. Horacio was living on the outside corner and didn't relocate to the middle of the plate when behind in the count. The fact that he did so after injuring his groin on Wednesday night was even more impressive.

And don't look now, but we could be seeing the beginning of a stirring from Furcal, who had a double, a triple, and a run-saving gem of a play in the hole to end the 7th inning last night. He has 13 hits in his past ten games, although he's only added three walks to that total. Maybe a .340 OBP over a ten-game stretch isn't anything to cause parades down Peachtree Street, but from a guy who looked completely lost at the plate when the Braves were suffering in May and early June, it's something. Jack McKeon has identified Furcal as the key to the Braves' offense; a summer run from the lead-off hitter would be critical (and further evidence that Bobby Cox is smarter than I am, since I wanted Furcal moved from the lead-off spot a week ago.

One other note: the Braves have won eight out of ten and in many of those wins, including the last two, the pattern has been to get a small lead, hold it with good pitching, and then feast offensively when the opposing starter comes out of the game. The '98 Yankees would be so proud.

No comments: