An Oasis In the Desert or Only a Mirage?

RALEIGH— It has been a while since I last posted. I have been swarmed with work, turtles, geese, ducks, trails, blue skies and rain. Mainly work though. In that time I have had the peace of mind to keep tabs on my beloved Braves.

The good news is, the Braves managed to win quite a few games lately. And they did so with exceptional power and authority. After losing 9 straight the team went on a 10 and 5 run. Tonight they head into a 2 game series against the New York Mets.

I despise the Mets. May the league contract and take them with it. But alas I know it will not and we are left with this atrocious excuse for a baseball team.

I loathe the Mets. Not because they have done well the last few years against the Braves. I loathe the Mets because they are the Mets.

The Atlanta Braves went on a run that would make one think they could handle such teams as the Mets. But the truth of the matter is, I still don’t quite believe.

Yes. I picked the Braves to win the wildcard. But that was before I saw this team play on the field in real games against real teams. Preseason and on-paper ball are the most promising of views for a team. The real games separate the good from the bad and leave the ugly in the basement.

These Braves have dominated bad teams. Which any good team should do. The Braves swept the Astros. They took two of three from the Diamondbacks. And the same against the Brewers. But a closer look shows the Braves merely feasted on some of the worst pitching in the majors. Namely the worst bullpens in the majors.

Bullpens are typically packed with pitchers who cannot make the cut as a starter. Generally speaking, a reliever may succeed in his roll, but if he were truly a good pitcher, he could succeed over the course of many innings, and multiple times through a single line up in a single game. By this premise, a reliever is not as good as a starter. And the Braves have yet to dominate a starter.

The one starter the Braves dominated this season was the Cubs Carlos Zambrano. This man was subsequently demoted to the bullpen. This is not really a cause for celebration.

I hope the Braves figure out how to beat a starting opponent. They will need to if they are going to make the postseason. Personally I’d start with re-aligning the batting order.

I love Chipper Jones. I have watched practically all of his games since he was in double A baseball. But the truth of the matter is, he is very near the end of his career. He can should no longer be viewed as the defacto third hitter.

Recently Chipper has mentioned that he would be willing to move. I would take him up on the offer. I would move him to second. I would put Martin Prado first and Heyward third. I would move Glaus into the clean up spot and drop McCann to the fifth spot in the order followed by Yunel Escobar, Erik Hinske, and Nate McLouth. I think such a line up would be more productive top to bottom.

Time will tell. But so far time has told me this team isn’t quite as good as the paper they were printed on this preseason.

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2 thoughts on “An Oasis In the Desert or Only a Mirage?

  1. Rather prescient piece- Pelfrey went to the eighth against Atlanta, and the Mets much stronger bullpen shut them down. 3 – 2. Disappointment.

    I concur – I’m not convinced that this team can make the play-offs anymore.

    Unless all these .200 hitters we have in our line-up turn it around and hit whatever it takes the rest of the way to push their averages up to .270-.280. And Kawakami and some of our other struggling starters revert sharply back to their best form. But it’s hard to say whether they will.

    Still, Heyward is Rookie of the Year. At least we have hope for a brighter future…

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