I had hoped to be writing about a sweet sweep in Philly to start the season, but that’s not the case, thanks to a disastrous seventh inning in yesterday’s 12-11 loss. So now the question is, did that one inning overshadow the two electrifying games before it?
It shouldn’t. Taking the series as a whole, there’s not a lot to complain about — aside from that excruciating seventh, of course. The Braves averaged more than six runs per game, and the starters allowed only three earned runs in 19 2/3 innings. Derek Lowe looked like the ace he’s supposed to be, Jair Jurrjens and Javier Vazquez produced quality starts in the two and three spots. The back end of the ‘pen performed well, too, as both Rafael Soriano and Mike Gonzalez did their jobs.
And how about that offense? If you said you saw this power surge coming, no one would believe you. The Braves hit eight home runs and five doubles, with Brian McCann and Jordan Schafer each going deep twice.
That’s a whole lot of positives to
The Braves come home to Atlanta tomorrow for a couple of exhibition games against the Tigers this weekend, so it’s time to get serious about the season, which opens Sunday in Philadelphia. Some negative things happened this offseason that we could all vent about, but this is the time of year to be positive. So with the season almost upon us, what are you most excited about?
Here’s what I’m looking forward to (in no particular order):
• Watching Jordan Schafer develop in center field. I saw him play in Orlando a couple of weeks ago, and he’s amazing to watch out there. Remember that feeling of knowing Andruw Jones was going to get to any ball hit in the air, even if it looked like he shouldn’t have a shot at it? I got the same feeling watching Schafer.
• Knowing Tommy Hanson is waiting in Gwinnett when the inevitable injury to a starting pitcher occurs. It happens every year — sometimes more often than others — a starter goes down and the Braves bring up a kid. This year, the
My fantasy-league baseball draft (actually, it’s an auction) is this Saturday, and I’m trying to get up to speed since it’s a mixed league and I don’t usually pay much attention to the AL outside of the Braves’ opponents in interleague play and the playoffs.
The other obstacle to a good draft is my occasional tendency to go with my heart over my head. I end up with quite a few Braves that way, and sometimes that’s good and sometimes that’s not so good.
In what round would you draft Tommy Hanson?
Derek Lowe, Brian McCann, Chipper Jones are the easy high picks, but everybody knows that, so they aren’t the guys I’m likely to get. The more likely players are the risky ones, and this year that’s the youngsters. How early do you jump in on Tommy Hanson, Jordan Schafer, Josh Anderson or Brandon Jones? How about someone like Casey Kotchman, who might have a breakout
We begin our annual pilgrimage to Disney’s Wide World of Sports on Thursday morning, which means we’re figuring out which starters we’ll see while we’re there.
It looks as if Derek Lowe, Jair Jurrjens and Kenshin Kawakami have settled into a nice five-day rotation, and those are the three guys we’ll get Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
Should Tommy Hanson get the fifth spot in the rotation?
Tommy Hanson has also had a regular spot in that rotation the past couple of weeks, with Jo-Jo Reyes getting the spot-starts.
In his most recent outing, Hanson allowed one earned run on five hits and struck out two in 4 2/3 innings on Friday. He’s developing a changeup to go along with that nasty slider, 99-mph fastball and slick curveball. Meanwhile, Reyes has a 2.08 ERA in 13 innings this spring — a far cry from where he left off last season, when he was winless in his
I know it’s early, but what are your expectations for the Braves this year?
They’re 8-2 in spring training — without Chipper Jones, Brian McCann and several others who are participating in the World Baseball Classic — and while that record may not guarantee anything regarding the regular season, I’ll take it over 2-8.
Heading into spring training, I was ready to go into rebuilding mode and be satisfied with watching the youngsters develop, but I might have to revise those plans. The pitching has looked promising, and the bats have been lively.
I’m not saying the Bravos will win the NL East, but it’s looking more and more like they could contend. Derek Lowe threw four perfect innings yesterday, Jair Jurrjens is getting back into last year’s groove, and I’m cautiously optimistic about what Javier Vazquez and Kenshin Kawakami will bring to the table.
Meanwhile, Tom Glavine is progressing well, and Tommy Hanson, who recorded seven strikeouts and allowed just one earned run in four
Originally published on Feb. 25, 2009
The long winter is finally over: The Braves play their first Grapefruit League today, against the Tigers in Lakeland, Fla. Unfortunately, unless you’re at Joker Marchant Stadium this afternoon, you won’t get to see any of the action — and that’s the way it will be for most of March.
After tomorrow’s game against the Astros, which will be broadcast on ESPN, we won’t see the Braves on TV until Friday, March 27, when they play the Tigers at 1:05 p.m.
I’m hoping that maybe they just haven’t completely filled out their broadcast schedule yet, but I’m guessing that’s not the case. Is it the economy, which seems to take the blame for everything these days? Does it have something to do with the World Baseball Classic being shown on ESPN? Are the new broadcast teams still working out the kinks? I’m not sure what the explanation is, but I know I’m disappointed.
It’s a shame we won’t get to familiarize ourselves with Garret Anderson or Derek Lowe or
Originally published on Feb. 13, 2009
The high in Atlanta is supposed to be in the upper 60s, and there are daffodils blooming in the yard – ah, spring is here. Finally.
While I’m enjoying the warm temps and the flowers, my favorite harbinger of the new season is that Braves pitchers and catchers are packing up and getting ready to head to Florida tomorrow. I have my tickets to three games on March 19, 20 and 21, and the hotel reservations are made, so now I can seriously start counting the days until we make our annual pilgrimage to the Wide World of Sports complex.
We’ve made this trek for six of the past seven years, and I’ve enjoyed all of them, but this one seems more interesting from a team-building standpoint. I would have loved to see the Braves land a big free agent for the outfield, and I certainly wouldn’t mind having Nick Swisher or Xavier Nady (who seems to always kill the Bravos; he’s a .290 career hitter at Turner Field) in the lineup, but I’d also be OK with