Hello again faithful Braves Blast readers.
As we begin this week I think it’s important for us to take a look back at the past 4 games our Atlanta Braves have played. The four game series, which I’ve never been a fan of a four game series – just seems one too long, against the Arizona Diamondbacks was one that Braves Country can be happy about. Our boys went 3 – 1 against a pretty good team out west. Yes, they were a little banged up – but a win is a win and it doesn’t matter who you face.
There was so much to cover that just blew my mind. For starters, no pun intended, our starting rotation was amazing. A big knock against the Braves at the start of the year was the lack of innings the starters were accruing. The bullpen’s taxation from 2011 can be attributed to the lack of managerial savvy of Fredi and also the large number of games where starters didn’t go past 5 innings. That simply causes a great bullpen to get tired and sputter come the end of August and all of September. That concern was something Mike Minor, Brandon Beachy and Tommy Hanson decided alleviate. Going 8, 7.3, and 7, respectively, the ‘pen wasn’t relied on too much. This was exactly what our staff needed. Young guys to step up and push each other. Brandon Beachy said in the post game interview after his start in game two, that he wanted to go out and try to match what Mike Minor did. I’m sure Tommy Hanson didn’t want to feel left out, so he went out, and after giving up a run in the first and second, managed to sit down 13 Diamondbacks in a row before Venters and Kimbrel struck out each of their sides.
It also helped that the bats continued the streak they’ve been on. There isn’t much need to bring in your 7th, 8th and 9th inning men when you score an average of 9 runs a game during the 5-game winning streak the Braves were on. Our second 5-game winning streak in 15 games for those of you keeping score.
Michael Bourn and Freddie Freeman have been on fire this past week. They were, to simply put it, great. Bourn was on base all the time it seemed. His batting average for the last week was .464/.531/.536, 7 runs scored and 5 stolen bases. That’s just creating havoc for opposing pitchers. His OPS was 1.067. For a guy with barely any power, that’s outrageous.
The more impressive part of our offense was our young first baseman, Freddie Freeman. His slash line against the D-backs was .467/.500/.1.067. The boy went on a tear out west. He spoke about it in an interview after game two, that he really loves playing in front of his family and friends. Freeman is a So Cal native and he had a strong contingent of Freeman faithful make the approx. 3-4 hour drive to see their native son put a wallop on the D-backs pitching staff. He put a home run in the pool out in right center and went opposite field to push one into the left field seats. An interesting note was that the damage done was all while Freddie occupied the 3-hole in the line up. He did this even when Chipper was in the game for the 2nd and 3rd of the series.
As long as Freeman is contributing with his bat and continues to play great defense, I have no problem with him hitting in the usual spot reserved for the almost 40 year old Chipper Jones.
Starting tonight, our Braves take on the Los Angeles Dodgers. Hopefully the Braves can continue their dominance at the plate and take advantage of the fact that the Dodgers two best starters, Clayton Kershaw and Chad Billingsley, will not be pitching against us.
As always dear reader, pray for pitching, be proud of the tomahawk chop and if you need a smile, just remember when Sid slid.
Tags: Arizona Diamondbacks, Atlanta Braves, Brandon Beachy, Freddie Freeman, Michael Bourn, Mike Minor, Tommy Hanson
Posted in Game Analysis, General | No Comments »
Despite what everyone has been telling me, I’m pretty sure yesterday was an off day for the Braves. Don’t try to tell me there was a game…..you’re wrong.
The Braves face off against Arizona and Randy Johnson this afternoon. What’s there to worry about? Sure, the last time Johnson threw at Turner Field, he threw a perfect game. And the Diamondbacks are tied for the second best record in baseball……who cares?! Jorge Campillo’s taking the mound for the Braves today after an impressive outing in the second game of the doubleheader against the Mets last week to secure his first win.
The real question in this afternoon is: which Braves team will show up for the game today? The one that dominated the Mets or the batting practice squad that was destroyed in last night’s “non-game” against the Diamondbacks. As far as I’m concerned, it can only get better…….I hope I didn’t just jinx us.
Tags: Arizona Diamondbacks, Jorge Campillo, Randy Johnson
Posted in Game Threads | 22 Comments »
The Arizona Diamondbacks are in town after being swept this week by the Florida Marlins while the Braves are coming off of a huge 4-game sweep of the Mets. Even with the sweep, the Diamondbacks still have a rock-solid 28-19 record and are dominating the NL West. Let me just say that we’d like to help give the other teams in the division a chance over the next 4 days.
Jo-Jo Reyes is making the start for the Braves while Doug Davis is starting for the Diamondbacks, making his first start since having surgery for cancer in April. Let’s see if the Braves can keep that stellar 20-5 home record. Go Braves!
Tags: Arizona Diamondbacks
Posted in Game Threads | 32 Comments »
The time comes as spring training continues to develop that we dig into the other divisions in the National League, and today we’re looking at the NL West. 2007 saw the Colorado Rockies win not only the wild card but the NL Championship. Though the Diamondbacks took the division title, both the Rockies and the San Diego Padres were within striking distance down to the last couple of games. The West was definitely the strongest division last year, but what is in store for this year?
Arizona Diamondbacks – The Diamondbacks won the division by the skin of their teeth last year (though they held the best record in the NL), and we can expect them to make a run for it once again this year. They have some great talent on the team in Orlando Hudson and Stephen Drew. They also have enthusiasm (Eric Byrnes), veteran leadership (Randy Johnson), and the ace of the rotation (Brandon Webb). Oh, and they added Oakland’s Dan Haren. They’ll be a very dangerous team, once again expected to finish first in the division.
Colorado Rockies - The Rockies came out last year with a confidence in themselves and took it all the way through the playoffs. They possess one of the strongest offenses in all of the National League – if not the strongest. They play a mile high, which helps a bit, but they’re just good. Their pitching staff was top 10 across the league in ERA, Batting Average Against, OPS, Saves, WHIP, and Quality Starts, so they’re not shabby and have outdone the Coors’ pitching staffs of yesteryear. This year expect to see more of their potent offense playing really good baseball. Holliday, Tulowitzki, and Helton will be sure of that. Their pitching staff led by Jeff Francis, and filled out by Aaron Cook, Ubaldo Jimenez, and Hirsch/Morales will probably produce about the same results as last year, barring any unfortunate injuries. I think the Rockies will compete for second with the Padres in this division in 2008.
San Diego Padres – The Padres barely missed out on the playoffs last year, but we’ll see where they land this year. Once again led by a very strong pitching staff consisting of ace Jake Peavy and Chris Young, veteran magician Greg Maddux, and filled out by Randy Wolf and Mark Prior. Their offense features Brian Giles, Khalil Greene, and Adrian Gonzalez – and there’s nothing super special about it. But that’s OK – their pitching staff is easily arguably the best in the NL. These guys are the opposite of the Rockies – if they struggle, it’ll be their offense.
Part II will come soon, so check back for the Dodgers (who have made all kinds of changes) and the Bonds-less Giants. Til then, enjoy the spring training ball.
Tags: 2008, Arizona Diamondbacks, Colorado Rockies, NL West, Preview, San Diego Padres
Posted in League Analysis | 2 Comments »