In the last two weeks, the Atlanta Braves have played the Tampa Bay Rays, the Philadelphia Phillies have played the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox. Now the Florida Marlins are playing the Rays and the New York Mets are taking on the Yankees now that they’ve demolished the pitiful Baltimore Orioles. The record so far? The NL East has won 12 games, the AL East had won 5.
The NL East is good this year. Yes, our Bravos are good (and we’re damn good). We’re 29-0 when we score 5 runs or more, and we have the best home record in baseball. But it’s not a one-team division. The Phillies are starting to bat again and have started winning a few games. And though the Mets have been beating up on last place teams like the Orioles and Indians, they’ve won 8 straight. The Marlins and Nationals have shown flashes of brilliance but are riding some younger teams that aren’t developed to the point they need to be at to compete in the NL East.
The AL East is good too. Obviously you have the defending World Champ Yankees. I will point out their pitching staff has been improved by an NL East castoff (Vazquez). The Rays are just playing great baseball in almost every aspect of the game, and then you’ve got the Red Sox hanging just one game back. Even the Blue Jays have surprised and are playing six games above .500. The Orioles don’t deserve to be mentioned in the same sentence as the word “good,” but I just screwed that up, didn’t I?
Bottom line is the NL East is comparable to the AL East. Even if you throw out the Orioles series (as might be fair), we’ve won 9 of 14. But we won’t throw series out. After all, the Yankees and Rays have played the O’s and those wins count towards their .612 win percentage. We’ve won 12 out of 17 games.
I’m going to go out on a limb (a very strong limb) and predict an NL East vs. AL East World Series. With a National League Champion.
Tags: AL East, Atlanta Braves, Boston Red Sox, New York Mets, New York Yankees, NL East Blogs, Philadelphia Phillies, Tampa Bay Rays
Posted in General, League Analysis | 4 Comments »
Adam LaRoche is coming home. LaRoche, who was just earlier this month traded from the Pirates to the Red Sox, has been swapped straight up for Casey Kotchman, it appears. If you’re wondering how this trade stacks up, it’s about a straight up deal, if that. Casey Kotchman hits for a higher average and has better defense, but LaRoche hits for more power and knocks in more runs. But he strikes out more than twice as much. Yes, seriously.
That said, the Braves want power. They want a little more pop in their lineup and LaRoche gives them that. He has to work on keeping the strikeouts down (he’s whiffed 83 times already this year, compared to Kotchman’s 28). LaRoche does walk a bit more, too.
The bottom line is that the Braves think LaRoche is a better fit and jumped on the opportunity to bring him back home. When he was with us before, he struck out less. He now gets to play with his old buds and hopefully provide some punch to the back of our lineup, which isn’t looking shabby now. Here’s a guestimated lineup, assuming everyone is healthy:
McLouth, Prado/Johnson, Chipper, McCann, Anderson, Escobar, Church/Diaz, LaRoche. Having someone on pace to hit around 20 homeruns is not a bad person to have in the 8 hole – especially if the guys before him are on base enough to give him RBI opportunities. Sure, he’s only hitting .248, but I’m choosing to stay on the positive side of this trade. I’ll leave the negative to someone else.
Kudos to Wren and Cox for going out and making a move that they believe makes this team better. They’ve been right so many times in the past when it looks like a wash – why should now be any different?
Tags: Adam Laroche, Atlanta Braves, Boston Red Sox, Braves trades, Casey Kotchman, LaRoche trade, red sox trades, Trade Deadline
Posted in Roster Moves | 4 Comments »
I’m usually the one that tries to keep everything around here positive and upbeat and leave the negativity up to our other writers, but I am currently ashamed of the Braves. As reported by braves.com this evening, John Smoltz is expected to announce tom0rrow that he will sign with the Boston Red Sox for the 2009 season. The deal is reportedly for a $5.5 million contract that is highly incentive-based as far as pushing the value higher. The Red Sox will keep him out until probably around June and likely fulfill his wishes to return as a starting pitcher.
I don’t really know what to say. I am absolutely crushed by this news. Smoltz has spent his entire big league career starting in 1988 in a Braves uniform. Half the reason I’m a Braves fan is because of him (the other half is Dale Murphy, this is no secret to anyone). I have nothing else to write, I just can’t believe we’ll be seeing John Smoltz come to The Ted this year in anything but a Braves uniform. I’ll leave it at that for everyone to discuss.
Tags: Boston Red Sox, John Smoltz, Red Sox, Smoltz Leaving Braves
Posted in Speculation | 9 Comments »