Saturday, July 29, 2006

Atlanta, the Jig Is Up

The Atlanta Braves probably did something after the All-Star break that was actually more damaging to their franchise this year than allowing Chris Reitsma to be the closer. They went on an incredible, historic offensive tear during the first five games that put them right into the Wild Card chase, and suddenly the team was looking to acquire players for the stretch. There was hope!

Let me acknowledge something real quick: the Braves bullpen sucks...really hard. But the bullpen has allowed defeciencies in the starting pitching go virtually unnoticed. Tim Hudson can't pitch into a wastebasket, much less major league batters. Other starters such as Horacio Ramirez, Chuck James, and this out-of-nowhere call-up Jason Shiell are either very young, often injured, have no clue what to do on the mound, or all of the above. There's some talk about John Thomson coming back soon, but he's no stopper himself. Which brings me to John Smoltz, the best starter. There's been some boo-hooing about how the bullpen has blown a number of wins for him, it's very true. I'm not going to say much bad about him, he's been fine. But he's a third starter on most good teams nowadays. You can't rely on him to go out there and just dominate a game anymore.

The offense is OK, even though they do maddening things at times as well. But they would be perfectly fine if there was any all.

Acquiring all these relief pitchers in the past few days (Danys Baez and Bob Wickman) might help slightly, but to make a run I don't think it was worth letting go of Wilson Betemit, as they did for Baez. In fact, if anyone should have gone, it should have been Marcus Giles. Giles has suffered a tough year--injuries and having to be the leadoff batter have turned him into a liability.

And once again, there's a bunch of baseball left, but nothing is telling me that the Braves can turn a corner and emerge out of the Wild Card race. That pitching needs to be completely overhauled. And even if they make it, it's doubtful they can beat any of the teams they would have to play.


At 7/29/2006 02:49:00 PM, Blogger Jonathan said...

Yeah; I'm pretty sure the Cubs are out of it as well. All my teams suck in all sports this year; Notre Dame is the only thing I'm holding hope for, but they'll find some way to blow it. The Raiders and Titans sure aren't going to do anything spectacular; if they do I'll have a heart attack live on L&N.

At 7/29/2006 03:34:00 PM, Blogger Chris said...

You know, what stings most about being a Braves fan is having watched this team be the bully for so long, and then see the once victim Mets bully them for a change. I'm damn spoiled. Get some starting pitching! Is it too much to ask to have a well-rounded team? It's always something with this franchise--they always do everything well EXCEPT something that's going to hurt them down the road.


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