Sunday, April 16, 2006

Final (class) post

That's right folks, another college semester has come to a close. And with it comes the end of my online journalism class AKA the opportunity to start this blog and run my mouth about my favorite topic in the world. I am not sure if I necessarily got anything out of it, but I had a lot of fun with it. If there is one thing I wish I could do differently it would be to find time to read John Schurholtz's book during the semester and to blog about it, but I am taking two English classes so there is already too much reading in my life right now. I didn't have any real surprises, other than that people really seemed to like my style of writing. I shared it with my family and my friends that would understand it. And with the exception of my stepfather the Mets fan everyone liked it, and even he liked it just not the topic. I like the idea of blogging and a lot of the ones I read. But I also found a lot of disregarded blogs out in cyber space, and while I will try not to let that happen to this one, it made me sad to see them all left alone without a new post in months.
I don't know if I will be able to keep this up because my life is a crazy busy mess, but I will try, mostly because it gives me the false sense that someone is listening.

Smoltz is Smoltz

John Smoltz pitched a complete game shutout to bring a little order to the Braves starting rotation. It was the first win by a Braves starting pitcher this year. And he was definitely the Smoltz of old in the 2-0 win, which the Braves needed to gain a game on the Mets who lost last night.
Now I know it is early, but my stepfather sees no problem with telling me everyday how far ahead the Mets are, so it is not to earl y to worry about it.
Adam LaRoche collected two hits, including a solo homer, and Jeff Francoeur added a run-scoring single.
LaRoche has carried his weight all season and Francoeur has broken out of his slump in a major way this week. Which I knew he would.
The Braves face off with the Padres today at 1:05. John Thomson and his 2.08 ERA get the start.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Keeping it in the family

I can't remember a time when my world didn't revolve around the Atlanta Braves. So I can name just about every player to put the tomahawk across his chest in the past 10 years. Jeff Blauser is no different. I loved him for his bat and ability to plug up holes in the infield. So I am nothing but proud of him for getting his first win as a manager, especially since it is with the Mississippi Braves.

odds and ends

Aussie pitcher called up... and may help the hurting Braves bullpen
Renteria gets hurt... Braves just can't catch a break
Francoeur finds his stroke... I was never really worried about him, I knew he would start hitting again.
Joey Devine down to the minors.. The Braves have had really good luck with their rookies being ready to play in the bigs, Devine just isn't.

The silver lining

I am a firm believer in looking on the bright side, so when Chipper Jones got hurt I went ahead and KNEW that Wilson Betemit would be fine.
And he proved me wrong. He didn't do fine.
He did much, much better.
He is hitting well over .350 and playing excellent defense.
But I actually feel bad for him. On April 25 when Chipper Jones gets off the DL Betemit will walk back to the bench and take a seat. But he doesn't seem to mind. He signed with the Braves in '96 knowing he would be Chipper's back-up for a while.
So kudos to Betemit for being good enough to play everyday, and humble enough to sit down when Jones is back.

Say it ain't so... again

For the third straight season Chipper Jones has been placed on the disabled list. After both teams acknowledged that the field in San Francisco was wet they played anyway and it came back to bite the Braves. On a slow roller to third Jones slid as he was charging the ball. He said he heard a pop, and while I didn't hear anything I saw it and it was ugly to watch. Originally everyone thought it would be much worse but x-rays show it as just a sprain and he will be back in two weeks.
Just 15 days.... phew...

Pitching Pitching Everywhere and not a win in sight

The Braves starting pitching isn't winning. They have given up most of there runs in the first inning and the starting rotation is already out Horatio Ramirez who went on the disabled list after coming up limping while running to first base on a bunt.
But I have found the silver lining. Oscar Villarreal leads the league in wins with 4.
So yay for the bullpen's bright spot.
Because other than that Reitsma has faltered, like I said he would, and no one else can dig the Braves out of the holes the starters put them in.
The bullpen is doing much better then I thought they would, especially considering the number of innings they are being forced to pitch. The starters need to pull it together. But I refuse to point a finger at Roger McDowell. It is hard for the Braves starters to unlearn all of what Mazzone taught them. And this is the same Braves team that always starts slow and then destroys the competition when it is time to clinch the division.
I am still sure that the Braves starters can get it together. Even if I don't have much company there.

The Good Guy

John Smoltz is continually being named as one of the most charitable baseball players. And he seems to only get better with age.
Smoltz along with The Atlanta Braves, Major League Baseball and the Baseball Tomorrow Fund opened the Atlanta Braves Baseball Academy in Atlanta.
He funded his own field, which was named after him. The other fields were funded by Jones, Jordan and Hampton.
There needs to be more of this. Where is the Derek Jeter or the Barry Bonds field. Come on you guys make more money than any human needs!

Catch-up

Well the Braves won the April 5 game, but it didn't end until 3 am. The 9-8 final was a nail biter. Since then things haven't been going so well.
April 6 - 6-4 loss the the Giants. Jorge Sosa threw 70 pitches in less than 3 innings... awesome!
April 7 - 14-6 win over the Giants. Kyle Davies threw A LOT of pitches and in true Braves pitching fashion gave up a lot of runs in the first inning but the Braves bats held up there end with an 8 run 7th inning. The Braves scored on walks and errors with only 2 hits. Basically the Giants beat themselves.
April 8 - 12-6 loss to the Giants. More bad pitching
April 9 - 6-5 loss to the Giants. Smoltz pitched well but a 3 run 6th gave him the loss.
April 10 - 6-5 win over the Phillies in the home opener. John Thomson pitched well and helped his own cause with a double.
April 11 - A day off... thank goodness
April 12 - 7-5 loss to the Phillies. Jorge Sosa still didn't pitch well and while the Braves got a few runs in the Braves pitchers can't stop giving up runs.
April 13 - 7-6 loss to the Phillies. Jeff Francoeur finally started hitting, two home runs, but did I mention the pitching didn't do its part.
April 14 - 5-4 win over the Padres. Francoeur homered again to give the Braves the win and Tim Hudson pitched better.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

And it starts...

The Braves are in the middle of the fourth inning against the Dodgers as I type this but the season has already started to look like a continuation of last year's injury-ridden mess.
Chippper Jones didn't start the game because of an abdominal pull, luckily Wilson Betimet started in his place and sent a home run over the left field wall to tie the game after Horacio Ramirez gave up five runs in the first two innings. The Ramirez came up to bat in the fourth, put down the bunt, and had it beat out because the Dodgers couldn't decide who was going to throw it to first. However, he came up limping and had to leave the game... Great. He had finally settled down after giving up the five runs and now he is headed back to the club house.
And with the lack of bull pen hope the last thing that needs to happen is for a pitcher to be out in the fourth inning, and indefinitely.
And extra piece to the now crumbling puzzle is that Ramirez was scheduled to pitch opening day in Atlanta next week. And there are no off days between now and then to give anyone some time to rest.
Everyone cross you fingers he is fine.
I have to go to bed- damn these west coast games that start at 10pm- lets hope there is good news when I wake up.

First Loss

Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned...
Well let me know who scorned mother nature because I am going to give them a stern talking to!
In the second game of the season John Smoltz and the Braves got the first loss. In the rain of the first inning Smoltz said he had trouble gripping the ball, giving up four runs immediately, that he could never get back.
The Braves eventually scored four runs, but it was the fifth run that Smoltz gave up in the third inning that was the deciding factor.
The upside- the Braves still scored four runs, not too bad. Proof that the offense is there. Andruw doubled to get his fifth RBI of the season. FIVE IN TWO GAMES! Last year was not a mistake.
And the bullpen didn't need nearly as much to sustain itself as it did Monday. Now I am not dillusional enough to think that this one outing means all the problems are better for this season, but like I said one day at a time is as good as it is gonna get with this bullpen.
Tonight the Braves finish up the three game set in LA, with Horacio Ramirez getting his first start of the season in his home state. Lets hope having family and friends at the game is just what the Braves need to beat former teammate Odalis Perez and win the series.
First Pitch- 10:10

Monday, April 03, 2006

Opening Day!!

To hell with Christmas, Opening Day is the happiest day of the year.
Especially when the Braves win an 11-10 hitting fest over the LA Dodgers, and former Brave Rafael Furcal.
So the pitching didn't look great, in fact I could feel my blood pressure rising with every hit the bullpen gave up. But Vilarreal got the win, and (opening mouth to insert foot) Reitsma got the save. I know I have blasted him, and I still don't think he can do it all season, but I am going to take the bullpen one day at a time at this point. Because they just aren't going to hack it all season.
Andruw Jones picked up right where he left off last season, with a homerun in the fifth inning.
And the rookies did their job, with Jeff Francoeur, Brian McCann and Ryan Langerhans all making their first opening day start, and the media took notice. In fact Bobby Cox had to tell the reporters to leave Francoeur alone before the game.
John Smoltz is scheduled to pitch tomorrow, come on old man, you still got it.

Something really funny....
Unknown ailment:
John Smoltz and Francoeur went to see a movie on Sunday night and Smoltz exited the cinema with a small bruise on his left eye.

Francoeur joked that he was responsible because he had jabbed the veteran pitcher after he'd gone to sleep. But truthfully, Smoltz has no idea why his eye was still bruised on Monday morning.

Smoltz says there is no discomfort and that he'll definitely pitch Tuesday night's game against the Dodgers.

Yeah I would love to know what happened there....