Praise the Lord, the Braves are finally coming home! After an extensive and rough road trip to start the season, I’m happy to see my boys come home; albeit not the home I’m accustomed to, but it’s home nonetheless…(and yes, I’m still bitter). The Braves have had a shaky start to the season, no doubt, but I’m hoping that their win in Miami on Wednesday coupled with them FINALLY getting to play at home, will help to turn things around. We currently sit at 2-6 on the season and are in last place in our division, but I’m not too concerned with that. It’s early, we have plenty of time to catch up; after all it’s a marathon, not a sprint! While there have been elements of our game that need some work (i.e., the early bullpen troubles, fielding errors, hitting into what feels like 2354572435 double plays, and swinging at some horrendous pitches), it hasn’t all been bad.
As for our offense, Freddie Freeman has gotten off to a much better start than his 2016 campaign. He had a mini-slump in the middle of the road trip, but has been swinging the bat much better as of late and is hitting .333 with 3 homers. Matt Kemp has had a monstrous start to his season; before being placed on the 10 day DL (hammy strain) he was hitting .500 with 2 homers and 4 RBIs; I expect him to return shortly and continue with business as usual! In Kemp’s absence, Jace Peterson has been manning the outfield and has been plenty solid hitting .286 with 2 RBIs. Tyler Flowers, Nick Markakis and Brandon Phillips are all seeing the ball well and hitting .300 or above to start the season. While Dansby has had a dreadful start to the year, I’m sure he’ll settle in soon and be the ROY we know he can be! Ender Inciarte has also gotten off to a disappointing start, however if the last game in Miami is any indication, I think things are turning around for him. He hit 2 homers and looked much more comfortable at the plate.
As for our pitching….well, Teheran has been a stud (no surprise here); he has yet to let up a run over 13 innings of work and is set to take the mound tonight in the Braves home opener. Fingers crossed he can get some run support and come away with his first win of the 2017 campaign. Bartolo had a rough spring but pitched pretty well in his first start of the year against his old team (the Mets) and I thought he had knocked off the last bit of rust from the offseason; however he got lit up in his last start against Miami, only lasting 4 innings and giving up 6 ER…it wasn’t pretty. Here’s to hoping that was a one-off and he will be in the zone for his next start. Dickey has been fine, he looked alright in his first and only start (so far) of the year, unfortunately the defense didn’t do him any favors and committed 2 errors in the game while Suzuki had 3 passed balls in the same contest. It certainly made Dickey’s start memorable for all the wrong reasons, hopefully his next start will provide better results. Folty only pitched 3 2/3 innings in his start against the Pirates and gave up 6H and 2 ER. In his defense, it was snowing while he was on the mound, so those were certainly more extreme conditions than what he had been used to during spring training. Hopefully his next start will afford him better pitching conditions and be more comfortable all the way around! Garcia ‘s last start was better than his first, he pitched 5 innings and gave up 3 ER. Outside of the 2 homers he gave up to Stanton, it wasn’t that bad of an outing, hopefully he will continue to improve as he faces the Padres on Monday at home!
The bullpen has had it’s share of troubles to start the season, Krol and O’Flaherty both looked terrible in their first appearances of the year; Krol pitched 1/3 of an inning giving up 3 runs, while O’Flaherty also pitched 1/3 of an inning giving up 2 runs. Since that disastrous start, both pitchers have settled in quite nicely and have not let up a run in any of their subsequent appearances. We have only seen Josh Collmenter (our long reliever) once this season and he pitched 2 innings, giving up 3 hits and 2 runs. I’m sure we’ll see more of him in the coming weeks and I will revisit my thoughts on him at that time! Despite blowing a save against the Pirates, Jim Johnson has looked good. He has a solid 2.25 ERA and 4:2 K:BB through his first 4 innings of work and looks to be the closer whenever the Braves give him an opportunity. Arodys Vizcaino has gotten off to a great start, he’s pitched 4 innings and has yet to surrender a run…I’ll take it!
So while the Braves are currently the 3rd worse team in baseball and last in their division (like I mentioned above), I’m hoping for a more productive homestand to break in our new home at Suntrust Park. Either way I’ll be cheering loud and proud for my Atlanta Braves and will except whatever the result is; win or lose I love them all the same. If you live in the Atlanta area and are making a trip to the ballpark, enjoy yourself! The pictures I’ve seen look beautiful and it looks to be perfect weather to catch a game! Leave early (traffic is a nightmare), take lots of pictures and make sure you’re ready to chop!
And as always, Go Braves!