“And the award for best pitching staff in all of baseball goes to…….The Atlanta Braves!!!!” That’s right Philly fans, not only are the Braves beating you in your ballpark, but we’re doing it at your own game centered around great pitching. It’s time the rest of the league takes notice.
May is a huge month for Atlanta. The Braves current 9 game stretch against NL East opponents includes 6 against the Phillies. The Phillies a similar schedule of divisional matchups and is currently in the middle of 15 straight games against the NL East that ends next Sunday in Atlanta with a probable Halladay/ Hudson matchup.
Comparing the two teams that just finished a series in Philadelphia, I see two teams headed in different directions. Between age and injuries the window is closing on the Phillies. Unless Ruben Amaro can figure out a way to inject cash into Chase Utley’s knee, its time to move over, the Braves are coming. Their lineup should get a boost when Utley returns but I don’t see him being the difference maker many expect.
The next month will likely decide whether or not Frank Wren makes any big moves at the trade deadline. The recent rumors of a potential Derek Lowe trade are intriguing, but I think there would be more to lose than gain by trading away a pitcher with so much post-season experience. However, when the two most likely bidders are the Yankees and Red Sox, you pick up the phone and listen.
The only glaring hole right now in on our roster is CF and an overall lack of speed. Those are weaknesses we can live with and do not pose large enough problems that would call for a multi-player trade. I could see us bringing in another big bat to use off the bench or a speedy utility infielder for pinch running situations, but not a blockbuster deal.
It would be a real long shot, but if the Dodgers financial situation doesn’t improve, you have to wonder if Matt Kemp’s name will be floated out there around the deadline. All signs point to the club re-signing Kemp, whose in the final year of his contract, but with Kershaw and Either both expected to get big paydays after this year, Kemp could be the odd man out.
Playing fantasy baseball has always made trades fascinating to me. To me, Minor and Beachy make the most sense when discussing potential trade bait. While they have both shown great upside, their prospect ceiling is middle of the rotation starters. Definitely players you want, but players that might be expendable if the season takes an ugly turn for the worse before the deadline.
Hopefully the Braves stay hot until the deadline and this trade talk is nothing more than rumors. I really like our team right now and if the playoffs started today you would have to like our chances at the pennant. This team looks headed in the right direction and another series win against the Phillies this weekend will definitely turn some heads.
1. Beating the Phillies – Now lets do it again this weekend!
2. Prado’s Defense – Two amazing plays in the Phillies series; the diving catch in the corner to rob a hit and then the greatest diving stop to hold a runner to a single my eyes have ever seen. Does anyone else think we could try him in center?
3. Julio Teheran – It was fun to just see him out there. Fastball looked good and with better command and movement his changeup could be a deadly out pitch.
1. Moylan and Marek Injury Status - Moylan appears to be headed for surgery and Marek is set to undergo Tommy John. Big hit to our bullpen depth.
2. Heyward Slumping - 2-25 to start the month, and now headed for an MRI. A bump in the road but its nice to know we can absorb a slump like that from the J-Hey Kid and still go 7-1.
3. 31 Strikeouts in Philly- 31 times in three games and we still out pitched and out hit them? Be afraid Philly, be very afraid.