April 22, 2009

Greetings from Rainy Pittsburgh

The good news is I didn’t spend as much time on I-80 as I’d imagined.  The bad news is that it was due to highway closings, forcing me to detour through rural Pennsylvania.

OK…maybe it would be interesting to see the countryside and all the Amish driving their horse-and-buggies around. Didn’t happen.  Not one person looked like they belonged on an oatmeal box, but most of us belonged in an insane asylum as we sat stagnant on Route 368 for what felt like the length of an American league game.

Then I get to drive 40 mph for an hour-and-a-half behind a motorcycle with florescent pink taillights on a one-lane road.  Fun as all that was, I can only imagine how fun my Pittsburgh trip would have been had the Braves not salvaged the final game of a series against the (break up the) Pirates.

As I tried in vein to sleep Saturday night, all that pranced through my head were thoughts of the Braves losing two of the first three games to the Pittsburgh Pirates by a combined score of 13-0.  The Pirates.  Perennial cellar-dwellers of the NL Central.  The Pirates. THE PITTSBURGH @$%!# PIRATES!

Worst of all was the loss handed to Jair Jurrjens.  He again pitched phenomenal going 6 2/3 innings allowing one run.  He was charged with one run, but if you ask me it was Jordan Schafer who is responsible for that run, not to mention a couple extra bases due to shaky play in centerfield.

Could have been worse…the Braves managed to hold-off the Bucs on Sunday to avoid the sweep.  Javier Vasquez pitched pretty darn well and the Braves’ bats finally woke up and put up 11.   Martin Prado and David Ross showed some pop hitting 3-run bombs to left-center.  That is what I’ll remember (baseball-wise) about the series in Pittsburgh.

* * *

Bullpen Woes—There has been a great deal of debate during this young season about the Braves bullpen. They’ve shown glimpses but then looked horrific.  One day Soriano and Gonzales dominate and the Braves win, others O’Flaherty, Moylan, Bennett and now James Parr have given Braves fans reason to turn the channel to Silver Spoons reruns.

The season is young (12 games in).  If this were late June I doubt this would be an issue. They have had three bad games.  Every bullpen has a bad game, heck, a bad three games during the course of a season…just the way it goes.  Leo Mazzone had his take on this issue on 680 the Fan, saying, “This is a long season, you’ve got to ride out the rough times and stick with them.”

Leo shares the same opinion regarding pitching slumps as Bobby Cox (who many Braves fans seem quick to jump all over when these issues arise).  Fans are so quick to want change the minute something goes wrong.  In Fantasy Baseball Leagues, a decent pitcher has ONE bad start and the next day he’s on the waiver wire.  The Braves bullpen woes should not be treated a “fantasy” mentality.  You are what your numbers say you are AT THE END OF THE YEAR.

Is this bullpen that bad?  Do some Braves pitchers belong with the St. Paul Saints? I don’t think so and am confident that Gonzales, Soriano, Moylan, Bennett, Carlyle, Campillo (when he returns) and the rookie Parr will hit a winning stride. You may have noticed I left O’Flaherty off that list—I can’t like everyone.  I still miss Will Ohman (and his Harry Caray impression).  I’ll tell you what; I’d rather have these guys than Kyle Farnsworth or any other Mr. May.

So, who belongs working in the Braves bullpen?  Who belongs across from turner Field working in the kitchen of the Bullpen?  I’d love to hear your opinions.

Bye Bye Boyer—I know I’m the only one saying this but I am sad to see Blaine Boyer go.  He was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals on Monday for minor league outfielder Brian Barton.  Boyer takes his 40.50 ERA and positive attitude to St. Louis (where they wouldn’t boo Bin Laden if he were a Redbird) saying, “I’ll miss Atlanta, but I’m fired up right now to be a Cardinal.”

Follow me on Twitter @ BRAVEinNY

Until Next Time…Go Braves!



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