What a difference a week makes…a dismal home stand (2-6) to a solid road-trip (6-2), more importantly, they beat division opponents; something the Braves really needed to do.
It’s no coincidence that the scoring increased when the Braves got their key player back from the DL. I speak of course, of Garret Anderson and his gifted fielding. But seriously, the return of Brian “Wild Thing” McCann has given the Braves a boost—with his presence behind the plate as a hitter and a catcher. B-Mac has 9 hits, 1 HR and 5 RBI in 6 games since coming off the DL.
The Braves road trip included a 2-game sweep of the Marlins, 2 of 3 in Philly and (luckily) winning 2 of 3 from the Mets (with game 2 blocked from my memory). I made the trek to Shea Citi Field. I still mistakenly refer to it as Shea. Is it because secretly I miss the Big Blue Dump? My feet sticking to the floor…the rotten-egg and urine smell…the rats…the fleet of airships…the oh-so visually pleasing décor. I miss Shea like I miss rectal thermometers.
I was nervous after the Mets’ two-game sweep in Atlanta knowing I was going to Shea Citi Field and would have to deal with the taunts and heckling every time the Mets got a runner to second base. One thing keeping my mind at ease that I wasn’t forced to listen to Keith Hernandez call a ballgame.
Since I am in New York, MLB blackout rules make it that I HAVE TO watch the Braves play the Mets on the local (SNY) channel. It wouldn’t be as much a problem if it weren’t for the BEST first-basemen of all time, Keith Hernandez. If you never heard of Keith Hernandez, all you would have to do is tune into one SNY broadcast and you could write a thesis about his entire career. From his early days in the 70’s with the Cardinals…to his 80’s stint with the Amazins…and his last year in Cleveland…you will hear it all by the seventh-inning-stretch. At least I don’t have to waste $10 to see Angels and Demons… Hernandez gave the ending away last Tuesday. What a guy! He uses so much Just For Men that it almost hides his horns.
Dealin’ in Gwinnett—The Gwinnett Braves have had some tough-luck losses recently, with nothing to do with the quality of their starting pitching. Tommy Hanson, Todd Redmond and Kris Medlen have been absolutely FILTHY so far.
Here are their respective lines:
|Tommy Hanson||1-3||1.99 ERA||40.2 IP||57 K||13 BB||.98 WHIP|
|Todd Redmond||2-2||3.86 ERA||30.1 IP||21 K||8 BB||1.35 WHIP|
|Kris Medlen||5-0||.96 ERA||37.7 IP||44 K||10 BB||.78 WHIP|
Hanson has had Jurrjens-like luck with only one win so far, but it isn’t for a lack of dominance. He has been terrific in each of his 7 starts, allowing a total 5 runs in his 3 losses. Redmond has been inconsistent at times, but mostly solid producing quality performances in all but one game (his last outing). Then there is Medlen. This kid is absolutely DEALIN’! He’s allowed only 4 earned runs all season (0 in his last 3 starts) and hasn’t allowed more than 6 hits in any start this year.
Myrtle Beach Power—Speaking of minor league players…I have to mention what’s going on in Myrtle Beach. It’s not Heyward…it’s not Freeman…again it’s OF Cody Johnson. After a two-homerun game, in which he drove in all 5 runs, and another yesterday, Johnson is now up to .282, 12 HR, 24 RBI and 1.051 OPS. This kid is RAKING not slowing down.
The 21-year-old Johnson was a first-round pick by the Braves in the 2006 draft out of A. Crawford Mosley (FL) High School. Johnson’s break-out year was 2007 when he hit .305, 17 HR, 57 RBI for Danville. He continued to show power in 2008 for Rome hitting 26 HR and 89 RBI though his .252 AVG was down.
There has been much fanfare after we watched Jason Heyward and Freddie Freeman open some eyes down in Disney during Spring Training, and rightfully so. I can’t wait until they are ready to come to Atlanta (in a couple years) and (hopefully) begin the next great crop of young players, just don’t overlook Cody Johnson. He may open a few eyes over the next few years as well…he’s already opened mine.
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Until Next Time…Go Braves! (Pelicans too)