Cledus – Strangely enough, a friend of mine who writes about jazz just introduced Matthew and I over email this week. If he’s up for it, we will definitely have him on the show this year. By the way, it’s mind-blowing that we’re meeting each other in person! How crazy and wonderful.
So, my son comes up to me last night and says, “Daddy, I’m worried about the Dodgers.” Now, I think he said that because the Dodgers were good in his spring baseball league, but still … I share his concern. In all honesty, I had very little concern about the Phillies. And if we keep doing what we’re doing, we’ll split or better. I just hate the cross-country flight, the big emotion of the sweep, they’re good …
And then I find this tidbit and get more confident:
Aside from Casey Blake, who is driving the ball and has a nine-game hitting streak, and Matt Kemp, who has a modest eight-game streak but has more than a single hit in only one of those games, all the regulars are in slumps of various degrees.
James Loney is 2 for 16.
Russell Martin is 2 for 27.
Blake DeWitt is 0 for 15.
Andre Ethier is 1 for 14 since coming off the disabled list.
Rafael Furcal is only 0 for 7 but has yet to attempt a stolen base since coming off the DL May 25 with a strained hamstring.
I’m glad the Cardinals caught the Reds so I can start thinking of Cinci as Wild Card competition instead of the Cards. I’m not conceding the division, though I do think the Phils will come roaring back in the 2nd half, but the Wild Card race would be an awesome insurance policy.
Now, when the Padres sink below the Giants or Dodgers, I’ll be able to look at the standings without my eyebrows twitching.
Steve, the Dodgers also had a May schedule similar to ours: Pittsburgh, D’Backs, Cubs, Astros. The did win 2/3 from COL twice and swept @ SD once, but to me, it looked like a very tame schedule. The Braves are better than all the teams they won series against. I’m with you man. I think our guys can do better than a split. I love reading about the team chemistry we have and the swagger. I also love hearing about Charlie Manuel calling out his team. Utley and Howard looked really odd just kind of lounging in the dugout in the 9th at Tuesday’s game. Meanwhile Venters is putting all kinds of guys on base, and it looked like both guys were gonna get a chance to hit with a chance to tie the game for their team. You’d think maybe they’d be getting geared up for an AB. Both looked completely indifferent and over the whole thing. I have never seen Braves players do that in any tight game. Kudos to our guys for the focus and effort being shown on the field. Also, the Phillies watching Gran Torino in the clubhouse before yesterdays game instead of maybe trying to get ready to avoid being swept is unbelievable. How do their players even think of doing that with the way they’ve been playing? When we were struggling, all you read about was how hard everyone was working and the extra hours being put in by players and coaches. You never heard about the Braves having movie time before a game. The Phillies players are so arrogant and obviously don’t think much of the Braves. I hope more than ever that we take the division from them.
Nate – I agree with all of it. Oh man, I’m getting all crazy excited about the game tonight. And then I read this, and it got me even more revved up. Goose bump stuff for me:
Chipper – ““This is a very, very, very important road trip for us. It is imperative that we go out and play well and get Ws on this particular road trip. LA is just as hot as we are. Arizona is struggling. Then you’ve got Minnesota, which is arguably one of the best teams in the American League, on the road. Come out of this with a winning record, that validates the fact that we’re for real.””
It’s the whole “Braves are legit” thing is happening in perfectly graduating levels:
Level 1: April. Uh, no.
Level 2: May, beating poor teams. Mmmm… yawn.
Level 3: Beating the Reds in a teaser sweep. Yes, maybe, but we required two incredible comebacks and a grand slam off a fielder’s glove. Nice, but who knows.
Level 4: Beating Florida in a series. Hey, what have we here??
Level 5: Sweeping the NL Champs, beating them senseless in the first two games, Lowe pitching legit in the third. Almost definitely we are for real. The only thing is, Phillies in its worst slump in years, so… we need…
Level 6: The Western Swing. This will determine things absolutely in my mind. If the Braves go 6-5 on this trip, I am utterly convinced they are going to the playoffs. And if they go 5-6, I won’t be down on them at all.
(Level 7 would obviously be regaining their winning ways after their first slump and after Philly catches fire again.)
June will be like the Braves Mid-Term exam. I think the guys are prepared and should do well. The Rays are not playing very well right now, and I think the Twins just lost the O Dog for a while. As Steve pointed out, the Dodgers are not the great hitting team they were when we saw them last year. I really like our pitching to get us through this weekend still in first. Then we get the D’Backs. Lots of optimism for me right now. My only concern is BMac’s throwing in these upcoming series against the Rays, Twins, and Dodgers.
Mara, I just heard Jim Joyce’s interview where he admitted to missing the call. He was just torn up about it. You can definitely tell that’s going to stick with him for a while. The Tigers handled it very professionally, as well. Props to everyone involved for doing a superb job of damage control. If only every umpire were as classy as Jim Joyce. (Thinking of Bill Hohn and Joe West when I typed that last thought)
McCann 4th? Can we end that experiment please? Amazing that if it were Glaus, Hinske, McCann I’d be jumping through the roof. He’s got some good protection all around him so they have to pitch to him. That will help.
I have to say, and maybe it is too long coming, but as Bub pointed out this train took some time to get rolling, but it appears this is not longer the 2008/2009 Braves. They are doing things completely different. And that be good.
P.S. I’m sitting on the porch with the beach wind blowing and sipping a nice cocktail. Even got in 18 with the 6 year old this morning and as we are walking off 18 he says – “I love golf. You’re my best friend.” Good day had by all.