What a game, what a game. It wasn’t what I would call a "pretty win" but as we all know in this 162 game season, any win is a good win, whether it be by one run, or ten. With the way the wild card is, and all those divisional games, you know that divisions can easily be decided by the way teams play against teams that they only meet up against twice in a season, or once in the case of some interleague opponents. So Braves fans, rejoice. A win is a win and this one is definetly one we will look back and not say, "What if…?" about.
I really must say I was impressed by Adam LaRoche today. His first at bat was a three run home run, and despite having a quiet game besides that, he showed a lot more control at the plate over last year. Which is a good thing, because he had the tendency to swing at pitches that were so high, you’d think he was being intentionally walked. With Julio Franco now with the Mets, the platoon at first is now Adam LaRoche and veteran, Brian Jordan. Which I am very curious to see how that works out. Edgar Renteria’s performance was also really good. He had a few hits, and his defense looked like that of his prior years in the NL. I feel as if he will be back to his old self, and that is exactly what we need.
For the pitching. Tim Hudson was fine, then it was the 5th inning and he looked like a fish out of water. I don’t know what exactly went wrong for him, I’m just glad that after his mishaps, the Braves got a three run home run from Andruw Jones to even out the damage done. The Braves need to learn to stop giving Jeff Kent pitches to hit as well. We have two more games against him this week, not to mention a series in Atlanta, and we can’t just feed him hits. It’s got to stop. Same with Rafael Furcal. We know his playing style, we should be able to defend him a lot better than we did today. Ridiculous.
The bullpen, as expected, was shaky. Blaine Boyer couldn’t get his curveball to come close to the plate, and Lance Cormier wasn’t exactly impressive either. Oscar Villarreal was a bright spot, so was John Thomson. I’m very glad that Chris Reitsma had it in him to finish out the game, despite letting runners on in classic Reitsma style. I hope he can take that as a confidence builder to some extent, because he needs it. Let’s face it here, he is the closer. And if you look around the league at your Huston Streets, your Billy Wagners, and your Mariano Riveras, you know letting the leadoff man reach base in a closing situation is completely unacceptable. I really hope that Roger McDowell gets to work with Reitsma one-on-one and try to get some control in him, because honestly, Reitsma is a very talented young man who has potential to be a lights out closer. It is really only a matter of time and for Braves fans, we hope it is sooner rather than later that he finds his out pitch.
Already, I have an idea of who I would like to see in the bullpen roles, although it was reported by Bobby Cox that there are no set roles, besides having Reitsma in the closer role. Personally, I would like to have John Thomson in the 8th, Oscar Villarreal in the 7th (Or Blaine Boyer). But then again, Thomson is new to the relief role, so it is doubtful how he will do, although today he didn’t do half bad.
Here’s to a great season. Happy reading!