Some thoughts

First of all, I have to say how excited I am because in 22 days, the Braves have their first game in Philly. It is only a two game series, but I don’t care. It will be a blast, no matter what!

The pitching for the Braves is really starting to come around. Let’s focus in on the bullpen for a moment. Oscar Villarreal is 3-0 in relief appearances, and closer Chris Reitsma is three for four in his save opportunities. Not bad, considering how our bullpen started off last year. Ken Ray has been a pleasant surprise, and even Mike Remlinger isn’t doing too bad.

The starting pitchers. Wow. That’s all I really CAN say so far. Tim Hudson is breaking this little Braves’ fan’s heart here with his first two starts. John Smoltz, well, his first outing was forgettable, but even though he gave up three runs in the second inning of his second start and settled in well, he wound up on the losing end. Jorge Sosa had the worst luck of all the starters with his poor start against the Giants, but to defend him, he DID hit a home run to attempt to help his own cause. Kyle Davies had the best luck of all the starters in the first go round.

Our bats have really been saving us so far. There were games we did not even deserve to win but we got offense when we least expected it from Ryan Langerhans and Brian McCann. They have really been on a roll lately and I cross my fingers they keep up the excellent work. I also cross the fingers that the slump Jeff Francoeur is in will end, and end very soon. He really is pressing up there, and it really *****. But he will get out of it. He needs to soon, with Chipper on the DL. Andruw is picking up right where he left off, Edgar Renteria is proving to be effective as he follows up Marcus Giles in his new leadoff role.

So basically, it’s looking good so far. I think taking two out of three in the season’s first series was a real boost.

Here’s to more blogging and Braves.

❤ julie

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Won’t back down

If memory serves me correctly, it was six walks, a hit batter, two singles, a double, a manger ejected, and off and on rain.

And that was in just one half of an inning.

I stayed up late last night to watch the Braves/Giants game, which Kyle Davies pitched in. He went five innings, but gave up three runs, all in the first. Then, unlike every other Braves’ starter so far this season, he immediately settled in. But the bullpen did the job for the most part, but the Giants took an 8-6 lead after six innings, and then the marathon visitor’s half of the seventh began for the Braves.

I couldn’t even believe how the reliever for the Giants had no control. He walked the first three Braves batters on four straight balls each. I wasn’t complaining, but I was wondering why it took so long for the Giants to bother to have someone else start warming up in the bullpen. It was a very funny inning, especially when Andruw Jones totally flipped out after he checked his swing and they said he went. Make that ejection numero uno for Bobby Cox this year. That didn’t take him long to get his first ejection of the season.

Now I am sitting here watching the Giants kill the Braves 8-0.

We’re second in the division. Mets and Marlins are postponed today due to rain, and the Phils are 0-4 and play tomorrow. Nationals aren’t even at the .500 mark. After this, we go to Atlanta for the home opener against the Phils. Then we have the Padres, I believe.

So if we can go home with a .500 or better mark, then I am satisfied.

No I won’t back down.
No I won’t back down.
You can stand me up at the gates of **** but I won’t back down.

❤ julie

Grrrr

I had this really long entry going when AOL booted me and Im not about to repost it.

But I will say this…..

I sure hope the second go round for the Atlanta starting rotation will be better.

I have faith. 🙂

❤ julie

Sloppy, but I’ll take it

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!

❤ julie

It is here

I have waited.

I have waited through football season. I cheered hockey’s return in October. I cheered on the Seminoles in the Orange Bowl and I crossed my fingers for the White Sox to win the World Series.

And now it’s finally back.

Opening day. I don’t think the way it feels can be topped. I love just sitting here and watching game after game all day. It is well worth requesting a day off work for, believe me. I was going to goto Philly today to attend the Phils/Cards game but chose not to, because "my" Braves are on ESPN at 4PM. And call me crazy, but that takes first priority.

I can’t wait to see the regular season debut of Edgar Renteria as a Brave. I can’t wait to see Tim Hudson stare down his former Braves’ teammate, Rafael Furcal. I want to see Edgar turn double plays with Marcus Giles. I want to see Jeff Francoeur and Brian McCann’s sophomore season be a sophomore success, not the dreaded slump. I want to see Andruw Jones make dazzling catches in centerfield, and I want to see Chipper Jones hit a home run. I want to see how the bullpen will look with the help of new pitching coach, Roger McDowell. I want to see that Chris Reitsma is the best choice for our closer, and that John Thomson will make a smooth transition from a starting role to that of a reliever.

As for non-Braves moments today, I want to see if Jimmy Rollins will get a hit off of Chris Carpenter, and if not off him, then a member of the solid St.Louis bullpen. I want to sit on the edge of my seat to watch the Roy Oswalt/Dontrelle Willis matchup. I want to see the Red Sox and Yankees. I want to see if the Mets are really "all that" as they take on the Nationals.

Yeah. Its back.

And I don’t think I could be any happier!

Happy blogging and blog reading to all. Here’s to a great season!

❤ julie

Looking forward

What will people say this year is the reason we can’t win? In 2004 it was the lack of Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, and Javy Lopez. In 2005 it was because we let Gary Sheffield and JD Drew depart. But now its Leo Mazzone. If the so called experts think the Braves will fail due to the loss of a pitching coach, then they need to go back to the prior years where the Braves were shadowed with doubt to continue their run of division crowns.

A lot of the younger pitchers said Leo tried to turn every one of them into Greg Maddux. Instead of molding talent the pitchers have, he tried to change them. Leo never even pitched a game in the situations our relievers will pitch in (Lets ignore our starters. Theyre fine…). McDowell is a relatively younger coach than Leo, so that might make it easier to relate. Plus he was a pitcher not so many years ago and I think that will help. We have a very young and impressionable bullpen and I think McDowell is just the guy we need. After all, the starting pitching and hitting wasn’t our problem in 05′. It was our bullpen.

So the way I see it is this. Why is so much emphasis being put on putting an end to the Braves’ division dominance? It is not like the Braves in recent years have dominated the year from the start. Sometimes we get off to this slow start and we play catch up until the post All Star break. We don’t go out every offseason and make life altering blockbuster trades. More than half the time we rely on our farm system. Minus the deals with Hudson, Sheffield, Renteria, and Drew, we haven’t really gotten "big" names in the past years. Most of our big names we have now came up with us. So that is what makes me have such faith in who we have.

But how do I really see the Braves in the NL East this year? I can’t give you a solid prediction but I do see us winning it again this year. I see it to be an even tighter race for first though.

Sometimes the good guys don’t always finish last.

❤ julie

Still here

I just thought I’d post a note to those who read this blog that I in fact am still around, but I don’t have anything I feel the need to blog about at the moment. When the right topic for me comes around, I will be blogging away!

❤ Julie!!!