So essentially we are one week into the major league baseball season…And what have we learned so far?
The Pirates are really, really awful.
Tampa Bay is better than the Yankees.
Andruw Jones is on pace for 61 homeruns and 263 rbi.
The Braves sorely miss Leo Mazzone as their pitching coach.
Obviously, the one about the D-Rays being better than the Yanks and Jones having a Nintendo-esque season aren’t going to happen, but I am starting to wonder about the Braves pitching staff after Mazzone left for the Orioles this off season. A week into the season the Braves ERA is over 7 1/2 runs a game. Luckily, they are hitting the crap out of the ball (as mentioned above with Jones) so they actually have managed a winning record. But if they are to contend for their 15th pennant in a row, they are going to have to figure out how to pitch. I don’t think they’ve had a single win this year from any of their starting pitching, which to me is amazing when you can run out John Smoltz and Tim Hudson 2 out of every 5 days. Mazzone and Cox seemed to find a way every year to scrap together a dominant pitching staff based on refugees, throw-aways, and has-beens, especially in their bullpen. But I gotta tell you, I am a little pessimistic about that happening again without the tutelage of Mazzone. That being said, this year the Braves do have some guys like Kenny Ray that they picked up off the scrap heap, and he’s looked really good so far. I have always wondered how the Braves managed to find these guys that no one ever cared about and got them for nothing, threw them out on the mound, and turned them in Cy Young. Happened a million times over the years, where they pick up a guy like Jaret Wright for the league minimum, get 15 wins out of him, and then the Yankees give him a $40M deal. Much like Billy Beane in Oakland has some sort of statistical analysis to pick up positional players, the Braves have a system they’ve used for pitching. Just amazing. Hopefully it continues this year, now that one of the main cogs, Mazzone, is gone.