The Widow has asked me to take time out from the Braves game and start pulling my weight around here. So I had a tough choice to make: do the dishes or write a post.
Guess which one I chose.
The Braves are currently being shut down (no hits though 6 innings) by Randy Johnson, one of the Widow's least favorite ball players. In light of my beloved Braves' woes I thought I'd do a little early season review of my favorite club.
Let's start with a quick comparison of two of last year's stars with their replacements.
|player||Batting Average||On Base %||Slugging %||OPS|
If I had known in February that these would be the numbers as of March 18, well I'd be pretty happy. I'd probably tell you that the Braves' real weakness is pitching, but that they could compete with such serviceable (and cheap) replacements for Shefield and Lopez. And you know what, I would have been right. But what I didn't know is how many injuries the team would have. Chipper Jones, JD Drew, Rafael Furcal, Eli Marrero, and now Marcus Giles (we miss you already, Marcus) have missed time leaving the lineup pretty bare. The replacements have also done a poor job catching the ball, which doesn't help when you don't hit much.
So far this year I've been frustrated by these injuries, but still hopeful. The team is only 3.5 games out, so you figure that when they get healthy they should be able to make a run. Only I'm not sure that's going to happen now. Furcal is still hurting, and Giles will be out for about 2 months. Not even a great team can survive long without its starting middle infield, and the Braves aren't a great team to begin with.
I'm still enjoying watching the Braves this year. It's actually fun to cheer for a team that's not in first place for a change. But if the Braves don't turn things around at some point, and if they do (gasp) finish out of first place, it'll be a shame that injuries played such a big role.
Here's to modern medicine and a speedy recovery to Marcus Giles!
Randy Johnson just completed his first career perfect game by striking out Eddie Perez. Quite a feat, even if it is against a depleted Braves lineup. If, as Baseball Widow suspects, Randy Johnson has sold his soul to the devil (or possibly is the devil) at least he got his money's worth.