Siberian Baseball

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Atlanta Braves (90-72, .556, 1st in NL East)


Damn, damn, damn...

In doing the Baltimore preview, it had slipped my mind that Leo Mazzone had moved up the coast to the Orioles. that's gotta give them another 10-15 wins this year, just by him being there to work with those arms. And that's good enough to vault past the Devil Rays and maybe Toronto. Damn.

Back in Atlanta, it's more of the same as Bobby Cox takes aim at the Braves' 27th consecutive division crown. It'll be very interesting to see how he does without Mr. Autistic there to lend a hand and feed and care for the pitchers. John Smoltz and Tim Hudson headline the rotation and there's a pretty steep drop after that.

Then again, Atlanta's farm system all but guarantees interchangable and productive parts across the board, so take that with a grain of salt. Last year was the emergence of Wilson Betemit and Jeff Francoeur and people should really stop doubting the Braves... at least in the regular season.

Baseball's answer to the Buffalo Bills will return Andruw and Larry Wayne (Chipper) Jones and add Edgar Renteria at shortstop after a stop in Boston last year. Maybe a little National League competition is all he needs. Maybe a town where no one seems to question making the playoffs every year only to bow out quickly is the bigger part of that equation.

Good for the Mets in their offseason dealings - Atlanta is the best example of holding onto the crown until someone takes it from them.

Atlanta Braves
C: McCann; Pratt;Pena
1B: LaRoche
2B: Giles; Orr
SS: Renteria;Betemit; Orr
3B: Jones
LF: Langerhans; Kelly Johnson; Matt Diaz
CF: A. Jones
RF: Francoeur

SP: Smoltz; Hudson; Thomson; Sosa; Ramirez; Davies
CP: Reitsma
RP: Boyer; McBride; Foster; Devine; Lerew; Cormier; Villarreal



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