Starters Roll Relievers Stumble as Braves Lose 5-4

The Mets and Braves picked up today’s game where they left off yesterday; dead even. Braves jockeying for the fifth starter position all had a good day.  Rodrigo Lopez went two giving up a hit and striking out one. Mike Minor was just a bit better in his two innings allowing the Mets to see the ball  but do nothing with it. Brandon Beachy cruised through the fifth but gave up a pair in the 6th on a two run double by Murphy. The relief crew weren’t as successful.

Peter Moylan got himself into a jam in the 7th but pull a double play grounder out of the bag to escape without allowing a run. Scott Proctor now two years clear of TJ surgery gave up a double, walk and a home run in the eighth. It seems the gopher ball followed him to Disney this year too. Jairo Asencio (AKA Luis Valdez) pitched the ninth and allowed a harmless hit. Meanwhile the more of the regulars appeared today to get their hacks against live pitching.

Prado, Uggla, Gonzales and Chipper (DH) made their spring debuts. Prado picked up where he left off last year going 2 for 3 with an RBI before leaving for the day. Uggla was 0-3 as was Shafer, Chipper went 1-3 (more on him in a minute) while AGon and Ross were both 0-1 with a walk and a run scored. Mather drove in the other run against a still hapless and more than likely hopeless, Oliver Perez. New York papers are reporting that Perez has until March 10th to prove he can be a starter. They didn’t say what he would do after that. (Insert your joke here but remember, we still have KK).

Shawn Bowman and Freddie Freeman had good games on defense thought Freeman slipped to a 500 BA going 0-3.  Bowman made a superb play on a slow roller down the 3rd base line to get a critical out for Moylan. The relievers are always behind starters early on. They don’t get as many innings and as starters and they usually don’t hit their stride until the season starts. Meanwhile back to Chipper news.

chipper_slides_ST11There are apparently some idiots out in the blogosphere (yea I know I was shocked too) that think Chipper is playing for the $$. I have no time for those people, apparently Chipper doesn’t either. He told Jeff Schultz over at the AJC “I still feel like I have something to offer, and the cynical fan can really kiss my ass. I really don’t care. There’s a bunch of true fans and the people who actually want to take the time to get to know me know who I am. The guy who sits in his mom’s basement and types on his mom’s computer, I couldn’t really care less about.”

On the field Chipper had a single, fly out and a K and slid into second to break up a double play. Powell and Sutton called it a hard slide but Jones said you could have timed him with a sundial running down to second. The real test of his knees will come when he has to play 3rd and react instead of thinking about protecting the knee. In the same article I quoted before Chipper says he thinks he can play 140 games this year. If he does it will be the first time since 2003. I hope he’s right, that would almost guarantee us a strong season.

Prado played an elegant lefty field according to Jim and Don – no TV so I couldn’t watch but I have no reason to doubt that. Prado is a superb athlete and can play anywhere he sets his mind to. The player that caught my eye was Matt Young at second. His ability to play there and the outfield may well slide him in front of Conrad for a spot on the bench. Young Bowman won’t be in that mix but I’m already more impressed  with him that Diory Hernandez.

Today was another upbeat, positive days for Skipper Gonzales and the crew. The next two weeks will shake loose a lot of the rust and highlight the weaknesses. For now, all is rosy. Unless of course you know better Smile

Tags: Jairo Asencio Matt Young Minor Prado Rodrigo Lopez Scott Proctor

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