Theoretically, the Atlanta Braves’ 2012 season could’ve gotten off to a worse start. After all, no one was injured, right?
That being said, a swift kick below the belt would’ve been less painful than being swept by the Mets on Opening Weekend.
After blowing a 10 1/2-game wild card lead to the St. Louis Cardinals in September, the Braves began the new year with the same inept offense that led to a disappointing finish last fall, hitting .151 with seven runs and 14 hits this weekend.
The pitching wasn’t a whole lot better, as both Jair Jurrjens and Mike Minor struggled in their season debuts. Jurrjens gave up three runs and seven hits on Saturday, lasting just 4 2/3 innings; Minor was shelled for six runs.
“It’s the third game of the season,” Minor told MLB.com following his loss on Sunday. “There is plenty of season left and plenty of games left. It’s obviously disappointing. But now we go to Houston and we’ve got a chance to win some games there.”
There weren’t many highlights for the Braves in this opening series, but shortstop Tyler Pastornicky will take at least positive memory away from it. His first big league hit (video below) was a triple to right-center field on opening day.
It would be irrational to place much significance on the Braves poor start, but it’s hard not to make connections to the way they began this year and the way they finished last fall.
Whether the players like it or not, it’s crucial for this team—comprised of nearly the same roster as in 2011—to prove that it isn’t destined to fail like they did last September; one could even make the argument that getting off to a fast start is more important for the Braves this year than any season in recent memory.
And even though an 0-3 hole is one that can easily be climbed out of, the way in Atlanta was swept by New York is both concerning and familiar.
There were very few moments throughout the weekend when it didn’t feel like the Mets were clearly the better team on the field, and the fact that the Braves were so easily manhandled has to be considered somewhat worrisome.
It would be easy to nitpick everything that went wrong over the course of the weekend, but the overall lack of offensive production is the one negative that should garner attention from Braves fans.
Freddie Freeman was the only member of the lineup to earn three hits, as it took Atlanta 13 innings to finally score a run. It wasn’t until the Braves were down 7-0 on Sunday that the bats woke up, and as you already know, that was too little too late.
The good news is that the Braves get to travel to Houston and play a three game set against a team that is universally considered as one of the worst in baseball. But if Atlanta is unable to string together some wins against the lowly Astros, it will be hard not to grow apprehensive.
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