Sunday, April 15, 2018
All That Losing is Paying Off
They're not in first. They're not setting the league on fire. But goddamn, the Braves are actually doing kinda well right now. And I'm all for it.
First of all...the entire infield is playing truly well, which is truly shocking, because two of the people in it were essentially counted out last year. Yes, it could be assumed that Freddie Freeman and Ozzie Albies would do fantastic this year, as they have been consistently great for Atlanta. But Dansby Swanson's impressive start has been a welcome surprise, as Swanson's 2017 numbers got people pretty afraid that he'd never be able to hit in the majors.
Even more surprising is the astonishingly incredible performance of Ryan Flaherty at third. This is a guy who had been a backup infielder for Baltimore for a few years, worked Spring Training with the Phillies, was released just prior to the start of the season only to be picked up by Atlanta. Flaherty has been playing wonderfully at third, edging out Adonis Garcia for the starting gig and complementing the stellar infield. This shouldn't be working as well as it is, and yet here we are.
And yes, there's also some nice stuff going on with Lane Adams, Nick Markakis, Anibal Sanchez and Brandon McCarthy. Of course, there are some roster depth issues, especially with the rotation, and there's the unsettling issue of Julio Teheran's gradual loss of control, which is leaving the team without a true ace right now. And yes, Mike Foltynewicz could, in all theory, step up, but I don't think he's capable of doing that quite yet.
Still, with a +.500 record and with a few more wins than Washington, the Braves are off to a nice start. I don't know how much this will say about their season, as they're playing in a tough division with a lot of 30-year olds and injuries abound, but it's definitely nice to know how much talent is there.
Coming Tomorrow- A veteran pitcher, suiting up for a team who's losing its identity.