Saturday, March 2, 2013

Training Games 7 & 8: Phillies and Nationals

Well, we didn't slam one at Cole Hamels deep like I wanted, but we did ding him for 4 hits and a run in three innings. We didn't really hit well in either game, despite the overall totals. The reason is that we made a lot of our hay against the back ends of the pitching staff, which as we all know is mostly against the AAA scrubs we'll never see again.

That said, Maholm got smoked. I mean absolutely cut up, laid over hickory chips, and turned into pulled pork. In 2.2 innings the Phillies got him for 6 hits, 5 runs, and 2 walks. It was shockingly bad, and you would hope we don't see many of those in the regular season, because they are impossible to recover from. On the plus side, he didn't give up any long balls, and he had two strike outs. On the negative side, Kimbrel and Martinez also got lit up for a combined 5 hits and 5 runs in their 2 innings of work against the Phils. It's a training game though, so we can mostly look past the bad, but MAN. It was bad. Oh and we had 2 errors. This time Pastornicky got in on the error act, grounded into a double play, had 2 hits and 4 RBIs. That kid is all over the place.

The game against the Nats was a much more respectable matchup. Teheran went 3 innings with only a solo shot homer given up, but he notched 5 Ks to 0 walks. That's really really solid for a young kid to have that kind of control. Nobody cares if you give up the solo shots. It's the 3 run bombs that are killer. Other good news? Heyward went yard again, and BJ Upton notched another double. I'm starting to get very optimistic about this outfield, folks. They are seeing the ball really well, and they are doing it against the MLB starters from opposing teams, not the back end scrubs. Heyward has 3 homers now in 15 ABs. Both Uptons have 3 RBIs a piece on a combined 11 hits, and BJ has 3 doubles with a stolen base. That's over a .560 slugging average for both, but that's a meaningless number. It's just exciting to think about.

The bad news? Pastornicky had another error, bringing him up to 2 in a row. Uggla went 0-for-4 with 4 Ks. Dear lord. My threat level on Uggla is already pushing into the yellow-orange border. Uggla now has 10 strikeouts in 16 ABs. UGGGGH. The Braves now total 57 Ks in 8 games. That's a little over a 7 K per game average. Get used to that, because I believe we're going to see a lot of freewheeling come regular season.

Right now the pitching staff is shaping up nicely. Hudson has gone 5 innings with a 3.6 ERA, Teheran has gone 5 innings with a 1.80 ERA, Medlen has gone 2 innings with a 0.00 ERA. Then you have some struggles by Minor and Maholm, who are both posting ERA's over 9.00 with a combined 6.2 innings pitched. The good and bad on both sides is that the sample size is extremely small. What you really don't want to see out of any pitching in training is a struggle with command. So far, none of the starters have shown signs of that. In fact, the only guy who hasn't looked sharp with his command is Kimbrel, who is sporting 3 walks and only 1 K in 3 innings. Of course, he's not pitching in the 9th, so it's hard to judge. I have a feeling he can turn it on quickly.

Go Braves!

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