The Atlanta Braves open the regular season Monday night in Philadelphia. Not having followed too closely their spring training, I do know that they’re 17-11 and that Hudson and Smoltz have had mixed results. They’re lauding their bullpen, but without a reliable ace to get them that far, this season could turn out a lot like the last one. They’re missing Giles and LaRoche, but they still have some solid utility infielders in Aybar and Prado.
In all actuality – since no large changes have taken place – this season will probably be a mixture of joy and sorrow, but I do expect the Braves to finish over .500. The Mets still have far more talent all-around, but with the suck that encompasses both the Phillies and the Marlins, it’s possible that Atlanta will be able to keep up. It should be interesting to see how Cox manages his team to get the most out of an offense which doesn’t seem as capable of hitting homers as it did a few years ago. I would love to see their bullpen live up to its expectations, but if they can’t manufacture runs, they’re going to be out of luck.
For anyone who’s wondering, all Braves games can be viewed on MLB.TV.