Solid starting pitching.
Quality bullpen work.
The long ball.
This was more like the Braves we were expecting to see to start the season. I was most impressed with starting pitcher Jair Jurrjens -- he really put on a show tonight. He lost it a little in the sixth, but his first five innings were brilliant. If he can stretch that solid work for another inning or two and repeat that for 60 to 70 percent of his starts then we will be in for a real treat watching him this year. It’s great seeing the kid get the Braves their first win this year.
(By the way, the newest fan club appeared tonight -- Jurrjens Surgeons.)
Seeing more homers from the team is also a solid sign. Teixeira’s homer was one of those mammoth shots we got used to seeing last year. He’s traditionally a slow starter, but maybe that will get him going. Escobar’s homer is one I think we’ll see more of from him this year. He looks like he’s bulked up and with such a solid fundamental swing his power will come without having to try and swing for the fences.
It was also good to see Martin Prado fill in so well for Scooter. I know there are some that doubt Prado, but I really believe he can be a solid major leaguer -- a guy who can serve as a quality backup and fill in adequately when a regular is injured. He had the wind knocked out of him in the eighth, but got up and finished out the game.
I was a little baffled that Bobby went to Bennett to get out of Jurrjens’ jam in the sixth. I would have thought he would have gone to Resop (who was warming up) or one of the other “one-inning” relievers. But Bennett got out of it with a little help from Chipper Jones, who avoided a broken bat while starting a double play. Could this be the sign of a different role for Bennett, who we thought would be the long reliever out of the pen, not a situational righty who can get out of jams. With the double play in order, perhaps Bennett has sinking action on his pitches that will lead Bobby to use him as his double play ground ball pitcher.
Another interesting thing to note about this game (and Monday’s game for that matter) was how many relievers were used to bridge the gap between the starter and the ninth inning (of course, after the Braves scored seven in the eighth there was no need for a closer). After Acosta redeemed himself in the seventh inning, Cox used three pitchers to make it through the eighth. Perhaps it’s the luxury he has this year with two left-handers in the bullpen, or perhaps it’s the luxury he has early this season with eight relievers in the pen.
We get Mr. Glass on the mound tomorrow… sigh.
Solid starting pitching.