3 thoughts on the Santana-powered Braves

Here's guessing this pitch was a strike. (Todd Kirkland/AP)

Here’s guessing this pitch was a strike. (Todd Kirkland/AP)

Here's guessing this pitch was a strike. (Todd Kirkland/AP)

Here’s guessing this pitch was a strike. (Todd Kirkland/AP)

These random ravings are presented in the aftermath of Ervin Santana’s dazzling debut — eight innings, three hits, no runs, no walks, six strikeouts, 88 pitches, 65 strikes — as an Atlanta Brave.

1. Is Ervin Santana really Greg Maddux with a better fastball? Yes, I’m exaggerating. Maddux did this sort of precision thing every night for two decades, but still: When you don’t throw your second non-strike until you’re facing the leadoff man in the fourth inning, you’re dealing at the highest level. On his first night with his new team, Santana needed 29 pitches, 28 of them strikes, to record nine outs. By way of contrast, the Mets’ Zack Wheeler — the East Paulding product who’s considered one of the best young pitchers in baseball — needed 18 pitches to record one out, and by then his team trailed 1-0. Asked how this game compared to his 2011 no-hitter as a Angel, Santana said: “That’s better than a no-hitter. When you throw the ball over the plate, you’re in control.”

2. Jason Heyward had himself a night. He entered hitting .107, having gone 0-for-the-past-22. But he led off the first by fouling off six Wheeler pitches, and he capped the at-bat with a rocket of a home run over the right-field fence. He would single his next two times up, the latter knock driving home the Braves’ second run. (After a Santana single, the fifth hit of his 10-year big-league career, pushed Evan Gattis to third base.) Heyward had said after going 0-for-5 Tuesday that he felt his at-bats were getting better, and that 11-pitch plate appearance in the first inning proved the point. Heyward also made a lunging grab of David Wright’s liner to save a run, which would turn out to be a big deal because …

3. The matchless bullpen nearly let the lead slip. With the Braves leading 4-0, Santana exited after eight innings. But Jordan Walden walked Eric Young Jr. to start the ninth, and David Wright’s single forced Fredi Gonzalez to summon Craig Kimbrel. Problem solved, right? Uh, no. Kimbrel walked Curtis Granderson to load the bases. Two more hits made it 4-3 with the tying run at third, whereupon Kimbrel struck out Ruben Tejada to end it. Which only goes to show that the best in the business isn’t at his best every single night.

From myajc.com, our premium site: Santana’s stellar debut features great pitching and a key single.

Reader Comments 0

18 comments
ColdSplash
ColdSplash

Gee your right. The only problem this team has is BJ the worst FA signing possibly in history Upton, Dan just give me 7 years to prove I can hit like I used to Uggla, carrying three stupid catchers, no lead off hitter and not trying to find one, a propensity to work your best pitchers into tommy john surgery and the idiot running the whole circus Fredi the Joke Gonzalez.

ChasZee
ChasZee

Really like a batting order of Heyward, Simmons, Freeman and Johnson. But also like having Simmons add spark at the tail-end of the lineup.

AlwaysReady
AlwaysReady

Maybe Fredi Gonzalez was right

about not using Craig Kimbrel to close the last playoff game against the Dodgers.

Waredawg
Waredawg

@JackClemens


Forget about consistent offense. When the fans get excited about 4 runs (and as the 9th showed, 4 runs isn't much), it's time to be very worried about your team. I like the revised lineup, BJ should never be in the 2-hole again, even if he plays. Need to give Schaeffer a real chance to show what he can do.


The Braves totally failed to address the offense in the off season and still have major deficiencies with no true leadoff hitter, too many strikeouts and no ability to create runs. Don't think Schaeffer is the long term answer in CF, but a better option than BJ (possibly the worse for value FA signing in last 20 years in majors). If Jordan can hit .250 or better, then let him bat leadoff and move Jason down to 4 or 5th where his power translates into rbi's. Dan looks better, but not totally sold on his "comeback". Give Pena a start every 3 or 4 games, and go with the hot bat.


I've predicted 85 wins preseason, but pitching looks better than expected. If Santana wins 15+ and Minor comes back at close to last season, 90 wins may be doable in the weak East. Don't expect much from Floyd, another wasted signing (already struggling in rehab starts).


Baring a major trade, offense will struggle all year. 2014 Braves are a playoff team - maybe, but a WS team,

would take a miracle. Could be worse, at least we aren't the Cubs or Astros. GO BRAVES!



popeye47
popeye47

Gonzalez is a clone of Bobby Cox.  That is why he got the job.  This club is stuck in losing ways and will never be a winner until they get rid of this dead weight.  But friends are friends, right.  No matter if they are losing, or not.

TampGator1
TampGator1

Bobby Cox did not believe in letting his pitchers pitch a complete game.  Used to drive me crazy.  Seems like Gonzalez is following in Cox's footsteps in that area.  But, with only 88 pitches and a shutout going, Santana should have gone out to start the ninth last night, especially with a 4 run lead.  Wish I could have seen the game.  Love pitchers who throw strikes and pitch quickly.   

BrandonHirst
BrandonHirst

@TampGator1 Hindsight and all. If Santana had stayed in the 9th and gave up 5 runs, how many of us would be throwing our hands up at Fredi's choice? But yeah, he should of been able to finish the game.

oldcrackerfan
oldcrackerfan

@BrandonHirst @TampGator1 

Yours is the first post I can heartily endorse.  Everybody who has never managed a game of any kind, let alone a major league game, knows how to do it better than professional.  Sitting behind a computer and complaining is epidemic on sites like this.  Other folks are out there actually trying to accomplish something and have the training and experience to do it--some of the time.  Baseball being what it is, the best efforts of the best participants don't always work.  On a happier note, wouldn't it be nice for Chipper to visit the batting cage more often?  He explained BJ's hitch perfectly, just now, and BJ came through.  It couldn't have been scripted any better.  I think pro ballplayers with big bank accounts and big egos are much more likely to listen to ex-players; they respect them more than coaches.  If BJ gets some of his confidence back, and Chipper is just the guy to give it to him, we might be very pleasantly surprised at what he can do. 

TampGator1
TampGator1

Why was Santana on the market when the Braves signed him at the last moment?  Don't get that.  Were his contract demands too high?  Glad the Braves have him for one year, at least.  Hopefully, they will sign him to an extension before season's end.   

BrandonHirst
BrandonHirst

@TampGator1 Because signing Santana would have cost a team their first round pick in the draft. Since the Braves already had another 1st Round pick from McCann signing with the Yankees, didn't hurt us too bad.

58Supersports
58Supersports

Santana worth ever penny of his contract....great job...great game.

Andrelton's  play was #1..the best SS in MLB.

Get the other bats going and "Let's Roll"  Braves!

BTC
BTC

Andrelton's spectacular plays have become so routine they don't even warrant a mention in the top three!! 

BRAVES2143
BRAVES2143

Santana was great but after only 88 pitches and a shutout why not send him out to start the ninth?  Just because you have a good bullpen does mean you have to use them every night but if that is your management style then please bring your ace closer in, you know the one who hasn't pitched in 4 days, to start the ninth.    


For the record, I wasn't a fan of the Santana signing because honestly 14mil+ is a lot of money for a one year rental but if he ptiches like this all season he will be worth every penny.  

Desperado
Desperado

It's his first game.  Didn't get a complete spring training to stretch out.  I was there and would've loved to see him complete the game.  But this early, I'd rather lean on the side of caution (besides, we do have Kimbrel).  Freddi and Roger had already said before he went out in the 8th that would be his last inning.  But I sure would've liked to see it.  Jury is still out if he's worth the 14mil rental.  But it's a damn good start.

JackClemens
JackClemens

If there is consistent offense, the Braves are going to be alright.

drew48
drew48

If Santana's performance isn't exciting, i don't know what is.

slydawg
slydawg

This season is going to be a roller coaster.