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412_day_game_thread_aint_it_a_beautiful_day_for_baseball | April | 2009 Articles

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4/12 Day Game Thread: Ain't It a Beautiful Day for Baseball?

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Common broomI can be a fairly choleric writer during the baseball season. I'm far more likely to complain about a defect than to praise a virtue, and I seem much more talkative when I'm unhappy than when I'm content. But you know what? The hell with that. It's a beautiful day for baseball, the Braves are in first place, the new baseball-reference.com is amazing, and everything about our team other than the bullpen looks awfully solid -- and our top three relievers in the bullpen turned in 3 scoreless innings yesterday.

So right now I'm happy. How happy? Check out the image to the right. That's right, baby. It's a shrub known as the Common Broom -- so, even if I did learn from our Phillies debacle that I shouldn't tempt fate by putting up pictures of floor brooms, there are a whole lot of brooms on God's green earth that I can taunt the Nats with. Let's get our first sweep of the year!

The Nationals are scoreless, which means that at some point Don Sutton will probably say that they're "due." ESPN's Accuscore predicts the Braves have a 61% chance of winning. We'll face Scott Olsen, who's a mercurial dude, and kind of feast-or-famine. Overall, he's got a 6.71 ERA against us in 51 innings (10 starts), with a 1.63 WHIP, 45 K against 24 BB, and he's given up an awful 12 homers. His career homer rate has always been pretty bad (1.4 HR/9 innings), but it's even worse against us, 2.12 HR/9.

Still, the game isn't a lock, because he'll occasionally just kill us, as he did last April 15: 7 innings, 5 hits, no runs, no walks. He can be a talented pitcher, but his strikeout rate has dropped precipitously since his rookie year -- from 8.3 K/9 in 2006, which is great, to 5 K/9 in 2008, which is bad -- and that is a trend that could derail his career if he can't start missing more bats.

We're running out the wonderful fantastic awesome Jair Jurrjens, one of the projections I got utterly wrongest last year. Interestingly, yesterday's pitcher for the Nats, Shairon Martis, occasionally looks a bit like a worse version of Jurrjens: they're both young (Martis is 22, Jurrjens 23) pitchers from Curaçao, Andruw Jones's home island. Neither gets a ton of strikeouts: JJ was at 6.6 K/9 last year and had a minor league K/9 of 7.2; Martis had a minor league K/9 of 7.5. Both have a fastball that sits in the low 90s with a ton of movement. Both work off their fastball and seem to pitch to contact because of all the movement they get on it. I'd say Jurrjens is basically the best-case scenario for Martis. Here's an interesting analysis of Shairon.

Enjoy the game!

(Here are highlights from yesterday's 5-3 win.)
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