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Ubaldo Jimenez threw his second shutout of the season by out dueling The Freak Tim Lincecum 4-0 to become the Major's first 10 game winner. He just lowered his ERA to 0.78 while extending his scoreless innings streak to 26. This Dominican hurler is bringing back memories of Pedro in his prime.
At just 26 years old Jimenez has completely come into his own while pitching half his games in Coors Field which has been known to kill many of young pitcher's confidence. He already has a no-hitter and is on pace to win 32 games (yeah I know there is no way he wins that many but it is still fun to look at the projections) and has been by far the best pitcher in the game this year despite the exploits of Doc Halladay. Opponents are only hitting .172 against him.
The kid is fucking nasty. Plain and simple. Just give him the Cy Young now.
Tuesday, June 01, 2010
AJC PHOTO BY JASON GETZ
It's June 1st and the Atlanta Braves sit in first place for the first time at this stage in the season since 2005. They finished off a 20-8 May with a convincing 9-3 victory over the Phillies thanks to the bats finally heating up.
Bobby Cox and Frank Wren deserve some credit. Usually I give them more shit than they probably deserve but I figured why not point out some of the great things they have done this season. Wren's signing of Troy Glaus to a one year contract for pocket change has to be one of the best moves in the offseason. Glaus hit his 8th homer of the season, a 3 run shot in the 8th, which proved to be the final nail in the coffin. He now has 8 homers and 37 RBI's and is starting to resemble the prototypical cleanup hitter he was in Anaheim. For $1.75 million this year I would say Wren has knocked it out of the ballpark with this signing.
Bobby deserves some credit too for shuffling his lineup. The Braves started scoring more runs when they realized they should put their most consistent hitter all season in Martin Prado at the leadoff spot. Prado isn't going to steal you bases but he is going to get on base at an extremely better rate than Melky and Nate would. He has been a doubles machine this year and I believe without a doubt he deserves to make his first All-Star appearance.
Bobby also put Heyward at the top of the lineup. We all know about how great Heyward has been this season ever since his first swing. The kid is a beast and has earned his way the right way by crushing the ball pretty much every game. He also is deserving of getting an All-Star selection and hopefully the fans start to punch his name on the ballot by the millions since he has been the story of baseball (with a hat tip to Ubaldo Jimenez) through the first 50 games. As a 20 year old The J-Hey Kid has lived up to all the heavy expectations bestowed upon him in Spring Training and for the most part him and Prado carried the Braves offense through April. The good news is he can go 0 for 5 and yet the Braves can still manage to put 9 runs on the board now. This wasn't the case 3-4 weeks ago.
Cox has also gone with the hot hands in Eric Hinske and Omar Infante. Hinske has crushed all season and deserves to start in left field. He might not have the defensive range as Melky in left but with McLouth covering so much ground in center the trade off in minuscule. I've become a big Hinske fan and Wren all deserves credit for picking him up for cheap. The players seem to really like the guy and you can see why he has been a part of a club who has made the last 3 World Series.
The bats of Chipper, McCann, and Escobar are heating up. All of these guys are way too good to be struggling like they have through the first 40 games of the season and if you look at their career seasonal averages then you would expect them all to have great second halves. I'm still not giving TP any credit though. Sorry.
Also got to give credit for the Tim Hudson resigning. Hudson has been the ace this year. I've always been a big Huddy fan and it's great to see him back healthy for once and resembling those A's days when he would mow down some of the best hitters in the AL at alarming rates. With Huddy, Big Red Hanson, and the eventual return of Jair Jurrjens you have three of the best pitchers in the National League. Lowe could still be a money pitcher especially if they make the playoffs. Kawakami is questionable but his performance on Sunday was outstanding and as a 5th starter you won't be able to find many others who can match his stuff even though the 1 victory is cause for concern.
Overall I would say Cox and Wren have done an excellent job of piecing together this club. I know it's still early with 111 games to go but I like the way this team is meshing together. They seem to all be on the same page and pulling for each other and have a good collection of veterans (Chipper, Huddy, Lowe, etc.) and young studs (Heyward, Hanson, Escobar) that have one common goal in the end: Send Bobby back to the playoffs for one last hurrah!
Posted by Matt Fairchild (firstname.lastname@example.org) at 9:16 AM