SportsCrack Blog

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


(AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
I think I crapped myself when the news broke last night. Cliff Lee to the Phils may have created the best pitching rotation since, well since baseball was invented. Four of the top four pitchers now pitch for the same team. I'm being a little dramatic, but still. This move goes back to the Braves model of overloading a team with pitching to ensure the win. The difference is the Phillies have one of the most potent offenses in baseball. Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Jimmy Rollins, Shane Victorino, and future superstar Dominic Brown to go with that rotation is simply unbelievable. I have to admit I did smile at the huge middle finger the Phillies just gave to the Yankees, but then realized the Braves are no longer the favorite to win the NL East and decided to throw up immediately. Is anyone else's head still spinning?!?!?

Let's look at this realistically. The Phillies rotation is simply amazing, but do the Braves still have a shot without adding a single player to their already tough line up? My answer may be a bit of a stretch, but yes. The Braves have a pretty solid pitching rotation themselves. Tim Hudson enjoyed a career season last year and has been a true ace since his days in Oakland, Derek Lowe remains a consistent top of the rotation guy, Jair Jurrjens (excluding injuries) has proven to be a young stud, and Tommy Hanson, the future ace of the staff, anchoring the rotation is not a pitching rotation to laugh at. If you look at our fifth starter, Mike Minor, I would be willing to argue that the Braves may have the second best rotation in baseball.

Further, if Chipper comes back healthy, a line up featuring Prado, Heyward, Chipper, McCann, Uggla, and Gonzo is not exactly a line up to take for granted. That's not even including a glimmer of hope that Freeman lives up to half of his billing. If you look at the possibility of McClouth returning to form or Schafer living up to expectations, the Braves 1 - 8 batters will be just as deadly as the Phillies.

Now let's consider the bullpen. There isn't a better bullpen in baseball than the Atlanta Braves. With Kimbrel and Venters anchoring and Marek coming up this year, the future still looks bright. The only thing the Braves could do is trade for an establish young center fielder or 3rd baseman, or better yet, talk Billy Wagner out of retirement.

If all other reasoning fails, the Braves only have to play the Phillies 15 times next season. I'll take 147 - 15 any year! Leave some comments and let me know what you think!