Today is the first chapter of 162 for the Atlanta Braves, as they’ll be travelling to Queens to face off with the Mets this afternoon. The roster is set, disabled list moves have been made, and the pitching matchups for the first three games are set. It’s time to embark on this year’s journey!
The Braves are going to waste no time seeing how well they’re going to do within the division this year, as they’ll be seeing all of their NL East rivals this month. So this makes this general question of where the Braves will finish in the division this year a pretty relevant question. If you want to see what our staff thinks about the Braves’ chances in the division this year, then that’s the link for you.
The season may be starting, but previews are still rolling in. The latest one comes from Josh Benjamin of Forbes, who takes a look at this year’s Braves squad from multiple angles. He tries to identify the team’s strengths and weaknesses in order to come up with an idea of what to expect from this squad in the team’s first season in SunTrust Park.
David O’Brien of the AJC recently penned an article that tried to answer the question of how important the 2017 season is for the Braves. Should this be considered just another ‘throwaway’ season for the Braves as they look to seriously contend for the Postseason in 2018 and beyond? Or should this be the year that the Braves try to go for it as far as October is concerned?
...Consider the range of opposing views that I’ve heard when talking to folks inside the organization and around baseball about the 2017 Braves season, which go something like this:
This is an extremely important season for the Braves, the turning-point year in a major rebuilding project and the inaugural season in their new ballpark.
Or, this is not really such an important season for the Braves, since they didn’t really expect to contend until 2018, have made it a point to note they won’t rush prized prospects before they’re ready, and they’re guaranteed big crowds anyway because fans want to come check out SunTrust Park and The Battery.
For some reason, six teams actually got started with their regular season on Sunday. That included the Giants and Diamondbacks, who played an entertaining opener at Chase Field. It might be a new season, but something very familiar happened for the Giants — their bullpen basically snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. Even with Mark Melancon in their employ, the first game of 2017 seemed to continue a troubling trend for San Francisco.
Still pretty sure that Mark Melancon is good at his job. Still pretty sure that Derek Law is, too. Pretty sure the Giants are going to be fine. They lost their first three games in 2012, after all.
Did they have to lose this way, though. Couldn’t they have lost 11-0? Couldn’t Bumgarner have been off? Couldn’t they have been one-hit by Zack Greinke? Couldn’t Paul Goldschmidt have hit three homers? It’s so easy to write, “Ha ha, it’s just Opening Day, everyone! No big deal. It’s a long season.:
No. It had to be two blown saves. Apparently, we all have to face our deepest, bitiest demons right away.
In further strange scheduling news, not only were the Cubs one of the six teams who opened up the regular season on Sunday, they did so on the road. Additionally, they had to go into the hornets net of their hated rivals in St. Louis. At first, it seemed like the Cardinals were going to cruise to a 3-0 victory, but the Cubs tied it in the top of the ninth. However, they ended up losing it in the bottom of the ninth when Randal Grichuk brought in Jose Martinez with a walk-off single to give St. Louis their first win of the year.