Before the Braves headed home, I voiced my concerns about the same offense problems as 2011, the starters not going deep enough, and the team looked lost without Chipper. I have no idea what happened on the plane ride home, but at least for opening weekend the Braves made progress in each of those areas.
Friday had plenty of offense, but suspect pitching. Saturday saw Mike Minor going where no Atlanta starter has gone in 2012, into the eighth inning giving up just two hits. Although the pitching was stellar, it was another 2-1 game. (As a traditionalist, personally I love a good pitchers dual, but not just yet for the Braves.)
Then there is Sunday, beautiful Sunday. Chipper made his way back to the line up after missing the first to games of the home stand having his knee drained. He stepped to the plate for a three run blast, no big deal. More encouraging than that, Michael Bourn went 3-5, with a double and a stolen base, and Jason Heyward was 1-3 with a walk and a home run versus left handed pitching.
All total the Braves had 7 runs and 9 hits.
With Brandon Beachy on the mound the Braves did not need all their offense today, but you will hear no complaints here. Beachy pitched seven innings giving up 1 run, two hits and striking out six. He now sports a .75 ERA. Kris Medlen held steady in his one inning of work, but Chad Durbin pitched a three run ninth. Not to worry, Durbin pitched because the Braves had a six run lead and Jonny Venter and Craig Kimbrel needed the rest.
All in all, not a bad weekend at all for the home team. Let’s see if they can keep it up, and handle the Mets better than they did a week ago.