I saw the Braves play the Nationals twice this week. Twice I went to Nationals Park, a fantastic new stadium. Twice I saw Chipper Jones, Yunel Escobar and Brian McCann, three of my favorite players. Twice I saw great starting pitching from the Braves.
Twice I saw the bullpen collapse.
Their relief pitching, which was supposed to be a strength at the beginning of the season, has become its biggest liability. I have zero confidence in any reliever currently on the team. Rafael Soriano, originally slated as the closer, is on the DL. Mike Gonzalez, whom the Braves received in a trade before the start of the 2007 season and was designated the setup man, hasn't pitched at all. But now I can say with immense pride the greatest closer in Braves history is back: John Smoltz is going to the 'pen.
I know a pitcher has greater overall value as a starter, but I can't bear to watch another one-run loss. They're 0-9 in one-run games. 0-9! No other team in MLB has lost all its one-run games. These games are supposed to be coin flips; our luck can't be that bad.
Hurry back, Smoltzie. I don't think I can take much more heartbreak.