Redemption 101: The Atlanta Braves’ 2012 Season

A lot can be said about the Braves’ historic collapse at the end of last year.

After coming so close last year, the Braves are hungry for October baseball in 2012.

The blame could be placed on anyone and everyone, from the team that narrowly snatched the National League Wild Card from them, the St. Louis Cardinals — who eventually went on to win the World Series — to the Braves’ closer, NL Rookie-of-the-Year Craig Kimbrel. No matter what you say or who you choose to blame, one question stands out for Atlanta this season: How do you come back from the largest collapse in the history of baseball?

On August 25 last season, the Braves led the Cardinals by 10 1/2 games in the NL Wild Card Race — although at that point, it was more like a speed walk for Atlanta, who had all but wrapped up a postseason berth. Then, almost as if the entire team forgot to wear their slump-busting undies at the same time, they lost 18 of their 27 games in September and missed the playoffs, with their absolute breakdown culminating in a three-game sweep at the hands of your Philadelphia Phillies that knocked the Braves out of contention on the last day of the season.

Now, the redemption project begins. Continue reading

The Washington Nationals’ “State of the Union”

Much like the Miami Marlins did, the Nationals restocked their roster and pitching staff this

Stephen Strasburg will lead a young, determined rotation in 2012.

offseason, however they did not change their name. Meet the newest threat to the Phillies’ reign over the NL East (sounds familiar), the 2012 Washington Nationals.

Let’s start with the position players in the Nationals’ starting nine, or rather, eight. Continue reading

Worst to First? The 2012 Miami Marlins

Last season, the Marlins stormed out of the gates, playing to a 16-9 record after the

The Marlins' new look

season’s first month. Then, after an average month of May, everything went downhill. June was a nightmare for the artists formerly known as the Florida Marlins: a 5-23 record, the loss of staff ace Josh Johnson, and the firing of manager Edwin Rodriguez took the Marlins off of the list of contenders last year. Just think about this — in the months of June and August, the Marlins were a combined 12-43. 12 wins in two months. To put that into perspective, the Phillies won 16 or more games  in every single month last season and only lost more than 12 in a month twice.

After finishing dead last in the NL East last year, they will be bottomfeeders no more: Meet the newest legitimate threat to the Phillies’ reign of terror — The 2012 Miami Marlins.

Continue reading

Marlins Acquire Carlos Zambrano

The Miami Marlins continued their scorching assault on the hot stove this offseason, agreeing to send pitcher Chris Volstad to the Chicago Cubs for their ace of the past decade or so, Carlos Zambrano.

The most shocking part of the deal, besides the deal itself, is that the Cubs were willing to eat up $15 million of Zambrano’s $18 million salary for next season. Continue reading