Spring training a time for relaxation, not panic
Judging by what I’ve read, some of you already are, for lack of a better term, freaking out.
Granted, it’s like September never ended for the Braves. Two games into the spring schedule, and they have two losses. It’s not like they’re just 0-2, it’s the way they’ve lost their first two games.
In Saturday’s opener, they were listless and hitless until the eighth and finished with just one single in a 2-0 loss to Detroit. On Sunday, prized pitching studs Randall Delgado and Julio Teheran were abused. They gave up eight hits and 11 runs, but Teheran’s performance was especially gruesome — he gave up six home runs in two innings in an 18-3 defeat to those same Tigers.
It’s definitely not what was expected from the organization’s top two young arms.
Scary stuff for Braves fans, to be sure, but remember: It’s only two days into spring training. The season hasn’t started yet. These games don’t even count.
So to borrow the words of Chip Diller, Kevin Bacon’s character from “Animal House:” “Remain calm. All is well!”
To reiterate, these were the first two games of a spring training that lasts more than a month.
Spring training is practice.
It’s a time for players to work out the kinks, to go over fundamentals, to get to know their teammates, to throw pitches in situations they’d never throw them in the regular season.
It’s a time for teams to study prospects, to try out different lineups, to make sure their veterans work on their golf games and get plenty of rest for a regular season that lasts six months.
Of the players expected to start for the Braves this season, only Tyler Pastornicky and Martin Prado have more than three at-bats. Chipper Jones, Brian McCann, Dan Uggla, Jason Heyward and Michael Bourn didn’t even play on Sunday. First baseman Freddie Freeman has yet to see action while recovering from his knee injury.
And it might be tough to believe, but there have been highlights from the first two games.
• Joe Terdoslavich, who might replace Chipper Jones at third some day, has two hits in two at-bats. He hit 20 home runs and set a Carolina League record with 52 doubles for high Class-A Lynchburg in 2011.
• Lefty Mike Minor struck out three while allowing only a hit and no runs in two innings on Saturday. He’s in the running to start the season as the No. 4 or 5 starter.
• Sean Gilmartin, last summer’s top draft pick, threw a scoreless inning on Sunday. He was only one of three pitchers to survive the blowout unscathed.
• Prado has two hits in his six at-bats as the Braves hope he returns to the form he displayed with his lofty .307 average in 2010, not the .260 he struggled to hit in his injury-plagued 2011.
Manager Fredi Gonzalez doesn’t seem worried after what he witnessed from his team this weekend, especially about his two young guns.
“You want to see how they react the next time out,” Gonzalez told MLB.com. “But there is no doubt in my mind that they’ll be fine.”
He’s not panicking. Neither should you.