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Tim Kurkjan on Baseball Tonight....


pit&atlfan81
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Looking at this realistically, he's probably right. Let's face it, our offense was abysmal last year, particularly from our OF. Did we really get better offensively? I have no doubt that Schafer will be great for us eventually in CF, but he's a rookie. He's most likely going to take his lumps early in the season. In LF, we add a solid bat in Garret Anderson, but he's not going to give us much power. He'll put together good ABs all the time, but he's not the big run-producing LF that most teams crave. And then in RF we're relying on Francoeur to put it together after an awful 2008. I have no doubt that he'll be much better this season, but will it be enough?

Then we have Chipper and McCann who will be great, but will Chipper play 140-150 games like he wants to? We can expect him to get banged up at some point. It's simply inevitable. Will KJ, Yunel, and Kotchman be able to step up in his absence?

However, just because our offense doesn't score many runs doesn't mean we can't be good. Just like Joe Simpson was talking about today, our rotation appears to be very solid and durable. We're going to get a ton of quality starts out of spots 1-5 in the rotation. And the bullpen appears to be above average assuming everyone stays relatively healthy. We need to play better defense. That's going to be key, too.

So, yes, I agree that we may have some problems scoring runs, but that doesn't mean we're going to be lousy again. I think our pitching is going to be too good for us to be as bad as we were in 2008.

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Our offense can score massive amounts of runs, we saw it in spurts last season. The problem last year was the lack of clutch hitting and patience at the plate. I look for McCann and Francouer to both have better years in the RBI category and Chipper is going to be Chipper. Schafer as well as Anderson and Diaz platooning in LF is going to produce more than those two positions did last year. I really think that patience at the plate this year will result in a good offense.

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We have a lot of iffy players. We know what we're going to get from McCann and Anderson has been pretty steady over his career, but that's about it. Healthy Chipper is money, but who knows what injuries he'll suffer. Schafer's a rookie. Then you got all these two-faced players like Yunel (07 or 08?), Francoeur (07 or 08?), Kotchman (Angels or Braves?), and Diaz (06/07 or 08?). Fortunately it's pretty much a lock for Francoeur, Kotchman, and Diaz to play better assuming they stay healthy. Kelly Johnson is kind of a wildcard, because he goes through extended stretches of great play or horrible play during the season. I'm waiting for him to put it together and become more consistent and shorten those slumps he goes through. He has a nice combination of speed and power that could make him an All Star caliber player.

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Our offense can score massive amounts of runs, we saw it in spurts last season. The problem last year was the lack of clutch hitting and patience at the plate. I look for McCann and Francouer to both have better years in the RBI category and Chipper is going to be Chipper. Schafer as well as Anderson and Diaz platooning in LF is going to produce more than those two positions did last year. I really think that patience at the plate this year will result in a good offense.

You hit the nail on the head. Last year, we were pretty solid offensively, but we lacked clutch hitting. The difference between '07 and '08 was Edgar Renteria (people underestimated his effectiveness in our lineup, and how clutch he was) and Jeff Francoeur. Outside of Chipper, they were our most clutch hitters the past couple of years. With the loss of Edgar, and Jeff's tremendous struggles, we lost a lot of punch in the lineup. If Jeff can get anywhere close to what he has in '06/'07 when looking at those numbers, along with McCann's emergence as our top hitter, this lineup will put up great numbers. Post All-Star break, we were middle of the pack in almost every category (minus HRs, where we were 29th out of 30). We actually ranked 3rd in the NL in batting average (.001 behind LA for 2nd, and .012 behind St. Louis).

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