Ok so I've been listening to all of the "analysts" do their best Ms. Cleo impersonations over the past few days and something struck me as odd. It seems like everyone over at ESPN has a crush for Larry and the Braves and most are citing their lineup and "deep" pitching staff. Ummmmmm unless I'm on a different planet, I just don't see this pitching depth that they all speak about. Let's examine the Mets pitching staff vs. the Braves pitchers:
Mets - Johan Santana, Pedro Martinez, John Maine, Oliver Perez, Mike Pelfrey/El Duque
Braves - Tim Hudson, John Smoltz, Tom Glavine, Mike Hampton, Jair Jurrjens/Jeff Bennett
Johan vs. Tim Hudson? Ok we all know that Johan is the best pitcher on the planet. So a check goes to the Mets immediately.
Pedro vs. Smoltz? Smoltz is good when healthy... as is Pedro. And if Pedro pitches like he did in spring training then watch out. They're both aging future hall of famers who know how to pitch and still have the stuff to back it up. I'll call this a wash.
John Maine vs. Tom Glavine? Tommy is a savvy vet but Mets fans got a chance to watch both of these guys pitch all of the time last year and right now, Maine is the better pitcher no question. Check goes to the Mets.
Ollie P. vs. Mike Hampton? You're kidding right? I know Ollie P. can be erratic but even so, he still won 15 games, was 9th in the NL in ERA with a 3.56 mark and struck out a batter an inning. Plus he totally pwns the Braves. Another check to the Mets.
Mike Pelfrey/El Duque vs. Jair Jurrjens/Jeff Bennett? I'm going to give this one to the Braves by default. Jurrjens has shown a lot of promise. And admit it Mets fans, Pelfrey has been a bit of a disappointment and El Duque will probably be injured for half of the season. That alone gives the Braves an edge.
Let's tally the score:
Mets 3, Braves 1. So the only thing the Braves has on the Mets when it comes to starting pitcher is that their 5th guy may be a little better than the Mets' 5th guy. Ooooooooh I'm scared lol.
Ok so the Mets win with starters hands-down. But what about the relieving core? Let's take a look:
Braves: Peter Moylan (R), Manny Acosta (R), Will Ohman (L), Chris Resop (R), Blaine Boyer (R),
Closer: Rafael Soriano (R)
Mets: Aaron Heilman (R), Pedro Feliciano (L), Scott Schoeneweis (L), Jorge Sosa (R), Joe Smith (R)
Closer: Billy Wagner (L)
I know the Mets relief pitching was horrible last year, especially during the infamous collapse. But for a good portion of the season, Pedro Feliciano was one of the better middle relievers in all of baseball. Aaron Heilman is certainly serviceable and if Schoeneweis getrs on the HGH again he may be able to regain his form. And say what you will about Wagner, he's still one of the better closers in baseball. As for the Braves, their closer Soriano is good but he doesn't have a track record yet as a bonafide closer. So Wagner gets the edge there. Point to the Mets.
Now i admit, I don't know much about the Braves middle relievers, but from what I have seen so far, they should be at least on par with the Mets middle relievers. And since the Mets middle staff performed so horribly during the end of last season (I'm still traumatized), I'm inclined to give the Braves the edge. Check to the Braves.
So that makes it Mets 4, Braves 2. The only places where the Braves outperform the Mets are at the 5th starter position and with their middle relievers. Oooooh I'm scared lol.
As you can see, the "analysts" rationale that the Braves have "deeper" pitching is really off-track. But it's ok, we'll see in September who has the better staff when Glavine is on the mound for the Braves with a playoff position on the line and Johan is on the hill for the Mets wrapping it up. We all know how well Glavine performed in the same spot for the Mets last year. Lol. Holla back.