Open Thread, 4/11-12, Must Wins in April?

Not really. Only the most deluded optimist figured this team would contend.

Yes, a 1-7 road trip would be a dyspeptic start. It would bury the Bravos in a hole that would likely take weeks to dig out of because with this rotation, this pen, this defense, and this bench — OK, this team — long winning streaks appear unlikely.

Yeah. They really need to win at least one of the two games in Miami. Taking both would make a grisly trip merely bad. Yet in the big picture, a grisly start at worst means the Braves are less likely to threaten .500. It hardly means they’ll fall just short of a wild card spot.

It doesn’t inspire hope to see Emilio Bonifacio in the starting lineup this evening. Over the past three full seasons plus the first week of this one, the Santo Domingan has fewer home runs (14 to 3) and RBI (35 to 31) than Madison Bumgarner. Maybe comparing him to a good-hitting pitcher isn’t fair. Such is the state of the 2017 Braves’ bench. When you’re eager to see a 37-year-old who hasn’t hit above .229 the past three seasons (Ryan Howard) in uniform–and I am–you lack depth.

At least tonight the pitching match-up looks fairly promising. Colon was superb last time out. He faces Dan Straily, a thoroughly mediocre 28-year-old righty who, of course, could well shut out the Braves. Consider he’ll face: Inciarte, Dansby, Freddie, Markakis, Garcia (who has more errors, 2, than RBI, 1), Phillips, Flowers, Bonifacio, and Colon.

That lineup may not be the worst you’ll ever see, but it would be far more imposing with Kemp. And so far, the Braves are last in the league with 18 runs.

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