Summer vacations and work have kept us pretty quiet around here. But really, there isn’t a whole lot to talk about. No jersey sales, no players arrested. The Braves have the 4th best record in baseball, so nothing to complain about there. But I’m back, nice and tan from spending a week at the beach, have caught up on work stuff. I’m ready share some thoughts on Caleb King and the Atlanta Braves:
Caleb King: Not surprised to hear that Caleb King won’t be suiting up this fall. From what Coach Richt and Seth Emerson have said, he was a nice enough guy, and he didn’t take any parting shots on the program like some other disgruntled running back did.
It stinks that Caleb won’t be around this fall, but as I have said many times, having Caleb King was not going to propel us to a SEC Championship, and likewise, not having him is not going to cause UGA to go 6-7 again. Because, basically, he has done nothing in his time in Athens. I said it a while ago, and it rings true again:
One, King is not a reliable back. He has missed 8/24 games the last two seasons. I am sorry, but a reliable back does not miss a third of your games over the course of two seasons. Some the factors have been beyond his control, like injuries. But he can control some of his off the field shenanigans. Two, King has not been very productive. You can blame some of that on the running back by committee approach, but I contend that if he was as really good, he would be the featured back. King had a meager 430 yards rushing and 8 yards receiving for 2 total touchdowns in 2010. I will take out 2008 since Knowshon was the featured back, but in 2009 and 2010 King had a combined 1,024 yards and 9 rushing TDs. That is not very impressive over the course of two seasons.
The only person to blame here is Caleb King. He was ineligible for the bowl game for failing to complete 6 hours…2 classes. Surely there are 2 classes he could have taken last fall. With the resources that are available for UGA Student Athletes, there is no excuse for this. I had a friend that tutored football players in Rankin Smith. There is mandatory study hall. There is tutoring available. There are easy majors to enroll in. There is no excuse not to get it done.
There won’t be a veteran back to help Crowell, but that is probably OK. The UGA offense works at its best when there is a feature back. We won’t have to worry about much of a running back by committee approach, because there is not much of a committee. Richt and Bobo were going to hitch their wagon to Crowell anyway, so this only helps speed along the inevitable.
Braves: In all fairness, in last night’s All-Star game, the American League didn’t have its full array of pitchers. But, dadgum, the National League has some great pitching. Phillies and Braves pitchers combined for 6.2 IP last night (and Tommy Hanson SHOULD have pitched also). I think that sums up why those two teams are the clear class of the NL. We should get some solace in the fact that Braves pitchers out did Phillies pitchers last night. Check out these stats: Jurrjens, Kimbrel and Venters-3.0 IP, 1 H, 1 BB, 2 K, 0 R. Halladay and Lee-3.2 IP, 3 H, 0 BB, 1 R, 1 K. Both are good, but the Braves were a little better.
As we head deeper into the dog days of summer, the Braves seem like they are poised for a run at the Phillies. I have said all season the Braves ain’t catching up with the Phillies, but damn if they might just do it. Both pitching staffs are awesome, and the Phillies have, on paper, the clear advantage on offense. But don’t sleep on this Braves lineup yet.
According to DOB, the Opening Day roster has appeared in 11 total games together. Martin Prado is poised to come back, Chipper will be back, rested and healthy for the playoff run. Jason Heyward, Freddie Freeman and Dan Uggla are all starting to come alive offensively. Considering the Braves went about what seemed like 2 months with a Triple-A outfield, the mere fact they have the 4th best record in baseball is astounding. Fredi Gonzalez should be named manager of the first half. Great job keeping things together.
I am of the opinion Wren should make a deal to improve our lineup. Our guys are coming into full swing (pun intended), but offense is our clear weakness, while we have an abundance of pitching. You can’t move Lowe due to his age and contract. Hudson, Hanson and Jurrjens are untouchable. I think with the young depth of Mike Minor, Julio Teheran, Kris Medlen and Brandon Beachy Wren and the Braves could make a move for a solid left fielder to shore up our offense even more. I also would not be opposed to dangling Jonny Venters out there if the price was right. Because WHEN we met Philadelphia in the NLCS, we have the pitching to stand toe to toe with them, but runs will be at a premium.