It’s finally here: Opening Day for the 2012 Atlanta Braves. The team is in New York to take on the Mets and finally play meaningful baseball.
After a relatively quiet offseason the Braves have a chance to get off to a good start against what should be the worst team in a highly competitive division.
Atlanta will open the season without Chipper Jones and Tim Hudson, although both should be back soon without missing too much time.
After a disappointing (which is putting it lightly) September, the Braves can get off to a fresh start. Although they play the Mets twice in the season’s first month, the rest of their games are outside of the division.
4/5: Tommy Hanson @ Johan Santana
4/7: Jair Jurrjens @ R.A. Dickey
4/8: Mike Minor @ Jon Niese
Tommy Hanson will make his first opening day start after recovering from an injury which caused him to miss the majority of the second half in 2011. He will face off with Johan Santana, who hasn’t pitched in a Major League game since 2010.
This will also be Hanson’s first start with his new delivery, and he should be able to cut through a Reyes-less Mets lineup.
Jair Jurrjens also gets to make his first start since returning from injury this series. He will face off with R.A. Dickey, who pitched extremely well against the Braves in 2011. In 27.2 innings, Dickey put up a 2.60 ERA and 1.05 WHIP against Atlanta.
In the final game of the series, Mike Minor gets to make his season debut against Jon Niese, who recently signed a contract extension.
Minor is beginning his first season with a spot in the Atlanta rotation from the get-go, and is primed to excel after a strong spring.
Niese didn’t dominate the Braves in 2011, and although he has put up a solid ERA against the Braves in his career (3.55) he has also allowed 56 hits in just 45.2 innings.
The Braves will likely win two games in their opening series, with the loss coming against R.A. Dickey who seems to always baffle Braves hitters. Even if they drop the middle game, a series win would be a great way for the Braves to start the year after a terrible end to the 2011 season.
Happy Opening Day Braves Fans!