The Atlanta Braves went 2-4 in a week, and we thought, "Not too bad." They lost two series, and we thought, "Didn't get swept." They were two extra-inning losses from winning each series, and we thought, "They're improving."
When you're the worst team in baseball -- and the Braves still are, despite the best/worst efforts of the Twins -- and you started 0-9, you've driven expectations so low that anything short of losing every game by 10 runs constitutes a moral if not actual victory. At this late date, Fredi Gonzalez doesn't need a cue to break out the B-word, but he employed it after Sunday's loss in Kansas City. "We battled," he told reporters, as ever.
Then this: "It's just a shame you walk out of here feeling pretty darn good, but your record -- you lost two out of three."
Well, yes. There is that record. And it is terrible. The Braves remain on pace to lose 121 games, which would be a modern record. They're last in in the majors in scoring -- by 19 runs. Every other big-league team has hit more than three times as many homers. But here, if you really want a sign of improvement, it is:
The starting pitchers for the worst team in the majors have compiled the 15th-best ERA, which puts the Braves' rotation in the top half. Not one of the current five starters is older than 25.
Remember that part about rebuilding around young pitching? It's happening, folks. Now if they could just figure out a way to win a game 0-0.
Further glad tidings: