Further Review

Steve Hummer's Further Review blog offers comments, asides and quick hits on the state of sports

What, me worry over Braves' Colon and Dickey? Well, yes

Don’t know about you, but whenever someone advises me not to worry – whether it’s over the economy, the next mosquito-borne disease or your kid driving off to college – there is only one reasonable response.

You worry.

The more you’re told that all is well, that there is nothing whatsoever to worry about, the higher the stress level. For me, it is almost a Pavlovian response.

Which brings us to a pair of headlines over a topic that has no great world-shaping relevance, but is of some local interest:

“Bartolo Colon on his 9.20 spring ERA: Don’t worry I’ll be ready.”

And, then, there is its fraternal twin:

“Knuckleballer Dickey not worried about string of rough starts.”

Yes, as we are constantly reminded, it is only spring. And spring results, they say, are all air, no substance, like some foo-foo dessert.

But if that were the case, then why even keep statistics this time of year? Why should we even know that Colon has given up 15 earned runs in 14 2/3 innings or that the crafty knuckleballer has walked as many as he has struck out and given up 21 hits (three home runs) in 15 innings?

If none of it matters, why should we be encouraged by the good springs of Julio Teheran and Mike Foltynewicz? When, yes, Braves fans should be encouraged.

Sometime before the practice games are done, it would be nice to see these two temporary, but important, additions to the rotation stop working on stuff, stop pitching glorified batting practice and get to the business of retiring hitters.

The two were imported as innings-eaters to plug some noticeable holes while the Braves' multitude of young arms mature down on the farm. Colon and Dickey are significant short-term assets, and you’d prefer that the innings they eat aren’t all super-sized and smothered in hits and runs. That’s very bad for one’s digestion.

Don’t you have to be somewhat concerned when two over-40 pitchers – Colon is the oldest player in the majors – stack some bad outings? Inevitable is the day that every aging player falls off the cliff. You just don’t want it to be your cliff from which he plummets.

Real games begin in 12 days. Has there been any assurance yet that Braves fans aren’t required to hold their collective breath with every pitch Colon and Dickey deliver?

Thus, I choose to worry. Just a little.

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About the Author

Steve Hummer writes sports features for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He covers a wide range of sports and topics.