Though it’s only one week into a six-month season, watching the Mets-Braves game last night made me feel a little better about the Braves losing two big run-producers during the off-season. I can’t imagine Javy Lopez will ever have another season like 2003, and Gary Sheffield and his busted thumb aren’t getting any younger. Still, it was a bit of a shock for a longtime Braves fan (dating back to the Dale Murphy years when they were the worst team in baseball) to see Lopez, Sheffield and Greg Maddux go. I was seriously considering ditching the Braves and just following the NL Central fight this year between the Astros’ and Cubs’ pitching staffs. But last night’s game was reassuring, and made me think that once again General Manager John Schuerholz has pulled the rabbit out of the hat. The important numbers: thirty runs in three games, with only two homers. True, the Mets played the field like a bunch of chimps on crank, but if the Braves can nickel-and-dime opposing pitchers like that all year long, they’ll do fine, probably finishing five or six games ahead of the Marlins.

And then they’ll lose in the first round of the playoffs. Again.