Braves drop season opener to Mets

Tommy Hanson allowed only one run, but still got the loss (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

As you read this, keep in mind that you’ve scored as many runs as the Atlanta Braves to this point in the 2012 Major League Baseball regular season.

But the Braves have played nine innings more than you.

So after a discouraging 1-0 loss to the New York Mets on Thursday afternoon, it’s easy to wonder if the Braves picked up where they left off at the end of the 2011 season. It’s easy to think that the Braves should have done more in an offseason where they mostly stayed the course and kept the roster mostly the same.

However, here’s a novel concept — don’t panic. It’s only one game.

Sure, it was only the fifth time in the 150 years of Braves baseball that the franchise was shut out on Opening Day. But this isn’t the NFL or college football. Teams can afford to lose quite a few games, and even the best teams lose 60 games.

This team has plenty of time to grow, and to grow up. They’re quite young, as ESPN’s baseball writer Buster Olney tweeted.

Keep in mind that the Braves faced a quality starting pitcher today in Johan Santana. He’s the Mets’ No. 1 arm, and he pitched like an elite pitcher today — five innings, two hits and five strikeouts.

On Saturday, the Braves will send Jair Jurrjens to the mound to square off against R.A. Dickey, who has given Atlanta problems in the past, but he’s not quite the level of pitcher that Santana is at the top of the Mets rotation.

We have a long way to go until we know what we have with this year’s Braves team, so fear not, fellow Atlanta fans — today wasn’t the same as last September. It was simply one game, and one that they probably weren’t supposed to win anyway.

Let the kids grow up.

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