For the Braves, a sobering retreat from Coors Field

He’s not apt to go anywhere, folks. (David Zalubowski/AP)

It's so bad that even this guy has stopped hitting. (David Zalubowski/AP)

It’s so bad that even this guy has stopped hitting. (David Zalubowski/AP)

Coors Field is where bad-hitting teams go to start hitting, and the Atlanta Braves did — for one night. Then they stopped again. This was not an encouraging sign. For these punchless Braves, there may be no encouraging signs.

The Braves scored 13 runs on 16 hits on Tuesday. They scored five runs on 11 hits on Wednesday and Thursday. They were outscored over the four-game series 29-21. The Rockies had 42 hits to the Braves’ 35, and this was a Colorado team playing without starters Carlos Gonzalez, Michael Cuddyer and Nolan Arenado — and in the series finale without Troy Tulowitzki, who was given the day off.

The one game proved, sad to say, a blip. The Braves scored seven runs in the first inning Tuesday night. Their first runs on both Wednesday and Thursday came in the eighth inning when they trailed 8-0.

The Rockies entered the series with the worst ERA in baseball. Against the Braves, three of Colorado’s four starting pitchers worked quality starts (at least six innings with three or fewer earned runs). Two of the three — Christian Bergman in Game 1 and Tyler Matzek in Game 3 — were making big-league debuts. You know how it’s said that good pitching stops good hitting? With the exception of Game 2, bad pitching stopped bad hitting.

Although 21 runs in four games was a statistical outpouring by Braves’ standards, the setting — everybody hits at altitude! — and the pitching-strapped opposition actually rendered this series yet another substandard offensive showing. Things didn’t get better in Denver. They got worse.

The Braves had to settle for a split after winning the first two games, and they’re now a game behind Washington, which won three of four in San Francisco, in the National League East. On the season, the Braves have managed the third-fewest runs among the 30 big-league teams and the second-fewest runs with runners in scoring position, and they’re 26th in on-base percentage. Freddie Freeman, considered one of the best young hitters in the sport, went 1-for-16 at Coors Field and saw his average slip to .275.

From myajc.com: Sliding Braves appear to be in real trouble.

Also from myajc.com: How I’d maximize the Braves’ minimal lineup.

Again from myajc.com: A new low — the Braves are outhit by the Mariners.

Reader Comments 0

56 comments
maxman2660
maxman2660

tired of watching overpaid millionaires get the fat contract then get the lazy don't givadamn i got money in the bank attitude, i'm done with pro sports

Ersatz
Ersatz

The barves are the sorry baseball team that cobb deserves.  A match made in heaven!

Wilbo
Wilbo

This is a good thing! Hide this piece of dung team in the middle of a schlocky division and bury it there. At least we won't have to endure ANOTHER gutless flop in October. The Braves suck big time. Please stop pretending they are an organization of any consequence. Please...

BooBooBear
BooBooBear

I remember when Bobby Cox called time and walked to the middle of the diamond and replaced Andruw Jones for letting a pop fly land in front of him.  You sure don't see that kind of spine on the Fredster.  "Let'em drop," he must think, "we'll get them next time."  Sadly, the only one laying out trying to catch line drives and pop flies is Heyward.  They need a new stat that adds runs produced to runs saved.  Imagine how low BJ Upton would be then.  BJ in the lineup is a handicap that gives the other team.5 runs, before the game starts.  That is after you see he adds .001 runs for the Braves, by being in the batting order.  Justin Upton makes me remember the days Jeff Burrows grazed in left field for the Braves.

WhopperDawg
WhopperDawg

Yeah, just like when you asked if the Braves are in trouble, they are.


Can't hit. Just simply can't hit. And it is not going to get better. I think they are what they are.

RangeRover
RangeRover

Since the Braves started the season at 17-7 they are 17 -24 since.  That's a 41 game slide.  

41 games is not  simply a bad streak; 41 games is a symptom of an obvious problem...and it starts with the dumbest, most inept manager in baseball whom has stubbornly and stupidly penciled in the most illogical, dysfunctional lineup game after game.  Lineup strategy affects every single position in that lineup.

Jack_Republican
Jack_Republican

The team needs a new manager; Uggla and the brothers need to go. 

9awebb
9awebb

I've got the solution. Let's keep hitting BJ second. 

DrPhill
DrPhill

Sobering for whom?  Certainly not for Gonzo, Wren, Simpson, and Sutton, nor for the gaggle of lollygaggers, which does not include Gattis.  Perhaps some of the enthusiasm and energy of Mike Trout will rub off on the cast of the Walking Dead this weekend.

Mr. Negative
Mr. Negative

haaaHAAA FREDO HAS EM ROLLING 17-24 SINCE THE OPENING STREAK. PITCHING IS WEARING DOWN BUT STILL DECENT, BUT THIS BUM LINEUP IS QUITE DELICIOUS. MR. NEGATIVE SEES .400 BALL THE REST OF THE WAY. STEAKS ON THE GRILL!!

BooBooBear
BooBooBear

If the Braves want to have a religious ceremony and cast all the sins of the players on one scapegoat, and send that person off into the wilderness so the others might win against the bad teams, I place Chip Carey's name in the hat.  Somebody needs to take his 1960 edition of Baseball Clichés away and burn it.  I think the experiment of broadcasting an NFL football game without announcers would work with the Braves.  Think of the money the owners of the Braves could save by not having to pay idiot broadcasters. 

BooBooBear
BooBooBear

"Sobering" (in this case) is defined as, "Devoid of frivolity, excess, exaggeration, or speculative imagination; straightforward."  This means the "drunken" state of fantasy, thinking the Braves were truly capable of  victories (more than defeats) has worn off.  There will be no hugs in Mudville (a.k.a. Atlanta).  The mighty Freddy has struck out (He can't hit a lefty).  

extremus
extremus

Riddle:  What travels all over the country but only goes south and downhill?


Answer: The 2014 Atlanta Braves


The wheels, they are beginning to fall off.  Heads MUST begin to roll at some point.

MichaelHannigan
MichaelHannigan

There is no camaraderie nor any team "chemistry" now.  Wren has ruined that with his dealings.  Guys on the team making millions and not producing, lack of a belief they can "pull out a win" in late innings, etc.  The list and the problems just go on and on and on and..ad infinitum

DarianFisher
DarianFisher

Braves will be 10 games back by Sept. 1st..I guarantee it!

rockinreel
rockinreel

Chipper Jones, please come back from retirement!  We need a solid bat in the lineup!

ShovelPlease
ShovelPlease

There is but one answer to all that ails the Braves:  Frenchy!  Bring'im back!

Intruder
Intruder

Wren cannot be judged on what he has done well or not done well exclusively. He must be judged on his overall performance. I think most fans would find him guilty of at least second degree mediocrity, which just won't cut it.

highfive
highfive

Until the Braves are willing to either waive or trade both uptons and uggla they will effectively be playing with one hand tied behind their backs. The roster needs a wholesale make over but this is a good place to start. And while they are at it, Wren and Fredi need to be shown the door. They are responsible for roster construction and how the players are deployed. 

We_Will_Get_Fooled_Again
We_Will_Get_Fooled_Again

Wren has been an enigma. He's done some things exceptionally well, like consistently find quality pitching on the cheap, but he's been disastrous in other areas, namely big-dollar free-agent acquisitions. I've waffled back and forth over the years on whether or not I'm a Wren supporter. 

The Chris Johnson extension might have been where Wren lost me for good. Locking up a third baseman who doesn't take walks, doesn't hit for power, and is below-average in the field made no sense at all. I like Chris' passion for the game, but he doesn't give us the production we need from third base. I don't blame him for being a flawed player. I do, however, blame Wren for not identifying these flaws before he committed to him as the third baseman of the future.

Johnson isn't as overpaid as Uggla and Upton, but this is yet another bad contract that Wren has handed out, further handicapping our already-limited financial flexibility.

Waredawg
Waredawg

Greasefire! Stick a fork in them, the're done. Or for you literary types, when it comes to the Braves,

"There is no there there".


This mess is mostly Wren's fault, this is not a well constructed roster (for the money paid). Start with the horrible history of free agent signings, the under-contract guys we extended and overpaid (Uggla),

and the bad draft history (our farm is bereft of position players, and way too many pitchers, which we hoard, and misuse - Wood/Hale). And mark my words, we will come to rue at least 1/2 of the extensions that everyone was so excited about this winter, if we aren't already. Way overpaid for Freddie and paid too early for Kimbrell, Simmons, Teheran, and Johnson. And the Heyward signing never made a lick of sense to me, all we got was avoiding a couple of potential arbitration hearings - huh? I'll give Frank credit, he's good at dumpster diving for end of the year "fill-ins", but only cause he has to be thrifty, there's never any money left for a major move, because of the botched free agent signings or extensions.


Freddi must go, how can you be that clueless, loss after loss. And of course, the biggest free agent bust in Braves history does just enough (hr. at meaningless time) to justify running his .210 batting 

average out there game after game.


We'll be 5+games out by the break, and even if by some miracle , make the WC game, out again in the 1st round.


And if I'm wrong, I'll man up and apologize to Frank, Freddi, and the true believers. This is a really average team, that could have been very good with some modest baseball common sense tweaking.


Chipper, please come home! GO BRAVES!

DawgDadII
DawgDadII

There is not just one problem and one solution, but there are a whole host of issues that do not seem to be getting addressed. For starters:

1. Bad contracts - cut Uggla and BJ and move on. Find a young centerfielder who isn't getting an opportunity for whatever reason, trade for him, plug him in, and move on. If Wren gets lucky the Nats or Marlins will give these guys a shot.

2. Questionable lineup decisions. La Stella should be at the TOP of the order. Gattis, when he doesn't catch, needs to play left field or first base, not sit on the bench. Maybe Evan catches fewer games to stay fresh, so be it. Drop Freeman to fourth, or fifth until he starts hitting.

3. Shore up the roster. The Braves are thin in the outfield, in the bullpen, and on the bench. Trade a veteran starter, plug one of the kids (Wood or Hale) back into the rotation.

4. Weak coaching. Dascenzo is effectively getting OJT at third base, he's a disaster waiting to happen. Hitting coaches can't seem to convince Simmons to level off and focus on making hard contact, shoot for the gaps. Simmons, IMHO, should be hitting .290+ and higher in the order; he gives himself up too many times swinging like Dan Uggla.

58Supersports
58Supersports

Wren put this team together and Fredi is his man. Wren has cost Braves organization Millions on bad contracts.  All the blame is on FRANK WREN....Fire Wren !!!!!!!!!!

RangeRover
RangeRover

Mark,

I think it's time for you to get some private time with some of these players. I know firsthand several are not impressed with their manager and this is beginning to show in their attitude, demeanor and play. He has butchered the opportunity to amass a larger lead and thus butchered their spirits.

DavidinVirginia
DavidinVirginia

>>...and they’re 26th in on-base percentage.<<

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

Even if you hit a lot of HRs (and they're not even doing that lately, aside from Gattis), if they're all solo shots, you're still going to lose unless you get great pitching almost every night. Honestly, this just isn't a very good baseball team. It was built that way by Frank Wren. Lots of great athletes, but few if any very good baseball players with high baseball IQs. No plate discipline and no discipline of any sort on many occasions. We'd probably kick butt if we got to play the rest of the MLB teams in say, flag football, or track & field, but at baseball? Not so much. And this is not a problem that will get fixed quickly...it's organization wide and deeply entrenched. A good start would be firing Frank Wren, though, but I'm not going to hold my breath waiting for that to happen. Either the Uggla extension and the BJ signing should have gotten him fired by itself, much less both of them, and it didn't happen. I doubt it will now.

Birdhair
Birdhair

@RangeRover you're so clueless it ain't funny. Who built this team? Who is the reckless spending white haired clown upstairs? Fire Wren!

DavidinVirginia
DavidinVirginia

@DrPhill Speaking of Mike Trout, he is excellent case in point of what is wrong with the way the Braves make personnel decisions, especially regarding the draft. He went in the draft at #25 in 2009. The Braves drafted #7 that year (Mike Minor). Now, I like Mike Minor, but...I'd give you 6 or 7 Mike Minors to get one Mike Trout. Any day of the week. Or, put another way, imagine this team having had Mike Trout roaming CF the past 2+ years instead of what's been out there.

DavidinVirginia
DavidinVirginia

@BooBooBear I so do NOT believe that boy really has Skip Caray's DNA in him. The intelligence genes surely skipped a generation if he really is Skip's son. And what is it with the leather-tan, greasy lounge lizard look? Does he think he's playing a cheap piano bar in Vegas?

I watch the Braves without announcers all the time. The mute button was made for folks like Chip. :-)

MichaelHannigan
MichaelHannigan

@DarianFisher 

Why wait till September?  Being early June I've gone on the "books" with three (3) other pridictions i have put money on:

(1)  Will not see first place again;

(2)  Will be at least 5 games out of first by the end of June, and,

(3) Of course, be no where near th playoffs picture.

Anyone want to take the bet?

RangeRover
RangeRover

@rockinreel

No!

The last thing this team needs is a chronically injured, often lackadaisical and low moral standard player.  What this team need is a manager with a triple-digit IQ!

DavidinVirginia
DavidinVirginia

@rockinreel You know, even with Chipper's creaky old knees, I doubt that the defense at 3b would be any worse than it is now.

DavidinVirginia
DavidinVirginia

@Intruder He does fine on picking up fill-ins, bench guys, cast-off bullpen arms that the Braves successfully rehab...that sort of thing, he's actually quite good at (or else he leaves minor decisions like that to others...that would explain his success there, too). But, don't let the guy near any decisions on big name/big $ free agent signings or anything resembling a "blockbuster" trade. The Braves will end up worse every single time on those.

njbraves
njbraves

Waiving Uggs needs to happen. BJ is going nowhere, though he's terrible, and Justin has been the best hitter on the team overall. Get a clue man.

MichaelHannigan
MichaelHannigan

@We_Will_Get_Fooled_Again We will...


I agree with your post 100% except for the past tense usage describing Frank Wren:  I would submit that he IS an enigma...now and will continue to be until a "clean house" order comes down from the top (if ever it will).

Bravesfan54
Bravesfan54

@We_Will_Get_Fooled_Again Totally agree with all of your comments.  I have rather consistently been down on long-term contracts - even Freddie Freeman's 8 year deal has too much risk to suit me. (Who'd of thought Dan Uggla, with a much longer track record of big production, would have so dramatically flamed-out.) While a decent argument can be made for the FF deal, the Chris Johnson contract was just plain foolish. 

GetontheGusBus
GetontheGusBus

@We_Will_Get_Fooled_Again but if he hit like last year you would be praising Wren. If Johnson pulls out of this funk he is in and hits for 280 for the year it will be a plus. I agree BJ and Uggla need released.

Retired-Soldier
Retired-Soldier

@We_Will_Get_Fooled_Again  I would add one more point about Johnson, he doesn't run hard to 1st when an out is fairly obvious. Every player on every play should bust their can to first, Uggla does to his credit. If you can't bust it down the first base line you can should be on the bench.

The Hammer
The Hammer

@DawgDadII1. Uggla and B.J. are cancers. Expensive one's at that. Maybe Wren could package B.J. along with Justin to some desperate team and possibly pass along an underachiever or 2 just to try to shake things up. Certainly aren't going to get top notch prospects in return for anyone's last name that begins with the letter U. Simply cut Uggla and promote Gosselin. 


2. Couldn't agree more about LaStella and Gattis. No clue about what has happened to Freddie's bat. Eyes? Fatigue? 


3. Make some wholesale changes accross the board via trade, cuts, promotions.


4. T.P. should be coaching 3B. In fact, he should be the manager...

RangeRover
RangeRover

@Birdhair

Hey stupid.  Who is the person filling out the lineup card and letting starting pitchers bat in the 7th inning while behind in the game?  On second thought, calling you stupid is an insult to stupid people.

Andy132
Andy132

@DavidinVirginia 22 other teams passed on Trout also so I don't think it's fair to criticize the Braves for not drafting Trout. Obviously the scouting report of most teams was not very good for him. 

DrPhill
DrPhill

@DavidinVirginia David, Mike Trout is Mickey Mantle without the girls and beer.  I would love to see him play.  The contrast between Trout and the Upton brothers will be very apparent to Braves' fans this weekend.  I still have hope for Heyward.

Andy132
Andy132

@DavidinVirginia Agree with you on this one. I hate it when he does the impression of Skip and tries to do all his old jokes. Just leave it be Chip. Unfortunately, we will be stuck with him for many years. I do like Joe Simpson though. 

Joemac48
Joemac48

@Bravesfan54 @We_Will_Get_Fooled_Again  Wren has made trades almost impossible with all the long term contracts. BJ needs to be gone, but will not be; Uggla was good playing for the Marlins, a last place team. It is a lot easier to hit when there is no pressure on you to perform than when you are in playoff contention, and each at bat is important. As far as CJ goes, there is a reason why he could not make it with the D'backs or the woeful Astros, and yet Wren signs him long term too. Braves have decent talent, just not playoff good talent. Nationals by far the best team in the East, with emphasis on the word TEAM. Braves play like 25 individuals, with each player wanting to make the big swing, get the big home run. They will not play small ball, and that costs them games they should be able to win. All the while, Fredi stands in the dugout with a finger stuck up his ___. Fredi needs to go, and so does Wren, and the team needs to eat some contracts and some of the overpriced underachievers need to pack their bags and leave.

We_Will_Get_Fooled_Again
We_Will_Get_Fooled_Again

Johnson's success last season was driven by an unsustainably high BABIP of .393. A regression this year was highly predictable. Having said that, I do think Johnson is better than what he's shown this season. But if he doesn't hit .321 like he did last year then his value is very limited because he doesn't do enough other things well.

DavidinVirginia
DavidinVirginia

@Andy132 @DavidinVirginia So, your defense of Braves management is "hey, they're just as stupid as a lot of others"? It's not just the Minor/Trout thing...there have been a lot of drafts like that one, except in most of them, they didn't even end up with someone as good as Minor. Lots and lots of "tools" guys who never were able to learn to be good baseball players.

DavidinVirginia
DavidinVirginia

@Andy132 @DavidinVirginia I wince every time he tries to do the Skip thing..and try is all he does; he never manages it. 


I like Joe better than I used to, but he really needs a good play-by-play guy to be paired with, and Chip ain't it. But yeah, I can't imagine they're ever fire Skip's son, just for the PR hit they'd take for doing it. Sort of like why they'll probably never dump Uggla or BJ.