Say hello to the tied-for-2nd-place Braves

Gerald Laird produces a run -- by hitting into a DP. (Todd Kirkland/AP)

Gerald Laird produces a run — by hitting into a DP. (Todd Kirkland/AP)

Gerald Laird produces a run -- by hitting into a DP. (Todd Kirkland/AP)

Gerald Laird produces a run — by hitting into a DP. (Todd Kirkland/AP)

They’re no longer in first place. They’re not even alone in second. After Tuesday night’s loss, the Atlanta Braves are 36-34, having gone 19-27 since April 27. With the series to just-out-of-last-place Philadelphia already lost, the Braves have won one of their past eight series. (Counting the two-game home-and-home sets with Boston as separate entities.)

This is not — long story short — going well. After scoring 17 runs in three games against a good band of Angels, the Braves have managed three in 22 innings against the Phillies. One of those runs came on a clean single. Another was on a bloop that dropped. The third was on a double-play grounder.

Those totals again: The Braves are 28th in baseball in runs, 26th in on-base percentage and 23rd in batting average. Their starting pitching, which has propped them up for more than 100 games, isn’t quite what it was, and the hitting is what it is. (Or, more accurately, what it isn’t.)

This being baseball, matters can change overnight. But right now, about the only thing the Braves have going for them is that they’re headed for D.C. for four games after today’s tilt with Philadelphia. And the thing they do best — or at least have done best — is beat the Nationals. If they ever stop doing that, they’re up Ye Olde Creek.

Update: Could this be Ye Olde Paddle? The Braves’ lineup for today’s game has Tommy La Stella batting leadoff and Jason Heyward hitting fifth. Justin Upton gets the day off. Ryan Doumit starts in left and will hit seventh. B.J. Upton isn’t playing, either; Jordan Schafer starts in center and bats eighth. Ramiro Pena starts at shortstop and bats second, though I know not why.

Reader Comments 0

33 comments
Wilbo
Wilbo

As far as rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic goes-- pretty good line-up change. I'm betting on a win today. In Washington, my guess is 3 for the Nats - 1 for the Bravos, and that's what I'm hoping for. Until somebody makes a serious effort to win w this organization I'm all for them languishing in their much deserved ineptitude. I despise this team, manager, front office, ownership as currently constituted, and the further they drop in the standings the better it suits me. I'm for seeing winners win and losers like the Braves lose.


Watch my Nats prediction be totally off. The Nats are almost as good as the Braves at wilting in the face of opportunity....

DrPhill
DrPhill

Wren is not just mediocre. He is a wrecking ball.

DrPhill
DrPhill

The lineup change was a positive move, but it will take a total change in management for any real change in the team's miserable performance.  Wren has assembled a crew of entitled individuals and locked them into long-term contracts.  The only player seemingly unaffected by this undisciplined, entitled me, me, me atmosphere is Gattis. In any successful organization, Wren would have been sent packing after the Lowe, Kawakami, and McLouth disasters.  The big giveaway to the Rangers smacks of Wren, although Scherholtz may have had a hand in it.  The Nationals are hungry and waiting.  I expect the Braves  to be solidly in 4th place after the weekend.

alexander2
alexander2

Perhaps this is only necessary to finally get rid of mediocre Wren......

CynthiaTuckerrhymeswith
CynthiaTuckerrhymeswith

In 2 weeks you can write your mid-week drivel about the 4th place Braves in this 3rd place fish wrapper - behind 'Creative Loafing' and the 'Marietta Daily Journal'.

Lots of luck to Fredi & The Jocksters.

Advise you to stay in downtown Atlanta - you deserve each other.

Cobb County doesn't want you.

Stay home!  Stay!  Good dogs!

patriotdog
patriotdog

Tree is right. Gonzalez and Smitty are experiencing the effects of Wren and

Dimitroff. Neither GM has a concept of winning fundamentally.

TreeRollins
TreeRollins

I've had more luck with some cheap used cars I bought then Frank Wren has had spending top shelf money on these ridiculous free agents that are on this team. I think the problem is with Frank Wren, not Fredi the manager. Fredi has done absolutely all he can with this half baked lineup that Wren has offered him. I'd like to see any of you do better.

Exact same problem with Hawks and Falcons - GM's have not provided them the horses to compete at the top levels! The coaches are good quality.

LADawg
LADawg

The regular line-up comes back tomorrow so we can expect at least 10 of the 27 outs will be Ks. There will be at least one outfield error by the Uptons and the pitchers cannot give up more than three runs if the Braves are to win.

Thank God for Gattis! He is the only reason to pay any attention at all to Wren's Wiffers!

Columbus68
Columbus68

Braves just need to hit and shore up the bullpen and all will be fine.  Hitting has been a concern for too long now but would be a lot better if Freeman would get back on track.  Gattis is doing terrific replacing McCann at the plate. Johnson seems to be coming around. Justin is doing OK. New 2nd baseman is a godsend. Heyward is doing OK.  But Freeman doing just OK is a problem that needs to get fixed.  Simmons is doing OK but hopefully do better.  Get Freeman going and someone in center to hit decent, couple guys get hot and Braves will be OK.  But will this happen?  After the last few years though....is there much hope it will.  Freeman will heat up I think, Gattis has to stay hot. Johnson, Justin, Heyward, Simmons and Lastrella got to be consistent....but so far its not coming together and like I said, recent past history suggests it wont....other than Uggla going on a tear a couple years ago

DawgDadII
DawgDadII

"Ramiro Pena starts at shortstop and bats second, though I know not why"

Hope Simmons didn't twist or strain something.

DawgDadII
DawgDadII

BJ has reached the plateau of borderline major leaguer by productivity, but until recently the Braves were paying two players in the neighborhood of $26 million to DETRACT from their baseline ability to win games. It's a miracle they are where they are, and a testament to the rest of the roster (which needs some help).

The bench is a real problem at this point. They are burning the bullpen because they can't score runs. The manager seems to believe lineups are etched in granite despite the evidence of well over a hundred years of baseball history, and he routinely benches their best hitter. This roster is SCREAMING for a trade and a release or two.

LostGoat
LostGoat

no big deal--the braves luckily are in the weakest division in baseball--they'll end up winning it by 3-4 games and hopefully can upset some team in round 1

kerryb
kerryb

This is where the Gavin Floyd Aaron Harang experiment begins to catch up to us. We need Alex Wood back in the rotation before it's too late. You're not going to improve their trade value. It's only going down from here.

Retired-Soldier
Retired-Soldier

If I were in a position to act I would:


1. Fire Fredi

2. Release Uggla

3. Trade BJ and Aaron for whatever I could get

4. Play Jordan in CF and lead off

5. Give the fifth spot in the rotation to Wood

6. Bring up Pastor

7. Check the locker room to make sure Fredi had really left


misterspanky
misterspanky

The reason the Braves haven't won a playoff is series in so long is because a quarter of our payroll contribute nothing.  As soon as we got Derek Lowe and Nate Mclouth off the books we give Uggla and Upton big money and again we find ourselves in the same situation.  Meanwhile, the Oakland A's and Billy Beane's saber-metric approach are leading the league in runs and the last amount of runs scored.  Have this lineup ever heard the phrase "a walk is as good as a hit"?

MikeS777
MikeS777

Well the whole team batting philosophy has been terrible for years.  I think it's just finally catching up with them.  The pitching is slipping, and the hitting is not there to pick up the slack.  Over the last month (starting with the Boston series in May), they have given up a lot of runs in losses.  Letting Tim Hudson go, then losing Beachy, Medlen, and Venters to long term injuries has finally come back on them.

LADawg
LADawg

The Braves clubhouse is a mess. Even Freeman has lost his enthusiasm and is playing uninspired ball. Personally, I think BJ Upton is a cancer in more ways than just offensively and defensively. He's the type player that is poison until he gets into another contract year.

BooBooBear
BooBooBear

Putting La Stella leadoff could be Freddi's  coup de grâce.  Fin.  Put the weight of a dead team on a rookie's shoulders and make him hit, field, and make the lame walk on water.  Once La Stella is batting under .200 and fields his position like Pastornicki did when he was Messiah of the week, can we fire the manager?  Please?  I feel like I am watching the live version of Moneyball, with the miracle 20-game winning streak still to come, only the manager is the anchor on the butt of any chance of that happening.

58Supersports
58Supersports

Blame the clown!!!  (as Birdhair has named Wren)  enough said.

AnsweredTHIS
AnsweredTHIS

And yet Fredi still steps on his stomach by playing Pena at SS?  This man has not a clue.........AT ALL!!!!

Birdhair
Birdhair

FG said he had enough this morning. He's taking Wren's big $ boys out of the lineup. Love it. Well done, FG. I often feel bad for FG. He has very little to work with and clown (wren) forces loser low obp players into the lineup. 2nd place in arguably the worst division in baseball. Thanks, clown!!

Ersatz
Ersatz

The barves are who we thought they were: NL East chumps.

khd713
khd713

Not sure what to say anymore. Don't they say that insanity is doing the same thing over and over again but expecting different results? Haven't we played this broken record long enough? Isn't it time to start making some changes? Let's go, Fredi. What are you waiting for?

Baghead
Baghead

@patriotdog Dimitroff more worried about the brand of grease he uses in his mop.

ChopChamps95
ChopChamps95

@Retired-Soldier  #1 won't happen because there is no accountability with the higher ups in the FO. 

#3 could happen (part of it)......Harang is cheap, but BJ's contract means he's here to stay for the foreseeable future so get used to it.

#4 won't happen for a laundry list of reasons.  The fact that calling up Bethancourt to move BJ to the bench whereas Schafer wasn't even mentioned in that article earlier this week furthers the belief in the organization that he isn't viewed as a viable replacement for BJ.  If he makes it through the entire season in Atlanta, its a strong possibility he could be non-tendered next year.

#5 is the only thing that actual has a legitimate chance of happening.  Bullpen help is needed and if Floyd/Harang is dealt Wood will swoop in to the #5 spot.

Birdhair
Birdhair

Haha. www.birdhairblog.com

Birdhair
Birdhair

@58Supersports @TreeRollins Such a shame that JS would handpick this clown to take over for him. People excuse Wren for dismissal in baltimore bec of the crazy owner, but i dont think that owner was so crazy. In one season as GM, he signed Albert Belle to the richest contract in MLB history at the time. If you research worst contracts in sports history Albert Belle is top 8. Wren signed middle reliever Mike Timlin to a 4 year $16M deal. Time value of money that would be like giving $22M to jordan walden today.

Wren has done nothing but spend big and spend poorly. He doesnt value OBP, and his scout team is mediocre at best. No hitters in the minors. None. 6 seasons going on 7. 0 playoff series wins. Past time for him to go.

gfw
gfw

@ChopChamps95 @Retired-Soldier I would love to know, wouldn't you, just why Jordan isn't viewed as a "viable replacement."  I know his current average stinks, but at times in the past, when he's played regularly, he's been no worse a hitter than about five of the regular starters.  And he's got that speed thing going, which always puts pressure on the defense. 

Baghead
Baghead

@Birdhair I rode Thunder River at Six Flags yesterday with Frank.  We talked about the team makeup throughout the ride.  He likes it.  He says next year he will complement our bulging biceps with unicorns, lollipops and snowcones.