The Braves are sinking not so slowly in the East

Can’t camouflage this: The Braves are in real trouble. (Lenny Ignelzi/AP)

Can't camouflage this: The Braves are in real trouble. (Lenny Ignelzi/AP)

Can’t camouflage this: The Braves are in real trouble. (Lenny Ignelzi/AP)

The Atlanta Braves are 3 1/2 games out of first place in the National League East and two games out of the second wild-card spot. Every game for the next three weeks will match them against a team that, as of today, is above .500. This comes after more than a calendar month in which the Braves didn’t play a opponent above .500.

Last week’s series in Los Angeles marked the Braves’ first against a winning team since June 20-22. As if on cue, the Braves got swept. Then they were swept in San Diego, which was terrible for much of the season but is playing well now. On Tuesday they’ll face Felix Hernandez, who’s among the two best pitchers — Clayton Kershaw, who just beat them, is the other — in baseball. This isn’t getting better, folks.

Not to say I told you so, but I sort of did. The Braves had an unbelievably soft schedule in July and could make little of it. Now they’re playing playoff-caliber teams, and the cold truth is that these Braves no longer appear of playoff caliber. They still can’t hit; the once-robust rotation is fraying (by this I mean Mike Minor), and the bullpen is buckling under the strain. The matchless Craig Kimbrel lost a game against Miami on two wild pitches and just lost one in San Diego on three walks and a single.

Worse, the Braves now wear the look of a frustrated team. On consecutive days they lost to the Padres after hitting into a 5-2-3 double play with the bases loaded. Jordan Schafer was picked off second base in L.A. and waived shortly thereafter; his roster replacement, the deadline acquisition Emilio Bonifacio, was doubled off second Saturday night. Andrelton Simmons tried to bunt home Evan Gattis, not in contention for the title of World’s Fastest Human, and was unavailing in the attempt; a day later Gattis was slow to break from second and couldn’t score on a double off the center-field fence.

On the Fourth of July, the Braves led their division by 1 1/2 games. They’ve since lost five games in the standings to the Nationals, who haven’t played all that well themselves. This being baseball, seasons can turn on a dime. The Braves still have time to right themselves. At issue is whether they have enough of a team to do it.

Reader Comments 0

177 comments
Wilbo
Wilbo

Oh, no, the Nats are down right now to the Mets.


Sometimes I think the Nationals are almost as useless as the Braves. The Braves are floundering, but Washington doesn't seem to have the oomph to put them away. 

jdcigar
jdcigar

They Braves are toast!  They are a poorly constructed team, the shoestring starting pitching is fading, they play with no heart, and the manager is a dolt.


Start the house cleaning now!

BooBooBear
BooBooBear

The Braves have become the Los Angeles Dodgers east, when the Dodgers were owned by a divorcing Hollywood couple, having to declare bankruptcy.  The league ran in with emergency money just to make their payroll, while the players lost and lost some more.  The league saved LA because they don't want a large market without a second franchise.  Unfortunately, no one in the league gives a flying *&%$ about Atlanta and all the racists that live there.  Atlanta can become a gutter-dwelling sports city again, just as it was before Ted Turner bought it for $2.50 and kept the team in the mausoleum on Capital Avenue. The more Pittsburgs, Milwaukees, Houstons there are (losers) the better.  People don't pay to see the team that loses to the Harlem Globetrotters.  They pay to see the steroid money boys - Yankees and Cardinals, etc. - play whatever (fill in the blank) competition there is.  Liberty Media is akin to a slum lord in the projects, and as long as thar's money to be made in them ESPN contracts, winning baseball is not the objective of that management team.  You don't tinker with the golden goose, you just let it lay one egg after another.  So what if Liberty Media has gone out and used your money to buy you a refurbished Yugo, with all the buttons and gadgets that don't work and a new paint job?  You will still be making all the payments AND be happy you have a car at all - OR you can do without having any car at all.  Stop making the payments and watch the Braves move to Birmingham or Nashville, or Calgary or Winnipeg.

DawgNole
DawgNole

@BooBooBear: "Atlanta can become a gutter-dwelling sports city again, just as it was before Ted Turner bought it for $2.50 . . . ."

____________________________

AGAIN??? Say what?

With only ONE championship in 159 seasons of pro sports competition, ATL already knows all too well about being a gutter-dwelling sports city.

And I believe Turner paid a good bit more than $2.50 for the team.

Wilbo
Wilbo

Even w the Nationals' loss last night, the Bravos are 4 back in the loss column today.


I say that's a good thing. I would much rather see the Braves sink out of sight now, than embarrass the city of Atlanta AGAIN in the postseason with their patented choking ways!


Hey, it could be tough to drop all the way behind the Mets into 4th place in the NL East, but it is certainly within the Braves' character to fall apart plenty well enough to drop below the Marlins into 3rd.


Until there are major changes in the organization - which, of course, aren't going to be made any time soon - it is to all our advantage to hear as little as possible about the sickly Atlanta Braves.

redleg24
redleg24

Question for you. Did any team inquire about trading for a Brave's player and if so who inquired and which player or players.  Since there was no speculation on the subject by any sports news source, the answer must be no.  Now that tells you about the sorry status of this team.  Maybe it tells you more about the so called expert staff members.   It is way past time to retool and the bad thing is management does not realize the need and the best time to make a trade has passed.  Even the off season is not as good a trade time as the end of July. Help is not on the way.  And to top it off the manager does not even know how or when to use his new players.  Bench BJ and play EB.  Not a hard deduction to make.

extremus
extremus

Let's face it, until the Braves finally get Dan Uggla and BJ Upton's bloated, laughable contracts off the books, they won't be making any significant splashes in the free agent market.  That leaves the draft, which in recent years the organization's tendency to prioritize pitching has been exposed as a dire weakness.  Nobody at a non-pitching position is in sight who could legitimately be touted as a game-changing prospect.


So for the next couple of years at least, I would hope the Braves can make the most out of their also-ran status as far as draft picks in order to acquire the help they don't have now.  There are some lean times ahead (and probably more than one head is going to roll before all is said and done; the organization is a depleted mess from top to bottom).

MichBravesFan
MichBravesFan

Trade J-Upton, Johnson, Gattis, LaStella in the offseason and cut BJ Upton, have Bethancourt catch, Perazza play 2nd, and find some bridge-the-gap vet to play CF until BJ's contract expires. Maybe place Ervin on waivers and see if you can trade him to a playoff team, may as well have Cody Martin in the rotation for the rest of the year to see what he can do. Ervin Santana and his remainign 7 million can go to a playoff team. 

MichBravesFan
MichBravesFan

This is a terrible team with the worst hitter in the MLB batting leadoff, yet Freddi refuses to do anything about it. BJ should be benched for the remainder of the season, call up Jose Perazza and have him hit leadoff. Wren needs to be fired and the new GM needs to start over with the position players, keeping a few like Freeman and Simmons. Use Gattis and LaStella and J Upton in trades to totally revamp. Find a team to pay $5 million of BJ's salary than eat the rest. Shurholtz and Wren should both be fired for the product they put on the field.  

DawgNole
DawgNole

@MichBravesFan: "Find a team to pay $5 million of BJ's salary . . . ."

___________________________

Yeah, right. I'm sure the league is crawling with them.  


highfive
highfive

When is the Atlanta media going to take organizations to task when they put a poor product on the field? If this were NY, Braves players and management would have been roasted by now. 

ChopChamps95
ChopChamps95

@highfive  I've seen Bradley and Schultz write a fairly objective and at time criticizing article about this team, but you'll be hard pressed to ever find one from DOB.  He and Fredi are attached at the hip and Fredi walks on water in DOB's eyes.

CowbellHell
CowbellHell

Reading Birdhair is like listening to the right wing crazies talk about impeaching Obama, stupid is as stupid does.  I didnt read ONE WORD that 'applauds mediocrity and failure' in that article.  If you dont like it DONT READ IT

Baghead
Baghead

And your one of those dufeses that believes that. Wrong. Its the white house that has spread the impeachment propaganda. Braves are done. Bank on it.

Birdhair
Birdhair

Reading Bradley is like listening to John Kerry during his presidential bid. He flips back and forth more than a gymnast at a meet. There's absolutely nothing credible about a writer like Bradley. He has no clue. His analysis about the playoffs is that it's a crapshoot. This might be the laziest analysis in the history of sports articles.

Mark Bradley is the same writer who wrote just a few weeks ago that the Braves could make a world series push. And now, Bradley writes that the Braves probably won't even win the division. Bradley is the same writer who says that Clown (Wren) is one of the best GM's in the game.

Dear Bradley, it's past time to hang up the keyboard. We're so tired of the pathetic analysis. The sports fans of Atlanta want winners and the writers in the Atlanta only applaud mediocrity and failure. You support a win total and don't demand a legit playoff contender. Do all of us a favor and ride off into the sunset with Carroll.

Say No More
Say No More

They are done, they were done two months ago---Wrenn screwed the pooch on BJ


They wont even make the playoffs and the excuses will pour in


No ace to back up Julio, no middle relief , Kimbrel stumbling too much of late

Weak hitting (too many strikeouts)


Should play Bethancourt every night and should have traded Gattis for a good pitcher


I don't like the way Freddie Gonzalez makes excuses night after night--get thrown out once in a while and show a backbone, be a leader. Thats what your paid to do instead a babysitter

RONMERIDIAN
RONMERIDIAN

I am not putting all this on B.J. but he cannot stay batting leading off. Heyward leads off when facing righties and Bonafacio when facing lefties. The lineup needs a good shaking up. My answer:

1. Heyward/Bonafacio. RF

2. La Stella. 2nd

3. J. Upton. LF

4. Gattis. C

5. Freeman. 1st

6. C.Johnson 3rd

7. Simmons SS

8. B.J. Upton CF

Rotation: 1. Teheran 2. Santana 3. Woods

4. Harang. 5. Hale

Bullpen: Kimbrel, Walden, Varvaro, Carpenter, J.Jamie, Russell, Shreve

Bench: Laird, Duomit, Gosselin, B.J./Bonafacio, Pena

daSarge
daSarge

@RONMERIDIAN  No way Heyward has to platoon before BJ Slumpton does. Would like to see Bethancourt behind the plate next season and trade Gattis for a bat.

sea8491
sea8491

Mark, just one question, are you publicly or privately lobbying for new owners of  the Atlanta Braves?


New owners would provide adequate cash to compete and new owners would not surely keep the two dopes, Wren and Fredi.


Mark?

DawgNole
DawgNole

One link says "sinking slowly"; another says "sinking not so slowly"???

C'mon, AJC, you can do better.

RTS123
RTS123

BJ is terrible. I honestly believe he is making the Uggla deal look good when comparing the two. Fredi HAS to bench him and give someone else a chance. He cant justify him starting. BJ is an embarasment

ShootinTheHooch
ShootinTheHooch

@RTS123 For $17.5 Million p/yr., we get the comic relief of BJ arguing called third strikes with the umpire rather than him swinging and missing and turning back to the ump to ask if the pitch was a strike as he saunters back to the dugout.

It's not like we don't have something to look forward to with BJ...2018!

MichBravesFan
MichBravesFan

@LADawg @RTS123 If I burned $130 million of my employer for absolutely nothing like Wren did, I'd have been fired a long time ago! 

reckingball
reckingball

Bad luck, or bad move........example......Gattis not scoring from 2nd yesterday on that double.

If he scores, Braves win.

It has been that way all season, on move or one hit, away from winning.

reckingball
reckingball

There problem is.....they can't get a hit with RISP, everyone should know that.

They have been one "situational" hit away from scoring the winning run for most of the season.

Plus, the Braves have some of the worst luck, of almost every team in MLB.

BRAVES2143
BRAVES2143

@reckingball The Braves have not been able to hit with RISP for 3 years but in the past they were able to overcome it but not this year because the starting pitching is "hot and cold" especially in the the early innings and the bullpen is just plain weak.   In the past if they had a lead after 7 it was 99% going to be a win but this year every game is an adventure with the bullpen.   

JAS0N
JAS0N

"Andrelton Simmons tried to bunt home Evan Gattis"


Its the old we-stand-a-better-chance-bunting-because-we-are-so-poor-at-hitting mentality.  Classic Atlanta Braves.  

jackbmatt
jackbmatt

Slowly???  Ha Ha Ha

Can't happen fast enough for these losers.

cspecial
cspecial

THE PROBLEM ISN"T B J UPTON ALONE. THE MAIN PROBLEM IS FREDDI GONZALEZ.HES  TERRIBLE AS A MAJOR LEAGUE MANAGER.THE PLAYERS HAS QUIT ON ON HIM.THEY ARE TRYING NOT TO SHOW IT BUT ITS OBVIOUS, THEY HAVE LOST RESPECT FOR HIM.THOSE BASEHITS THAT WON THE GAME FOR SAN DIEGO SHOULD HAVE BEEN FIELDED BUT THE PLAYERS MADE NO EFFORT WHICH GOES BACK TO GONZALEZ.MANAGEMENT IS KEEPING HIM AROUND BECAUSE HE WAS ENDORSED BY BOBBY COX.THEY HAVE TO DO WHATS BEST FOR THE PLAYERS AND ORGANIZATION.REGARDLESS OF THE TIME IN THE SEASON, THE BRAVES HAVE THE BEST TEAM IN THE EAST BUT WITH GONZALEZ MANAGEMENT, THEY WILL COME UP SHORT.UMPIRES HAS NO RESPECT FOR HIM.THEY DELIBERATELY TAKES HIS GAMES BUT HE JUST SMILES TAKES IT AND GO SITS DOWN.IF HE CONTINUES AS MANAGER, THEY BRAVES WILL END UP SHORT IN THE EAST.

wizatlanta
wizatlanta

3 of top 20 strikeout leaders in all of major league baseball play for the Braves...Upton, Upton and Johnson.  #1 on the list is BJ Upton with a .336 average...not batting average but strikeout average.  First of all, BJ Upton has no reason to be an everyday player.  No idea why brother Upton can't hit and Chris Johnson has absolutely NO IDEA what the strike zone looks like.  Hell, if I could throw a halfway good curveball then I'm pretty sure I could strike him out.

tmc
tmc

Good article and on point...

I believe the biggest problem with the Braves team is the fact that BJ Upton is still in the every day lineup. Not sure who is behind this, Wren or Gonzalez, doesn't matter. By keeping BJ in the lineup, it tells the rest of the players that below average play is acceptable. It goes to the "long range" managing style that Bobby Cox was famous for. And now Fredi Gonzalez is continuing. The Braves are at the point where every game is meaningful. There are no more experiements or excuses. Fredi needs to bench BJ and make it known that an average below .240 or .250, or whatever, is unacceptable. 

Jordan Shafer was never given a chance and while on the bench was held a standard the starter in front of him was not held to. They trade for a leadoff/CF hitting .280 and they announce he will not be a starter, but a reserve... unbelievable. 

The fans know the Braves are in the same boat as the Dan Uggla situation with BJ in regards to the money. They are going to have to pay him no matter what, but to play him every day and not put your best lineup on the field is killing the other players and you can tell. Why can't Wren  or Gonzalez understand what the fans know? and put the best team on the field.  


DawgNole
DawgNole

@tmc: "Why can't Wren  or Gonzalez understand what the fans know?"

______________________

Good question. Does make you wonder, doesn't it?

It's all part of the "Losersville" mystique that has shrouded this city's pro teams for nearly half a century now.

rogerpellerin
rogerpellerin

One good thing about B.J. He never gets hurt. If Fredi continues as manager, I can see B.J. breaking 

Cal Ripken's record for consecutive games played. If Gosselin can hit .345 at triple A, why isn't he playing?

Braves have outfielders at Single A and Double A who can outhit B.J. Hell, I'm 78 and can go up and strikeout

4 times a game with no problem. Does Braves management ever read these blogs? 

DawgNole
DawgNole

@rogerpellerin

Better sharpen up those research skills. BJ's been hurt--last season, in fact--and missed several games because of it.

Doubtful that anyone who matters with the Braves reads these blogs. Too many logical suggestions for improvement on here.

redleg24
redleg24

Braves are weak-said it from day one.  Can not hit, defense is weak and pitching is weak.  No real starters except Terhan and bullpen is made up of average throwers.  Even the so called best closer in the league is not reliable.  Plus the manager is weak and not in control of team. He is afraid to make a decision on BJ, who is really hurting the team. 

doktrt
doktrt

Gattis fails to score from second on a double. Gattis runs home on bonehead bunt by Simmons. As catcher doesn't know how to block a pitch in the dirt. Let's face it the guy isn't splitting atoms in his off hours. He is a made for the AL DH. Can't think of one Brave that is exciting to watch or worth the price of admission. This Braves team is reminiscent of some of the Braves team from the seventies. Guys stealing bases on an absent minded pitcher. Bonafacio getting doubled off second on a fly ball. Pitcher unable to throw strikes. Only thing missing is Nocahoma's teepee.

Pistol66
Pistol66

The manager is Bobby Cox's protégé and like Cox he keeps waiting for the three run home run to bail him out. Freddie has the team he wants with NO speed and he overworks his bullpen just like Bobby. They released Schaefer last week so they are even slower so he doesn't have to manage the team. The only speed they have is BJ and he won't bunt and basically ignores Freddie (he doesn't have the experience factor like Cox to fall back on.) Hopefully, the only chance they have is for him to platoon BJ and Emilio and try to manufacture runs.  Oh and the press is also to blame as during their 9 game winning streak all you guys would talk about was that they weren't hitting home runs(1).  These guys need to realize that line drives look good too. 

gfw
gfw

Here's the team in microcosm:  Have you looked at Chris Johnson at the plate recently?  Just exactly  what is he doing?  He looks like he just wants to get his three swings-and-misses over with as quickly as possible, so he can sit down.  His eyes are leaving the ball way before it gets to the plate.  How can Greg Walker and Fredi not notice this?

Intruder
Intruder

Yes, the franchise that has won one WS in 57 years is certainly not playing up to their potential.  tch...tch...tch

ms1964
ms1964

Turn it around?  This is who the Braves are. When they were 17-7, only the Braves "homer's" thought this team was good.  Arguably, our #1 or #1A pitcher couldn't be the number 5 guy on the Cleveland Indians.  This is a poor organization that has outperformed it's talent and now those days are gone.  They will finish 3rd in the division......at best.

TEB1
TEB1

Trade Gattis to an AL team while you can get value for him. Package Johnson with someone and get a real hard hitting third baseman to shore up the corners. Find someone to take the Upton brothers and start rebuilding the outfield preferably with players who can hit with men on base..

DawgNole
DawgNole

@TEB1: "Find someone to take the Upton brothers . . . ."

______________________

Not askin' for much, are you?

GeorgeStein
GeorgeStein

They have four black holes in the lineup.   Why is anyone shocked that they can't score?

AlwaysReady
AlwaysReady

Heartaches by the number, Troubles by the score.