Meanwhile, back at the Braves: Is all hope gone?

Kind of says it all, doesn't it? (Alex Brandon/AP)

Kind of says it all, doesn’t it? (Alex Brandon/AP)

Kind of says it all, doesn't it? (Alex Brandon/AP)

Kind of says it all, doesn’t it? (Alex Brandon/AP)

Can’t you just see it? Fifteen days from now, the Atlanta Braves will have swept four games from Pittsburgh to clinch the second wild card and the champagne will be flowing in the home clubhouse at Turner Field — yes, teams celebrate being the runner-up of runners-up — and the soggy Braves will turn to the cameras and proclaim,” Nobody believed in us! Everybody counted us out! Everybody said this wasn’t possible!”

And that last part will be true. Look around today. Nobody believes in the Braves. Everybody has counted them out. Everybody is saying even a second wild card isn’t possible.

But back to our first sentence: Can’t you just see such a happy conclusion now? Actually, no. We can’t.

The Braves are giving us no reason to believe. They’ve dropped three consecutive series. They’ve lost six of eight games. They’re 16-23 since July 28. They had a losing August. They are having a losing September. They trail the Pirates by 1 1/2 games for the second wild card and are tied with Milwaukee, which has won one of its past 14 games.

Heck, the Braves have already lost a series to Washington, which is something they’d done only one other time in two calendar years. They trail the Nats by nine games with 17 remaining. The National League East is all but gone. All that’s left is the wild card, and Baseball Prospectus affords the Braves only a 24.8 percent chance of claiming that.

In sum, things look awful. The Braves look awful. They haven’t had a lead in a game since Saturday, which was four days ago. If we’re counting them out, it’s because they’ve done nothing to suggest they’re capable of rallying.

But we cannot lose sight of one pesky fact: The season’s not over. They do have 17 games remaining. They are within two days of pulling ahead of the Pirates. They do play the Pittsburghers here four times in the regular season’s final week. I’ll concede that, at the rate they’re falling, the Braves are more likely to finish behind the Marlins than ahead of the Bucs, but 2 1/2 weeks is a long time.

Please understand. I’m not predicting an epic charge. I’ve seen so much of these Braves that I’ve come to expect bad, as opposed to good. But the season — I say again — remains ongoing, which means there’s still a chance. About a 24.8 percent chance, give or take.

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99 comments
WhiskeyBreath
WhiskeyBreath

Isn't this how we do it in the state of Ga? Every september we fold tents after beating our chest all thru the year. And even if we backed into the playoffs, who cares?


slydawg
slydawg

The Braves are just an above average team. We can say "well if this" or "well if that " all we want. The Braves model of winning and being the dominant team is broken and stale. It will continue to be stale until new leadership and a new vision is brought on board.

rgpat
rgpat

The Braves need find some players that can hit.(in the clutch I might add) Get rid of the hitting instructors. Obviously the ones they have now aren't getting results.

Ficklefan
Ficklefan

To answer the question. Yes.  For those of us who are not Pollyannas and want to see the Braves become contenders for bigger and better things in the future (poor attendance at the brand spanking new stadium would be "bad form" as the Brits like to say). let's just hope that they do not some how stumble in to the play offs. A team with this much talent doing this badly needs a full renovation, a refurbishment, an complete attitude adjustment . . . in other words Wren and Gonzalez have got to go. 


Things need to change, and stumbling into the playoffs in a Wild Card berth, and then getting swept and shown the door in 3 games, might provide an excuse for their corporate ownership (based in another city) to stick with the current situation. Perhaps a good corporate decision,  but tough for Atlanta and true Braves' fans. 


They don't have the right guys in the right positions pushing the right buttons. As I have said many times this season, the Braves are a passionless and  not a self-motivated team, and they have proven it time and again. Compounding that fact is the lack of a true on the field leader since Chipper Jones retired. It is so obvious that this is a team that needs a renovation, a refurbishment, it is painful. Compounding it further is that their best buddy is in the dug out, and he will think of nice things to say about them post game, no matter how bad they play. 


BJ sits for what? 3 games, 4 games. Then he comes back in and he's angry. He's unhappy. He feels ill-treated. He's gonna show 'em. He hits a home run. A definite change in his attitude. Instead of someone defending his lousy play and hitting after every game, he got benched. He didn't like it. Imagine that! What could have ever caused that to happen? 


Whoever decided that when professional baseball players, or players in any other sport, are sat down because of poor performance, it doesn't really affect them . . . because they are pros . . . is an idiot. Of course it affects them. It affects good athletes all of their lives from their Little League days until they make the MLB.  Vince Lombardi (and many other great coaches in different sports knew this) and they won many games because of it. 


Time for a change. If they stumble and crawl into the play offs, we could have another year of this. We may have another year, no matter what,  since ownership is remote and only sees the team as it appears on their P&L statements. But fans need to speak out. The Braves have too much talent to be chasing a Wild Card berth. And what needs to change is beyond obvious. 

Fansince66
Fansince66

Ho hum.....and I'm supposed to care? Unfortunately, the Braves have become so inconsistent that even the most stalwart of fans can't get excited about their chances. I watched them until the first of last week, even though I had to put up with continual ribbing from my friends about wasting my time. Seems that my friends were right. Well...at least football is here.

MikeS777
MikeS777

And here I thought getting rid of Dan Uggla was supposed to make this team better.  It clearly hasn't.  Uggla may have struggled at the plate, but I always heard he was a top notch professional in the clubhouse and on the practice field.  I wonder if the Braves miss some of that.  They have let go of every veteran presence they had on the team.  No Tim Hudson, no Brian McCann, no Dan Uggla...regardless of stats you now have team full of minor league call ups that have no idea how to handle a major league season.

iBalling
iBalling

It's really a waste of time to be concerned about the Braves. And YES, I am wasting my time commenting. If for some reason they make the playoffs, what are you expecting them to do? Magically or Luckily win the series. REALLLY?? We will be talking about this next year AGAIN!

kenstallings
kenstallings

Yes, there is no chance (realistic one that is) of the Braves making post season.  There is no chance at all of winning the division.  Moreover, this is a good thing because this team doesn't deserve to go to post season because their offensive lineup is consistently offensive -- to the sensibilities of their fans that is!


Frank Wren has saddled this team to terrible contracts but the team needs to cut ties with BJ Upton now right after having done so two years too late with Dan Uggla.  Before that happens, Wren needs to be fired and the Braves need to hire a new GM who can actually make the right choices on free agent signings, because no team in MLB can succeed without the ability to both sign current players to extended deals plus also be able to fill holes with quality free agents.  Right now, the Braves have a GM proven unable to sign quality free agents.

curseofknockahoma
curseofknockahoma

The Players show no heart. Who is responsible for keeping them motivated? Until this is remedied nothing will get accomplished. If my mechanic fails to repair my vehicle I will get one that can.......

DrPhill
DrPhill

Do you get a pennant if you win the second wildcard? That would make everything all right.

TEB1
TEB1

Bradley fails to ask the most pertinent question; Would anyone care if the Braves did win the wild card? No. Why? Because they sux, that's why! FIRE WREN and we can talk.
 

Birdhair
Birdhair

Does anyone else notice how Bradley runs hot and cold on the braves? His position flips weekly. One week, he says that the team is world contenders and the next he says we won't even get a wild card berth. His articles contain no analysis about why the team is failing except that we dont have good enough hitters. Why is that, Bradley? You said that we have a GM who tries hard and is one of the best in the game? Get a clue. Your position on the braves flips more than John Kerry flipped positions during his campaign bid. No consistency=no credibility with the educated reader. It's time to ride off into the sunset with Carroll.

PeteScott
PeteScott

Look, the Braves are nothing but a hapless pretender with ZERO clutch MLB hitters. ZERO.

Compared to their pathetic current roster Dan Uggla looks like Mickey Mantle.

C-Kirk
C-Kirk

Is there any hope?

Not this year. We have no reliable 7TH and 8TH inning shut down relievers. ALSO, the team doesn't respect Freddie Gonzalez , so we need another Coach. A couple of our starters will not be back next year, such as Santana and it will take until mid season next year to get Starters back who have had surgery. 

Sounds like the Braves know this and are planning to have everything in place when we get into the new stadium. Until then , it is not only building time for the Stadium but also the team. The Braves will be back in 20 16 or 2017.

Biff_Pocoroba
Biff_Pocoroba

And if McGuirk doesn't have the balls to fire Wren because they're buddies, then fire his a** too.

GT71
GT71

The Braves team that moves to Cobb County had better not look at all like this bunch.

This year is over.  Next year can be a transition year with a near revamp of the entire organization from Liberty down to the ball boys.

New ownership would be best,

then:


Remove:

1, Frank Wren

2. Fredi Gonzalez

3. B J Upton


Trade - these have SOME value:

1. Carpenter

2. Hayward

3. All middle relievers

4. Kimbrel (point of diminishing returns is coming fast)

5. the entire bench


But just don't try bringing this bunch to Cobb.  We got rooked by the politicians - and THEY will be fired as they come up for re-election.


House cleaning in federal govt. continues in November and then in the WH in 2016.


Let 2017 be the Braves' target to put a watchable product on the field.

Biff_Pocoroba
Biff_Pocoroba

Yes, all hope is gone. And it will remain that way as long as Frank Wren is the general manager.

Ignatius J.Reilly
Ignatius J.Reilly

I don't know about the rest of you, but as a fan, I hope the Braves do not get into the playoffs this year.


The last thing I want anyone to think is that this year has been a success at any level.  It has not.

extremus
extremus

Why no, Mr. Bradley, all hope is not gone.  I'm sure within a few years or so the Braves can rebuild their depleted farm system and once again afford to field a championship-caliber team (once Dan Uggla and BJ Upton's fat contracts are off the books).  And maybe a bit of heads-rolling between now and then from the manager to the front office wouldn't hurt, either.


Oh, you were asking about THIS year?  Well that's an entirely different story.

BSNBC
BSNBC

Time to clean house!!

RangeRover
RangeRover

Mark,

When are you going to retract your previous comments about how great Wren & Gonzalez (AKA:  Laurel & Hardy) have been for the Braves?  Your journalistic credibility in on the line!

Tell it like it is...Gonzalez has the leadership, motivational skills, and aptitude of a door knob; Wren, has completely crippled this team with horrible acquisitions coupled with their horrific guaranteed contracts.  How can this team now afford to make changes?

Come on, Mark...time to man up! 

Jazzpman
Jazzpman

Hope is a NEW GM in 2015, one who is able to evaluate talent.  Hope is finding a lead off batter.  Hope is getting a hitting coach.  Hope is getting guys to play small ball, and adjust their swing to the circumstance they face at the moment in the batters box !

FineousMcDirtyBird
FineousMcDirtyBird

Mark Bradley here with part 145 of my 162 part series entitled "The Braves: Are they as bad as they look? Because maybe they're better than that and could make the playoffs, but I'm not sure despite watching every game and being around baseball teams for decades so let me ask this inane question again since I simply have nothing else to offer on the subject."


No, Mark. They are not going to make the playoffs. Yes, Mark. This was predictable in April. Please move on to something else.

BaseballBuff
BaseballBuff

Who cares about the hitless wonders? What a boring team. Back from oblivion, tied for the wild-card lead thanks to Milwaukee's inept play, it is only fitting and proper that our beloved Bravos should go on a losing streak. Take a good look at the vaunted Braves teams of the 90s and early 2000s. You will see that they, too, could not get a hit when it counted most, when the season was on the line. I am burned out, tired, and getting old. You have to have put up with this crap since 1966 to understand. 

Born2Buzz
Born2Buzz

The Braves have completely dropped from the consciousness of the ATL sports fans.

Bravesfan54
Bravesfan54

Hope remains, but it is enthusiasm which is in very short supply.

kenfoskett
kenfoskett

Yea, last night's game was really depressing.

LADawg
LADawg

With all the pitching injuries, it was safe to assume that the Braves were going to need a Herculean effort from the offense to make the playoffs.

The offense hasn't even produced a Tiny Tim effort and the pitching staff has been the glue that has held this season together. Credit Roger McDowell; he has to be the best in the business. Even without the pitching injuries, the Braves would be in no better position. The Braves lineup cannot produce enough runs to win consistently regardless of who's pitching.


By the end of the season the Braves won't even be sniffing the second wild card and next years pecking order in the East will be established. Nationals and Marlins at the top and then everybody else.

 

DirtyDawg
DirtyDawg

Hey here's an idea, why don't the Hawks throw in with the Braves - shoot, maybe somebody (like Arthur Blank) could buy em both and throw in another few hundred million to build a B-ball arena somewhere near the other B-ball stadium - move the franchise out of Atlanta (and closer to that base of potential season ticket holders everybody's so damned interested in)...and solve all the problems in 'one felled swoop' (whatever that means, but it could be a new Hawks slogan). That way Cobb really won't have to link up with MARTA so 'those' people won't be able to come to Hawks games either...it's so simple I'm surprised it wasn't included in Levenson's memo.

Oh yeah, just to keep this on point, the Braves - like Ted Turner's son was - are toast...it's just a question of how 'over cooked' they'll be by the end of the month.

curseofknockahoma
curseofknockahoma

@DrPhill  Yeah, but you have to win to get a wildcard. The Braves don't put numbers on the scoreboard as of late and that will beat you every time.

TEB1
TEB1

@Birdhair Bradley and Schultz are to busy criminalizing free speech in this country to come up with something interesting to read. If an owner wants to bring in more white patrons, well that's racist, and you should lose your job now in this country for dare mentioning so. Ferry mentions a player has some African in him( reading from a report mind you), and he should be fired for this in our country today..What if he had said the player had some European in him? Even Kareem Abdul Jabbar said the Hawks owner was only quilty of being a businessman....The PC police in this country is out of control. Shultz should know better.

Born2Buzz
Born2Buzz

@Birdhair MB seems to be mailing it in these days.  No analysis, just statement of what everyone can see for themselves or a proclamation from the top of his head.  (wait, I take that back, he pulled some stats from some other source to augment the proclamation - not support it just augment it).

I guess the idea is to write some words down and see how many comments will get posted.  If he keeps getting enough comments the bosses figure somebody is still reading his stuff so he gets to keep his job.

Birdhair
Birdhair

@Biff_Pocoroba Schuerholz, McJerk, and the white haired clown all need to take a walk. Time to clean house in this organization. The braves are only 1 of 7 teams in MLB that has failed to win a single playoff series since 2001. Clown walked into a gold mine thanks to JS. J hey, Freeman, Chipper, Huddy, Tex, Escobar, Prado, Teheran, Hanson, Medlen, McCann, et al. Clown has won the division once in now 7 seasons. He has failed to win a playoff series. He's blown more than $238 on KK, Lowe, Uggla, BJ, and CJ.

FineousMcDirtyBird
FineousMcDirtyBird

@RangeRover  It's hard for me to fault Fredi as I believe he can only do so much with the "team" he is given. The fact is, nothing was done in the offseason to improve what was a glaringly deficient offense. Nothing was done in the offseason to address locker room leadership. This is a middling team crafted by a middling GM funded by middling ownership. The results are, not surprisingly, middling. The AJC overvalues Wren's talent evaluation ("Look at how well the patchwork pitching staff is doing! Forget that Harang and Santana were among the few veteran options out there and are stop gap ones at that...") and forgives his misses, which are many. They fall all over themselves to apologize for his unwillingness to trade for difference makers, parroting the "don't mortgage the future" line while ignoring the fact that the future looks no better than the present and that that future was supposed to have happened two years ago.

RangeRover
RangeRover

@Jazzpman

We had a lead-off batter.  After 100+ at-bats with the Twins he's hitting .320, 14/16 stolen bases, playing a flawless CF, and has become a crowd favorite with his hustle, enthusiasm and--listen BJ--attitude, enthusiasm and humility.  You may remember him; his name is Jordan Schafer.

Fredi had him totally screwed up here...

RangeRover
RangeRover

@DirtyDawg

Serious question...would YOU buy this Braves team with the guaranteed contracts they must honor?  

DirtyDawg
DirtyDawg

One possible road-block to this...if NBA players get wind of just how racially prejudiced Cobb is - and plenty of the other suburban counties around here are as well - they may have a problem gettin em to come. I mean if they think it'll be a problem getting free agents now, do you think they'll be more likely to play there then?

58Supersports
58Supersports

@TEB1 @Birdhair  If it had been a white player from Africa nothing would have ever been said. It works both ways but not to AJC and it's liberal PC reporters.

58Supersports
58Supersports

@Born2Buzz @Birdhair  Lost respect for Mark, Jeff and DOB... all homers and report only opinions Management wants to her. All have something on their  nose!

DirtyDawg
DirtyDawg

I wasn't taking about elected officials when I brought up the prejudice of the populace...and don't try to tell me that Cobb County doesn't have a 'hard-on' against the City of Atlanta. And as for the long-term contracts being a road-block to the purchase of the franchise, when you've got enough money to consider spending $750 to a billion, those contracts are hardly an issue. And I still say the solution to the 'problems' Levenson brought up in his memo would be for somebody to do what the Braves did...move em OTP.

RangeRover
RangeRover

@DirtyDawg

Stop being stupid.  In Cobb they elect the best possible candidate unlike Fulton and Dekalb, where you can be the devil himself but if black you'll get 99% of the black vote.

That's a fact, Jack!

TEB1
TEB1

@58Supersports @TEB1 @Birdhair  It's now beyond being liberal, and we all know how far to the left the Cox corp has been. Now, the left is dead set determined to criminalize speech in this country, and that is unprecedented even for the left.

Birdhair
Birdhair

Schultz has a clue but whether or not he has the cojones to call for clown's dismissal is a big tbd this offseason. We need to get behind Schultz and push him. He's our only hope at the Ajc. The other two that you mentioned are jokes. Bradley should have retired years ago and dob is a career bear writer with an attitude.