April 10, 2011

Show #142: The Braves Offense Goes Missing

Discussing the bats and relief pitching.  Assessing Freeman and McLouth at the plate.  And best and worst signs of the week.

 

 

173 Responses to “Show #142: The Braves Offense Goes Missing”

  1. 1
    Walker Says:

    Great show

    1. No we should give Sherrill some more chances and maybe utilize him correctly only against lefties. In Fredi’s defense he first brought in Sherrill against a lefty but Manuel countered with a righty. He didn’t want to waste Sherrill. But that should have been his only batter.

    2.Martinez actually gave up his first 2 runs of the season today. In his 3 appearances his first 2 went scoreless. I personally would like to see him in more pressurized situations to see what he’s made of.

    3. Not too worried about the offense right now. It should get better. I will give us until early May before I truly panic. However a lineup change is in order NOW.

    McLouth
    Prado
    Heyward
    Chipper- OMG 4th? I thought the world wasn’t going to end until next year.
    McCann
    Uggla
    Gonzalez
    Freeman

  2. 2
    Runnin Says:

    Cut Freeman some slack! He’s a 21 year old rookie in his first weeks in the majors. Of course he’s going to have some bad numbers and plenty of ABs where he looks over-matched. He’s doing exactly what you expect a young player to do, getting off to a slow start and starting to press a little. It’s not a shock or a worry in any way. Besides that, it’s only been 2 weeks.

    Once the initial sting of big league pitching has worn off he’ll settle down and start doing what he’s always done, hit for a pretty good average and some power.

    FWIW, and maybe not much, I think his swing got out of whack about 2 weeks before the end of ST when he went through a 2 or 3 game period where he was clearly trying to hit a HR. Each time he got under the ball and appeared frustrated with the pop up. After that he didn’t look anything like he did the first few weeks of ST. But maybe he’s already starting to come back to himself with his meager 4 game hitting streak. But even if he’s not, give him a break. He’s a rookie and going to struggle. He’s not our problem right now. And by the way, he’s playing very solid defense.

  3. 3
    Pure Says:

    On Sherrill: My gut reaction is to show him the door. But then I convinced myself that its still too early in the season to be making rash decisions. Also, I recently learned that Sherrill toughed it out for 5 years in the independent leagues before he got his break:

    http://psychollingy.mlblogs.com/tag/george-sherrill/

    “You’ve got to love baseball to play in the Northern League. In 2001 meal money was $15 a day and usually two of your three daily meals were PB&J at the ballpark. Often times an 1-for-24 week at the plate and you’re released. Blow two saves in a row and you’re demoted to mop-up relief. Have another bad outing and you’re gone. In the Northern League the lighting is poor, the bats are second-rate and you have to buy your own cleats.”

    But Sherrill played on. And on and on. In fact Sherrill eventually played 5 years of independent unaffiliated baseball before the Seattle Mariners offered him a contract in 2003 to join their Double-A in San Antonio. He would make it to the Mariners in 2004 and earned a big league spot for good in 2005.”

    Surely after reading that story we can all find it in our hearts to give George another chance. :)

  4. 4
    Anonymous Says:

    oh for the love…Eeyore needs a nap. MLB rookie trying to be aggressive+ batting 8th = Freddie Freeman. He’ll figure it out. Prado went 3 for 5 on Friday and had a hit Saturday and Sunday. I know we aren’t where we want to be and if we go 2 and 4 this week I will be happy to sing doom and gloom along with you. Can we not forget that this is the same team that knocked Cliff Lee out in the 5th? They have it in them. I don’t know about 5 and 1 but I definitely believe 4 and 2 for the week.

    I don’t know about Sherrill. If Fredi will ONLY let him face lefties then sure…let’s keep him. I have zero confidence in Linebrink.

    The Avett Brothers? Never heard of them.

  5. 5
    Leah Says:

    The last statement of the previous comment would have been way funnier had I remembered to post my name.

  6. 6
    Curt Says:

    People, get a grip. These guys need to be producing for us to win. That’s the point we made on the show. Did I say to send Freeman to AAA? No. I didn’t even suggest he should be benched. Obviously we are working from a small sample set. But it is 10 games. I guess we can have a show where we hold all our opinions until we have played what, 30 games? 45 games? Or should we just pile on McLouth every week?

    This was a big test this past week and the Braves fell on their faces. The runs against Lee are the anomaly, not the standard at this point. Do I believe the offense will get better? Yes. Am I allowed to be nervous about some of the guys on the team? Yes.

    Great story about Sherrill, but it doesn’t mean he should stay on a major league roster because he is persistent. Here’s hoping he straightens out and Fredi uses him the right way going forward.

    You guys need to toughen up.

    Menat to mention it on the show, but forget with all my Freeman hating. Props to Manny Ramirez for not only going out as a cheater, but a quitter to boot.

  7. 7
    DAP Says:

    i dont know if ive ever heard anyone breathe louder than curt.

  8. 8
    Eric Says:

    Doesn’t Sherrill duplicate what we already have on O’Flaherety? Not sure why we even have Sherrill. Everyone who watched any spring ball saw this coming with Sherrill and Linebrink.

    My biggest gripe, though, is the amount of double plays the Braves hit into. At least twice a game, it seems like, we’ll have a runner on first. Regardless of who’s up, they’ll hit it right at the second baseman. Drives me crazy.

  9. 9
    Leah Says:

    ” Did I say to send Freeman to AAA? No. I didn’t even suggest he should be benched. “. Point taken. I just don’t know that we can expect more from him at this point. And he wasn’t the only one swinging at the first pitch every at bat. After an especially anemic week offensively it makes me feel better when I can make sense of some players’ struggles. It makes me nervous when you sound hopeless. It’s a compliment.

    I’ll put my armor on before listening to next week’s show. :)

  10. 10
    DAP Says:

    I know y’all don’t want to acknowledge small sample sizes, because you risk having nothing to talk about, but we are in a part of the season where everything can change on a dime, and I think its important to remember that.

    For instance, McLouth is batting .229 now, but give him a 2-4 on Tuesday night, and his average is up 27 points to .256. Back to normal in one game. See what I’m saying?

  11. 11
    Curt Says:

    I have faith in him, he just is lurching right now. I read an article about all the guys struggling to start the season, and he finds himself in some good company with the Jeter’s, Pujols’ and Wells’ of the world.

    Should we expect Kimbrel to be getting shelled? Did we expect more from Heyward last year? I don’t know. I’m too busy breathing heavy over here. The good news DAP, is that whenever you hear me exhale, you know something awesome is coming…….

  12. 12
    Curt Says:

    I see perfectly. We just go with what we saw over the week. Here’s pulling for that 2-4 from the whole team.

  13. 13
    Leah Says:

    TMI…

  14. 14
    DAP Says:

    “The good news DAP, is that whenever you hear me exhale, you know something awesome is coming…….” Curt, that is true. It tells me to get ready for some awesomeness.

  15. 15
    Kate Says:

    Since it’s “too early” to have opinions about anything related to baseball, I look forward to the all movie reviews podcast next week.

  16. 16
    Curt Says:

    Kate, you want to see some hate mail.

    DAP, now that my breathing is in my head, I imagine I won’t breathe at all on Sundays show.

  17. 17
    Walker Says:

    @ Curt

    Manny made the right decision to retire. He’s made millions of dollars. Why would he wait 100 games to come back. First off Tb wouldn’t want him back because they are going to suck this year and was Probaly going to use him as trade deadline bait anyway.

    It’s funny how these MLB commentators on tv are saying things about Manny they wouldn’t say to his face.

  18. 18
    Curt Says:

    I didn’t expect a defense of Manny. My advice would have been to have not cheated in the first place. But very fitting for his kind of mailed in career, outside of the offense.

  19. 19
    Leah Says:

    I think Manny’s decision was as wise as any decision he has made. Curt, were we hating? I didn’t feel like I was hating. I can’t wait to see how you pull off not breathing next week. That wil be interesting.

  20. 20
    Eric Says:

    I’ll be interested to see how Cooperstown judges Manny’s career. Key part of iconic teams, bizarre behavior, great offensive numbers, terrible defensive highlights, and the awful stench of steroids.

    Really was the perfect way for him to go out.

  21. 21
    BRAVEinNY (Matt) Says:

    0% chance Manny gets in HOF…

  22. 22
    Curt Says:

    Leah, no. But nothing brings out the vitriol like our movie reviews.

  23. 23
    Leah Says:

    Good. To. Know. I’ll make sure and send mine in next time.

  24. 24
    Walker Says:

    If I had a vote I would vote for

    A Rod
    Bonds
    Clemens
    Manny

    These guys are just too good to be left out. They were great without steroids.

    I would not vote for

    McGwire
    Sammy
    Palmeiro

    These guys aren’t HOFers without steroids.

    I also am not naive to think Bagwell, Thomas, Kent, Thome were all squeaky clean. There are plenty of layers out there who are glad they haven’t been caught.

  25. 25
    Steve Says:

    I totally agree with Matt. There is 0% chance that Manny makes it in the HOF. I’m telling you – zero. He’s had (three?) confirmed drug test failures. There is no chance that he makes it in.

    And, while I agree that retiring was pretty much his best and only option, he should have had a press conference. It makes his cowardly and shameful cheating even more cowardly and shameful by just slinking off into the sunset like he did.

    And Leah, regarding your #13 about “whenever you hear me exhale, you know something awesome is coming” I’m with you. I could have gone my whole life and been happy not to read that phrase from Curt.

    One last thing. I’m off to Minnesota for work tomorrow and an going to Target Field tomorrow night to see the Twins/Royals. A new ballpark, PLUS Frenchy. I’m very stoked.

  26. 26
    Leah Says:

    I’ve kept really quiet about the whole “where should Heyward bat” issue because I really don’t have a clue. It does seem like he was more comfortable in the 6 hole last year. Maybe it was mostly due to injury but could it also have something to do with his comfort level. What if he’s just better further down in the lineup?

  27. 27
    Steve Says:

    Great news: http://blogs.ajc.com/atlanta-braves-blog/2011/04/11/jurrjens-ready-to-go-after-six-strong-innings-in-gwinnett/?cxntfid=blogs_atlanta_braves_blog

    Now, if only he could hit … Just kidding (sort of).

  28. 28
    Walker Says:

    @ Leah

    It seemed to me he was more comfortable 2nd. Him batting 2nd and Martin batting 1st was definitely a jumpstart for the 2010 team.

  29. 29
    Steve Says:

    Leah – I think the disparity you saw with Heyward was completely about his injured thumb.

    But I continue to waffle everyday about the 2 vs 6 hole. I get that the book says he should be in the 2. And bunching all your best players at the top of the lineup makes all the sense in the world. But, I also shudder to think of 6 – 9 being AGon, McLouth, Freddie, pitcher. That’s pretty brutal. And I liked Sunday afternoon, bottom of the 9th, we had Chipper, Mac, Uggla and Heyward coming up. It’s a really stout middle of the lineup (I know it didn’t work out, but on paper it was very exciting1). Anyway, I don’t have a real point here… tired. Going to bed.

  30. 30
    ron Says:

    It is early in the season but the Braves strengths and weaknesses appear, so far, to be the ones we suspected. Chipper has been a plus, catching, starting pitching (need more than Lowe and Hudson;time for Jair and Hanson to step up/tired of hearing about the potential) and bullpen are all pluses. Uggla, Freeman, McLousy and a very weak bench could be real problems all season long. There may be a reason that Uggla was traded; some careers end early (does Andruw Jones ring a bell). Hard to win games without runs; Ask Lowe.

  31. 31
    Leah Says:

    “Jurrjens appeared to get stronger as the game went on too, retiring nine in a row to finish his outing. He needed only 12 pitches in a clean fifth inning and 11 in the sixth.”

    My favorite part…

  32. 32
    Curt Says:

    Article I referenced about stuggling superstars:

    http://sports.yahoo.com/mlb/news?slug=jp-10_Degrees_Jeter_struggles_041011

  33. 33
    Eric Says:

    I’m torn on a lot of the guys you mention, Walker. Bonds, Manny, Clemens, and A-rod have such objectionable public personas that it’s easy to call them cheaters and exclude them.

    Bonds without steroids is still one of the greatest players of all time. His physical appearance and statistical performance make it fairly easy to demarcate when he started juicing, and he would easily have made the Hall without ‘roids. Clemens was arguably the most dominant and intimidating pitcher in the MLB pitcher for two decades. A-rod is great in every aspect of the game, and is poised to break numerous career batting records. All three are most likely HOFers without steroids, but who knows. That’s the problem.

    Manny, I’m not so sure about. With the exception of percentages, Palmeiro has better career numbers than Manny. More of everything. He was also a significantly better defender (3 GGs in a row). Palmeiro is also part of the 3k hit club – may not have made it without juicing those last few years though.

    The Hall should make special wing for the steroid era. I think McGwire and Sosa should be included because of their importance for the game in the late 90s. I don’t think it can be overstated how much impact their homerun chase had on reviving the game after the strike.

  34. 34
    Turley Says:

    I just think it is way too early to jump all ove the offense…time will benefit the Hitting and on paper they are solid…now we just need time for the stats on paper to match real life…but What does need to happen is the bottom of the bullpen has to be fixed…we do not want to wait too long…let’s face it Sherril and Linebrink = Washups…Good careers…but they are done! Get somebody out there…there are some Free Agents and some trades we can make I am sure…let’s do it while we can so we don’t fall too far behind

  35. 35
    Curt Says:

    Turley – there are some real solid relievers in Gwinnett. Marek, Abreu, Asencio are all off to great starts. Let’s look there first. Spend money on a center fielder.

  36. 36
    Leah Says:

    Maybe we should start a petition.

  37. 37
    brandon Says:

    Hey curt if you want to go get another CF say in trade. Who do you see as possibilities because honestly their very thin at best. McCutchen or the guy in St. Louis. I can’t remember his name otherwise really slim in my view.

  38. 38
    Steve Says:

    We should totally start a petition.

    Turley – welcome to the board!

    Heading to Target Field soon. I’ll try to report back here tonight on it.

  39. 39
    Curt Says:

    Colby Rasmus in St Louis. I think the Braves have tried with him. Asking price is probably too high.
    Never know who might be available. And no way is Pittsburgh giving McCutchen up. Marlon Byrd?

  40. 40
    Jimbo Says:

    just turned on the game not sure how pitches Hanson was at but i wish the Braves would let our pitchers throw more than 7 innings when they have a shut out going seems like we got to see maddox smoltz and glavine do it, oh well 5 nothin! go Braves!! :)

  41. 41
    Leah Says:

    Oh Hamilton…double blast.

  42. 42
    Leah Says:

    Somebody remind me how to put a player on the DL…Arg.

  43. 43
    Bubdylan Says:

    How’d I know you’d have Hamilton?

    13,000+ at the Ted tonight!

    *facepalm*

  44. 44
    Bubdylan Says:

    Keep obvious roiders out of the Hall. It’s a small, imperfect shot in the dark at justice. But it’s better than nothing.

  45. 45
    Nate Says:

    Might as well get this started, when do we see Teheran in ATL? He hasn’t received the hype Hanson got, which I like, but I think he might be better. I think his overall command of 3 pitches is way ahead of where Hanson was at his age. I would like to see Hanson and teheran blossom into pitchers that scare other teams- Not afraid to throw inside and dominant early in the count with power.

  46. 46
    Nate Says:

    I’ve heard Pedro Martinez comparisons to Teheran’s change up. That’s exciting.

  47. 47
    Steve Says:

    Back from Target Field. LOVED IT. Small, intimate feeling. Brightly lit (total opposite of Turner), great, interesting food (fried cheese curd!). And the location is terrific. A true downtown stadium. Right next to the Target Center (where the Timberwolves play). Downtown Minneapolis was really cool even without the baseball. Much more happening than I imagined.

    I didn’t see the Bravos tonight, obviously, but it’s a great looking box score. Funny how one game can seemingly cure all of a team’s ills.

  48. 48
    Walker Says:

    Hall of Fame is nothing without Bonds and A Rod. Lets be real here 65 % – 75% of players were probably using.

  49. 49
    Leah Says:

    #43 I auto drafted him…it was fate.

  50. 50
    Curt Says:

    Interesting stat about Hanson (taken from Jeff Schultz’s article).

    “The three wins in his 22 previous starts might have cast Hanson as a train wreck, but that wasn’t the case. He went 3-10 despite a solid ERA of 3.49. His average run support in those games: 2.7 per game. He had one five-start stretch last season in which he pitched at least six innings, allowed one or zero earned runs and went 0-2 with three no-decisions. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, it’s the first time that has happened since earned runs became an official statistic back in 1913.”

  51. 51
    Nate Says:

    I vaguely remember a 2003 list that had something like 100 players on it that had tested positive for banned substances. The list was never revealed. I think it’s the same list that A Rod’s name came from. I always thought it was a little unfair to drag him through the mud if you’re never going to reveal the other names of users. I’m not saying baseball did it to A Rod, since a reporter broke the story, I’m saying baseball let A Rod down after the fact. Baseball has handled the whole steroid mess terribly.

    Bonds, A Rod, and Clemens are HOFers without roids. I think they make it in eventually. Face it, more players than the names we’ve heard juiced. The whole era is a blemish. Is the HOF just going to pretend it never happened? The steroid era is part of the baseball legacy. It should be in the HOF along with the players who played in it.

  52. 52
    Nate Says:

    Curt, I had forgotten about that stretch Hanson went through last year where the offense just refused to score any runs for him. I fear, as you guys mentioned on this week’s show, that Derek might be embarking on a similar stretch. There is always one guy who doesn’t get the run support he deserves. I think JJ and Vazquez were those guys in 09. It was Hanson last year (and KK, sort of). Didn’t Meds also go through a stretch where he pitched great, but they never scored runs while he was in the game? The Braves were like 13-1 in games Medlen started, but his record didn’t match that. Anyway, this might be karma for Derek considering he won 15 games his first 2 years with more offensive support than the average Braves’ starter.

    Great show, BTW. I didn’t think you guys were too hard on them. What else were the guys supposed to talk about? The Braves looked pretty terrible in those 10 games. It’s just 10 games and they are the first ten, I think everyone is ware of this, but the play was bad. Please don’t do movie reviews.

    P.S. It is a joke for fans to be bashing Freeman and giving Uggla a pass. Both guys are notorious slow starters. Plus, Freeman is seeing all these pitchers for the first time.

  53. 53
    Nate Says:

    YE leading the AL in hitting. We need more offense. These two facts combine for a feeling of ouch.

  54. 54
    Bubdylan Says:

    “Hall of Fame is nothing without Bonds and A Rod.”

    Right. Subtract them and all you have left is a couple hundred guys like Hank Aaron, Babe Ruth, Mickey Mantle & other small timers.

  55. 55
    Eric Says:

    Last thread I argued that chemistry in baseball, more than any other sport, is overrated. I caught a little bit of an interview with David Ross today on the Braves clubhouse report. He said that he’s been on 4 playoff teams, and those were the teams that had the best chemistry. His main point was that people want to like coming to work, and it was no coincidence that those teams were more successful than other talented teams he’s been on.

  56. 56
    Curt Says:

    All this lends more cause for Murphy being in the HOF. I will say it until I die.

  57. 57
    Leah Says:

    I was really looking forward to finally getting to watch a whole game. This game started so differently in my head.

  58. 58
    Leah Says:

    Trying to prep myself for the shutout.

  59. 59
    Leah Says:

    Thank goodness!

  60. 60
    Pure Says:

    Chipper belts a homer in the 9th for his 1500th RBI. Pretty much the only thing good that happened in this game.

  61. 61
    Nate Says:

    On a positive note, I bought and listened to Mumford & Sons Sigh No More. Really good stuff. Not my typical thing as far as music goes, but I really enjoyed it song after song.

  62. 62
    Curt Says:

    Anyone have any rational explanation as to why these crowds are so awful? We had spring break last week. Maybe some other big counties have it this week?

  63. 63
    Adam Says:

    Maybe because its the series right after opening weekend? And to be fair it is the marlins…

  64. 64
    Steve Says:

    The crowd issue is really a confusing one. I think, basically, Atlanta is not filled with a tremendous amount of hard core baseball fans. So, a Wednesday night, during the school year, against the Marlins will draw very few. But a Friday night, against anyone, so long as 1. There are fireworks afterward and 2. Its more convenient because it’s not a school night, will draw much larger crowds.

    Think back to the end of the 2009 season, final week, the Braves were in the thick of the playoff hunt, it was a Monday night, school was back in session and there were barely 18,000 there. Compare that to Minnesota, Tuesday night this week, against a Marlins equivalent in the Royals and there were over 30,000.

    It’s just not a good baseball town. There is no other explanation in my mind.

  65. 65
    Turley Says:

    Curt you are right…I’d much rather give a pitcher in AAA a shot then have to suffer through the terrible Sherril outings…. I just can’t believe Gonzalez reall has confidence in him…And like I said before I still feel like despite the Offensive struggles as of late…and yes they are painful…we will bounce back…Uggla will come back…he will. He won’t just forget how to hit…he will get hot soon and we will all forget the early struggle. (maybe that’s more of a prayer buy hey) Freeman has a great glove…hopefully everyone will produce enough until he can get experience and mature as a MLB player. The pitching has to carry us this early stretch…Hanson finally pitched great…now we need solid starts of 2 run ball…the Offense will figure it out!!! …again I hope so anyway

  66. 66
    Curt Says:

    Uggla, along with a lot of other guys, looked pretty brutal last night. Obviously, my first time seeing him in person, and in a Braves uniform. He looked bad. And of course, Johnson was on it, but as Bobby used to say, he didn’t even get good wood on the ball.

  67. 67
    Eric Says:

    Throughout Uggla’s career he’s been a streaky player. Terrible in April, amazing in May, then for the rest of the season he could give you 0-25 one week, and pop three homers the next. At the end of the season his numbers look nice, but it’s kind of defeating to rely on him on daily basis to produce runs.

    All the talk has been about swapping McLouth and Heyward, when maybe we should all be clamoring to see Heyward the 5-spot.

    As far as the sad attendance, DOB had a few nice points about Atlanta traffic, the lack of public transportation, urban sprawl, and the Braves reliance on suburban crowds. I don’t think it’s the fans – I think it’s Atlanta. I can cheer the Braves just as hard from the bar across the street without dealing with an hour drive to the stadium, $15 on parking, then 2 hours home from the stadium when I have to be at work in the morning.

  68. 68
    DAP Says:

    There is some really good stuff in this thread, guys.

    Eric “All the talk has been about swapping McLouth and Heyward, when maybe we should all be clamoring to see Heyward the 5-spot. ”

    thats a really good point. i wouldnt be against burying uggla a little bit until he wakes up. heyward is performing really well right now, and i hate to think we arent capitalizing on it.

  69. 69
    Curt Says:

    Eric, trust me, the last problem anyone had last night was traffic

  70. 70
    Nate Says:

    I would love to see a Heyward/Uggla swap.

    On the crowd- You also have to consider the amount of commuters from TN, AL, SC, etc. who go to the Ted on the weekend.

  71. 71
    Nate Says:

    Plus anyone in GA living outside of Atlanta

  72. 72
    Curt Says:

    Plus, no one who lives in Atlanta is from Atlanta. Anyone who has listened to this show for any period of time knows that I believe that there are a million reasons why people don’t show up to Turner Field. Unlike STEVE, I don’t think Atlantans are bad fans. Nor are they anymore fair weather than most other major cities – please exclude Cardinals fans and groups like that who are truly great fans. Check out the crowd figures from Philly 7 years ago. Before their run their attendance was not that great. (7 years is a guess, so please don’t quote me on that.)

    My particular question had to do with these games in particular. Why do these 2 games constitute the worst two crowds in the history of Turner Field? That pitching matchup last night should have been worthy of a better crowd. Marlins are not much of a draw, given.

  73. 73
    Anne Says:

    Braves fans just want the Marlins to think they’re at their home park while they’re here.

  74. 74
    Steve Says:

    I stand by my #64, dammit. Shouldn’t the last week of the season, in the thick of a pennant race mitigate all of the reasons that Curt lists in #72?

  75. 75
    Curt Says:

    Anne, did you go either night? Just curious, not trying to indict. I can tell you that I had the primo seats last night right behind homeplate, and it was tough to get people to go. ended up not using one of the tickets. I booed Johnson at one point and i swear he looked right at me.

  76. 76
    Anonymous Says:

    Curt, I think it’s because Josh Johnson’s name is so boring. He really should change it to something more dynamic and memorable.

    Steve, I agree with Curt about Atlanta fans. There is no such thing as “not a good baseball town.” You would also have to say Atlanta is also not a very good basketball or hockey town either. The only team that gets any support is the Falcons, and that’s because it’s the NFL.

    I think Curt’s point about Atlanta being a city of transplants is smart. They’ll go out to a game as an occasion, but not on a regular basis.

    Another thing to consider is the nature of fandom. Numerous studies have indicated that fans identify most with tradition and history (think Domers, Terrible Towels, Buckeyes, Yankees, Celtics, etc.). Fans will turn quickly enough on players and coaches, so it’s much easier develop and draw on history and nostalgia. The Braves only posted a handful of winning seasons from 1966-1990. It’s hard to cultivate a vibrant fan base when a team puts crap on the field for nearly 3 decades.

  77. 77
    Anne Says:

    I’m still doing theater things so in my shared season ticket package this year, I made sure I wasn’t going until after April. So, I’m yelling at my iPhone or TV until, I think May 2nd. That doesn’t mean I won’t sneak into some cheap seats before then, but next home stand before I can add to the live fan totals.

  78. 78
    Leah Says:

    #75 is like a punch in the gut…I need to get my pilot’s license and a small crop duster to get me back and forth so I can take advantage of Curt’s extra tickets. It’s killing me not to have a game on my calendar. Looks like it’s time to schedule the 2nd annual ABT party at Turner Field!

  79. 79
    Leah Says:

    I’m not at all complaining about Martin getting to third on McLouth’s single but didn’t the Braves outlaw head first slides? Did I dream that? Seems like I saw it in twitterverse.

  80. 80
    Steve Says:

    Leah – do it and I’ll help as you need.

    How many more runs does Beachy have to give up for Fredi to take him out? I was sure he was gone after the Gaby Sanchez homer.

  81. 81
    Pure Says:

    Fredi is giving Beachy every chance to get that first win.

  82. 82
    Leah Says:

    Last year Bobby leaves Beachy in for just one too many batters.

    I’ll take a look at my calendar and see if I’m ever coming through town close to game day.

  83. 83
    Leah Says:

    Conrad just got robbed.

  84. 84
    Curt Says:

    Wes Helms……….

  85. 85
    Walker Says:

    I wish Hinske was the first option off the bench. I kinda worried he is not getting enough at bats. We don’t need him rusty.

  86. 86
    Curt Says:

    I wish Conrad was not on this team.

    Really need Mac, Uggla, Heyward, to prove their worth this inning. Need it

  87. 87
    Steve Says:

    This one’s really shaping up to be a heart breaker. (reverse jinx now firmly in place)

  88. 88
    Leah Says:

    Hmmm…I’ll go ahead and go to bed. Then they’re sure to win!

  89. 89
    Steve Says:

    I feel like my prediction of a 5 – 1 week is not looking so good.

    Dammit. 4.5 out. Another series loss. Dammit.

  90. 90
    Nate Says:

    Wow, another series loss after winning game 1. This is getting really old.

  91. 91
    Curt Says:

    This team is just really uncompelling right now.

    It seems virtually impossible that the Braves have won the opening game in every series this season, and they’ve won one other game.

  92. 92
    Nate Says:

    This is a lot like last April where a couple batting avgs look okay to pretty good but the rest look pretty rough.

    I’m glad Uggla decided to get a hit on this homestand.

  93. 93
    Nate Says:

    The pitching has not been as dominant as we all thought it would be either. Lowe, Venters, and Kimbrel have looked as advertised in ST, as for the rest…

  94. 94
    Bubdylan Says:

    Matt Young instead of Hinske?

    O’Flaherty up to face a string of righties, including Joe Buck who OPS’s a hundred points higher against LHP?

    The unpleasant feeling I got listening to the Marlins guy y’all interviewed talk about Fredi is increasing by the ballgame.

    “Heyward was Atlanta’s best hitter in 2010, leading the club in OPS. He’s Atlanta’s best hitter in 2011, sailing along with a .273/.429/.636 line through 11 games.

    So it makes perfect sense that new Atlanta Braves skipper Fredi Gonzalez is hitting Heyward sixth, right?

    No, of course it doesn’t. Nobody bats their best hitter sixth, not even Tony Muser” -ESPN

    Is it good when ESPN’s actually making fun of us?

  95. 95
    Walker Says:

    McClouth – 45 Atbats .222 AVG 11 Strike outs 3 BB .286 OBP

    Heyward – 38 at bates .237 AVG 7 Strike outs 11 BB .408 OBP

    45- 38= 7 AT BATS!!!!

    They braves have missed out on about two more walks, a home run, and a single.

    These could have been a difference makers.

    Fredi Gonzalez is not impressing me at all and he is making STUPID decisions.

  96. 96
    Walker Says:

    On a good team and especially on a good American League team McClouth hits 7th or 8th. He is not a top of the order hitter. Just thinking back to when he first came over and we hit him third now makes me laugh.

  97. 97
    Walker Says:

    Im scared at Fredi’s quote:

    “I think the way the lineup is constructed is more important [than getting your best hitters more plate appearances]. Then why don’t we lead off [Albert] Pujols? Or [Barry] Bonds? Lead ‘em off.”

    Hello Fredi. You don’t bat Pujols and Bonds first because the 8 and 9 hitters dont get on base as much as the 1 and 2 hitters. Therefore you bat these guys 3 and 4 so they can be in position where you maximize their RBI potential and also get them as many at bats as possible. Batting 6th doesn’t do that.

    Our manager has faulty baseball logic. Frightening.

  98. 98
    Leah Says:

    I’m just going out on a limb here but I don’t think Walker’s happy.

  99. 99
    Kate Says:

    I miss Bobby.

  100. 100
    Leah Says:

    Oh Kate…careful there. Back away from the ledge.

  101. 101
    BRAVEinNY (Matt) Says:

    I have been much better dealing with losses this season, but last night really got me… terrible.

  102. 102
    Nate Says:

    Fredi makes me miss Bobby’s book. There. I said what we’ve all been thinking since the Sherrill/Linebrink disaster of last Saturday.

    Having Uggla bat 5th while he’s batting .160 is worse than McLouth batting 2nd, imo. It’s like having a pitcher bat right in the middle of the order. That said, Heyward needs to be moved from the 6th spot. I just don’t think all of our worries are over when that happens. You still have Freeman, McLouth, Uggla, and Gonzo in the lineup. By the way, for those who said Gonzalez was as good as Escobar when that trade was made, the verdict is in. Alex Gonzalez is nowhere near the player Yunel Escobar is. He might be a better teammate, but right now that isn’t amounting to a lot of wins. I really hope Tyler Pastornicky has something to offer our big league club one day, otherwise Wren and the Braves are going to look really dumb for that one. There, I’m officially pissed about that trade. Again. I will support the idea of good teammates and team chemistry, but not when a team drops it’s 3rd series in a row after winning game 1. That’s just ridiculous.

  103. 103
    Turley Says:

    Man…what a lame series ending once again…We need a sweep of the Mets…we have to! The fans need it… the team needs it as well. At least we score 5 runs…I mean I am trying to trick myself into seeing the positive….

  104. 104
    Turley Says:

    So what about a look ahead…? What do we look for this next series…besides wins. What are some key things we need to see from these games?

  105. 105
    Turley Says:

    Personally I think Uggla has to continue…and we reall just need to piece everything together ….instead of one night with terrible offense and awesome pitching and vice versa, we need it to come together finally.

  106. 106
    Eric Says:

    Big series from Chipper. He always kills the Mets.

  107. 107
    Bubdylan Says:

    Walker, agreed about that Fredi quote. One of the dumbest things I’ve ever heard a manager say. As if anybody was suggesting batting 1st. Or as if wanting him to get more at bats is the same thing as wanting him to get more at bats at ANY cost. I’m really beside myself at how ridiculous he’s being.

    It’s really no less clownish than saying:

    Well, if we’re that concerned about defense, let’s just field a squad of slick fielders who can’t hit.

    or

    If you like small ball that much, let’s just bunt every time.

    Fredi’s making an 8th grade level straw man argument out of the very reasonable observation that NOBODY hits their best OPS guy in the SIXTH stinking spot.

  108. 108
    Curt Says:

    time to start checking the WC standings

  109. 109
    Mark in Memphis Says:

    I am torn about where to bat Heyward (OBTW can someone PLEASE get Brian Jordan to stop pronouncing it so it sounds like “Heywood”??? Is it just me?).

    While I think it would be nice to have someone with a high OBP and some power at the two-hole, I would have a hard time asking Jason to bunt… But with the offense we have right now, manufactoring runs will be important… Plus, where do you put McClouth? I am not sure about the thought of swapping Prado and McClouth either… Having McClouth in the two hole does give him the ability to contribute w/o a hit (bunting, grounding to the right side to move runner from second to third after a double, etc.)

    Hitting as poorly as he is, Uggla is still on pace to hit 37 homeruns. Since all his HRs have been solo (accounting for all his RBI), I don’t think it would hurt to move him behind Heyward. At least he has been better than solid on defense, much better than reported prior to the season…

    As for Freeman, he is not doing bad at the plate – he is putting together several game hitting streaks. However, what may be more important, is we need to factor in how many runs he is saving with his defense… I think he has contributed a great deal to the fact that none of our infielders has a throwing error on throws to first (Freeman can definitely pick it). Also, he is a little predictable (as seen from the positioning of the defense of FLA – hit two would-be doubles right at the right fielder playing WAY off the line when they were playing him to pull in the infield). If he gets a little more relaxed and starts spreading the ball around, he should improve.

  110. 110
    Turley Says:

    What about Dan Uggla’s D…? Not the reason we brought him here at all…but hey we will take that kind of play. Now just play up to you history at the plate

  111. 111
    Turley Says:

    I agree Mark. Uggla could go to the 6 hole…not a bad idea. He really needs some streaks to get back on track. I am just going to try and stay positive and say that al will be well..and everything will turn around…Prado will bounce back to .310 or so same with Heyward maybe .303 30 HRs 90 RBIs and watch Uggla will hit .270 33 homeruns 98 RBI’s…McCann .290 23 HRs 105 RBIs…Chipper .315 15 HRs 95 RBIs….McLouth .265 15 HRs 56 RBIs…Now This more than wishful; thinking…but hey it keeps me thinking that things will get better

  112. 112
    Turley Says:

    Also…any thoughts on what we can expect from Beachy or JJ this season..or perhaps Minor or Teheran?

  113. 113
    Turley Says:

    Ok realistically I deon’t feel McLouth will reach the #’s I added at the top…but hey…. Can’t a man Dream? I feel Beachy maybe goes 10-7 with a 3.68 ERA…again maybe wishful thinking but it’s possible.

  114. 114
    Steve Says:

    Turley – I would not be surprised to see Teheran with the big club, assuming a legitimate need, by mid-year.

  115. 115
    Turley Says:

    Ok…I hope he is as good as advertised. I am a Die-Hard Braves fan from Nevada..close to Las Vegas, so I never get to go and see up and coming prospects in Gwinnett and such. I wish I could. Everthing I hear is that he is comparable to signs of Pedro Martinez. Thanks Steve I love the Show…thanks for the input. Do you think it’s plausible, if the production from the Shortstop position is down by July, that we went elsewhere for help in that area…? And if so who…? As much as I hate the Mets rumors are they might part ways with Jose Reyes…just random thoughts…I love Alex Gonzalez’s Defense and his character but his offense can leave us wanting…Thanks again for the info keep the show going..

  116. 116
    Kate Says:

    Braves lineup: 1. Prado LF, 2. McLouth CF, 3. Jones 3B, 4. McCann C, 5. Uggla 2B, 6. Heyward RF, 7. Gonzalez SS, 8. Freeman 1B, 9. Lowe

    DOB tweeted the weather is bad in Atlanta. Any chance this game gets played?

  117. 117
    Steve Says:

    Hey Turley. Thanks for the kind words. I’m glad you like the show.

    I think if SS is a glaring need and, given that AGon is done after this year, they would definitely look at upgrading there. And the Mets will surely be sellers at the trade deadline. Reyes is in the final year of an 11MM contract this year, so would the Braves poney up ~5MM for a half year rental? Seems doubtful, but who knows. And it’s hard to say who else will be available come deadline time.

  118. 118
    Steve Says:

    Kate – the latest has a 40% chance of rain every hour from 6 – 11 tonight. So, it doesn’t look that good. Bill Simmons tweeted about his Red Sox the other night, something to the effect of, “is it a bad sign that I’m happy for the rainout tonight?” I’m in the same boat right now. I think a rain out would be perfect tonight.

  119. 119
    Walker Says:

    Lol at Curt. I was just thinking about doing that. Back to back complete games from Lee and Halladay for Phillies. Everything is going to plan for them.

  120. 120
    Curt Says:

    Major storms are moving in to Atlanta this whole weekend.

    I think the lineup should be completely ripped up. How about McLouth batting first with Prado second? I know McLouth doesn’t contribute much batting 2nd, but he does walk some. chipper then heyward, then mccann, uggla, gonzalez, freeman.

    if we are hoping on tyler pastornicky being the answer at SS…..help us.

    i will say that one of the worst parts about yunel escobar, is that he made elvis andrus expendable. thinking that if the braves didn’t believe that yunel was the SS of the next 10 years, no way they include andrus in that deal with TX, and we are talking about how solid we are at short. the braves have simply not done a good job of drafting and developing (and keeping) infield prospects. all their top guys are OFs and pitchers. we’re screwed in that department. no clue who might be out there to be had, but if it goes to form, they will not spend money to fill that need. it will be a rookie from within.

  121. 121
    Walker Says:

    Yeah its crazy to believe that in the last 5 years, the braves signed and developed two bonafide future all star major league shortstops and have nothing to show for it. Bad mismanagement. After A Gon leaves this year who going to play SS if Pastornicky isn’t ready? My guess is we are going to trade some of our young pitching for someone like stephen drew, Jhonny Peralta, or JJ Hardy. Erick Ayabar would be a nice leadoff hitter for us but I doubt the Angels would give him up. Either that or sign Marco Scutoro.

  122. 122
    Bubdylan Says:

    Phils winning.

    *yawn*

  123. 123
    Jo-Bu Says:

    …and I don’t think Diory Hernandez is the answer at SS, his hitting stats look like a BINGO card… I-44, I-11… Decent enough fielder but we need one with some pop in the lineup.

  124. 124
    Nate Says:

    Curt, #120, I would of rather had Yunel than Elvis. I think the Braves made the right move from an offensive production standpoint, which is what the Braves currently need more of. Elvis is a pretty flashy guy. I don’t know if he would have fit the Braves’ way of doing things. The whole thing works out if the Braves don’t trade Yunel after one bad year.

  125. 125
    Turley Says:

    The future doesn’t look bright at SS…agreed. The more I think about it..I see us trading for a SS by the end of this year..unless Gonzalez goes crazy the rest of this year and we resign him. I suggest grabbing a player who is young enough and good enough to stick around for awhile…no more of this renting short term fixes…As of who? I have no idea…perhaps Stephen Drew? I like what he brings to the plate a decent average and pop too…We might be able to snatch him from AZ for some pitching they need young solid pitching and thats what we have…As of others we could target I have no idea

  126. 126
    Turley Says:

    It would be awesome to be able to get A. Cabrera for CLE…he is a stud, but there is no chance CLE gives him up…same with Tulo and there isn’t a chance in the world we could get him or somebody of that quality…

  127. 127
    Nate Says:

    I think our best hope is for Pastornicky, Lipka, or Salcedo to develop into an everyday guy. I’ve read that Salcedo might be destined for 3rd, but that seems like a more likely destination for Prado. It sounds like Wren really likes all of those guys in terms of projecting into the Major League club sometime in the coming years. Most likely 2013 or 14, which makes me think we sign another Alex Gonzalez type player to a 2 year deal when the time comes. Wren has always been one to surprise the fans with his moves, though, so who knows?

    We really, really need a good from JJ today.

  128. 128
    Nate Says:

    At some point you’re going to have to pay Heyward, Hanson, JJ, Freeman, and all these other young guys that you probably want to stick around like Venters and Kimbrel. How much can you tie up in a SS? This sounds like a Curt question.

  129. 129
    Nate Says:

    Add Prado to that list of need to keep around guys. Sorry Hammy.

  130. 130
    Turley Says:

    Agreed…..We can’t dump alot of money into SS…but How long do we want to have a mediocre player at SS. I hope Lipka turns into a stud. If we can keep the core set of players you mentioned here…then things look good for the future overall as a team. It just feels like we have been saying that my whole life…

  131. 131
    Turley Says:

    JJ and Lowe need to give us a big day and let the Offense be what it should be…We have to be able to take care of a team like the Mets.

  132. 132
    Turley Says:

    With all of this said I really do like what A. Gonzalez brings to us…we just need him to hit .275 or so and give us some minor glimpses of pop. Not to mention we just need solid play from the ones who haven’t been giving us what we need. I know that sounds pretty obvious but it’s true. Is it wrong to pray for McLouth and Freeman…

  133. 133
    Pure Says:

    I woke up early just for this game (Its 3am here in Manila). *Yawn*. Back to back wins over the Mets will make it worthwhile.

  134. 134
    Turley Says:

    Chipper goes yard again…good start. And Uggla got a hit…Whoa!!! whats that all about it

  135. 135
    Anonymous Says:

    Turley, A-gon batted .277 in 1999. That’s the only time in his career he’s batted .275 or better. In 2007, he hit .272 but it was in 110 games and less than 400 ABs. He’s a career .248 hitter. .275 isn’t happening. We should be thrilled if he hits .250 and slugs .450.

    Nate, I agree about our future at short. Wren will sign a serviceable veteran – hopefully one that’s an excellent defender – and try to address SS with the guys in the farm system, through the draft, or by trading pitching for a prospect. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Diory/Schafer and one of our big three pitching prospects packaged in a deal later this season for either an outfielder or a SS.

    Only way anything changes is if ownership sells to someone willing to open up the budget.

    P.S. – Turley, I’m posting this just as A-gon drilled a homer.

  136. 136
    Turley Says:

    Oh yeah I agree hitting.272 would be more than a dream…but I think we need somebody to hit around that…right now it isn’t Freeman or McLouth so hopefully somebody steps it up

  137. 137
    Curt Says:

    It might be as perfect a day, weather-wise, in Atlanta that you will ever find.

    All we can do is hit solo homers.

  138. 138
    Turley Says:

    yeah we don’t like to hit homers with people on base….I’ll take it

  139. 139
    Steve Says:

    Pure – do you live in Manilla? If so, story, please.

  140. 140
    Turley Says:

    Thats a W…gotta love solo HR’s. Lowe gives us a solid start as well…one down one to go

  141. 141
    Walker Says:

    The Mets are just what we needed. They suck so much that its cute.

  142. 142
    Steve Says:

    The Mets suck so much they’re making me think the Braves are really good.

  143. 143
    Turley Says:

    Yes Steve good point…How bout hinske 3-3 so far…but Uggla isn’t getting anything done with runners on base…he needs to snap out of it

  144. 144
    Curt Says:

    the mets suck so much we might win a series

  145. 145
    Anne Says:

    Hoping for a sweep and am now out from under theater fun…Go Braves!

  146. 146
    Bubdylan Says:

    MAN, the Mets are bad. That’s a pitiful looking ballteam.

  147. 147
    Adam Says:

    I feel bad for the people who do Metsbaseballtalk.

  148. 148
    Nate Says:

    #147, pure awesome.

  149. 149
    Nate Says:

    Another matchup with a AAA call up… uh oh.

  150. 150
    Pure Says:

    @Steve #139: Here’s my story:
    http://bravesbullpen.wordpress.com/2011/04/17/introduction/
    Let’s go Braves! It’s amazin’ how the Mets can make you look good. Can;t we move up some more Mets games and make today a triple-header?

  151. 151
    Curt Says:

    Wow, I watch the end of Tron and all of a sudden we are down 2

  152. 152
    Turley Says:

    Well..Well…looks like we might get “Bad Hanson” today

  153. 153
    Bubdylan Says:

    In all this time, through all these bumps in the road, I’ve never said a bad word about Tommy Hanson.

    But this early run business of his is about to get on my last nerve. Dude needs to man up and adjust.

  154. 154
    Leah Says:

    How about JJ yesterday…I think he got better as the day went on.

  155. 155
    Bubdylan Says:

    I agree, Leah. His last inning, against the heart of the order, his pitches looked great.

  156. 156
    Turley Says:

    Also agree…JJ looked smooth. Tommy no more runs ok?

  157. 157
    Bubdylan Says:

    Disaster.

    How do you miss a bunt on a 82 MPH change up in the heart of the plate?

  158. 158
    Mark in Memphis Says:

    GET A BUNTING COACH FOR THE TEAM!!!

  159. 159
    Mark in Memphis Says:

    Appropriate for Tommy Glavine to be calling the game for Tommay Hanson’s start… Neither one of them can get out of the first inning clean…

  160. 160
    Turley Says:

    Seriously…just strike out so Prado could have a chance with 2 outs and the bases juiced….

  161. 161
    Mark in Memphis Says:

    Thank God we have… Heyward… in… the… two-hole…

  162. 162
    Bubdylan Says:

    Jason Heyward hidden injury discovery in 5 … 4 … 3 … 2 …

  163. 163
    Turley Says:

    Look at Jose Reyes…he makes the runs happen. Thats why we need a base stealer on the team…we need one very very bad.

  164. 164
    Ron Says:

    BOYCOTT! Get real, these are the Mets. When they face good pitchers, Braves have very little offense beyond Chipper and McCann. They can and will trade their youth for guys like Uggla and Gonzalez but they can’t keep the young guys because of budget constraints put on management by the parent company (Liberty Media of Colorado/they are Rockies fans). Best thing the Atlanta fans can do is stay home (Boycott the games) and start demanding new ownership.

  165. 165
    Bubdylan Says:

    Ron, I think the Boycott is already in effect…

  166. 166
    Steve Says:

    #165 – made me laugh. And may well be true.

  167. 167
    Steve Says:

    Pure – just read your inaugural post. Loved it. I wish you luck with the site. And we’ll link to you on the homepage in a day or two.

  168. 168
    Bubdylan Says:

    J Hey!!!!

    Of course, I can hear Frediculous (hey, I just made that up!) now saying “it was a solo – that’s why you bat him lower”)

    *cries*

  169. 169
    Turley Says:

    come on brooks…prove your worth

  170. 170
    Turley Says:

    Damnit!!! I guess that is brooks worth….I’m glad we have him on the team

  171. 171
    Bubdylan Says:

    Well, as grumpy as I am, it was a good at bat by Brooks. He came back from 1-2 to make it a full count against a good closer.

    The REST of the game, though, KILL IT WITH FIRE!

  172. 172
    Mark in Memphis Says:

    All hinges on the Brave’s pitchers inability to get down a bunt…

    Bases loaded, one run in, one out and WE DON’T SCORE!!! Then lose by ONE RUN…

    WE NEED A BUNTING COACH!!!

  173. 173
    Walker Says:

    @ Bubdylan

    If Fredi says that he’s even more crazy than I thought. J Hey probably doesn’t get that pitch batting lower. The game of baseball is synonymous with the Butterfly effect. IF IF IF

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