Topic: Atlanta Braves
He begins the season with the prohibitive favorite Los Angeles Dodgers as the starting third baseman, only he’s kind of average and some Mets castoff named Justin Turner starts playing out of his mind, so the Dodgers send him to Atlanta, which wouldn’t be awkward except that they did so right in the middle of a series against the Braves.
So he and his stogies and a half-dozen of his cars come to Atlanta and become sort of folk-hero-y; after all, the last time we saw him he was ruining the best chance of an extended playoff run during the Fredi Gonzalez era. But he shuffles Chris Johnson to the pine and delivers some nice moments while with the Bravos and hey, here’s another photo of him smoking a big cigar with the Stanley Cup because Juan Uribe rolls like a boss.
Clarksville, TN – For Fredi and John in ‘15
Clarksville, TN – If you made a checklist entitled ‘Worst Ways for a Professional Baseball Team to enter/exit the All-Star Break’, let’s see how your 2015 Atlanta Braves might have fared:
Four games in hitter’s haven Colorado – 11 total runs. So… check.
Five straight losses after being .500 and four games back in the division race – still in the hunt! – as recently as July 7th (That’s longform for ‘check’)
Austin Peay Sports Information
Clarksville, TN – As baseball fans shift their attention to Cincinnati for the 2015 All-Star Game, it’s an appropriate time to look across the country at former Austin Peay State University players competing in the pros.
Currently, there are two Govs playing in the big leagues, seven in minor league systems, and one signed to the Frontier League.
The Braves hit the halfway point on Saturday night – a dominant 9-5 win against the Phillies that was over by the fifth inning and brought the Braves within a game of .500 at 40-41.
And that this team – with one consistently good starting pitcher, a revolving door of castoffs for a bullpen and an offense best described as ‘Freddie Freeman, Cameron Maybin and six guys you may have heard of’ – is sniffing the possibility of .500 ball and maybe not selling at the deadline is Fredi Gonzalez’s greatest achievement. Well done.
Jason Pridie, Dayan Viciedo, Max Muncy Hit Back-to-Back-to-Back Homers
Round Rock, TX – The Nashville offense provided the fireworks on Independence Day, launching four solo home runs in their 7-4 (10) victory over Round Rock at Dell Diamond.
For the second straight night, Jake Smolinski gave the Sounds a 1-0 lead. The solo blast came in his first at bat against his former team. The outfielder joined the Sounds after the Oakland A’s claimed him off waivers from the Texas Rangers on June 21st.
I know this is not an earth-shattering revelation, but the lack of Freddie Freeman the last two weeks has thrown an already-limp lineup into utter disarray.
Teams cannot survive with one marquee attraction in a lineup full of has-beens, not-quites and never-weres but the subtraction of Freeman hurts the ones his presence had helped. Cameron Maybin (.229, 4 runs), Jace Peterson (.189, 2 runs) and Juan Uribe (.167, 1 extra-base hit) have all struggled during Freeman’s absence, clearly suffering once opposing pitcher’s no longer have to worry about working around the burly lefty.
Don’t look now.
(Seriously. There’s nothing to look at except your computer screen. Maybe your dog. He doesn’t care.)
With seven days left in June, the Atlanta Braves are two games back of the Washington Nationals and a game-and-a-half behind the New York Mets in the National League East race.
This, obviously, was not how life was supposed to turn out. As David O’Brien tweeted on Monday, for all the 100-loss truthers out there, the Braves would have to go 27-65 the rest of the way to hit that mark. And more people were on the 100-loss train at the beginning of this season than any of us would like to admit. I’ll admit I had those dark thoughts until I stepped back and completely looked the situation over.
Surprising few, the Braves sent Christian Bethancourt down to Gwinnett on Monday. Bethancourt was hitting .204 at the time and really, it’s time for a major re-evaluation when Ryan Lavarnway is considered the better bet to succeed at the major-league level. If his bat is going to be Mendoza-esque, his defense needs to be better than bottom-five in the league in errors (three) and passed balls (five) – especially since he was only catching twice a week.
He’s 23; 23-year olds get sent down when they’re struggling sometimes, even multi-time top organizational prospects who were thought to be lynchpins. He’ll go to Triple-A, get more playing time and hopefully figure out how to be serviceable with the bat and get back to the world-class defense we’ve all heard so much about.
Clarksville, TN – So far, you have to hand it to John Hart. Shelby Miller, Mike Foltynewicz and Jace Peterson already look like potential long-timers, while Matt Wisler, Tyrell Jenkins and Mallex Smith show great promise.
Meanwhile, Craig Kimbrel has an ERA over 4.00 and Jason Heyward is making my MVP boasting look woefully misinformed (I swear I wasn’t reverse-jinxing it, Cardinal fans – I still believe he’ll be very good for someone), so Hart looks like Nostradamus right now. In fact, he’s set the Braves up to be pretty good for a while at almost every spot.
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