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Topic: MLB

Colby Wilson’s Atlanta Braves Report: Long September

 

Atlanta BravesClarksville, TN – As the calendar readies a turn to September and the Braves postseason chances officially dwindle to zero, it’s time to take stock of what’s important.

The Atlanta Braves are in third place in the National League East, but need a telescope to see the top of the division and are somehow even further back in the Wild Card hunt. Barring a season-ending run the likes of which have never been seen (to reach 85 wins, Atlanta would need to go 31-4 the rest of the way as of Wednesday, and even that may not be enough to garner a postseason bid), the competitive part of the season is over.

Atlanta Braves shortstop Andrelton Simmons (19) is congratulated by first baseman Nick Swisher (23) after scoring a run against the Colorado Rockies in the fifth inning at Turner Field. (Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports)

Atlanta Braves shortstop Andrelton Simmons (19) is congratulated by first baseman Nick Swisher (23) after scoring a run against the Colorado Rockies in the fifth inning at Turner Field. (Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports)

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Colby Wilson’s Atlanta Braves Report: Moylo the Maverick

 

Atlanta BravesClarksville, TN – In an up-and-down (mostly down) Atlanta Braves season, you take solace in the little things. Jace Peterson looking like a potential cornerstone, for instance. The A.J. Pierzynski Revival. The on-going delight that is watching Andrelton Simmons range deep into the hole, make the impossible backhanded stab, stop on a dime, set, load his cannon of an arm and throw a hustling batter out by two steps.

But the most enjoyable phrase we’ve heard all season happened last week:

“The Braves have purchased the contract of Peter Moylan from Triple-A Gwinnett.”

Atlanta Braves second baseman Jace Peterson (8) hits an RBI single during the ninth inning against the San Diego Padres at Petco Park. (Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports)

Atlanta Braves second baseman Jace Peterson (8) hits an RBI single during the ninth inning against the San Diego Padres at Petco Park. (Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports)

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Colby Wilson’s Atlanta Braves Report: The Ascension of A.J. Pierzynski

 

Atlanta BravesClarksville, TN – You want me to talk about John Hart and the Confusing, Off-the-Wall, Nonsensical, Very Weird Deal or do you want me to talk about something else? I have to mention it, obviously, but I can do it in 80 words or I can do it 800 words.

You picked 80. Smart.

I think when you make a deal where the biggest principles involved are a 24-year old mid-rotation starter, a 21-year old top prospect, a two-time All-Star closer and a 30-year old super prospect whose never seen a big-league pitch and has a sketchy injury history—and the only one you end up with is the 30-year old—then unless the 30-year old turns into steroids-era Mark McGwire or better, you lost the trade. But hey, no pressure Hector Olivera. Pickles.

(Sorry, I was on 79. Needed one more.)

Atlanta Braves catcher A.J. Pierzynski (15) in a game against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park. The Phillies   won 9-3. (Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports)

Atlanta Braves catcher A.J. Pierzynski (15) in a game against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park. The Phillies won 9-3. (Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports)

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Colby Wilson’s Atlanta Braves Report: Juan Gone

 

Atlanta BravesClarksville, TN – Bit of an amazing ride for Juan Uribe, no?

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.

Atlanta Braves third baseman Juan Uribe (2) hits a single during the fourth inning against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field. The Rockies won   3-2. (Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports)

Atlanta Braves third baseman Juan Uribe (2) hits a single during the fourth inning against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field. The Rockies won 3-2. (Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports)

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Colby Wilson’s Atlanta Braves Report: Maestro, if you please…

 

Atlanta BravesClarksville, TN For Fredi and John in ‘15
A sense they needed to glean
From CJ and JT
Miller and CB
Are they to be part of the dream?


Bethancourt is now with Gwinnett
He’s clearly not ready yet
He can’t hit a lick
His fielding’s not slick
Pierzynski (!) looks like a much better bet

Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Alex Wood (40) delivers a pitch to a Los Angeles Dodgers batter in the sixth inning of their game at Turner Field. (Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports)

Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Alex Wood (40) delivers a pitch to a Los Angeles Dodgers batter in the sixth inning of their game at Turner Field. (Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports)

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Colby Wilson’s Atlanta Braves Report: The Middies!

 

Atlanta BravesClarksville, TN – That’s right, it’s time for everyone’s favorite hacky midseason awards column… The Middies!

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.

Atlanta Braves center fielder Cameron Maybin (25) hits a RBI single against the Philadelphia Phillies in the fourth inning at Turner Field. (Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports)

Atlanta Braves center fielder Cameron Maybin (25) hits a RBI single against the Philadelphia Phillies in the fourth inning at Turner Field. (Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports)

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Colby Wilson’s Atlanta Braves Report: All the ineptitude

 

Atlanta BravesClarksville, TN – The Atlanta Braves are a TERRIBLE offensive team.

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.

Atlanta Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman (5) celebrates after scoring a run against the Boston Red Sox during the fourth inning at Fenway Park.   (Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports)

Atlanta Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman (5) celebrates after scoring a run against the Boston Red Sox during the fourth inning at Fenway Park. (Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports)

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Colby Wilson’s Atlanta Braves Report: Well, that’s different

 

Atlanta BravesClarksville, TN – Shhhhhh.

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.

Atlanta Braves Chris Johnson (23) slides safely into second base ahead of the tag by New York Mets shortstop Wilmer Flores (4) on a fielding error in   the fourth inning of their game at Turner Field. (Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports)

Atlanta Braves Chris Johnson (23) slides safely into second base ahead of the tag by New York Mets shortstop Wilmer Flores (4) on a fielding error in the fourth inning of their game at Turner Field. (Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports)

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Colby Wilson’s Atlanta Braves Report: Put out the fire, already

 

Atlanta BravesClarksville, 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.

Almost.

Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Shelby Miller (17) throws a pitch against the San Diego Padres in the fifth inning at Turner Field. (Brett Davis-USA   TODAY Sports)

Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Shelby Miller (17) throws a pitch against the San Diego Padres in the fifth inning at Turner Field. (Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports)

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Colby Wilson’s Atlanta Braves Report: The Ultimate Throw-In

 

Written by Colby Wilson

Atlanta BravesClarksville, TN – As throw-ins go, Cameron Maybin has been pretty good so far.

For all the talk about pitching wunderkind Matt Wisler – and that talk looks justified in the very early returns – Maybin was a distant third on most people’s list for ‘most important player acquired in the Craig Kimbrel deal’, behind Carlos Quentin, and may have mattered less to some than the acquisition of a competitive balance draft choice.

Yet Cameron Maybin has been the outfield presence the Braves have sorely needed in 2015, quickly becoming an every-day fixture in centerfield and playing exemplary defense as such to offset his sometimes-streaky offense.

Atlanta Braves center fielder Cameron Maybin (25) singles against the Los Angeles Dodgers during the first inning of the game at Dodger Stadium. (Richard Mackson-USA   TODAY Sports)

Atlanta Braves center fielder Cameron Maybin (25) singles against the Los Angeles Dodgers during the first inning of the game at Dodger Stadium. (Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports)

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