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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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Colby Wilson’s Atlanta Braves Report: CB Radio

 

Written by Colby Wilson

Clarksville, TN – Over the weekend, news trickled out that the Braves had kicked the tires on Jonathan Lucroy, injured All-Star catcher for the dumpster fire that is the Milwaukee Brewers. And this is not to knock Lucroy – a fine catcher who has proven to be worth his weight in pitch-framing and gap-to-gap power – but rather illustrate how disenfranchised the brass has become with Christian Bethancourt.

Seems odd to already be sniffing around for replacements for the Catcher of the Future after 183 big-league at-bats, yet here we (allegedly) are. Lucroy is 29, Bethancourt is 23. Math says Bethancourt is the play for the present and future. But he’s hitting .190 and has ridden pine for much of the season behind A.J. Pierzynski, both because Pierzynski has been raking (13-game hitting streak to start the year, third on the team in hitting at a .281 clip) and because Bethancourt has looked lost at the plate and merely competent defensively.

Atlanta Braves catcher Christian Bethancourt. (Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports)

Atlanta Braves catcher Christian Bethancourt. (Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports)

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Colby Wilson’s Atlanta Braves Report: A future that looks like someone else’s present

 

Written by Colby Wilson

Clarksville, TN – Christ.

The Washington Nationals delivered a resounding beating to the Braves over the weekend that included all the things that inhabit Joe Simpson’s nightmares. Bryce Harper hitting two home runs. Bryce Harper hitting a walk-off. Bryce Harper being happy. Not the best of times.

In a season such as this, it’s not the journey that matters – blah baseball is going to be blah baseball regardless and even Don Sutton and Jim Powell are already taking shots at the Eric Young Jr.’s of the roster because really, if you had to choose, would you rather watch him or Mallex Smith? Phil Gosselin or Jose Peraza? Chris Johnson or Rio Ruiz? Whatever… we’ll get to them in 2016.

Washington Nationals right fielder Bryce Harper (34) at bat against the Atlanta Braves during the first inning at Nationals Park. (Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports)

Washington Nationals right fielder Bryce Harper (34) at bat against the Atlanta Braves during the first inning at Nationals Park. (Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports)

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Nashville Sounds lose to Oklahoma City Dodgers 6-5 in extra innings

 

Hernandez Walks-Off With 10th Inning Single

Nashville SoundsOklahoma City, OK – For the second straight night it took extra innings to declare a winner between the Nashville Sounds and Oklahoma City Dodgers at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark. Unlike Tuesday night, it was the home team that came out on top, 6-5.

The Sounds led much of the game, putting up five early runs on Freddy Garcia. Garcia was thrust into the start  – despite pitching three innings just two nights before  – when Dodgers’ probable starter Carlos Frias was promoted to the MLB squad this morning.

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