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Topic: A.J. Pierzynski

Colby Wilson’s Atlanta Braves Report: Closing Time

 

Atlanta BravesClarksville, TN – The 2015 regular season has whimpered to a close. Let’s hand out some fake awards for an Atlanta Braves season that was all too real.

The Jermaine Dye Award for best season by a former Brave: This seems like one of those insanely stacked categories like the 1994 Best Picture Oscar nominees. In fact, lets draw some half-cocked parallels between baseball players and 20-year old movies!

Forrest Gump: Gets all the headlines and maybe (maybe!) it’s not the best, only everyone gets irrationally mad at you for suggesting that? Oh, this is so Justin Upton.

Four Weddings and a Funeral: Everybody always seems to forget about this movie… kinda like everyone forgets that Mark Teixeira used to play for the Braves.

Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Shelby Miller (17) pitches against the New York Mets during the second inning at Citi Field. (Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports)

Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Shelby Miller (17) pitches against the New York Mets during the second inning at Citi Field. (Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports)

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Colby Wilson’s Atlanta Braves Report: Chaos

 

Atlanta BravesClarksville, TN – When Ken Rosenthal’s “scathing” report that Fredi Gonzalez has lost control of the Braves clubhouse broke on Tuesday, there were conflicting emotions.

On the one hand, Rosenthal swings a pretty large stick in the baseball story-breaking community; the phrase “@Ken_Rosenthal had it first” appears quite often during the trade deadline and around the Hot Stove. He’s become baseball’s answer to Adam Schefter—a guy with a mole in every front office or a willing voice in each clubhouse.

On the other hand, the seven-paragraph story did a lot of conclusion-drawing and not a lot of fact-revealing. Citing vaguely that he had “been hearing all season that players are frustrated with Gonzalez” is easy—I’ve literally no doubt whatsoever that there has been a lot of frustration with Fredi, especially in the second half and especially in the last month or so.

Atlanta Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez (33) looks on from the dugout prior to the game against the   Arizona Diamondbacks at Turner Field. (Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports)

Atlanta Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez (33) looks on from the dugout prior to the game against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Turner Field. (Jason Getz-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: 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: 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: John Smoltz goes to the MLB Hall of Fame

 

Written by Colby Wilson

I hate these ‘If my life depended on it, I’d do blah blah blah’ scenarios, because no one’s life has ever depended on finding the perfect French dip sandwich or being able to drive from Nashville to Memphis in less than two-and-a-half hours. It’s a very hack way of saying ‘I find this thing to be better than any other of a list of a similar things’, but the first way is more eye-catching, so that’s how most people say it.

Having said that, if my life depended on the outcome of a baseball game, I’d want John Smoltz to get the ball.

Former Atlanta Braves pitcher John Smoltz (left) during MLB Winter Meetings at Manchester Grand Hyatt. (Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports)

Former Atlanta Braves pitcher John Smoltz (left) during MLB Winter Meetings at Manchester Grand Hyatt. (Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports)

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