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Colby Wilson’s Atlanta Braves Report: Simba Stagnation

 

Atlanta BravesClarksville, TN – It’s easy to fly under the radar when you play on a team hell-bent on losing 100 games. The talented players tend to get the benefit of the doubt—Shelby Miller didn’t pitch perfectly in every one of those starts he was unable to win, just most of them, but you wouldn’t know that from listening to Chip and Joe—and the…less…talented guys bear the brunt of the blame (I can only imagine Fredi Gonzalez’s whole spiel to keep his job will be, “Whaddya want from me? I thought you were going to give me real ballplayers to coach.”)

Even so, I’m a little discouraged at Andrelton Simmons’ development.

(DEEEEEEP breaths, everybody. It’s not all bad, I promise. Andrelton Simmons is my favorite current Brave. Of course, he’s one of only like, three, that I recognize, but still, this is hard on me too.)

Atlanta Braves shortstop Andrelton Simmons (19) tags out New York Mets shortstop Wilmer Flores (4) on a steal attempt during the second inning at Citi Field. (Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports)

Atlanta Braves shortstop Andrelton Simmons (19) tags out New York Mets shortstop Wilmer Flores (4) on a steal attempt 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: 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: 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: 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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