Braves getting ready for influential stretch

Welcome to the most influential 10-day stretch the Braves have encountered during this still-young season.  Over the course of the next 10 games, the Braves will have a chance to keep themselves in the thick of the National League East while solely playing the Mets, Marlins and Phillies.  
In the process, they might also have the chance to construct some lineups that include Brian McCann and Garret Anderson, who are both hoping to be activated from the disabled list this week.  Anderson is expected to be activated for Tuesday’s series finale against the Mets and as long as his prescription Oakleys prove to be beneficial McCann could end his DL stint in time to be behind the plate for Friday’s series opener in Philadelphia.  
Braves manager Bobby Cox’s Opening Day lineup had McCann batting cleanup and Anderson sitting behind him in the fifth spot of the order.   That exact lineup has been utilized just three times this year and Cox has had a total of four lineups that have included both McCann and Anderson.
“We miss Anderson and Mac, they’re two of our big thumpers,” Cox said.  “They’ve been out together for a long time. So it’s a lot to overcome.”
Given that injuries have also sidelined both Chipper Jones and Yunel Escobar for at least three games this year, the Braves have even reason to feel fortunate that they are just 2 games behind the front-running Marlins in the NL East race.
With a significant portion of their projected power (Anderson and McCann), it’s easy to understand why the Braves rank 10th in the National League with a .405 slugging percentage and 14th with 19 home runs.  
Of course most of that production occurred during the opening series in Philadelphia when McCann’s vision was still allowing him to perform like one of the game’s top catchers.   In the 21 games that have followed, the Braves  have hit .258 with 11 homers and a .383 slugging percentage.  
Without surprise, the two least productive positions during this 21-game span have been the ones originally reserved for McCann and Anderson.  Since the Philadelphia series, the Braves left fielders have hit .215 with a .642 OPS (on-base percentage plus slugging percentage) and their catchers have hit .232 with a .763 OPS.  
While David Ross has at least provided some production in McCann’s absence, it’s obvious that the Braves need McCann to return to form and provide Chipper Jones necessary protection.  
Obviously the sore left thumb that he carried out of Spring Training has played a part in the fact that Jones has hit .273 with one homer and an .838 OPS  in the past 13 games.   But so too has the fact that the injury-depleted lineup has given pitchers less reason to provide the veteran third baseman with a chance to hurt them.
Kelly returns to the leadoff spot:  Cox has put Kelly Johnson back in the leadoff spot tonight against the Mets, who are starting right-hander John Maine.   Johnson has three hits, including  a triple and a double, in 12 career at-bats against Maine.  
Coming off the first consecutive three-strikeout performances of his young career, Jordan Schafer is once again batting in the eighth spot.   Schafer’s NL-leading 30 strikeouts are a product of  overaggressive rookie play and the fact that he too often hasn’t shortened his swing when he’s fallen behind in the count.
In the 37 plate appearances that he’s gotten ahead with a 1-0 count, he’s drawn 13 walks, recorded 11 strikeouts and produced a .514 on-base percentage.    In the 51 plate appearances that he’s fallen behind with an 0-1 count, he’s drawn five walks, struck out 19 times and produced a .333 on-base percentage.  
More concerning than the strikeouts themselves is that Schafer has hit .111 (2-for-18) with eight strikeouts and no RBIs in 24 plate appearances with runners in scoring position.  

 
 

51 Comments

Lineups:

Mets
1.Reyes-SS
2.Musial-LF( In case any Met fans are lurking )
3.Beltran-CF
4.Delgado-1B
5.Wright-3B
6.Church-RF
7.Castro-C
8.Castillo-2B
9.Maine-P

Braves;
1.KJ-2B
2.Esco-SS
3.Chipper-3B
4.Kotchman-1B
5.Francoeur-RF
6.B.Jones-LF
7.Ross-C
8.Schafer-CF
9.Vasquez-P

Any word on whats going to happen with Anderson tomorrow?
Any word on Glavine?
ARE McCann’s glasses working?

Those lineups just look dirty. A lot of batters who Vazquez is going to have trouble with, and at a time where we desperately need a win. I hope he can give us 6 good innings and that our lineup can somehow produce a few runs.

Has there been any talk about how good the play of Infante has been? Was this just a show to get his value up or are we going to use him? He seems much more valuable than KJ at the moment, though I bet KJ will bounce back… (hopefully somewhere other than leadoff…)…

I read somewhere that Chipper was playing through a lot of things right now that he might have taken a break(even a one game break) from last year or in past years – does this reflect his status as the club leader, or is it because the team is hurting, or ?

Sorry for all the questions, had a long weekend at a ropescourse to think about it with no internet.

1.Anderson to be activated tomorrow.(Tuesday)

2.Glavine has thrown with less discomfort still trying to see if he can return by the end of the month.

3.McCann has ordered some prescription Oakley’s.
When they arrive hopefully today, then he will go to Gwinnett and try to adjust.

If he(McCann) can make the adjustment then he will probably be activated Firday first day elgible for re-instatement.

I had heard all of those things – well, not about the glasses arriving today, the rest, though.. just didn’t know if there was any update. Thanks, though.

Okay, last question:

Why isn’t Kris Medlen seen as more of an option as a starter at the major leage level? His numbers are just… scary. .89 WHIP? 1.52 ERA?

Also, looking at Gwinetts pitching, we have a pitching staff that looks able to go against some of the lower level Major League teams, and a few players who could be solid 2-4 guys in the bullpen or in the rotation. Maybe I’m just too optimistic, but…

I think we should al cheer on Kelly Johnson, he’s a great player that deserves our support and he needs some confidence so let’s give it to him!!

Thank you Chip Caray. “Javier Vasquez has yet to give up a hit in this game”……WHACK!

Mark, is Schafer’s wrist injury really as bad as the announcers have said tonight? It seems like if he isn’t able to hit the inside pitch due to his injury, he should sit until it gets better. I like Schafer and am glad he won the centerfield job, but he needs practice and I’m hoping that he can get healthy and get the help he needs from TP.

I say if Schafer isnt hitting well at the end of the season…give that Texas coach a call…everyone knows how he turned Frenchy around heck lets just pick him up and get rid of TP…he was a great hitter just not the greatest hitting coach

Chipper Jones is hitting sub-300. Mark that one on a calendar.

Mark – I never really hear about Terry Pendelton’s influence on our hitters. I’m at the point where I’m beginning to question his effectiveness as a hitting coach. With offensive numbers scraping the bottom of the National League for the last couple of years, is it unfair of me to start looking at him for what’s going on? I don’t think it’s a lack of talent that’s the issue. Nobody expects our power numbers to skyrocket. However, it seems like no one is doing their job in situational hitting and working the counts. There used to be a time in Atlanta where a 2-3 run deficit in late innings would never be safe. Now it seems as though we get down a couple of runs and we quit.
We all know where Chipper goes for hitting advice. And the fact the Frenchy went outside of the organization last year to fix things… at what point do we start looking at TP as ineffective? I don’t live in the Atlanta area anymore so I don’t know if anyone is bringing this up… but doesn’t some of this lack of offensive production need to fall on his shoulders? It concerns me if they are in fact grooming him to take over for Bobby.
As the Braves beat writer, I know you have to tread lightly and you can’t really throw anyone under the bus… but I’m curious to hear your thoughts… or anyone else for that matter. Thanks.

I offer this up for discussion,
When you have a team that cannot execute the fundamentals well, like hit ad run or bunting,
and they are also a team that is so conservative and non aggressive that they don’t even attempt stolen bases, always opting for the bunt instead.
Then this same team gets in late innings of close games and allows runners to take third standing up,
walks the hitter to fill the base just opened, and
brings in a guy with a WHIP over 2 with the bases loaded and less than two out in a tied game,
Wouldn’t you eventually consider the possibility that coaching and/or managing has become an issue?
Anybody not named Bobby Cox would have been gone two years ago. That’s just the real truth. There is a huge leadership void on this team. Nobody wants to hear what TP has to say, McDowell is a joke, and all of the young guys are learning how to tune out, not how to tune in to the coaching.
That is a real problem, and it is really what is happening in Atlanta.

We definitely need a locker room leader, who wants to be one, and is not self-appointed by default. Maybe Mark can comment on that. My understanding is that Chipper is supposed to be that guy, but when I listen to him in interviews he just doesn’t sound like a natural fit for that role. I would bet Chipper wishes he could manage and I’m sure he’s frustrated at our ineffective lineup order.

I’m sure many of us are getting impatient with the ineptitude on the players’ and managers’ side. It’s already May, and the Mets, Phillies, and Marlins are likely going to stay close to the top of the division, making it hard for the Braves to claim their rightful place at the top. As it’s been said, the next 3 series are huge for us and if last night is any indication of how they will play out, we should be concerned. I hope Infante is back in the lineup at the top of the order tonight, and maybe if G-Anderson is back and ready to contribute, we can feast on the Mets and start a nice little run. Go Braves!

The Braves must get better at small execution things if they are to improve. You can be an impatient team if you possess a good amount of power and speed (SEE: Anaheim of last year), or you can be a low power highly pesky team. Unfortunately for Atlanta right now they are an impatient, low power team. I’m not as quick to judge Bobby Cox on the issue as I think in many ways he’s been hamstrung by the team’s roster. Atlanta is a slow team right now. Schafer’s the only plus speed guy, but he’s still learning to hit at this level. Since Furcal left this team has lacked a true leadoff guy, and frankly, we don’t have many guys who are great baserunners. Schafer, Chipper, Prado, Escobar, and Diaz have all been guilty of bad baserunning mistakes this early year. All teams have that, but these same guys (save Chipper) do not make enough good baserunning decisions to make up for the mistakes. These mistakes in many ways have left Cox in the unenviable position of essentially having to use straight bunts and then hoping to get timely hitting which just hasn’t been there. I’m not sure who is really to blame….Is it just a lack of talent? Is it lack of players listening? Is it bad coaching? I’m tempted to say it’s a bit of all three that has now been chronic for a few years.
I don’t know what to make of the clubhouse situation. I personally don’t have a problem with Chipper as the leader. I like that he’s a straight shooter and I like his professional attitude. Frankly, we need a younger guy to step up to compliment Chipper rather than replace him. Chipper’s the remaining member of the old guard, but we’re now far enough removed from success that most of our roster doesn’t have that same winning mentality. Francoeur had a chance to become that young voice, but he then became so self-pitying last year and pouted about his minor league stint that he lost that ability. McCann’s affable, but may not be that strong voice. Escobar’s way too out there to be that voice. Lowe and Vazquez are both new to the team and have been best as contributors rather than leaders. I’m excited about the long term potential of both Schafer and Hanson, but I’m not sure Atlanta will get that youth voice until we can produce or acquire that everyday player who leads by example and is vocal. Maybe that can be Jason Heyward some day, but that’s a good 3-4 years minimum from occurring. Any other names that stick out to folks?

Tomatalk, you are right that this Braves team does not possess much speed, but really, Albert Pujols has as many steals as the ENTIRE team. There are at least 6 Braves faster than Albert, (Schafer, Johnson, Infante, Francoeur, Escobar, Diaz, even Chipper) so it is not as much a speed issue as a philosophical one. Bobby won’t run anymore, won’t even try to, period.
I also think it may be a systemic organizational problem that nobody seems to be able to do the basics when they arrive at Turner Field. Certainly it is hard to blame Bobby if Jo Jo can’t get a bunt down or Brandon Jones can’t because they should have been ready to go at the very least by AAA. None of the current Braves were rushed to the Bigs, that’s for sure, and they spend millions feeding and housing these guys all Spring every Spring at Disney.
The Major League woes seem to indicate that someone has fallen asleep at the wheel in the area of player development.

As I watch KK struggle yet again tonight and have that pitch count rise in a hurry all I can say is get ready folks to see the Tommy Hanson promotion. Yes, I’m well aware of the arb. clock, June projection, etc…..All I’m saying is it’s close, and it’s likely to be sooner rather than later. Especially if it continues to appear that this team will live or die by starting pitching.

Embarrassing. Call a spade a spade. I don’t see us winning more than 75 games this year. It’s better to come to terms with it now than drag it out all year. They’ll show signs of promise and then lose 5 straight – all year long.
Wren is just passing the time away until he has a lineup consisting of Schafer, Freeman, Heyward, Chipper, Frenchy, McCann, and a rotation consisting of Tommy Hanson, Derek Lowe, and Tim Hudson.
This right now is just bad baseball.

I’m sorry, but I can’t hold my tongue any longer. The Braves offense is terrible this year. Look at the amount of runs they are scoring. It is pathetic. I love watching the Braves but either start dumping high salaried players to prove a point or pick up some proven hitters. The Marlins and Nationals are scoring way more runs than the Braves. Kansas City, the Mariners, and most of the teams in both leagues have more offense than this club. Casey Kotchman is a number 7 hitter at best. NOT a cleanup hitter. The positive spin you put on this ball club, Mr. Bowman, should also point some fingers at the inconsistencies that this team trudges through. The pitching is the only thing saving this team from an ugly last place finish and losing 100 games…but even that may not be enough.

I Think the Braves would be better off releasing Garret Anderson…once again proving that proving players at the downturn of their careers with paydays way above what they should be making is costly. They are paying Garret 2.5 Mil for a guy whom doesn’t want to be there, is out of shape, unprepared and unable to play everyday outfield, etc. How stupid were the Braves for not trading Kelly Johnson to the Cards for either Ryan Ludwick or Rick Ankiel. The Braves were asking for an additional prospect for Kelly Johnson. Look at the awful offensive production we are incurring at the leadoff spot now. Omar Infante and Martin Prado can adequately man the 2B position and Kelly Johnson’s trade value wouldn’t be able to net either Ankiel or Ludwick at this point. The would’ve also had a solid outfielder and a cleanup hitter. Just one of the many flops the upper management failed us on this offseason and probably why attendance at Turner Field is down the 2nd most out of any team in the majors…well, at least the Braves realize that they will be trading alot of their highest paid players at the deadline and the offseason. Look what the Marlins have done with a small budget. Maybe its time the Braves visit that option and get back to basics.

This is absolute BULLPOPE!!! How can anyone honestly think that by adding Mccan we can average 5 runs a game!?! We’ve got GA back and he gave a solid performance (No he didn’t). Something has to change, maybe a trade for Nick Mar – Cake – Us (I can only spell it frenetically) I know hes left handed but it wont matter if we trade Kelly, Garret, Some pitcher.

If Bobby wants to play Infante so much why not sit Chipper and play Infante at third and Kelly and second

I take back my Mar Cake Us proposal, I forgot they had Roberts, what about the possibility of moving Kelly back to LF and placing Infante/Prado at 2nd. The move allows more defense at second and at LF, Kelly is a great defender but has problem with the back hand. Anyone?

You should be taking back the Markakis suggestion because even IF the Orioles didn’t have Brian Roberts and even IF the the “pitcher” you mentioned was Tommy Hanson I am 98% sure the Orioles wouldn’t deal Markakis for Anderson, Johnson, Hanson. Folks, PWH has the right idea about potential targets……they’re going to be guys like Brian Giles not young, cheap, uber talented individuals like Markakis. You want Matt Holliday? Be prepared to deal Medlen, Hernandez, and someone else for a 2 month rental. The Braves are either going to have to settle this internally, settle for a mid-range guy (ala Kearns, Giles), or be prepared to deal the farm. I agree with Bravomania over other suggestions…..this team seems content to wait for Freeman, Heyward, Hanson, et al. before they’ll do something more drastic.

Unless Canns comes back and really kickstarts this offense, you guys better get used to this type of play and spent energy complaining about a mediocre offense consistently letting down a great pitching staff. yeah kawakami had a huge pitch count and only went 5. but he only gave up 2 runs. that’s not bad. 1 run off of the Mets’ 5th starter is pathetic. The fact that the issue in left field was never properly addressed in the offseason is going to sink this ship. I would have rather had Jo Jo in the 5th spot and pray that he only gave up 4 or 5 a game until Hanson was ready than spend the money on Kawakami and instead get someone who could drive in runs. And I know PWH’s argument about getting the Japanese market IS valid, but won’t work. Their good players will always go to west coast teams or the Big 2, Red Sox and the Yankees. I’m still amazed that Wren didn’t take a chance on Andruw. He could’ve played left field and would’ve been a total wild card, but who would you rather have? Andruw or Norton? Someone who could get a pinch hit 1 out of 4 chances or someone who could be a potential HR threat for next to nothing? I think Diaz is great, but great for a team who has a power hitting CF/RF or 1B. The LF tandem is a joke. I would’ve even gone for Adam Dunn’s 160 Ks a year over that, even for his price range. The Braves have always been about pitching and that’s why they won year after year. But only won 1 World Series in the process. Why? No offense. You need at least 2 BIG bats. We have 3 slightly large ones at the moment (when Canns is back). I don’t see that getting us anywhere beyond 3rd place.

I don’t want a big name player to come over in a trade, as you may or may not remember I was the man lobbying for DeJesus, I also dont want a power hitting LF, I’d rother (stupid joke) see a gap hitting player with good speed and ok defense

I have read this blog since spring training and appreciate the various perspectives I have read not just from you Mark Bowman, but from the educated fans on your blog (rother, jurrjens4nlcy, tomatalk just to name a few). It’s refreshing to see intelligent discussion with evidence.

While I am certainly frustrated with where this team is, I am very surprised that you attribute that to Bobby Cox or TP. I have always felt that Bobby Cox was a little too supportive of his players, but in this particular slump when they show cut-aways of Bobby in the dugout he is NOT happy. For example, I knew Schafer was not going to continue to hit leadoff after Bobby Cox’s reaction to the 3-1 pickoff in Sunday’s game. There is only so much that the coaching staff can do.

Look at the Facts: Brian McCann is our cleanup hitter and he hasn’t been able to either play or see for all but approximately three games. One of the only other two people in the regular lineup to have hit twenty HR in consecutive years has fewer than 50AB (Anderson) and the other ranks 227th in the major leagues in opportunities with runners on second and third. I believe our starting 1B is the only one in the NL that has no HR. WE HAVE NO OFFENSE. TP can’t be expected to get things going cause there isn’t anything to work with and Bobby can’t either. I’m all for accountability, I just feel it is important to make sure it is properly placed, and I don’t think coaching is preventing us from winning in this instance.

The starting pitching that we have has really been outstanding (Kawakami aside). I think our pitching strength is going to allow us to climb back into a position to at least take the wild card. In almost every start Vazquez, Lowe, Jurrjens, and Jojo for that matter have left us in a position where we should have been capable of scoring enough runs to win the game. We have two more great pitchers down in AAA that are going to be up shortly, and Schafer will get better with time as rookies do. If we can tread water like we did in ’95 we will be in prime position to make a run in this division.
–someone else can prognosticate now!

WWag, that’s the big question, How close are the Braves? The answer to that drives what happens next. Are we a bat and a set of legs from being in the thick of it? Remember, as competitive as the division is, there will be no Eastern Division Wild Card winner this season.
The Braves have some”good guys” that are decent players. What they lack is a dynamic, electric guy that can fire up the rest with his play.
Maybe it is a pitcher, like Hanson, that can be like Mark Fidrych was for Detroit in 1976. They had 12-15,000 a night then with a losing season, but when Fidrych pitched the place was full, 50,000 and hanging from the rafters. Maybe it will be a young stud like Heyward that comes out of nowhere and wows the team. It doesn’t have to be a vocal guy, but it definitely has to be a dynamic guy that is capable of something special once in a while, a “did you see that” kind of guy.
Last night in the first inning Hanson had the clean up hitter down 0-2 and threw a great pitch only to get it called a ball. The crowd booed. Hanson snatched the ball back from the catcher, toed the rubber, and blew the clean up hitter away with the next pitch. He just let go of the ball, turned away from the plate and marched to the dugout, never even looking up or toward the umpire in one of the best “Take that” moments. He finished his 6 innings with 10 Ks and having given up only one hit, a Langerhans homer no less. That personality is what the Braves need. The guy that can toe the rubber and just might throw a no hitter tonight. The guy who stands there and says I don’t care what you did last night buddy, you’re in my house now.
We’ll know what they think when we see what they do.

i would have to agree with everyone who is questioning the coaching of the braves. the last few years have been terrible offensivlly. i understand that the braves do not the money that they used to have . that being said the braves have not really hit well over the past 5 or 6 years. if the braves really want to contend they need to hire a whole new coaching staff. roger mcdowell is not near the pitching coach leo was. look at the recent rash of injuries. something is missing somewhere. kyle davies has went to the royals and is doing well. TP needs to go as well. Bobby needs to go to a home in fla and retire.

signed a braves fan since 1973.

Fixing the Braves-

I attended the game last night – a 4 to 3 loss to the Mets.

Although we lost the game (and it was one of the most frustrating games I have ever witnessed) when I sit back and analyze everything I saw with everything I know, I have to tell you the Braves are close. We really miss B Mac in the lineup.

Here are some thoughts ? keeping in mind I am just a fan.

Somebody who speaks Japanese needs to get to Kinshin Kawakawi and tell him to speed up his game. Watching him pitch last night was TORTURE (Obama would not approve). It reminded me of watching Steve Tracheal pitch. He was behind in the count on hitter after hitter, and took WAY too much time between pitches. He must have thrown 120 pitches through 5 innings. It?s almost as if he is approaching pitching in the Major League from a defensive posture instead of attacking the lineups offensively. It is almost like with each batter he is doing damage control. Watching him get into and out of trouble was impressive though. His ability to get the strike out was impressive, and he owned Carlos Delgato.

I was in favor of giving Schafer the shot at the beginning of the year. He earned it. He has now earned his spot back on the Gwinnett team or maybe even Mississippi. He is fun to watch on the bases, and in center, and he belongs eventually but, 1. He needs more work, 2. He needs more confidence, 3. The Atlanta Braves need more production and can?t afford to proceed with this any longer. The fix? Infante. He has proven he can hit. Put KJ back at second and hit him 7th or 8th in the lineup where he will be most productive. Put Infante in CF and bat him third. Let Chipper hit 4th, and protect him with B Mac.

Escobar SS
Anderson/Diaz LF
Infante CF
Chipper 3B
BMac C
Frenchy RF
Kotchman 1B
KJ 2B

Or bat Infante 2nd and the Anderson/Diaz combo third. I would do it the other way, but I am just me.

I really liked O? Flahrety. He pitched very well. Gonzalez did not deserve his fate. I am telling, you this team is close to being very good, and that is certainly part of the frustration, because right now, they are VERY bad.

On the bright side, in a League that boasts the immortal David Price, Tom Gorzelanny, the can’t miss kids from the Big Apple (Phil Hughes and Ian Kennedy), Clay “No hit” Buchholz, Homer Bailey, Tomo Okha and Kurt Saarloos, just to name a few, Tommy Hanson and Kris Medlen are clearly, along with Buchholz, the best pitchers so far this season.

barrys-couldn’t agree more about kk’s slowness. it was a bit painful to watch. i kept noting how restless and bored our defense looked during his high pitch counts and time between pitches. i am pulling for him and think he will eventually have some success. in the meantime, he needs to find a rhythm before the defense starts falling asleep.

Mark,
Your piece on Norton was excellent. One of the best reads this year.

Agreed. The article on Norton was compelling. It kind of puts things in perspective.

I am not quite as sure that the wild card will definitely come out of the central. I understand that the way St. Louis and the Cubs are playing right now is unlikely, but the thrust of my earlier point is that it’s early and we are not healthy. The Phillies have not kept Cole Hammels healthy and the Mets have discovered that they brought in people to anchor the back of the game without having sufficient starting pitching to keep them in the game in the first place.

Do you think the professionalism of the organization precludes players from having that fire or spark that you feel a player like Tommy Hanson would provide? The Braves have openly discussed the fact that they had to show Yunel how to play the game because they feel some of his antics are unexceptable. It seems to me that this team could benefit from a few more players who view the baseball diamond as their battlefield. I think you are absolutely right about having a pitcher on the mound that can command the game or power hitters that can be instant equalizers, but I think we have players who can get the job done and put up the numbers (or at the very least are capable of doing so when they are at their best).
In Mike Gonzalez’s recent save against the Cardinals he was downright filthy and when he was pitching to Pujols he kept rocking even after Pujols called for time. He was in the zone and he took pleasure in blowing away Pujols and Ludwick. ‘Gimme some more of that.’ I suppose my question is ultimately whether you think we can win with these players + McCann, Medlen and Hanson if the Braves organization as a whole decides to focus on increasing the intensity level as opposed to emphasizing professionalism and class?

“Remember, as competitive as the division is, there will be no Eastern Division Wild Card winner this season. ”

I do not believe that to be true, In the beginning of the season I was confident that the wild card will come out of the east and I still am

Wow. Mr. Schafer needs to find a bat without a big gaping hole in it. Maybe he needs to find one in Mississippi.
I haven’t seen this many strikeouts since the time I went to a bar after a Star Trek convention let out.

Someone on the AJC blog’s handle is “Jordan K’fer”. I thought that was pretty funny.

WWAg said “I suppose my question is ultimately whether you think we can win with these players + McCann, Medlen and Hanson if the Braves organization as a whole decides to focus on increasing the intensity level as opposed to emphasizing professionalism and class?”
The answer is I sure hope so.
I don’ t think the organization stops it, I just don’t think the team currently has that “guy”. Chipper alone isn’t going to do it. Gonzo is great for 3 innings a week, and I love the energy he produces. It is really fun to be at Turner when the motorcycle hits the scoreboard and he comes out. But, there is no wow factor anywhere else on the team. When was the last time you went “Did you see that?” at a Braves game? or “I can’t wait to see this guy pitch?”
Adding an “IT” guy will make the rest of it fun again. Then all of a sudden it will be “Did you see that throw Frenchy made!”, “Hanson got into the 8th with a no-no, I thought he was going to get it for sure!” or “When Chipper came up I knew it was over!”. We need to hear that stuff again. We need another guy who understands the “Stage” and rises to it. He’ll lift the rest of them to a new level. Right now they just seem to be going through the motions. Guys like Schafer and KJ are skilled enough and I would love to see them riding the wave. Escobar gets it, but is too brash for anyone to get behind at this stage of his career, but I believe his time is coming.
All we get out of a Braves game now is, nice game winning hit, but he still doesn’t walk enough. That is tedious.

Case in point, Hanson went 6 dominant shutout innings last week against Pawtucket. Medlen grabbed the ball the next night and through a shutout. Charlie went 7 and lost 1-0, Gamble stumbled, but Redmond picked it up and went no hit for 5 plus in a shutout stint, then Hanson again for 6 innings of one hit, and Medlen last night for a 7 inning 2 hit shutout. They can’t wait to grab the ball and be next to keep it going. The level has risen dramatically with the confidence and the emotion.
Once the Atlanta Braves get that snowball rolling down the hill, look out. They just need that “Follow Me” Guy. Then the pressure is about trying to excel and be even better than the last guy, not trying to not fail. That is a big, big difference.

“Me too, watch this” is a powerful, powerful part of sports. But the catalyst has to be there.

K-O-T-C-H-M-A-N

Who does he think he is, a cleanup hitter?

“Someone on the AJC blog’s handle is “Jordan K’fer”. I thought that was pretty funny.”
I really did laugh out loud when I read that. Good stuff.

I think Jordan needs to spend some one-on-one time with Chipper everyday. It’s quite obvious he has spent WAY to much time with Frenchy. lol.
Glad to see Ross and Kotchman hit some long balls.
I think Jurrjens could win a CY award if he worked on striking out more batters. The voters LOVE the K’s. He has the ERA and just needs those strikeouts.
What do you guys think about Man-Roid? (Manny Ramirez)

It’s a miracle! Schafer got a hit! For the first time in a LONGGGGG time.

“What do you guys think about Man-Roid? (Manny Ramirez)”

You knew it’s only a matter of time until something happened to bring the Dodgers back to Earth. We’ll see how far above .500 they are in 50 games. On the other hand, maybe they’ll be even better without his distractive personality

The K-O-T-C-H-M-A-N has been unleashed!!

They might not be talking about Jurjjens the same way as they are Greinke, but if the Braves didn’t blow 3 of his games offensively then he would definitely be getting some ace-status chatter. His lines are crazy. The most hits he has given up in a game is 6 and during that one he gave up no runs. And of course didn’t get the decision because we didn’t score. The most runs he has given up in a game is 3 and he got that decision. Like everyone else has been saying, if JJ keeps it up, a rotation of Lowe, Jurrjens, Vasquez, Hudson, Hanson will be VERY VERY intimidating indeed. But unfortunately this might be a year that we lose a lot of game 2-3 and 3-4 if Canns doesn’t wake up the bats with his return. Can anyone imagine where we would be right now with Corky Miller still in the dugout instead of David Ross??

Best ERA+ in baseball:

1. Zach Grienke – 1168
2. Johan Santana – 476
3. Dan Haren – 315
4. Johnny Cueto – 274
5. Jair Jurrjens – 226

Nobody else is 200 or better.

*Greinke.

Thats right baby, Jair Jurrjens for National League Cy Young Award, Hence my name!!

It’s probably a bit too early to put any weight into ERA+, but point is made nonetheless…….Jurrjens has been one of the best handful of starters in baseball this year. Now if only his karma could rub off on the offense…

well, where to begin. i would like to address the comments of the wild card situation, no matter who it is competing for the wild card come september the wild card winner will def be from the nl east! the teams in the east have been beating up on each other for most of the early part of this season, once we venture out and play the other divisions our team will prove their dominance! there are a lot of teams in the nl which are BAD!!
as for the early struggles of our offense thus far, we all have to keep in mind that its been one injury set back after another! im looking forward to tonight when we have mac chipper, ga, frenchy, esky, and i hope infante all in the lineup together! with omar at the top of the order and the middle secured by chipper mac ga and frenchy we will no dout start scoring more runs! i would really like to see if kj is able to play cf, just long enough for schafer to get out of his funk. batting kj eight would really help because he at least will put the ball in play! i cant begin to tell you how many times schafer has struck out with runners in scoring position with one out, which has cost us a few games!! i really think we are about to turn the corner especially with a healthy mac chipper and ga! LETS TAKE IT TO THE PHILS!!

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