Long losing streak has not killed postseason hopes

One horrid nine-game stretch in April does not define the path that a Major League club is destined to travel over the course of a 162-game season.  But as the Braves attempt to snap a nine-game losing streak against the Astros tonight, they can’t escape the fact that many are already asking, “are they really this bad.”   

Just seven days have passed since I last sat in this Turner Field press box with the belief that a slumbering offense would soon awake and direct the Braves toward a pennant race in September.   Yes 47-year-old Jamie Moyer had just baffled the Atlanta bats in a frustrating manner.   But such an event is deemed just a bump in the road when the calendar still rests on April 22.   

Now on April 30, just 10 days since the Braves constructed their consecutive back-to-back walk-off victories, manager Bobby Cox returned to Turner Field without much reason to laugh.   Coming off a winless seven-game road trip, he is among the many who have to wonder if his club’s nine-game losing streak is a fluke or a sign of things to come.  

As I mentioned in yesterday’s blog, this is essentially unchartered territory for Cox.   The only 10-game losing streak he has experienced during his long managerial career began with a loss to the Astros on June 11, 2006.  Horacio Ramirez was drilled in the head with a Lance Berkman liner that afternoon and as the Braves left Houston that afternoon they learned their flight to Ft. Lauderdale would include the bumps caused by a nearby hurricane.   

This prompted Chipper Jones to say something like, “The hits keep coming…I suggest staying as far away from the Atlanta Braves as you can now.”

Jones’ playful comment was made at the beginning of a 10-game skid and in the midst of a 23-game stretch that included just three victories.   

During that 10-game losing streak, the Braves hit .256 and saw their pitching staff post a 6.10 ERA.   Within this current nine-game losing streak,, the Braves have batted .223 and compiled a .188 (12-for-64)batting average with runners in scoring position.   The pitchers have posted a 5.20 ERA.  

When asked Friday afternoon, Jones said he did not remember the emotions he felt during that 10-game skid from four years ago.  But he later said, “I’m pretty sure this club is much better than that one.”  

On the charter flight back from St. Louis last night, many of the players dealt with the shock caused by the frustrating road trip.  When some mentioned that things needed to change before the front office decided to start making changes, Jones said, “I like the guys on this team far too much to let us reach a point where some of these guys are getting traded.”  

During this conversation, Troy Glaus mentioned that  the 2002 Angels club that he was a part of started the season with the same 8-14 mark that the Braves carry into Friday night’s series opener against the Astros.  That  Angels club won the World Series six months later.  

Last year there were three postseason participants  —  Twins (11-11), Angels (9-13) Rockies (9-13)  —  who didn’t have a winning record through the season’s first 22 games.    During the 2007 season, three of the National League’s four playoff participants   —  Phillies (10-12), Cubs (9-13) and Rockies (9-13) —  fell into this same category.  

En route to six of their 14 most recent division titles, the Braves had a non-winning record through the first 22 games.   But their only losing record within this category came in 2001, when they won 10 of their first 22 games.  

Given a chance to face Brett Myers, who is 0-3 with a 6.53 ERA in his past four starts against Atlanta, during tonight’s series opener, the Braves seemingly have a good opportunity to begin this homestand in auspicious fashion.   

Because they’ve dug themselves in an early hole, the Braves have made this 162-game journey much more challenging.  But at the same time history has shown that one horrible week can’t solely determine where a team stands in October.

Injury front:  With an offday on Monday, the Braves plan to push Jair Jurrjens’ next start back to May 8.  Jurrjens strained his hamstring during Thursday’s game and was still feeling some tightness on Friday afternoon…Yunel Escobar will be evaluated on a day-to-day basis with his strained left adductor muscle.   Escobar has missed 3-5 days when he has battled this injury in the past. 



So we are 2 games behind the worst start ever during the Championship years. Is this supposed to cheer us up???? Worse than the Braves record, I am concerned with how it happened. Without 3 walk off victories we would be 5-17 in April. And we are counting on a rookie to pull us out of this quagmire. Poor fundamentals, lousy defense, pathetic base running and exceedingly poor plate discipline doesn’t really add up to many comebacks. This team is gonna need to be changed structurally in the offseason. It needs to start with Wren and extend as far down the ladder as is necessary. I understand that Mark has to put a game face on this, but we are 4 games back of the Nationals in April. We are making the Mets and Phillies look like contenders and Florida is once again outplaying us. I would love to think that we will pull off one of the great comebacks of all time, but it doesn’t appear likely. Chipper and Glaus are done. Their pitching around McCann. McLouth and Melky are probably .250 guys. Diaz and Prado can still hit but won’t be close enough to each other in the lineup to matter. Esky, I means who knows what is up with that? Our pitchers can’t bunt or hit. Our number 2 pitcher is hurt again in 1 month and we are 10th out of 16 in pitching, and that’s our strength? Where is the hope???

Hanson is the man. Wagner is the man.

Heyward is the man.

Now that we have the monkey off our back, let’s go back to watching the effing baseball season.

(And just so we are clear, Hanson is clearly MOST deserving of being called The Man right now.)

The scary thing is that Hanson made the pitch he needed, and got unlucky with that ball blasting off the plate. Otherwise we’re talking complete game shut out this morning.
Roll the clock back one year, and stand up to proclaim the Braves 3 All Star players for 2010 will be Prado, Hanson, and Heyward. You would have been laughed out of every sports bar in Atlanta.

I haven’t seen you comment much on the braves coaches. I just noticed that every regular except Prado is hitting below 240 – shocking. Any heat on TP or the other coaches? I like the more aggresive approach that Heyward showed last night, but Chipper, Mac and several others can’t seem to put together a few good games in a row. It is scary. Is Kelly Johnson of Franceour available??

Sorry, acziffer. Arizona and NYM would be stone cold fools to let Johnson and Francoeur go now, especially since the former is leading the league in HR and SLG (last I checked).

When it was one start, eh. Two… eh. Three or four… I’m wondering. Vazquez went 3 innings, 5 ER. Several homers. WTF? Is he really that bad after last season?

To quote Jim Mora (the elder), “Playoffs? Don’t talk about playoffs! …. You kiddin me? I just hope we can win a game!”

Vazquez has always had a very strong yeasr followed by a very poor year in his career. We were 100% right to offload him, well dont wren.

Onto the braves…. This is a post season team if one of glaus or chipper can roll back the years and put up some big numbers. I think one of them will do tbh, and then we will make the wild card.

But i am british so what do i know about baseball! All the negativity on this blog is disgusting when i think this is the best team since the braves won the division

What a day for Infante. We need to find a way to have him in the lineup more, without Escobar getting injured. Wish he were better at outfield.

Good to see the team attacking the ball in the strike zone. A lot of first pitch swinging today. Nice adjustment. Must tip the cap to Mr. Glaus., Mr. Infante, Mr. Prado, Mr. McClouth, and thanks for the thrill, Mr. Heyward! Well pitched and managed game by Huddy. Nice win.

you guys think chipper is past it now? Seems like he is to me, poor last year and poor start this year, and getting injured loads already😦 . When does his contract run out? This team mite find it hard to win if he doesnt perform as such a large % of the payroll is going on him ?

As I stated in the last blog but noone saw it that the Brewers are shopping prince Fielder around and I think the Braves can go after him because well we got a minor league system filled with stars and I bet the Brewers and Braves can make a deal that can make both teams happy along with it fans. Ok here I think that should happen

The Braves Send Escobar ofante mcclouth mike dunn and cody johson and the brewers send us fielder hart weeks norris hopper and carlos villanueva. braves put weeks at second prado at ss fielder at first hart in lf melky at cf and heyward in rf. and make glaus hit the road make norris ur backup outfielder and make villanueva a spot starter or a long releiver

the brewers put ofante at second escobar at third mcghee at first mcclouth in rf

We’ve won two in a row, if we win tomorrow that’s what they call a “winning streak”, IT HAS HAPPENED BEFORE…

ncbravesfan, talking about trades is stupid, especially one like that. Prado can’t play SS, either. That trade doesn’t work in so many ways.

I hate talking about trades. Not trying to attack you, I just think it’s stupid and frustrating, because we have 0% chance of guessing if or when, and what, might happen in the front office.

We don’t want someone like Prince Fielder, especially if we are gonna sell the farm. Unless we can trade just a little for a year before Freeman gets here, I doubt we’ll see a blockbuster.

Maybe we will, but…

You know, I remember someone getting yelled at earlier for advocating Kelly Johnson. One of the old timers. While I’m not giving up Prado for any single hitter in the majors right now… KJ seems like a good bet.

ok folks let’s put this in perspective. We have beaten HOUSTON 2 games. This is the worst team in the National League. I LIKE the fact that we have won, but it doesn’t mean diddly. Let’s sift through this a bit before we get real excited.
Neverwhere your right, KJ is hitting a ton. But kind of like Frenchy, it couldn’t happen in ATL. MUST BE COACHING!!!!!!!! Even Andruw(large *ss that he is) has an OPS of 1.024 this season. If he continues that would be the best of his career.

Oh, and just for reference sake. Andruw’s line in 2000 before TP became batting coach. 36 doubles, 36 HR’s 104 RBI’s and a .303 BA. Wonder what happened?

I might just vomit if I hear one more person say go after Kelly Johnson, we waited years for his bat to come around, and when he hovered around .220 for a while everyone had given up on him. Clearly Atlanta is not the place for him. I am an optimist, but you can’t help but notice guys like Johnson, and Francouer hitting outside of Atlanta. Makes you wonder if they suffered from inside pressure and just needed a change of scenery, or if indeed Pendleton had something to do with their decline. But that talk needs to be left to the fans, the Braves need to keep their heads focused on the task of playing better baseball. What another great showing by Huddy today, even though he didn’t get the opening day start, you can’t help but want to label this guy as the staff ace (even though Hanson has been beyond nasty so far this season). Also, I think Heyward is starting to heat up,that would be the understatement of the season . . .

To be fair, Kelly Johnson’s did have a rather good year in 2008. I have no idea what happened to him last year.

Nice Major League quote, Speedy.
C’mon, Dorn! Get in front of the damn ball! Don’t give me this ol bullsh*t!

I’m not saying go after Kelly. I am saying that someone was saying that Kelly was terrible last year and Prado was better. Which I agree with. I’m just supporting whoever it was that like KJ last year.

I don’t like saying go after anyone. Trades are stupid to talk about. We’ll go after whoever we go after.

And finally, obviously these two games dont mean much. But they are better than losing, and we can finally watch braves baseball without being afraid again…heh. So it’s nice. But not a huge turnaround.

When was the last time Chipper hit a ball with any authority? Last week? The 2nd game of the season? 2007?

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