Braves fans have already started to panic

With the Braves losing six of their past eight games and the Rockies once again providing reason to wonder if they’re essentially invincible in September, there are a number of Atlanta fans who have already hit the panic button.   

This is the expected response from fans when their club begins trending in the wrong direction at the wrong time.  But while the Braves have significantly minimized the comfort level that existed just a week ago, they still haven’t lost anything yet.   

Yes, they’ve lost the National League East lead that they held from May 31-Sept. 6  —  their longest tenure at the top of the division standings since 2003.  But as long as they can right their ship soon, they can directly impact their attempt to regain this division lead while playing the Phillies six times over the course of the season’s final 12 games.  

And what was a four-game advantage over the Giants last week has been reduced to the one game lead the Braves currently hold in the Wild Card standings.  Still despite the fact that the Giants sit in second place in this race, there is seemingly much more reason to be concerned about the Rockies, who have moved to within 3 games of securing the NL’s final postseason spot.   

Before beginning their three-game sweep of the Braves on Aug. 23, the Rockies had lost three of four and 10 of their previous 18.  Since the start of that three-game series against Atlanta, they have won 13 of 17, with two of the losses coming on the road.  

While the Giants certainly stand as a threat to Atlanta’s postseason hopes, the Rockies seem to pose an even greater threat, especially if the Padres continue to fade and allow the Giants to overtake them in the NL West standings.  

With that being said, the Rockies could easily emerge victorious in that division race.  They have gone 47-22 at Coors Field this year and will play 13 of their final 22 games at home. Among all Major League clubs, their home record has only been topped by the 49-20 mark the Braves have posted at Turner Field this year.

Last night marked just the third time this year that the Braves lost a second consecutive home game.   They had won 18 of 25 at Turner Field since last doing so July 16-17 vs. the Brewers.     Their only other consecutive home losses occurred April 21 and 22 against the Phillies.  

Before embarking on the nine-game road trip that will pit them against the Mets, Phillies and Nationals, the Braves certainly improve their position and psyche if they could at least find a way to win five of the remaining six games of this homestand.  

The cards (no pun intended) seemed to be stacked against them tonight, when they will send
Mike Minor to the mound to oppose Chris Carpenter.    But even with Roy Halladay drawing his own rookie counterpart in Jenrry Mejia tonight, the Phillies can’t enter tonight’s series opener at Citi Field with overwhelming confidence.  

The Phillies have totaled seven runs while winning just two of their previous six games at Citi Field this year.  Of course, it should be noted that each of those seven runs were scored during their two most recent games in Queens.  

Meanwhile the Rockies will host the D-backs this weekend and the Giants will conclude their four-game series against the Padres in San Diego.  

It’s time to give McLouth a shot:  It’s no surprise to see Nate McLouth in the lineup to face Carpenter tonight.   McLouth looked good during last weekend’s series in Florida and continued to impress while recording the only hits (2 singles) that Adam Wainwright surrendered after enduring a three-run first inning.  

Rick Ankiel has batted .209 since joining the Braves at the trade deadline and just .167 in his past 15 games.   Melky Cabrera has hit .196 in his past 18 games and proven to be a defensive liability more than once over the course of the past couple of weeks.  

While there is certainly a chance that McLouth will continue to struggle like he has throughout most of this season, he is certainly capable of doing more than Ankiel or Cabrera have done over the course of the past few weeks.  

My suggestion would be to platoon McLouth in left field with Matt Diaz.  When Diaz is in the lineup against left-handed starters, McLouth could play center field.  

Ankiel is undoubtedly the better defender in center field.  But if the Braves continue to squander scoring opportunities and fail to gain a playoff berth, there won’t be anybody talking about how great it was to have Ankiel’s arm and legs in center field.  

TONIGHT’S LINEUP

Infante 4
Heyward 9
Prado 5
McCann 2
Lee 3
McLouth 8
Gonzalez 6
Cabrera 7
Minor 1   

69 Comments

You know its bad when I’m happy to see McLouth in the lineup!! Gotta win this one tonight!

McLouth batting SIXTH. Didn’t see that one coming.

Well said, Mark. Im not ashamed to admit I’m panicking.

If we could get TP thrown out of batting practice, THEN I would do the happy dance.

Pendleton got ejected an inning ago. I think Bill either did a happy dance or passed out.

It ain’t panic, Bowman, it’s disgust. Not the same thing.

Bill’s everyday player does it again! Brooks were have you been?

Brooks where have you been?

Nice one.

Is Nate back? It sure looks like it. He has hit the ball hard his last three games. Put him in CF and bat him 6th. Put Matt Diaz in left and leave him there. Bat him 7th. Flip flop them against righties and lefties. It would be HUGE to have Nate back.

Infante
Prado
Heyward (PLEASE!)
McCann
Lee/Glaus/Freeman
Diaz
McClouth
Gonzalez

We might score some runs.

Would like to point out to Phillie trolls that I am one of the 40,565 people in attendance tonight.

Well Mark, seen enough green for one night???? You guys dodged a bullet there.

Yea and Mark will be pulling for Michigan and his favorite coach (RR) tomorrow.

-Nice to see McLouth put a charge into one. We could really use that .270, 20 HR bat we traded for.
-McCann also had some good at bats, and hit the ball really hard.
-Also, Derrek Lee has RBI’s in his last 3 games. It would be nice for him to be that veteran middle of the order guy that we need to sit behind McCann in the lineup.
-I think that Minor also learned an important lesson about how to pitch to pitchers. It’s just too bad he had to learn in the middle of a pennant race.
-Now if our SP can get back to their previous form we should be in for a good September battle.
-Infante, Prado, and Heyward continue to do their jobs. BMac and the rest of the guys got to get those runners in.

I was at the game last night, and it was quite a good game to attend. McLouth hit great and covered the center field grass well. It was good to see everyone get into the action against a very formidable starter tonight, to score 8 runs off a guy like him (6 earned, I think) is always a good thing.
I would like to say I find it pitiful how guys jump on and off Braves players. On the blog about Derek Lowe, guys were all over how “McSlouch” was sucking it up, now people over here are singing his praises. He’s got potential, especially now that it seems he may have figured out part of that uppercut. Give guys like him time, platoon Freeman and Lee (also fun seeing Lee have 2 hits, although I will say they were probably both luck), and don’t pitch Johnny everyday! He’s too young and too tired already, we’re going to need him should we make the playoffs. Braves “fans” who go to the game also aggravate me, as after the 2 runs were given up by Johnny, a fan a couple seats over yelled “Get this BUM outta here!” I almost yelled back to remind him to check the left-field wall to show him Johnny’s ERA is hovering around 1.88, making him far from a bum. Know what you’re talking about, and lay off the guys and Bobby, they’re doing the best they can. You do their job and see how good YOU are at it. NC don’t comment….

Oh and I’ve also already got tickets to the Phillies-Braves game on October 1st, gonna be a good one!

Brandon Woodworth……Good to see that you are part of a large crowd last night at the Braves game. But I have to ask you, what are the Phillies suppose to do with the extra revenue they earn given that they out draw the Braves by 1,000,000.? Conservatively, I estimate that this results in an extra $50 million in income for the Phillies each year. This is close to the difference between the Phillies payroll and the Braves payroll. So the Phillies get bashed because they plow money back into the business? Isn’t this the goal of fundamentalist capitalism which you southerners hold almost as dear as your fundamentalist religion?

I love how you know exactly how much your team makes from games. If I really thought you had really any clue of what you were talking about, it maybe would have been something for a 12 year old to get mad over. Besides the fact that I’ve never heard anybody here crying over ANYTHING the Phillies have, I really have no care in the world for the Phillies payroll. Amaro is just about as dumb as Wren(getting rid of Burrell, a Phillie LIFER, to give Ibanez his hilarious contract)(Giving Polanco that legnthy deal)(Trading Lee for a pack of hot dogs, just to acquire Roy Oswalt later for a great young pitcher who projects to be as good as Oswalt, but way younger and cheaper)(Brad Lidge, enough said)(Danys Baez, more than enough said). Amaro is like the premature Steve Phillips. Amaro usually gets there in time to see one good year, but expect all the other veterans he’s signed to follow Ibanez’s suit. Good use of the extra money, paying Ibanez $11.5m, Lidge $11.5m, Moyer $6.5m, Blanton $7m, Baez $2.5m, Dobbs $1.35m… Now I’m no mathematician, but that total sounds pretty close to the “extra” money you know about so well, like you’re balancing the ******* Phillies checkbook or something. I’d rather have Lowe and Kawakami than that heap of crap.

By the way, if your brilliant wannabe smartass logic is correct, and all of “us” southerners are the same as I, then I guess the entire Southeastern seaboard is Agnostic and political views are independant.

*Independent.

Brandon Woodworth….Political views independent? Yeah, right. Agnostic? At least you are willing to leave part of the dark side behind? $50 million based on 1 million more fans or $50 more revenue per fan unrealistic? Yes, it is because it is probably more per fan. What did you pay to go to the game yesterday? Come on, prove me wrong. Admission, a couple dogs, a couple beverages, adult or otherwise does not make any difference. How about some local cuisine, grits? boiled peanuts? And don’t forget parking. Inquiring minds want to know, how much did it cost you. And, no, don’t try to convince me the Braves have a “knot-hole” gang. Speaking of which, do you even know what a “knot-hole” gang is. No cheating now, don’t google the term. Just tell me what it is.

*claps hands* Way to go, pherris. When a hole is found in your argument, just change the subject. It makes it all go away.

Yes, they do have a knot hole gang. And it was all paid for by the state. The same state who gave the the scholarship for me to the college the provided the transportation to the game, *******. Why don’t you display good use of punctuation before you try to attack the “, grits”(you know, there is such thing as a semicolon) of the South. Acting like Philly cheese-steak is such a delicacy. Also, when you ask a question, you may want to use one of these(?). I am much more educated than you could ever hope to be, so please, just stop.

By the way, email ncbravesfan82. I’m sure he could help come up with some trade proposals to help you get rid of Moyer… and Blanton… and Kendrick… and Ibanez… and Baez… and Lidge… and Polanco, once he starts going down the drain next year… You might even get Prince Fielder or Matt Kemp, or convince Amaro to sign Mike Schmidt.

Haha.. Brandon, I stopped saying that around the All Star break. It’s not hard to best a .180 performance for most of the year, but I’m happy to see he’s hitting well. 2 months ago that bomb he hit last night would’ve been an infield fly.
On another note, it seems that EVERY time I start watching the game, the opposing team scores. I might just hide until the postseason, or start watching every game from the beginning.

Now I’m not saying I told you so… but does anyone remember when I said McLouth would eventually come around?!?

Seriously – what is with D lee and the double plays?? Every time -not that easy to do even if you try. I am ready to give freeman shot.

Craig Kimbrel- Filthy.

Yeah, if we don’t score here I hope he goes another inning.

1-6 sounds good to me, Gonzo!

1st place also sounds good, viva. Great win!

That’ll do, Seabass… that’ll do.
Not complaining or anything, but can we win a game in the first 5 innings? I don’t know if my stomach/heart/brains/adrenal glands can handle much more of this. However, if its all we’re capable of, I will endure.
I’d be all for a few Freddie Freeman starts over the next few games. Some more Matt Diaz and a lot less Melky would be nice, too…

I agree – Out with Melky already!

Definitely less Ankiel and more McLouth and see how that works. But yeah, Shaunson, I think I’ve aged several years this season with all of these last at bat late innings games. For Bill it would equate to going from 60 to 65 which isn’t that big of a deal, but 30 to 35 for me in one season just isn’t fair!

Oh Viva I’m not nearly that old. I just play the “old curmudgeon” role for you guys benefit. But, you are right this season has definitely aged me. My sister even asked me if some of my current health issues were “Braves related”.

What an amazing performance by the Braves bullpen. Throughout all of this they have been the one stalwart.

Boy it sure is nice and quiet on here without the chattering of little ferris filly and his Mule brother.

I know, bill. The Pighting Phils have nothing to say. They’re still trying o figure out how that extra $50 million didn’t win them that game.

Been that way all year Bill. Main strengths of this team are its bench and its bullpen.

This is a great quote which kind of mirrors the conversation that I had this year about Brooksy. “?A lot of people doubted him,? Perez said. ?They said he?s not ready to play in the big leagues every day. I?m so happy for him. So proud. Because we fought for him, we fought to get him a chance to play”.

Who is he talking about, Martin Prado of course. I had this whole argument last year about martin getting a chance to play. Winboj- had the ridiculous gall to say ” Brooks-where you been”? He’s been cooling his *ss on Bobby’s bench where Martin was at the beginning of last year. Why, cause he’s not an “everyday player”. Brooksy should at least be platooning with Diaz in left. How can you leave that kind of work ethic and power potential out of this lineup that is so devoid of hitting with runners on. What a waste. And while I love Gonzo’s walk off it shouldn’t go unnoticed that he left 6 runners stranded up until that AB.

I was just reading MLB trade rumors and saw that the Brewers and Twins are interested in some back of the rotation help. And I know i have beaten to death getting Fielder but why not get a CF from either team by giving up KK and some ninor leauge players like Timmons Boscan Sammons Matt Young to either the Twins for Span or Carlos Gomez from the Brewers.

But i know we cant get fielder and getting Span or Gomez for KK and some mid level minor leagers would never work.

To all those who have taken pleasure in bashing Bobby for whatever reason over the years…never mind, I will not lower myself to your level. Instead I’d like to say directly to Bobby…THANKS FOR ALWAYS SEEING THE GLASS AS HALF FULL. It’s been an honor to defend you and your loyalty to the players for all these years. THIS, your last year, will go down in history as one of your best. You’ve had to scramble with your head up tall in first place despite obviously not having the best talent on paper. CONGRATULATIONS, no matter how it turns out, it’s been fun to watch!

To all those who have taken pleasure in bashing Bobby for whatever reason over the years…never mind, I will not lower myself to your level. Instead I’d like to say directly to Bobby…THANKS FOR ALWAYS SEEING THE GLASS AS HALF FULL. It’s been an honor to defend you and your loyalty to the players for all these years. THIS, your last year, will go down in history as one of your best. You’ve had to scramble with your head up tall in first place despite obviously not having the best talent on paper. CONGRATULATIONS, no matter how it turns out, it’s been fun to watch!

To all those who have taken pleasure in bashing Bobby for whatever reason over the years…never mind, I will not lower myself to your level. Instead I’d like to say directly to Bobby…THANKS FOR ALWAYS SEEING THE GLASS AS HALF FULL. It’s been an honor to defend you and your loyalty to the players for all these years. THIS, your last year, will go down in history as one of your best. You’ve had to scramble with your head up tall in first place despite obviously not having the best talent on paper. CONGRATULATIONS, no matter how it turns out, it’s been fun to watch!

billybobreefer………What would be your health issue that concerns your sister? Ah, come on. You can tell us its. It’s ED, isn’t it?

You know, as much as bill, viva, papi, myself, and the countless others throw punches at each other, at the end of the day, they’re baseball related and we all love the same team. Pherris, that was about literally the most juvenile thing you could ever do. You’re coming into our blog, randomly flailing around high school insults and somehow feeling proud about it. You don’t offend anyone, you just make yourself more and more look the 10th grader you are. Why don’t you let your team do the talking? I’m pretty sure they can get along just fine without you spamming a blog with insults, that I’m pretty sure my 13 year old sister could think of, that aren’t even halfway baseball related. All because your team can’t beat the Mets.

Brandon, Don’t you know not to feed the troll? If you stoop to answering it’s questions it will only feel a little sense of satisfaction.

Brandon Woodworth …..You are so right. My bad. I last posted the 1.000,000 more fans the Phillies draw as compared to Los Bravos means that each additional Phillies fan contributes $50.00 towards the Phillies $50 million larger payroll. I’ll eat my humble pie and admit when I am wrong. The Phillies have out drawn Los Bravos by 1.208 million this year so far not 1 million. Each addition Phiillies fan on average counts for $42 toward the $50 million more the Phillies spend on payroll. Imagine that, a whole $42. To paraphrase one of the more famous sons of the south – Gooolllly! You’ll telling them me that them thar Yankees have a whole $42 to spend on one lil ol’ baseball game? And talking about avoiding the subject, we are still waiting to hear what you spent at the the last Los Bravos’ game you attended. Just like Gomer, I would not have expected it to be a whole $42 but is $10 to $15 in the ball park. In the ballpark ? LOL. Get it? In the ballpark?

If your dumb*ss could read, you could have seen that I said it was FREE, dumbf*ck. Courtesy of the state of Georgia. And once again, when shown up, change the subject. Way to go pherris, just turn around and run away, pretend it’s not there.

So, who likes our chances at taking the series tonight? I’ll admit, I was less optimistic than usual after Thursday’s debacle, but the last two games showed me that this team really doesn’t quit.

And so you’re saying that there are 1.208 more people at the Phillies game? You’re so dumb, you don’t even know how to write out numbers. The correct way to do it pherris is: 1,208,000, moron.

Brandon Woodworth read much yourself? Please notice that where 1.208 appears in my post, the very first word in the very next line is “million”. Do you get, you honors graduate of some Georgia agricultural school? But, all of this still begs the question: How much did you spend the last time you attended a Los Bravos game? And as far as your education being free courtesy of the state of Georgia, as a right thinking American, I can only say, good for you, good for Georgia and good for the US of A. As an American you are entitled to it. But it needs to be asked WTF are you talking about? I have been talking about baseball attendance.

Brandon, Please don’t feed the troll. It only makes it blather on.

I’m hoping the more I make sense, his vision will blur and brain will swell, Bill.

Viva it is not that big a deal as I am 62 but the emotions of can we do it again are much better than in the days of Skip Carey in the 7th inning saying “If you shop our sponsor it is ok to go walk the dog.” Bill, I agree exactly on Conrad but maybe play him at second and let Omar play some in left with Diaz. Speaking of which why has Diaz not been playing? Bobby let Ankiel bat with Glaus and Diaz on the bench. Yea Ankiel walked by luck

Perhaps Diaz or Conrad has a nagging injury that they are just trying to get calmed down? I’m with you guys, i was surprised to see ankiel get the nod in a PH appearance.

And there goes Melky, rolling one over the the right side again. God damn he’s terrible.

My goodness, how snake bit is Nate McClouth. Just keep on swinging the way you are, Nate. Great to have you back!

Brandon Woodworth….I take your failure in respond as to how much you spent at the most recent Braves game as a tacit admission that it was more than $42. And check out billybobreefer trolling bright and early today on the Phillies site. He was beside himself with the fact the Braves crawled into a first place tie. Hey, by the way, we can both agree that John, or is it Jon, Miller and Joe Morgan are gas bags. At least Morgan can fall back on the fact he is in the HOF because of his playing skills and not his so-called broadcasting skills. Unfortunately, Miller can’t claim the same. He is just Morgan’s sychophant.

I will say it again, IT WAS FREEEEEE. Anyone else not understand? And yes, saying they are terrible is as obvious as the sky being blue.

Hudson has yet another sh!tty outing. We have zero reliable starters. FML.

We’ve caught so much bad luck. Lucky hits for the Cards, a robbed homer and double…

Brandumb. Why are you responding to it? Winboj, the only reason I propose the platoon, is because the powers that be would freak at the thought of moving Omar, but Brooks is actually a natural 2B. Omar could play a left-center platoon and solve some of our reliance on worthless Melky and the disaster we call CF.

Brandumb. Why are you responding to it? Winboj, the only reason I propose the platoon, is because the powers that be would freak at the thought of moving Omar, but Brooks is actually a natural 2B. Omar could play a left-center platoon and solve some of our reliance on worthless Melky and the disaster we call that pony herd in CF. The only problem with this is that we have lost all of the huge value that Conrad’s hot streak was providing. He has sat so long that he probably would take until the end of the season to get back in the groove. I mean, tonite, Hinske with the sub Mendoza BA for months, pinch hit before Conrad. Bobby manages his bench like he does his bullpen. Witness Greg Norton last year, we followed him into the gates of hell.

Yeah, we raked tonight, with little to show for it. I was thinking the baseball gods must be against us, but then I thought it probably has more to do with keeping the Cards in the race than for keeping us out of first.

What is disconcerting is that Hudson has had two blow up innings in his last two outings.

Being a game back of the Phils does not concern me. I think it is safe to say that Nate McClouth is all the way back. That means that the CF problem is solved. What is odd about that is that the solution to the 1st base problem is also a left handed stick by the name of Freddy Freeman.

All of our thunder is from the left side. Dare I suggest:

McClouth 8
Prado 5
Heyward 9
Diaz 7
McCann 2
Gonzalez 6
Freeman 3
Infante 4

Do we dare bat McLouth 5th tomorrow?? He’s just killing the ball the past few days. More than we can say for D Lee. Didn’t think I’d be saying this, even a week ago, but how about this for a lineup. But I am still in opinion of hitting Heyward 3rd. Prado is an excellent hitter, as is Infante. Imagine Jason coming up with at least 1 or 2 runners on with just about every at bat….
1. Infante 2B
2. Prado 3B
3. Heyward RF
4. McCann C
5. McLouth CF
6. Lee 1B
7. Gonzalez SS
8. LF

Barry, you do realize that Freeman is 1 for 13 with 4 K’s so far. And why would you bat McLouth 1st if he is hitting fly balls and home runs? There is nothing wrong with Infante at leadoff, and you are hitting a guy that could win the batting title 8th. I thought I was being a little cavalier by suggesting McLouth at 5th. Have you been sippin’ the good stuff tonight? I’ll give you a mulligan, this was not a good loss. Could make anyone not think straight.

I think our biggest concern at this point is the ineffectiveness of our SP. I can agree with you there. As for Conrad….i don’t get it. My only guess is that he is hurting…

Lot of empty seats at a pretty important stretch-drive game in Atlanta last night. Heck, there were more people at the Mutts/Phillies game at CitiField in NY, but that was augmented by the masses of Phillies phans who travelled to Queens to support theor team.

Speedy – The very first thing that jumped out at me was I was suggesting batting Infante 8th. Ridiculous and absurd. I realize that. But you missed the point of my post. I was pointing out the fact that all of our “thunder” is from the left side of the plate. My proposed line up was the way to “balance” that out, that’s all. It’s an interesting problem.

As for Freddy, most of his outs have been solidly hit. They’ll start falling for him. He is hitting the ball extremely well. Given the opportunity to play every day, he is a difference maker.

Fair enough Barry, I will respectfully agree to disagree there. My point is I don’t think trusting a kid with 13 major league at bats is a good idea down the stretch. Especially when you have a guy (a former MVP type player) hitting .323 in his last 10 games. I agree D Lee hasn’t provided the pop we need. But he still has had some production, and would be a good 6 hitter IMO. It just stinks that we have about 3 guys who are good 6-7 hitters and none (except maybe how McLouth is swinging right now) to fill the 5 hole. Freeman may look better doing it, but if we went by looks Melky would be batting .050.
I think this goes back to Wren not getting us a consistent power bat at the start of the season. It has killed us all year long, and it may be our demise this season. I’m not completely anti-wren, but he has definitely dropped the ball here. The experiments just don’t work. Again, why did we sign an unknown (KK) and give him so much money to sit the bench for over half a season after a season and a half of mediocrity. We treat Saito well, maybe if we DFA KK, the Japanese contingency won’t notice.

Look I like Bobby Cox as much as any of you. But giving your team the best chance you can is his job. Letting Derrick lee flail away is not doing his job. it was a bad trade and even if Freeman or Glaus stink it up how is that worse than what Lee is doing? His swing is so long and slow (ask anyone MLB scout) that he is hurting the team Cox will go to his grave making poor decisions. That is just how he is. Do you think Glaus is happy? What about him Bobby? Think about the damn game instead of your reputation for once for God’s sake.

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