Braves have righted themselves since stumbling out of the break

About a month ago, I referenced a recent conversation with John Smoltz and wrote about how you usually get a sense of where a team is going based on how they play coming out of the All-Star break.   It was a simple theory I had possessed until watching this year’s Braves over the past month.   (Hopefully this provides some clarity.)

During the first two weeks coming out of this year’s break, the Braves couldn’t get out of their own way.  Their starting rotation fell apart and they had taking advantage of scoring opportunities while utilizing lineups that were depleted while Chipper Jones and Brian McCann dealt with injuries.

But while they were trending in the wrong direction through the earliest days of August, the Braves have won 18 of 31 since the break and widened their lead in the National League Wild Card race to six games — one game better than the advantage they had entering the break.

The Braves were fortunate Dan Uggla and Freddie Freeman provided middle-of-the-lineup production in the absence of McCann and Jones.  At the same time, they were wise to bolster their lineup with Michael Bourn without having to give up any of their top four pitching prospects.

And of course they have proven lucky with the production Jose Constanza has provided them.  You really can’t call it anything but luck.  If anybody in the Braves front office thought  Constanza could provide just half of what he has produced during his first 2 1/2 weeks, then you obviously have to ask why he was aiding Dave Brundage and not Fredi Gonzalez for the season’s first four months.

The Braves have also seemingly positioned themselves to benefit from a calculated gamble they took when they opted not to get a reliever at the Trade Deadline, partly because they felt Arodys Vizcaino could serve as the extra right-handed reliever they have needed for a couple months.

At this time last week, I was writing something about they were taking a great risk with a 20-year-old prospect, who had 56 2/3 innings above the Class A-Advanced level and also made a grand total of nine relief appearances since moving to a relief role about a month ago.

Vizcaino was obviously battling nerves when he made his big league debut Aug. 10.   While recording just two outs in the ninth inning with the Braves holding a four-run lead, he walked two and hit a batter.   In his past three appearances, he has allowed just three of the 17 batters he has faced to reach safely.

Vizcaino’s two scoreless innings at the end of last night’s game earned him his first victory and preserved the impressive effort produced by Randall Delgado, who was bidding for a no-hitter until Cody Ross opened the seventh inning with a solo shot.

Even more composed than he was when he made his Major League debut against the Rangers in June, Delgado certainly took advantage of an injury-depleted lineup last night.  But at the same time, he proved he is nearly ready to compete on a consistent basis at the big league level.

Delgado has great confidence in his changeup and has shown good command in his first two big league starts.  It will be interesting to see how much better he could prove to be if he starts gaining more confidence in his breaking ball.

With Jair Jurrjens returning from the disabled list tonight, Delgado has returned to Triple-A Gwinnett to continue his development.   There’s a chance he could return later this season.  But even if he doesn’t, he has given the Braves even more reason to feel good about the future.

27 Comments

“It was a simple opinion that this year’s club has altered.”

Did you mean:

“It was a simple opinion that this year’s club has faltered.”

If not, then huh?

“wrote about how you usually get a sense of where a team is going based on how they play coming out of the All-Star break. It was a simple opinion that this year’s club has altered.”

We were playing like crap right after the break. Now we are playing well. Mark’s writing is correct, but what you suggested makes no sense.

How does “this year’s club has faltered” not make more sense than “this year’s club has altered”?

Faltered = Failure
Altered = changed

I think altered makes more sense in context. But that’s just me.

But “this year’s club has altered” is screaming for a word or phrase to describe what it has altered, such as “course”.

Meanwhile, falter doesn’t mean failure:

falter – to move unsteadily; stumble.

and “this year’s club has stumbled” sounds like the Braves after the All-Star break to me.

What has been altered is that “you usually get a sense of where a team is going based on how they play coming out of the All-Star break.” Bowman is saying the Braves most recent performance has “altered” this idea since it is the opposite of how the Braves performed coming out of the Allstar break.

it takes a phillie lawyer I guess.

“Bowman is saying the Braves most recent performance has “altered” this idea since it is the opposite of how the Braves performed coming out of the Allstar break.”

If he meant that he wouldn’t have written “It was a simple opinion…”, he would have written “It is a simple opinion…”

I have altered that sentence. Let me know if this provides clarity.

I KNEW they would sign Wes Helms as their RH bat off the bench. I just knew it.

Depth move?

Probably just a RH pinch hitter for once the rosters expand. They expand to up to 40 men, so I suppose it doesn’t hurt. Helms, Boscan, Diory, Hicks, Wilkin, Moylan, and another reliever will probably be the additions on Sep. 1st.

Giants closer Brian Wilson will be unavailable for two or three days due to right elbow inflammation, according to Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News (via Twitter). Wilson visited orthopedic surgeon James Andrews in Florida, but evaluations showed nothing serious, Baggarly reports.

He needed an excuse for why we OWNED HIM, so he had to go to da doctuh.

“I have altered that sentence. Let me know if this provides clarity.”

It does. Thanks.

BTW Mark, isn’t it great that we hang on your every word ; )

I refuse to have my dog, Dave, altered, because he likes his nuts. Is that clear enough?

it is for Dave.

Wes’ numbers are Dan Ugglaesq (first half Dan Uggla that is). Yuk.

At least they didn’t say die. Nice almost comeback.

If Fredo hadn’t put Linebrink in, we would still be playing. But he doesn’t care what people think. Winning isn’t that important, it’s more important to have your bullpen lined up for the next couple of days. I paraphrase, but that imbecile actually SAID THAT!!!!

OK Nancy.. Freddi opinion aside, this team does not quit. That’s what I want to be talking about. I’m excited, I’m not concerned right now who’s at the helm because it’s not going to change. Get over it.

JJ gave up 6 doubles, 5 runs and had 1 K – and he probably should have given up more. Offense was daydreaming for 5 innings, and without that bloop to short (scored an error) and barely beating out a DP in the 9th we don’t have this conversation about Linebrink because we don’t get within 2 runs.

Point is we lost this one. Freddi didn’t. But we fought, and I’m excited about this team. With an expanded roster and healthy rotation, this team will be tough for anyone to beat.

Fredi before someone corrects me… although I’m sure I’ll type Freddi about 100 more times

Fredo Corleone: It ain’t the way I wanted it! I can handle things! I’m smart….

ok nancy… take some pills and get some rest… lots of blogging to get to tomorrow ;)

Linebrink is obsolete with Vizcaino’s presence…. Once Moylan is back, bye bye Linebrink….unless it’s the “fantasy camp winner” George Sherrill….(by that comment, I am stating he looks like he won a contest in a fantasy camp to be included on the big league roster)

Linebrink was at least serviceable before the break… but now I think he’s being haunted by Scott Proctor’s ghost.

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