Braves have slumbered since hurricane break

If the Braves hold on to clinch the National League Wild Card, they should feel fortunate that there will be just two days separating their regular season finale and the first game of the Division Series.   As the past couple months have proven, this club does not exactly perform well after getting a few days to rest during the regular season.

The Braves stumbled out of the All-Star break and they have obviously not been too impressive while losing five of the eight games played since Hurricane Irene forced them to remain idle for three days.   Had they not manufactured Sunday’s seventh inning comeback against Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw, they could be entering tonight’s matchup against Roy Oswalt and the Phillies in the midst of a five-game losing streak.

With six losses in their past nine games, the Braves should feel fortunate that they still own a 7 1/2-game lead in the Wild Card chase over the Cardinals and Giants.     Of course if their struggles continue through tonight’s series finale against the Phillies and during Thursday’s doubleheader against the Mets, things could get very interesting when they head into St. Louis this weekend for a three-game series against the Cardinals.

Over the past couple weeks, it has seemed unthinkable that the Braves could actually lose their lead in the Wild Card race.  But while hitting .236 with a .292 on-base percentage and producing a 5.01 ERA in their past nine games, they haven’t looked like a team primed for October.

Yes the Braves are hurting now that their starting rotation is no longer benefiting from the consistent value Jair Jurrjens and Tommy Hanson provided before the All-Star break.  But the offense has to burden much of the blame for the current struggles.

Like the pitching staff carried the load during the first few months, this is a stretch where the offense has needed to pick up the slack.

As he assessed the state of the team after Tuesday night’s loss to the Phillies, Chipper Jones referenced the fact that the top of the lineup has provided little spark lately.

In between his four-hit game on Aug. 25 and Tuesday night’s three-hit game, leadoff hitter Michael Bourn (6-for-34) hit .176 with a .200 on-base percentage over an eight-game stretch.  In the 10 games before the aforementioned four-hit game, he had batted .244 with a .295 on-base percentage.

The Braves could certainly benefit if Bourn proves to be a little more consistent down the stretch.  But they really need Martin Prado to start playing up to his capabilities once again.

When Prado stepped to the plate with two outs in the ninth inning of Sunday’s game against the Dodgers, there was reason to ignore his recent struggles and believe he was the guy the Braves needed at the plate in that situation.    Yet while he proved clutch again in that situation, Prado has spent this entire season trying to find a groove.

Last week I mentioned that Prado had spent more than an hour hitting in the indoor batting cage at Turner Field last week while his mother sat across the hall watching television.   His mother was the one who had told him to stay in the cage as long as necessary to get his swing right.

Well it’s safe to say Prado still has some work to be done.  He has batted .217 with a .279 on-base percentage and a .302 slugging percentage in the 31 games played dating back to Aug. 1.  In the 48 games played since returning from a one-month absence caused by a staph infection, he has batted .244 with a .291 on-base percentage and .330 slugging percentage.

To maximize the benefit of gaining a legitimate leadoff hitter like Bourn, the Braves need Prado to prove much more consistent in the second spot of their lineup.

WORTH NOTING:  The Braves will have rookie starting pitchers start each of their next four games.  Brandon Beachy will face Oswalt in tonight’s series finale against the Phillies.  Mike Minor will start the first game of Thursday’s doubleheader against the Mets and Julio Teheran will start the nightcap.  Randall Delgado will start Friday’s series opener against the Cardinals.

Beachy, Minor, Teheran and Delgado have combined for 48 career starts.  Beachy has accounted for exactly half of that total.

It was great to see Luis Salazar join the Braves yesterday to serve as an extra coach over the next week.   As he passionately talked about the players he had managed with Class A Advanced Lynchburg, he wore a pair of clear Oakley sunglasses to protect the glass eye he has worn since losing his left eye after getting hit by a Brian McCann foul ball in March.

Salazar was thrilled to talk about how his switch-hitting first baseman Joey Terdoslavich had set a new Carolina League record by notching his 52nd double during Monday’s regular season finale.   He was also excited to point out his shortstop Andrelton Simmons won the league’s batting title while hitting more than 20 points better than the runner up.  Simmons hit .311 with a .351 on-base percentage and .408 slugging percentage.

Brandon Drury also tied for the Appalachian League’s batting title with the .347 batting average he produced for the Rookie Level Danville Braves.   Drury, who recently celebrated his 19th birthday, recorded a .367 on-base percentage and .525 slugging percentage.

When the Braves were in Denver playing after the All-Star break, Rockies All-Star shortstop Troy Tulowitzki approached Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez and told him, “take care of (Drury), he’s like my little brother.”

Drury spent this past offseason training with Tulowitzki and he’ll likely do the same this year.

69 Comments

What is with your dumbass manager? That looked like a surrender move in the 7th inning last night.

Only one run down, two runners on and no outs, Utley, Howard and Ibanez due up, and no lefty? What’s he saving them for? The Mets?

He did the same thing in a game with the Dodgers that we led 5 to 0. Chipper playing with the flu on a cold wet windy night. Freeman can’t run due to a pulled muscle in his leg but also playing yet the big three and Moylan sit in the bullpen.

Saving for the playoffs I guess. It’s well known that we won’t catch you guys, but I guess he assumes we have the wildcard on lock (which could come back to bite us if we throw games away like that).

Rally Killer in his usual form. 3 pitches, 3 strikes.

Prado OPS .697 4 sb 8 cs
Heyward OPS .699 6 sb 2 cs

But hey, lets on rag on jason and berate anyone for calling out martin because he is our mvp apparently. God, I remmeber when chipper and his .950 ops used to be our mvp. Now we have a guy with a .697 as our mvp.

Shut up, you moron. Nobody wants to hear your crap about Martin anymore. Your NEVER right anyway.

You are very mature that you just resort to personall abuse. Sort your life out is my advice. ANyone who resorts to personal abuse on the internet obviously has serious issues and isnt a happy person. I feel sorry for you.

I don’t want to rag on JHey because I still expect good things, but let’s not pretend that we expect Prado’s OPS to be where we expect Heyward’s to be. Yeah, Prado is down a bit, but Heyward is supposed to be killing it. Both of these guys are struggling, but Heyward is certainly struggling more.

Moot point on Prado as MVP. Our most valuable player has an OPS of .851 and he plays catcher. Anyone who disagrees needs to give his head a shake.

Yunel Escobar BA .286 OBP .360
Alex Gonzalez .238 .270
Alex Gonzalez is hitting a whopping .218/.239 with men on this year. yunel .299/.371
Is anyone still gonna argue that this was a good trade? And don’t spill that garbage about clubhouse chemistry and making mental mistakes. I’ve seen Sea Bass dog it down to 1st a bunch of times this year, he is no peach. I think BC was just pissed that he couldn’t chew out Esky in English. Plain and simple.

They do love Escobar here in TO…

Tyler Pastornicky is the prize in that trade along with Callins but we gave him away for a bag of gumdrops. A. Gonzalez was a stop gap that could play great defense and add occasional pop if you expected more well that’s your own delusion.

Heyward getting it done tonight. Back to his patient best?

Kind of like McGone was coming out of his slump, eh Monkey?

Fredo is clueless. Bring back Moylan after 4 months out and put him in a tie game in the 9th. He really isn’t gonna be able to manage a playoff team.

Heyward sucks. Can’t throw out a runner from deep second base? Ridiculous.

Shit, it’s a bullpen game now against the vaunted Braves bullpen. We have no chance. May as just well chalk this one up as a nice 2-1 series win and move on.

Oh wait…..never mind :-)

6.5 game lead on the wild card with a 3 game series coming up against St. Louis. The way we’re playing now – I…. can’t even finish the sentence. A broken down pitching staff and a slumping offense and this ship is sinking. Good news is we will straighten it out and we have a cushion. McCann will start hitting. Prado will start hitting. Freeman will keep hitting. And Gonzalez should only be allowed to bunt from now on. Even with nobody on base.

What a tragedy for Beachy. He pitched a 6 inning game and only gives up 2 hits against the frills. That’s sick. He deserve ROY consideration along with Freddie and The Flamethrower. He is gonna be one of the go to guys in the playoffs. He and Huddy are carving em up and Minor is coming along.It’s a shame Medlen got set back. we could have used him now. The problem is Delgado and Teheran aren’t qualified for the playoffs, unless my read is wrong. Lowe is garbage now. He has lost it entirely. JJ is gonna be tough to get back. Hanson is maybe 50/50 but we really need him.

My hope is that Hanson comes back and he takes Lowe’s spot in the NLDS. Huddy, Hanson, Beachy, Minor (Would be nice to have a lefty). It will never happen as Lowe’s “experience” will get him a spot. He’s a guaranteed 5 runs a game though.

Where was Opie while the Phillies were handing the Braves their heads? Out at the fishing hole with Andy? Is there any question as to why the NL has never voted a relief pitcher as ROY? Sure, there is always a first time but probably not this year. Freeman and Worley are the only two dogs left in this hunt and Freeman is lame.

Whens the last time the NL’s best closer(probably the MLB’s best) was a rookie and was setting records and had a 15 K/9? Once again you’re relying on the past to predict the future; records were made to be broken, as was the status quo. Worley has done a fantastic job, yes, but Kimbrel is gonna take the cake. Weren’t you the one about 2 months ago saying Danny Espinosa was going to win it? I guess basically any rookie who isn’t a Brave will win rookie of the year, eh? Ignorance isn’t going to win Worley the award there Pherris.

You Brave folks do have an inferiority complex, don’t you? I am not sure I ever said Espinosa is going to win the ROY. When I said what I said Freeman had not pulled away from Espinosa as he has since. Being the tech maven you are, you should have no difficulty pasting whatever you are relying on here. Or can we interpret your failure of not already having done so as proof I never said what you claim I said?

Also, have you checked the AL ROY winners lately? Since 2000, 4 of the 11 have gone to closers. The last time an effective rookie closer got ROY votes in the NL was Takashi Saito in 2006. He finished tied for 7th with some kid named Prince Fielder, and behind some hacks named Hanley Ramirez, Ryan Zimmerman, Dan Uggla, Josh Johnson, Matt Cain, and Andre Ethier. You’re right; there is no question. It’s obvious that Takashi Saito was the obvious best but the voters though there was no way a closer could win, so they drew names out of a hat and voted for them.

Brandon, you are grasping at straws. Now tell us who the runner-ups were the 4 years a closer was ROY in the AL and their stats. More importantly, why do you suppose it has never happened in the NL? Maybe it is because the NL voters are too sophisticated to get involved in such artificial crap as “saves”. Is Kimbrel ever brought into a game when there are two outs and the bases are loaded? Is he ever brought into a game other than to start the 9th inning with the Braves ahead?

Austin Jackson, Danny Valencia, Wade Davis, Elvis Andrus, Rick Porcello, Brett Anderson, Jeff Niemann, Robinson Cano, Jonny Gomes, Nick Swisher. You know, just a bunch of scrubs that never amounted to anything. You really are an idiot dude, just get out. Freddie Freeman 2-RBI double. OMFG HE SUX.

Bravo, you should be banned from watching games. “Heyward sucks..” Really? Maybe, you think MAYBE sitting 2 out of every 3 games could make you a little rusty? Let me reiterate this, because you guys think that if someone defends one player over another, they apparently hate the other guy. I like Constanza. He has been great, but is coming back to earth. Wouldn’t it be a good thing to play Heyward and hope he pulls it together for the playoffs? JH 100% is worth 5 Constanzas at 100% and it’s idiotic to play JC over JH at this point. About as dumb to pitch Moylan in the 9th of a tie game instead of bringing in Kimbrel, but we all know he will never ever pitch in a non-save situation. Charlie manages these regular season games vs the Braves as if it’s the mlb WS; Frediot manages them like it’s the little league WS.

OK Viva – let me clarify for you. 2011 Jason Heyward sucks. How about that? Am I aloud to watch baseball now? Pretty please??? He has one swing plane. He hasn’t adjusted at the plate. He hasn’t done ANYTHING defensively to make me think he is an above average defender. He can’t throw anybody out. Takes terrible routes to balls and sucks at going back on balls hit over him. He bobbles most balls in the corner. If you think the 2011 version of Jason Heyward doesn’t suck – then maybe you should be banned from watching games. Unless you think that a .220 BA with 13 home runs, 30+ RBI’s, and an OBP barely over .300 in September from a starting right fielder is good. In that case – I would call you borderline retarded.

and blaming his lack of performance on the fact that recently his ass has been benched is ridiculous. Weren’t you one of the ones clamoring for Frenchy to be run out of town / sent back to AAA / benched for his lack of performance? Kind of hypocritical isn’t it?

Charlie didn’t manage that game like it was the MLB WS. He did it by the book, using his closer in a tie game in the ninth at home. Everybody does it. The Braves’ circumstance was different.

BTW, Charlie manages every game to win, no matter whether it’s April or October. He’s not looking for style points like overrated clowns like LaRussa.

Chipper Jones is hitting second; looks like Fredi got on Bowmans Blog and started looking at suggestions from April…

Good move by Fredi to put Chipper in the 2 hole. I’ve been wanting the Braves to do that for 2 years. Moving Martin down while he’s struggling is good too. Hope it works. Bourne getting on and getting over will be good for Chipper/McCann/Uggs.

5-4 top of 3? It’s going to be one of THOSE Double Headers…

Chipper is still our most important hitter. He changes the whole line up. He hits well. He is patient. He never seems to severely slump. He now has an OPS up with big macs this year.

I agree completely. I’ve been noticing that we don’t hit a lot of doubles (just checked – we’re second worst in the majors). Chipper hits doubles. Only Freeman has more, and he’s played about 30 more games than Chip. When he’s healthy he’s money. I like him in the 2 spot.

He is still the class of the line up. Mac is great, and we have some good young talents. But it could be a long time before we have another player who can hit like chipper could/still can. We badly need that mvp type guy in the 3 hole of our line up. Someone like chipper 5 years ago who changes the outlook of the whole line up. At present we have plenty of supporting acts but no superstar.

I’ve noticed that the Monkey hasn’t been ragging on Prado tonite. I guess that’s because he is 3-4. Zip you aren’t even right as often as a stopped clock.

Let’s be fair… he was supporting Chipper, who has a double and a homer. Sounds spot on to me…

The lineup change is seemingly benefiting him..

If we were fair, we would note that my simian friend has ragged on Prado every day for the last 10.

Bravo.. so I guess we should have benched Uggla and stopped using Kimbrel in the 9th. Some slumps are longer than others, and you should play the more talented player (especially when he is 22) when you have the luxury of such a vast lead in the playoff standings. Also, J-Hey’s OBP for the past 15 days or so is something like 390, which far from sucks. In regards to the comparison to Frenchy, I don’t really get it. He was in his fifth season and had some of the worst plate discipline in baseball, and ranked last in most offensive categories, though he acted as if he was a perennial all star. I supported him through the slump–which any fan should do and not be a reactionary turd–but towards the end I wanted to see him gone after throwing fits like a big baby. So.. Heyward in year 2 after battling injuries and looking on from the bench while being completely stoic =/= 2 years of an awful Jeff Francoeur.

Viva the Royals recently signed (over paid) Francoeur to a two yr extention for 13 mill

Viva, you might be interested to know that Frenchy has 44 doubles already, 17 HRs and a .802 OPS. That and playing his usual stellar defense in RF. And I never saw, heard or imagined that he “acted as if he was a perennial all star”. Your just making that up. He was McCann’s best buddy for chrissakes.And the fits you talk about. Never heard, read or saw that, and you all know I watch pretty close. The truth is Heyward should have gone down a long time ago to work out his swing problems. This is a management problem. I mean if he stayed up because of all the hoopla that surrounded him when he came up or if he’s just a wilting Daisy that couldn’t handle being sent to work on things then he has no place on the team. As a young player sometimes you have to go find out a little bit about how bad you want it. We didn’t give him that oppo. He might have come back and set the world on fire. But we didn’t have the huevos to do what was right for him. He’s 22 years old, what is wrong about sending him for a work session away from the bright lights. I mean Fredo is trying to treat these guys like they are his best buddies. He needs to man up and become the manager. This ain’t no popularity contest.

Yes! Gonzo the Great is finally punished for his lack of hustle.

Didn’t get to watch either game today but thank god. I understand struggling but not trying with all u have as often as he does. Can’t let it go. Just can’t. You have guys like brooksie with so little talent compared to guys like gonzo but give it their all every play. Hell ugg’s came out of his slump in a big way in large part due to hustling down the line to beat out close plays in the infield.

I don’t think that Chipper is the most important hitter, but we definitely need his bat. Glad to see he is hitting well. Maybe he just needed to face the Mets for a rejuvenation….

Very important couple of wins for the braves. Eases the worries of getting run out of the postseason. Now lets avoid a sweep vs the cards.

“Viva, you might be interested to know that Frenchy has 44 doubles already, 17 HRs and a .802 OPS. That and playing his usual stellar defense in RF. And I never saw, heard or imagined that he “acted as if he was a perennial all star”.” -bill

I was referring to him bitching about being sent to the minors to work on his swing, while just about leading all outfielders in lowest slugging percentage for the second straight year. Also, he’s playing for Kansas City. How many sage hens have turned into eagles after being sent there…and then returning to their former mediocre glory after leaving. They’re a AAAA team where the players have zero pressure on them. His defense.. great arm which is offset by his mediocre range. I don’t pay much attention to WAR stats, but he’s in the negative in dWAR (-0.6). Why are we still talking about Jeff Franceour? Want to also talk about what Melky is doing in Kansas City for comparison?

Also, after DOB wrote an article about how the offense needs to pick up the pitching (which it does), Frediot decides to sit Chipper and hit JACK WILSON in the 2 hole. Brilliant!

I am not trying to be mean, but has anyone ever seen anyone hit as many weak ground balls as Heyward. Even his hits, don’t look good these days. What happenned to Constanza? Why is heyward playing every day now? Put Hinske, Diaz or Constanza out there. Heyward may catch the ball well, but that throw the other night when Venters was pitching was ridiculus. His throws are consistentl off target.

On another note, Chipper is hitting like he did 10 years ago. Even his outs look good – ABs 1 and 2 yesterday.

Need this game or Cards will get hope.

Prado since All star break: 230 ab .613 ops. McClotuh last year (when everyone hung him out to dry and basically hated on him): 242 AB .620 OPS. WHy is it ok for prado to slump but not for nate? Both had similar production up to these slumps in their careers

Since the all star break Jurrjens has won 1 game with a 5.88 era. Hansen has won one game with a 8.10 era. I said we should of traded them. It was a terrible decision not to. People on here wouldnt understand, but it looks like the statistics speak for themselves.

Would you let your useless babble come to an end? You obviously have no idea how this game works if you still are convinced we should have traded two top flight starters under team control in the middle of a playoff race. I don’t even want to take the time to tell you just how stupid you are for bringing this up again. If you can’t see what you’re saying is complete idiocy, go join Pherris and the rest of the useless statistics and ignorance club

Wins and era are useless statistics? Interesting. Thanks for the feedback. I guess I am wrong then! haha

Winzzz determine how good a pitcher is, of course! Derek Lowe won 16 games last year; total ace! Selective statistics like “since the All-Star break”… just give up. You mean since both of them got hurt and tried playing hurt? HansOn has made like what, 5 starts since the All-Star break? In those 5, he had 2 quality starts while playing injured. 3 bad starts and our ace-in-the-making, who is under control for at least 3 more seasons, needs to be traded? You’re are an absolute idiot. By the way, what do you suppose we would have gotten for them in a this brilliant trade we didn’t make?

Jordan schafer already has 19 K’s in 63 in houston

O and he is platooning and not facing lefties often and still cant hit.

You are in the wrong.

Selective stats? I said we should trade them at the asb. SInce then they have bombed. In terms of era and wins. You and bill seem incapable of debating things without just resorting to calling people idiots. Pretty funny actually! haha

Funny how you didn’t answer my question, or give any reasoning for your stupid proposition. There is nothing to debate, anyone with a brain can tell you that trading your 2 best starters midseason while competing for a playoff spot is idiotic. Guess the Tigers should have traded Justin Verlander after he lost 17 games in 2008. Since winzzz and lossezzz are what determines how good a pitcher is.

Not when you are thinking long term as the braves should be. It was obvious that whatever we did the phillies are just too good right now. Lets build for the next 3-4 years. We would of still made the playoffs without those two. In fact we would probably alrdy be in the playoffs as they have 2 wins between them since i would of traded them. Also their era are huge so its not just wins. You ignored the fact i said their wins and their era. ha ha

… just get out, honestly. There’s the door, just go. You already “left” a few times, please just do so and save yourself the embarrassment. Because one of these days I’m going to have nothing I’m going to and start actually caring enough to feed you with a well written diatribe detailing in depth how juvenile, cowardly, and bat shit insane your thought process is.

Monkey see, monkey do.

Thinking longterm = trading away some of the best young pitching talent in the Bigs. Hilarious.

I actually am on the fence about JJ still. He is NOT the terrible pitcher he has displayed recently (obviously)… but he is not the dominant pitcher from the first half either. He’s somewhere in between. We could have gotten a king’s ransom for him at his highest value. Not saying I would have done it… but I don’t think it is as terrible of an idea as you guys are making it out to be. Especially since there’s a logjam of starting pitching in the organization under team control for forever.

But you don’t want a bunch of rookie starters(like what is happening now) throwing for you 3 out of 5 days down the stretch. Zidane’s plan basically worked. We subtract Jurrjens and Hanson at the same time, we lose 6 out of 8. He’s a prophet.

Yup. Exactly. ANyone who knows about statistics could see that Jurrjens was over performing massively. We could of got such a huge haul for an above average number 3 starter

Two years ago, he put up the 3rd best ML ERA at 2.60. How dare he over perform by .7 runs per 9. Once he comes back down to earth, I mean, he’s gonna be a chump. Sub 3 ERA’s mean nothing.

Above average #3???? Haha who IS this guy!?

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