Braves in thick of wild-card race

 If the Braves lose tonight, or get shut out by Tim Lincecum tomorrow, you can rest assured that it will elicit the familiar refrains from that certain segment of our blogulace (blog populace, get it?).
They will groan, “Season’s over.” “Time to sell.” “Fire Pendleton.” “Fire Bobby.” This team would have to play 20 games over .500 the rest of the way,” and blah blah blah.
  It’s entirely, utterly predictable.
  And a bit silly, for the time being. Because while the Braves looked to be a fairly hopeless case a month or so ago, things have changed, folks. Most observers see that. But if you can’t or just won’t acknowledge it, well, that’s fine. But it’s kind of silly.

Escobar's kept producing amid "controversy"

Escobar

  Fact is, the Braves have a 13-6 record since June 28, better than any other NL team except the one that’s in front of them in the NL East. The Phillies are 14-4 in that same stretch, riding a nine-game winning streak, and playing now like the team that won the World Series.
  It’s going to be very difficult for the Braves to catch them, barring major injuries in Philly. And if they Phils get Roy Halladay? Well, that would make it even more unlikely the Braves or anyone else could catch them in the division.
But the wild card? Entirely winnable. The Braves are four games behind wild-car leader Colorado, after beating the Giants last night to drop S.F. out of the wild-card lead.
  The Braves, who have won eight of their past 11 games and four of five since the All-Star break, are tied with Milwaukee and Houston for fourth in the current wild-card standings, 3-1/2 games behind the Giants and three behind the Cubs.
  After going 8-15 while scoring fewer than 3-1/2 runs per game from June 3 to June 27, the Braves have averaged more than 5.3 runs per game in the past 19 games, while getting even better pitching than the mostly solid work they had continued to get during that 23-game skid.
  The lineup no longer appears dysfunctional. The clubhouse is no longer morgue-like. Quite the opposite, actually.
  Brian McCann said at the All-Star break how excited he was to get the second-half started, because he had seen a different attitude around the team since the end of June. The Braves were finally close to healthy, and he had noticed how many good at-bats guys were putting up in the past few weeks.
  • Since June 28, the Giants are 11-8 with a sparkling 2.88 ERA that’s offset by a poor offense that’s hit .257 in that stretch.
  • Since June 28, the Rockies are 12-7, including a split with the Braves in the series before the break, when the Braves gave them a couple of games with late-innings meltdowns when Gonzalez was hurt and Soriano unavailable (for one game).
  The Rockies have hit .246 in that 19-game stretch, with a 3.30 ERA and 4.7 runs scored per game, on average.
 • The Cubs are 12-8 since June 28, including a series loss to the Braves in Chicago. They have a 3.38 ERA and 21 homers during that stretch, but while hitting just .258 and averaging 3.9 runs per game.
 • As for the Braves, since June 28 they have hit .293, posted a 3.27 ERA, and cranked out 21 homers — where was that for nearly three months? — and averaged nearly 5.4 runs per game.
The addition of Martin Prado to the lineup since June 30 has provided a spark in the 2-hole.   Yunel Escobar is raking in the 6-hole. Ryan Church isn’t the outs machine that Jeff Francoeur was, and a solid platoon guy with Matt Diaz in LF.
  And the Braves are a far better team with Nate McLouth in CF and atop the order.
Going to get another bat on the trade market doesn’t seem quite a urgent a need as it did a few weeks ago, and certainly not if if means having to blow a hole in the superb rotation to do it.

 

  ♣ July turnaround: The Braves lead the NL in average (.296) OBP (.368), slugging (.477) and runs (95) in July. The Phillies have scored 94 runs this month, while no other NL team has scored more than 82.
  Quite a dramatic turnaround for the Braves from June, when they hit .247 with a .309 OBP and .378 slugging percentage, and scored more runs than only the Nationals, Cubs and Padres.
  They’ve only played 17 July games, and have already scored two more runs than they did in June.
Lead the way have been NL Player of the Week Escobar, who’s hit .405 with eight extra-base hits, 13 RBI and a 1.214 OPS in 15 July games, and Matt Diaz, batting .405 with six extra-base hits, eight RBI and a 1.106 OPS in 13 July games.
  Prado continues to sizzle, batting .351 with 10 extra-base hits and a .936 OPS in 17 July games. Casey Kotchman has hit .349 with a .984 OPS in July, and 29-year-old rookie Brooks Conrad’s hit .344 with two triples, two homers, eight RBI and a 1.070 OPS in 14 July games.
  Yes, when Brooks Conrad’s posting a 1.000-plus OPS for more than half a month, you could say hitting’s contagious.
  Notice no mention of McCann and Chipper Jones as team hitting leaders in July. That’s great news for the Braves, who for the first 2-1/2 months of the season looked completely inept in games when either Chipper or McCann didn’t carry them.
  Chipper’s got a .306 average and is tied with Escobar for the team lead with 13 July RBI, while McCann’s hit .281 with 11 RBI and mere .716 OPS in July.
  If the Braves can do what they’re doing with Chipper or McCann carrying the offense, it only boosts the confidence of the rest of the lineup. They know they’ve got the goods now to compete without having to depend on the pitching staff holding the other team to two or fewer runs.

 ♣ Escobar keeps going: He got the NL Player of the Week award, but Escobar’s been hot for a lot longer than a week.
  Dude has hit .319 with 26 extra-base hits (eight homers), 47 RBI and an .872 OPS in 65 games since April 25, and he’s blazed at a .396 clip with 16 RBI and a 1.170 OPS in his pas 17 games.
  And no wonder Turner Field fans stand by him: During that latter stretch, he’s hit .481 (13-for-27) with 10 extra-base hits, 12 RBI and a .533 OBP and .889 slugging percentage in nine home games.

 ♥ Etc. - Chipper has 419 homers and is seven from tying Hall of Famer Billy Williams for 40th on the all-time list…. Kotchman has played in 147 consecutive errorless games (1,308 total defensive chances)… Braves game Aug. 2 vs. the Dodgers was moved to 8:05 p.m. for ESPN Sunday Night Baseball.

  ♣ OK, gotta get downstairs. Here’s a great cut from the new Wilco (the album) which is, for me, their best album since Yankee Hotel Foxtrot. Oh, and in case you missed my rec the other night: go see The Hurt Locker. Probably the best movie I’ve seen this year, and one of the best three or four war movies I’ve seen in a quarter-century.

“BULL BLACK NOVA” by Wilco (Jeff Tweedy)
It’s in my hair
It’s on my clothes
It’s in the river, over the road
It’s shining down my angry star
Hanging off the hood of my car

We’re not going far
Not going far

It’s coming down,
They’re coming up the shoulders
What have they found
I wonder if they’d know
I’m in a bull black Chevy nova
Silhouetted by the setting sun
This can’t be undone
This can’t be undone

If I am the one
Blood on the sofa
Blood in the sink
Blood in the trunk
High at the wheel of a bull black nova
And I’m sorry as a setting sun
This can’t be undone
This can’t be outrun

It’s in my hair
There’s blood in the sink
I can’t calm down, I can’t think
I keep calling
There’s blood in the trunk
I can’t calm down
I freak out

Oh black out

 

2,172 comments Add your comment

Chucktown Brave

July 21st, 2009
3:49 pm

SanFranFan

July 21st, 2009
3:52 pm

Piedmont Blues (ex-BFIR)

July 21st, 2009
3:52 pm

Thanks for the new blog, DOB.

Does anyone else think the blog has gotten less interesting since the Braves started winning?

[Ducks]

SanFranFan

July 21st, 2009
3:52 pm

BRAVES WILL LOSE TONIGHT!!!!!

Bob Dole

July 21st, 2009
3:54 pm

Max14

July 21st, 2009
3:54 pm

Hey Chucktown, T-Pain is a heck of alot better than Big Red.

Nova Scotia Steve

July 21st, 2009
3:54 pm

Man I’ve been waiting with bated breath for this new blog….AND the game tonight…

But its cool…just popped a gum and now I’m pretty relaxed and have fresh breath.

Go Braves!

Chop Chop

July 21st, 2009
3:55 pm

(I’ll post this again.)

A Mason jar doesn’t have to physically contain a Mason. However, a Mason jar is limited to 33 degrees of separation from Masonic influence.

A Coke bottle is not a Coke bottle unless it has physically contained that wonderful elixir.

Max14

July 21st, 2009
3:56 pm

Anyone hear that Braves had representatives at Chi Sox game last night? Wonder whats up with that.

Chucktown Brave

July 21st, 2009
3:57 pm

Thanks Max14… I started calling him T-Pain when he came up from AAA. I have all my friends calling him that too now. It is catching on.

southern hope

July 21st, 2009
3:58 pm

This is a really good column.

Also, I am more excited about tonight than I should be….the Braves will break your heart…I know because I’ve been a (hot & cold) fan for 10 years. anyway, you might see me and my kids about 6:30 looking for a few scalper tickets in front of the stadium.

Wayne in Utah

July 21st, 2009
3:59 pm

Following up on a thought from the previous blog: Does it really matter who is the #1, #2, etc, etc on a staff. Sometimes we get a bit hung up on titles.

Excellent blog story Dave. Thanks again to you and Carroll on our behalf.

Nice tidbit on Kotchman’s recent surge. Is it me, or does he seem more comfortable a bit lower in the batting order?

Thrillhouse44

July 21st, 2009
3:59 pm

I hope Chipper lights up Sadowski for number 420.

Efrim

July 21st, 2009
3:59 pm

“Going to get another bat on the trade market doesn’t seem quite a urgent a need as it did a few weeks ago, and certainly not if if means having to blow a hole in the superb rotation to do it.”

Given the amount of innings Soriano, Eric O, Gonzo and Moylan have pitched, I’d rather Wren go after a pen arm that most likely won’t cost as much as a hitter. Braves probably can’t take on any money and it’d be hard to acquire a skilled position player without having to give up something of value in the farm or the major league roster. Not sure who though, but relief pitching is usually a lot easier to obtain this time of year.

Andrew in P-tang

July 21st, 2009
4:00 pm

TRADES: Vazquez may stay in Atlanta
Javier Vazquez | Braves
Javier Vazquez had previously been considered Atlanta’s best trading chip. A rubber-armed pitcher with good strikeout numbers, a solid ERA and a contract that’s not a poison pill, many consider him an ideal deadline pickup.

Maybe the Braves got the message and decided that yeah, Vazquez is pretty valuable. GM Frank Wren implied as much last night, saying, “I don’t think we’ll be selling. I sure hope not. I mean, something drastic would have to happen for us to be selling.”

That said, multiple sources agree that the Braves are still targeting a bat.
Keith Law’s Take
The Braves still need help, and a bat
“My gut reaction is that without a bat, the Braves can’t win this division. The deficit is 8 games in the loss column, behind a clearly superior Phillies team that — if anything — has some upside (e.g., Hamels and Rollins should be better in the second half). That’s a lot to overcome.”

pinkygonzales

July 21st, 2009
4:00 pm

DOB,

The braves had a home game moved to Sunday night right before a West Coast trip by ESPN for the second time in as many years. They were livid about that last year, and would have to be very upset about it again this year. Any word from the players about that yet?

Chief Nocahoma Lives

July 21st, 2009
4:00 pm

Ah-h-h-h, fresh blog.

Go Braves!!!

Mason

July 21st, 2009
4:00 pm

I was born in a jar

CB

July 21st, 2009
4:00 pm

Nova, I like your enthusiasm,you are always ready to play. fleming, nothing wrong with your posts, we need some more positive bloggers around here.

Doc Holiday

July 21st, 2009
4:01 pm

Phillies have only allowed more than 3 runs 4 times in the last 14 games……….dudes have been pitching very well lately, which means that their actual winning chain is more relatedto their pitching than to their hitting, which is not normal for them, so id say they will get back to earth as quick as tonight and return to the usual .530 baseball.

TnBrian

July 21st, 2009
4:01 pm

I’m not sure who DOB is refering to as the “groaners” on the blog lately. If anything, it’s the same whiners that polute the blog every day so nothing new. Anybody seen “MFin04″? My God, the most negative one here hasn’t been around too much lately… coiencedence? Other than that, it’s been pretty positive.

CharlieAlphaBravo

July 21st, 2009
4:02 pm

Have the Braves inquired about the availability of Arizona’s Mark Reynolds?

If Wren were to acquire Reynolds, he would be a great addition. He’s slugging .544 this year with 25 dingers in what appears to be a break-out season. He’s a right-handed 3B that has played 1B, 2B and OF in his career.

Most importantly, he’s making less than $500K this year and is under contract until 2014. He might be elligible for “super two” status, but would be a bargain even for post-arbitration prices. This way we could push for post-season berth this year without selling out the farm or adding payroll. Chipper could move to first (or Reynolds could play 1B until he’s ready to move), and Kotchman could be packaged with a prospect in the deal.

I don’t know if Reynolds is available, so this all may be moot, but it’s at least an interesting hypothetical…

Then again, sometimes the best move is to not do anything at all…

KnightInATL

July 21st, 2009
4:03 pm

DOB or anyone with concrete knowledge.
Can you clarify whether Tim Hudson’s contract includes a player option or a club option for next year. I was always under the assumption it was a club option until I heard one of the Braves radio announcers (unsure which one) indicate it was a player option.

Doc Holiday

July 21st, 2009
4:03 pm

“BRAVES WILL LOSE TONIGHT!!!!!”

Did we already sweep the Giants? wow that was fast……… :-)

Mason

July 21st, 2009
4:03 pm

Doc, the same could be said about our hitting, no?

Chris from the Rock

July 21st, 2009
4:03 pm

In regards to the Braves scouting the ChiSox, it’s wishful thinking on my part that they’re looking into acquiring Konerko. But alas, I don’t think our Bravos have the payroll flexibility.

keylargo

July 21st, 2009
4:04 pm

Paul Lentz,

I come on this blog several times a week and notice you posting each time. You must be a wealthy guy. To write all of those short novels, you have a lot of time on your hands

Necromancer

July 21st, 2009
4:04 pm

Paul

Well, about being attacked…you have to admit that calling people IDIOTS and MORONS and ADD is not a good way to win over people.

I know…your thinking you’re not here to make friends….but, it sure does help knowing you have more people in your corner and you respect you and your opinions. I remember when I first started coming across your postings, most of them were filled with IDIOT and MORON comments.

After a while, you get a bad rep on here as being just what you are calling the other folks. That’s why you’re being attacked. Some of the things you say, in terms of baseball, are good, strong points. I agree with Francouer being shipped off..I agree with KJ being where he’s at, and I agree with Schafer (sp?) being demoted.

But, when someone else respectfully disagrees with you, you go off like a bomb. Maybe you might want to analyze how you come across on here.

You might be surprised if you have any sense about you…

KennyP

July 21st, 2009
4:05 pm

Great write up today – other than starting it with a bit of a sour feeling. I dont think that the Phils are out of reach either – their pitching wont keep this up and ours has proven it can. i look forward to a fight to the end for the East.

PMC

July 21st, 2009
4:06 pm

With Anderson hitting better, the “extra bat” could be a combination of the platoons in left and right Prado, Infante back and Brooks Conrad.

As usual it’s not one guy with the Braves it’s quite a few. They do have better plate appearances now. They aren’t better than the Philles, but they absolutely can make it closer and make a run at the Wild Card. Why not? Even as currently constructed.

Doc Holiday

July 21st, 2009
4:07 pm

CharlieAlphaBravo,

If your clock is ticking, why change the batteries?

Knowitall

July 21st, 2009
4:07 pm

There is no way that the Braves lead the NL in average, OBP, slugging, and runs with Terry Pendleton as their hitting coach!(rolls eyes).

keylargo

July 21st, 2009
4:07 pm

Paul Lentz,

I come on this blog several times a week and notice you posting each time. You must be a wealthy guy. To write all of those short novels, you have a lot of time on your hands AmbulanceChasingLawyer

Well we got no choice
All the girls and boys
Makin all that noise
‘Cause they found new toys
Well we can’t salute ya
Can’t find a flag
If that don’t suit ya
That’s a drag

School’s out for summer
School’s out forever
School’s been blown to pieces

No more pencils
No more books
No more teacher’s dirty looks

Well we got no class
And we got no principles
And we got no innocence
We can’t even think of a word that rhymes

School’s out for summer
School’s out forever
School’s been blown to pieces

No more pencils
No more books
No more teacher’s dirty looks

Out for summer
Out till fall
We might not go back at all

School’s out forever
School’s out for summer
School’s out with fever
School’s out completely

Do those two together give anyone a clue?

TnBrian

July 21st, 2009
4:08 pm

Charlie, I’m kinda bouncing around on the idea of moving Kotchman. He’s so good over at 1st and doesn’t get nearly the love he deserves for what he does defensively. But, I still think a Reynolds or Cantu hitting cleanup would really take the offense to a new level. We have a lineup full of guys who don’t K a lot and talk their walks that having one guy who does K a lot but hits HR would work in this lineup right now.

BravoMan

July 21st, 2009
4:08 pm

SanFranFan, Go to a Giant’s blog, this is Bravo Territory

Paul Lentz

July 21st, 2009
4:09 pm

David O’Brien………….well written article. I love how you talked about the “naysayers” reactions if the Braves were to lose today or get shutout tomorrow by Tim Linecum, lol. That was priceless, lol.

When the Johan Santana beat us on Saturday, sure it was disappointing. However going into that series, I knew that there was a chance that we could lose on Saturday. However, the Braves ended up winning the other 3 games of that series (like we were supposed to). The same thing could happen again this series (however I’m not going to give up on Wednesday’s game, not with Jair Jurrjens pitching and with how well we are hitting the ball).

There is still a lot of baseball to be played. And I’m still not going to give up on the division. The Phillies will eventually fall back down to earth. Even if they acquire Roy Halladay, they are no lock to win the division. They still have to play us 9 more times (6 at our place). If we can keep playing like we are capable of, we can make a race of this. Also, one never knows what role the injury bug will play.

However, I do realize that at the present time, the wild care is more of a better shot. All we have to do is continue to win games and everything else will take care of itself.

Heath (Cleveland)

July 21st, 2009
4:10 pm

Are the Braves really in need of an OF anymore? Mixing GA/Diaz/Church for the corner OF spots, based on lefty/righty pitching, seems to be working really well right now.

Necromancer

July 21st, 2009
4:10 pm

BravoMan

Sounds like we have a Giants Troll here now…

ncscoots

July 21st, 2009
4:11 pm

KnightInATL, I’m sure someone will fill you in on Hudson’s option, but, for future reference, great contract info on everybody at Cot’s Baseball Contracts. Among others.

Noah

July 21st, 2009
4:11 pm

I wouldnt rule out them catching the Phillies. The Phillies won’t win from here on out and pitching wins.

Paul Lentz

July 21st, 2009
4:11 pm

Necromancer………….you disagree with 99.9% of what I have to say? Exactly what do you disagree with………baseball related that is? I’m just curious.

fleming

July 21st, 2009
4:13 pm

CB – fleming, nothing wrong with your posts, we need some more positive bloggers around here.

Thanks CB. I do get tired of all the negative posts. I guess it’s because I played ball long enough to know that ball players can have slumps, bad years, bad at bats etc and they don’t always need to be called out on them. As bad as KJ and others have been at times this year, they still haven’t been as bad as Rollins and look at what he’s doing now because the Phillies stuck with him.

Soph

July 21st, 2009
4:13 pm

Thanks for the new blog DOB.

Blogulace…I like it.

abwright

July 21st, 2009
4:13 pm

Braves are only 1 game behind Chicago in the wild card race.

Braves win and Cubs loss = tied for third in WC, 2.5 out of second

Braves win and Cubs win = 5.5 back in the East, 2.5 out of second in WC

Can’t complain about that. But, Braves need to win.

Doc Holiday

July 21st, 2009
4:14 pm

Mason,

Well said, but I would have to disagree with you. Our offense was underachieving. I said in spring training that this team was capable of leading the league in doubles, and thats where we stand right now. I said in spring that all of our players were capable of hitting over .285, that included KJ and JF, they are “gone” now but nevertheless we have a team full of guys that are either hitting above or very near .285. Phillies pitching is having a very good streak, impossible for them to keep up. On the Braves case, we can even get better once Norton is replaced by Infante and KJ replaces Diory. And there is always room for improvement from Chipper and Mc whom are underachieving.

abwright

July 21st, 2009
4:14 pm

Something which seemed to go unmentioned last night…

Braves are back over .500 for the first time in a long time.

Need to win tonight, especially with Lincecum on Wednesday.

MFin04

July 21st, 2009
4:14 pm

I don’t get the Wild Card talk. It seems its easier to win the division then the wild card. You play the Phillies more and don’t have to jump 5 to 10 teams.

I don’t think either of them is easy at all though. The way the Phils are playing it may be impossible to win the division, but to beat out 5 teams is equally as tough.

Luther

July 21st, 2009
4:15 pm

Why has the AJC made the Braves Blog so hard to find in the jumble they call a sports page?

Wayne in Utah

July 21st, 2009
4:16 pm

Keylargo

Could be, huh.

Necromancer

Best thing to do is that once a blogger offends you to a point of total frustration, is to TOTALLY, and I mean TOTALLY disregard EVERYTHING he writes. Works well for me. I just roll on through all the noise.

TommyP

I agree that the Phillies are still within reach, although the resurgence of their pitching is annoying. Ask the Cubbies about the Mets in 1969.

Necromancer

July 21st, 2009
4:16 pm

Paul Lentz

Baseball related stuff is that “one tenth” of what I agree with you on.

It’s the other stuff..like the to over verboseness of your posts and the other thing that I don’t want to mention.

That’ll just be stirring up the ole proverbial hornet’s nest and I don’t want a reprimand from DOB

I’m leaving it alone, dude…

abwright

July 21st, 2009
4:17 pm

Other good news for WC contention…

SF and Colorado will play each other for a few games towards the end the season.

Necromancer

July 21st, 2009
4:17 pm

Oh yeah..almost forgot…Paul, the way you address some of the other folks….

Not exactly classy…

Doc Holiday

July 21st, 2009
4:18 pm

MFin04,

Braves have pass 4 teams in the WC standings in about 10 days………..maybe they can pass 4 more in the next 2 months, dont you think?

fleming

July 21st, 2009
4:19 pm

Catching the Phillies will be tough but we control our own destiny with them with 9 games to play. Wild Card looks easier but the Rockies scare me. They are playing very good ball now and we have seen from the past in that division they can take off. We may rue that game we gave them before the break.

Paul Lentz

July 21st, 2009
4:19 pm

TnBrian………in reference to your confusion about the “groaners” that David O’Brien was referring to……..you might want to go back to his previous blog and see what the “groaners” were saying when the Braves fell down 2-0 yesterday in the 2nd inning. Or, perhaps you’d want to see what they were saying about Matt Diaz after his first 2 at-bats yesterday. It was comical, to say the least.

Start reading page 8 of yesterday’s blog to see the “groaners” in action concerning Tommy Hanson. Then go to page 13 if you want to read what they had to say about Matt Diaz.

It’s stuff like that that David O’Brien was referring to.

Noah

July 21st, 2009
4:19 pm

MFin04 – I agree, wild card is fun to follow and definitely go after but still in the division race too especially with 9 face to face games against the Phillies left.

keylargo

July 21st, 2009
4:19 pm

Wayne – you think he’s about a Soph?

Necromancer

July 21st, 2009
4:19 pm

Wayne in Utah

You sir, I enjoy reading your posts.

I guess with age, comes wisdom, ya know? ;)

AZBravoFan

July 21st, 2009
4:19 pm

CharlieAlphaBravo,
While Reynolds is a nice player, he’s a strikeout machine. I think he broke 200 last year. Not sure I have the stomach for another player like that. He would have to play first where I think he’s nowhere near as good as Kotchman with the glove. If Casey plays error-free ball and hits in the .280’s I’m cool with that. With Yunel’s rocket arm and Chipper’s erratic play in the field, I think we need the best defense possible at 1B.

Roman Gal

July 21st, 2009
4:20 pm

You can write Coke all over it, but if it’s never bottled Coke, it ain’t a Coke bottle.

Shamus, I had no idea you were a fan of Rene Magritte’s work. This is not a pipe is your favorite, right?

Nova Scotia Steve

July 21st, 2009
4:20 pm

Yeah we really need another win tonight…

Seems like a lot of us have been saying that for the past month…but it true…we lost our way into this situation…Now we have to win our way out of it!

Let’s sweep these Mo Fo’s….

And oh yeah….I CONTINUE TO SMELL MOMENTUM

Salamander

July 21st, 2009
4:21 pm

SanFranFan

Back for more punishment? How did that back-to-back no hit bid by Sanchez go last night?

Man, your bullpen sure looked good last night.

Wayne in Utah

July 21st, 2009
4:21 pm

fleming and CB

You know, I can handle some negativity, but when things weren’t going to well, it was total idiocy on here at times. Like a few years ago with Chris Woodward. He was having a horrible year, and was being attacked personally constantly. We need to remember that these guys are regular folks like most of us.

As one of you stated, take KJ and Norton for instance. Those guys have been pretty good players in the past. They are just having a tough run. No need to castigate them for it. Besides, both of these two guys went down (or up) to Gwinnett to work things out. No huge ego’s there.

MFin04

July 21st, 2009
4:21 pm

4 teams in 2 months or

1 team in 2 months that you play how many more times?

Seems to me the odds of passing one team are better than passing 4 especially if two of those teams are in the same division and help keep each other at the top of the WC Standings.

Jason

July 21st, 2009
4:21 pm

What are the chances of Atlanta signing Halliday? Frank Wren has ben known to drastic things right when we are in the heat of trying to make it to the post season. Its a place he is not use to being…:)

chc4

July 21st, 2009
4:22 pm

Mark Reynolds also has 125 strikeouts in 340 ABs. That’s horrific!

abwright

July 21st, 2009
4:22 pm

Braves second half game plan …
Step one: Get back to .500 (check)
Step two: Get into second place in the East (check)
Step three: Get into second place in the WC race
Step four: Get into first place in the WC race
Step five: Get into first place in the division

Why worry about the WC? It’s a step on the road to the eventual goal and makes for more interesting conversation than, “We won. Phillies won. Nothing’s changed.”

Shamus Thacker

July 21st, 2009
4:23 pm

LOL Roman Gal

raindawg722

July 21st, 2009
4:23 pm

Maybe I’m the only one but I think that the Braves have a better chance to win the division than the wild card. The Rockies, Brewers, Cubs, Giants are all strong. And the Cardinals are in the mix if the Cubs or the Brewers catch them in the central. There’s just too many team good teams there and the Braves are not going to go head to head against them so it will be difficult to make up ground.

On the other hand, the Phillies’ pitching is still just as bad as their lineup is good. Hamels has not been the same pitcher this year since he pitched all those innings last year. JA Happ has pitched pretty well but he’ll be approaching his career high for innings pitched in a couple more starts. Blanton is decent. Anyone else that they’re running out there would not even be the fifth starter on the Braves staff right now. Honestly, if the Braves played the Phillies for every game for the rest of the season, the starting pitching match up would favor the Braves almost every time.

Paul Lentz

July 21st, 2009
4:24 pm

Necromancer…………..I was attacked FIRST for my positions supporting the moves Frank Wren made. I over responded back by attacking with the name calling. I should have been the bigger man. But I wasnt and I had to deal with the repercussions of it.

I’ve refrained from the name calling today and there are those who still cant let it go. Oh well. I’ve noticed a few bloggers actually defend me today. In hindsight, I should have waited for that to happen awhile back, when the initial attacks were going on.

Salamander

July 21st, 2009
4:24 pm

Why has the AJC made the Braves Blog so hard to find in the jumble they call a sports page?

Good question.

Who ever designed the Braves’ page didn’t put too much thought into making the page user-friendly. If they actually were trying to make it easier/more visually appealing for AJC readers, then they did a pi$s-poor job.

Hopefully, more changes are on the way. The lay out is annoying.

CB

July 21st, 2009
4:25 pm

I think 88 wins will get us a wild card- what do you think?

Necromancer

July 21st, 2009
4:25 pm

No need to castigate them for it. Wayne in Utah

Eww…..ouch…that would kinda hurt, wouldn’t it??? :O

Heath (Cleveland)

July 21st, 2009
4:25 pm

MFin04 -

The Braves 7-2 against the Phillies this year and are STILL 6.5 games back. They can pass them, but the way the Phillies are playing right now, it doesn’t appear likely. The Wild Card teams are far more flawed than the Phillies and the Braves are closer to the WC lead…

KnightInATL

July 21st, 2009
4:25 pm

nscoots- Thanks, I’m aware of Cot’s site–he does a phenomenal job keeping up with contracts. I’ve just heard differences in Hudson’s deal and wanted to get some concrete clarification. Thanks for the knowledge though.

Wayne in Utah

July 21st, 2009
4:25 pm

keylargo

Soph. That would be my guess.

Necromancer

And while we might disagree on ocassion, I also enjoy your posts. (though I can’t remember what I disagreed on to be honest w/ you)

I have CRS disease.

MFin04

July 21st, 2009
4:26 pm

7 Teams in the Wild Card race currently, possibly 9 total.

I say the Braves worry about the Phils and try and make up ground there.

Jason

July 21st, 2009
4:27 pm

Is Aaron Rowand going to put a band aid on his sore elbow and play tonight? Ole Tommy Hanson plunked him pretty good last night..

TexasBrave

July 21st, 2009
4:27 pm

Wayne KJ and Norton’s are rehab assignments where Frenchy was a demotion. Perhaps the Braves could have saved face by making up some type of injury for Jeff and then it wouldn’t have been so obvious that he was being demoted like KJ and Norton.

monty

July 21st, 2009
4:28 pm

We will chase down the Phillies, Baby steps 1st! I really don’t think this is just a wave we’re on right now. I believe we have turned a corner and are a much improved team. Once a team really starts to believe in themselves the sky is the limit! Step 1. Keep playing great ball. The Phillies pitching has to or should start to moderate again soon. Step 2. Stay close, even just moving up one game a week is fine for now. Step 3. Keep dominating Philly when we play them. They will get the message, “there’s a new sheriff in town.” Step 4. keep winning,Phillies thinking, “hey these guys aren’t going away!” Step 5. By the end of August we’re maybe 1 to 2 out! Fans are now going ga-ga at the games! It ought to be like the early 90’s again in Atlanta. I still get teary eyed and have goose bumps when I see Sid Bream sliding home and JUstice falling on him, but something I had never focused on before that I saw the other night when they showed it again was the fans in the stands went crazy!! I want to go crazy like that again! Step 6. Pull out the division the last weekend of the year! Step 7. Take it ALL!

Nova Scotia Steve

July 21st, 2009
4:28 pm

Dayn Perry of Fox Sports.com (who I think is a douche and his coverage against Altanta 95 % of the time is even douchier)

Says we may be able to get Matt Holliday and an ever dropping price…that’s if Liberty allows us to add the payroll…

I don’t usually speculate the trade scenario…I just don’t know what the hell Frank Wren is going to do…

Like I have no idea…and with Hudson coming back…It very very interesting…

Paul Lentz

July 21st, 2009
4:28 pm

Necromancer……….as I said earlier today, I promised “Heath from Cleveland” that I would try to refrain from the name calling and talking about non baseball stuff. Today I have not engaged in any name calling or personal attacks. I have limited my postings to strictly Braves related stuff.

Necromancer

July 21st, 2009
4:28 pm

Wayne in Utah

You’re funny!

Paul Lentz

At least you’re admitting some things….that’s saying something…

Tennbravefan

July 21st, 2009
4:29 pm

I mentioned this near the end of the old blog but ESPN’s insider has a headline of Braves in search of big bat. Does anyone know what the article actually says?

Roman Gal

July 21st, 2009
4:29 pm

we need some more positive bloggers around here.

Then who would we make fun of?

Chuck

July 21st, 2009
4:29 pm

What is the thought on Kelly Johnson after his AAA time is up? Do the Braves keep him with the club, release Norton, send Diory down, send Kelly down? The possibilities seem endless. Diory is their back-up shortstop – who else can play there? But he sure hasn’t hit much. Norton thought he might get released earlier and is a good bit older than Kelly. Infante is coming back sometime soon. Prado can play first also. Noticed Kelly had 7 RBIs yesterday – making the decision difficult. Would be interested in the discussion!

CB

July 21st, 2009
4:29 pm

Wayne,don’t feel bad- I have old coot’s disease.

KnightInATL

July 21st, 2009
4:30 pm

CB- The average wins by a WC winner over the last 5 years is 90. And in 4 of the past 5 seasons, 90 wins won the WC by the slimmest of margins (1 game).

Wayne in Utah

July 21st, 2009
4:30 pm

What is the minimum we could send to Oakland to pick up Matt Holliday? (I think that his price should have dropped appreciably)

It is possible that he could go into a contract push for the last couple of months of the season. (it is also as possible that he won’t, hence the lower valuation)

And as to Mark Reynolds. What kind of defense does he play at first, third and the outfield?

Noah

July 21st, 2009
4:30 pm

Wild Card is nothing new, been around for quite a while now. Teams may make moves they wouldn’t otherwise but you compete for division and if you do well you’ll be in the wildcard race…it sure is fun to watch both races though. Teams have come from much further then 6 games back…see 1995 Mariners coming from 13 games back in August or several other teams.

ncscoots

July 21st, 2009
4:31 pm

KnightInATL, I see no one gave you any scoop on it, as I thought would happen, LOL. Did yo get the info you wanted?

Necromancer

July 21st, 2009
4:31 pm

CB and Wayne

I’m sure y’all heard the rules of being 50, haven’t you?

I can’t post the list due to vulgarity, but it’s pretty funny!

Heath (Cleveland)

July 21st, 2009
4:32 pm

MFin04 -

Hey, I’m not saying the Braves shouldn’t continue to try to win the East, but the more realistic view from a fan’s point of view is the WC based on how close they are to that goal already.

Jason

July 21st, 2009
4:32 pm

Holliday is old news too me..he hit 2 dingers last night and thats the first I have heard of him.

Salamander

July 21st, 2009
4:33 pm

4 teams in 2 months or

1 team in 2 months that you play how many more times?

Seems to me the odds of passing one team are better than passing 4 especially if two of those teams are in the same division and help keep each other at the top of the WC Standings.

Who cares. It doesn’t really matter as long as the Braves win most nights. If they can win on average 2 out of every 3 games the rest of the way, then they will be a factor at the end of the season (be it in the division or the WC). That might not be enough to get into the post-season, but they will be competitive, which is a vast improvement over a first-half Braves team that was pretty boring to watch most nights.

However, I’m still only cautiously optimistic about this team. They have shown improvement before only to slide back into mediocrity. Ultimately, if the lineup continues to grind out good ABs, and the starters eat up quality innings – this team has a legit shot.

MFin04

July 21st, 2009
4:33 pm

http://www.coolstandings.com/baseball_standings.asp?i=1

Braves have a 17% chance of winning the division. 6% chance of winning the wild card.

You wild card people keep dreaming ;)

ncscoots

July 21st, 2009
4:33 pm

Dayn Perry of Fox Sports.com (who I think is a douche and his coverage against Altanta 95 % of the time is even douchier)

Where’s BASteve? We have a new member of the club, Nova Scotia Steve, LOL.

Dayn Perry…was, is now, and forever shall be.

Noah

July 21st, 2009
4:33 pm

I wouldnt count on Hudson, he is a bonus if he helps this year.

Who do you get rid of in the OF if you add a Holiday. I hate to see Diaz or Church go unless its part of a trade that makes good sense

CharlieAlphaBravo

July 21st, 2009
4:33 pm

Doc:

You’re right, but the lineup could still use a little more power, I think. Maybe that’s a move for the offseason, but the FA market doesn’t look too overwhelming… I think it would come down to the negotiations, and what Arizona was asking in return. They’re struggling at 1B, so Kotchman may have descent value.

Either way, I don’t mind leaving it up to Wren and company. He’s cerainly done little to make me think he would get hornswoggled in the deal. He’s a regular J. Paul Getty! Bully!

Wayne in Utah

July 21st, 2009
4:34 pm

Roman Gal

I am always a willing target, oft times opening myself up for a myriad of attacks. Let the sticks and stones fly!

:-)

(ps there will always be a dufus or two around to punch at!)

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