It’s gotten late in a hurry for Braves

  To those cynics who’ve been insisting for weeks that there wouldn’t be any big, important days at Turner Field in September, you were wrong. You are wrong. They’re having the annual Atlanta BBQ Festival there one week from Saturday (Sept. 12).
 So there.
 The Braves and a few of us chronicling this thing until the end will be in St. Louis that day, covering a Braves-Cardinals series that could be less than crucial if the Braves don’t win their next two series against the Cincinnati and Houston.
 Even then, it might be too late.
 But if they don’t start winning every series, it definitely will be.
 It’s gotten late in a hurry, folks. That’s what happens when you’re in wild card race with several teams in late August-early September.
 It’s not the same as being a few games behind the division leader and knowing that even if you fall apart and give away wins like the Braves just did the past two nights, you can still pick up ground in a hurry in head-to-head games with the one team ahead of you.
 The Braves have two NL West teams ahead of them, Colorado and San Francisco, and don’t have any games left against either.

Chipper, Braves best make jump in wild-card standings soon

Chipper, Braves best make jump in wild-card standings soon

 Yes, it’s time for a collective yikes.
 They had it whittled to a few games out with more than 30 to go, but the Braves have proven they can’t win the most important games, can’t take advantage of opportunities when they absolutely must — and can’t seem to win games unless two or three of their trio of bullpen stalwarts pitch scoreless innings.
 Otherwise, these big games become a tightrope from which the Braves have fallen too many times.
 They teased Bravos fans with that 26-14 run from June 28 to Aug. 12, when the Braves hit .281 and posted a 3.23 ERA, while knocking out 48 homers and averaging five runs per game. They looked like a balanced team ready to make a serious playoff push back then, and their 3-1 series win at Dodger Stadium in early August seemed like it might be the series we pointed to and said, “That’s when this Braves team really became a force to be reckoned with.”
 Who could have known that series would be that Aug. 6-9 series would be the Braves’ climax? Right now, it looks that way.
 Because after coming home from California and winning a couple of games against the lowly Nationals, the Braves haven’t been the same since. They’ve been … well, mediocre. Much as they were before that 40-game stretch.
 This is a team that went 34-40 with a .256 batting average and only 56 homers in its first 74 games, scoring just over four runs per game in that stretch and getting shaky performances from the bullpen early on.
 Then they cranked out those 26 wins in their next 40 games, ramping up the power and the runs, getting consistent work from the bullpen, and getting a huge energy boost from Martin Prado (more on him in a moment) after he became a lineup regular on June 30.
 Now look at them.
 They are back to being a .500 team in their last 20 games. Exactly .500, in fact. They are 10-10 with a .269 average and still-solid 3.83 ERA in their past 20 games, and the Braves have been finding ways to lose those close games that they said they could win now, unlike the past few years.
 And they did win them, for a while.
 But suddenly, they look a lot like those Braves teams of the past few years. You know, the ones that missed the playoffs.

 

 ♣ The Prado factor: Fact of the matter is, he’s not been the same since his headache problems began in mid-August. Maybe it’s coincidence, but seems like a helluva coincidence, if that’s the case.
  The sparkplug second baseman/utilityman hit .340 with 13 doubles, five homers, 28 RBI and a .381 OBP and .512 slugging percentage in 38 games from June 30 to Aug. 13.
  In 14 games since then, Prado has hit .240 (12-for-50) with just one extra-base hit, four RBI, a .278 OBP and .300 slugging percentage. He he came out of an Aug. 15 game with headaches, missed most of a week, and has looked nothing like the sparkplug Prado since returning to the lineup.
  Meanwhile, Kelly Johnson’s apparently not done enough in his limited opportunities since returning from the minors to give decision-makers confidence that he could step back into the second-base job and put the team on his back the way he did last September, when the Braves were out of the race.

 ♣ Medlen back to earth: Like perhaps most of you, I was scratching my head a bit last night when Kris Medlen was the first guy up in the bullpen after Tommy Hanson tired last night.
 Medlen, who has struggled in several outings lately, and had give up two runs the night before, the second time on the one-week trip when he allowed two runs making his second of back-to-back appearances.
 The rookie had only gone back-to-back games once before, back in June against the Yankees. He gave up two runs at Philly last week when brought back to pitch in a second game in a row.
 And he gave up two runs and four hits in just two-thirds of an inning on Wednesday in the five-run Marlins sixth inning that turned a 3-2 Braves lead into a loss.
 And now they were calling on him again Thursday? I realize that Peter Moylan and Rafael Soriano were unavailable last night after pitching so much recently, but is the confidence level that low in others in the bullpen that they couldn’t call on, say, Buddy Carlyle, Luis Valdez or someone else to pitch in the sixth with a 3-1 lead last night?
 OK, so maybe it is. And perhaps rightfully so. But if there are only Soriano, Gonzalez, Moylan, Medlen and the lefties that can be called upon to pitch with a 3-1 lead, then by all means, the Braves should move one of their six starters to the bullpen. Now. Yesterday.
 Anyway, the broadcasters sounded surprised when Medlen got up in the ‘pen last night. I know I was.
So Medlen goes in, pitching in three consecutive games for the first time in his major league career, and ends up being charged with four runs (three earned), two hits and a walk while recording one out.
  The kid had nothing last night.
  And it’s a shame that his season is threatening to end on a down note, because for a couple of months he made huge strides.

Last two nights as painful as this for Medlen?

Last two nights as painful as this for Medlen?

  Medlen looked nervous and scared when first called up in May, going 2-3 with a 6.38 ERA and 16 walks in 24 innings during his first six games, including three starts.
  But then he reeled off 18 relief appearances (June 25-Aug. 23) in which he posted a 1.95 ERA while allowing only nine walks with 34 strikeouts in 27-2/3 innings.
  Since then, he’s gone 0-2 with two blown saves, a 10.50 ERA, and a .429 opponents’ average in six appearances, 12 hits and nine runs (seven earned) allowed in six innings. In the past two nights, he’s given up seven hits and six runs while recording three outs and blowing two saves.

 ♣ Heavy workload: No one here even needs to ask why Peter Moylan and Rafael Soriano weren’t available last night, right? Anyway, I’ll remind you.
 Moylan pitched in five of the first six games on the seven-game trip, and in 16 of the Braves’ 26 games from Aug. 5 through Wednesday.
 Soriano pitched in eight of 13 Braves games through Tuesday, and allowed a run in each of his last two appearances in that stretch, while appearing in his second and third consecutive games.
 Seven major league relievers have made 67 or more appearances this season, and three of them are Braves. Moylan leads the majors with 75 (Pedro Feliciano is second with 72). Mike Gonzalez has 68, and Eric O’Flaherty has 67.
 Moylan is on pace for 91 appearances, which would shatter Chris Reitsma’s franchise record of 84 appearances in 2004.

 ♣ Tonight’s matchup: It’s Derek Lowe vs. Cincy’s Bronson Arroyo in the opener of a series at Turner Field, one of many events going on this weekend in downtown Atlanta that promise to cause traffic nightmares for us all. At least it’s not supposed to rain, right? So maybe they’ll actually get to shoot off the fireworks, which have been a hit-or-miss prospect on Friday nights all season due to frequent rain delays (they can shoot off the fireworks after midnight, city ordinance).

Lowe is 4-0 with 1.16 ERA in last four vs. Reds

Lowe is 4-0 with 1.16 ERA in last four vs. Reds

 Lowe is 4-1 in five career starts against the Reds, including 4-0 with a 1.16 ERA and .118 opponents’ average in his past four. Yes, a .118 opponents’ average.
 Don’t know yet if center fielder Nate McLouth’s in lineup, but Arroyo might not be the ideal guy for him to face coming off the DL. McLouth is 2-for-15 with one walk against the righty, albeit with one homer.
 Chipper Jones is 11-for-23 with three homers against Arroyo, and Brian McCann is 4-for-9 with two homers.

 

♦ Etc.
 The Braves still have three of the NL’s top nine averages with runners in scoring position, including major league leader Yunel Escobar (.400, 44-for-110). Chipper Jones (.348) is sixth in the NL and Matt Diaz (.342) is ninth…. It will probably not surprise anyone hear to learn that Greg Norton is 2-for-25 in late-and-close situations…. Talk about bad luck. Tomorrow’s starter, Jair Jurrjens, is 1-2 with a 3.56 ERA in his past seven starts, including five Braves losses. Meanwhile, Lowe is 2-1 with a 5.20 ERA and .377 opponents’ average in his past five starts. The Braves scored four runs or more while Lowe was in four of those five games; they scored two runs or fewer while Jurrjens was in six of his past seven games.

 OK, gotta get through traffic to ballpark. Saw a couple of really good movies this week, District 9 (terrific) and 500 Days of Summer (very good). Loved the series finale of Rescue Me. Also bought a few outstanding CDs, including new ones by Brendan Benson, Jay Reatard, Japandroids (outstanding), Yim Yames (Jim James from My Morning Jacket, covering George Harrison tunes) and Crooked Fingers (strong album, including a great duet with Neko Case).

“EFFECT AND CAUSE” by the White Stripes

I guess you have to have a probelm
If you want to ‘vent a contraption
Well you cause a trainwreck
And then you put me in traction
First came an action
And then a reaction
But you can’t switch around
For your own satisfaction
Well you burnt my house down
And then got mad at my reaction

Well in every complicated situation
There’s a human relation
To make sense of it all
Take a whole lot of concentration
Well you can’t blame her baby
For her pregnant ma
And if there’s one of these unavoidable laws

It’s just that you can’t just take the effect and make it the cause

Well you can’t take the effect
And make it the cause
I didn’t rob a bank
Cause you made up the law
Blame me for robbing peter
Don’t you blame Paul
Can’t take the effect
And make it the cause

I ain’t the reason that you gave me
No reason to return your call
You built a house of cards
And got shocked when you saw them fall
Well I ain’t saying I’m innocent
In fact the reverse
But if your heading to the grave
Don’t blame the hearse
You’re like a little girl yelling at her brother
Cause you lost his ball

You keep blaming me for what you did
And that ain’t all
The way you clean up the wreck
Is enough to give one pause
You seem to forget just how this song started
I’m reacting to you
Cause you left me broken hearted

It’s just that you can’t just take the effect and make it the cause

Well you can’t take the effect
And make it the cause
I didn’t rob a bank
Cause you made up the law
Blame me for robbing peter
Don’t you blame Paul
Can’t take the effect
And make it the cause

 

2,054 comments Add your comment

Fire Norton

September 4th, 2009
2:51 pm

Enough said.

Kelly Johnson Fan Club

September 4th, 2009
2:53 pm

Meanwhile, Kelly Johnson’s not done enough in his limited opportunities since returning from the minors to give anyone confidence that he could step back into the second-base job and put the team on his back the way he did last September, when the Braves were out of the race.

Lies. Kelly Johnson has a .858 OPS since his return from the DL/minors.

Kelly Johnson Fan Club

September 4th, 2009
2:55 pm

BA Hotsheet:

No. 13 JULIO TEHERAN, RHP
BRAVES
Julio TeheranTeam: low Class A Rome (South Atlantic)
Why He’s Here: 0-0, 1.50, 12 IP, 7 H, 2 R, 5 BB, 11 SO
The Scoop: It took him a few starts, but it’s sufficient to say that Teheran has adjusted to the Sally League. On Wednesday, the 6-foot-2, 150-pound righty turned in his best outing since being promoted in early August. Teheran pitched seven no-hit innings, while striking out seven and walking one against Charleston. He gave up 11 runs in his first 17 innings at the level but has given up four in the 17 1/3 innings since. Teheran throws easy gas, sitting 93-95 mph and touching 96. The Colombian also throws a sharp curveball that he has tightened up this year, and a changeup with screwball-like movement. He creates deception, and concern for his long-term health, by having a long arm rotation in the back as part of a herky-jerky delivery. Teheran’s got the stuff to be a front-of-the-rotation starter, but he’s still learning how to pitch.

McFann Ô

September 4th, 2009
2:58 pm

Thanks for the new Blog, Chief.

Thrillhouse44

September 4th, 2009
2:59 pm

Maybe a goofy helmet will fix Prado.

Brett Esterson

September 4th, 2009
2:59 pm

From ESPN’s Stark chat earlier today. We can still do it!!

cary (mason)

What kind of miracle is it going to take for the braves to sneak into the post season?

Jayson Stark (1:18 PM)

I don’t think it would take a miracle at all. But it will take a seriously hot finish. When you’re four out with 28 to play, that doesn’t seem like a miraculous mountain to climb. But when you’re fighting three other teams, it means the Braves probably can’t afford to lose more than six or seven more games the rest of the year. I’m going to say 91 wins will get you a wild-card slot. So the Braves would have to go 21-7 to get there. Not out of the question with their pitching.

bravesgrl4life

September 4th, 2009
3:00 pm

McFann, I understand your frustration with BMac. It’s just disheartening, lil sis. I feel the same way, tho. I got in the car last night after trivia and heard the way it was going and had to turn it off. Hated that.

Mixxo

September 4th, 2009
3:00 pm

Fish Bisch

September 4th, 2009
1:26 pm

We crushed Mixxo’s hopes and dreams of a playoff season. Hooray!

Don’t gloat. You guys aren’t going anywhere either. Trust me on this.

bravesgrl4life

September 4th, 2009
3:01 pm

And, DOB, didn’t you mean they can’t shoot off fireworks after midnight in Atlanta?

Thats Fire

September 4th, 2009
3:03 pm

hey DOB, look at this greg norton is so bad topic on the atlanta braves message boards,
i promise you’ll piss yourself laughing, i know i did

RHR

September 4th, 2009
3:04 pm

he could step back into the second-base job and put the team on his back the way he did last September, when the Braves were out of the race.

If you’re out of the race is it still considered putting the team on your back? And if so, where are you headed with that team on your back when you’re out of the race? To the offseason? Why not just give your back a rest? You’ll get there at the same speed, team on your back or not.

:D

Thats Fire

September 4th, 2009
3:04 pm

TnBrian

September 4th, 2009
3:04 pm

Prado hasn’t been the same since coming back but I don’t remember him continually making decisions from the dugout that ultimately cost us two games in a row. Stink butt Cox is being a stubborn jackass. Ok, that’s my last anti Slobby comment, getting tired of it.

Scott from Fairburn

September 4th, 2009
3:10 pm

DOB, thanks for highlighting the bullpen abuse. Reasonable people understand the line you have to walk to cover the team, get information, and write. Boog and Joe, made several comments about the issue the other evening.

Bobby has not done a good job this year of managing the bullpen this year (some would say ever). We cannot afford to run the A-game package out there nightly … we need a B-reliever package. It’s unreasonable to think the Boone Logans, Kris Medlins, and the Manny Acostas of the world can be sharp when they have as many as 13 days between appearances.

For everyone on the ‘run Greg Norton’ out-of-town train, Carol noted that only a handful of his at bats this year were as a starter. He was an effective pinch-hitter last year because he stayed sharp by logging innings at first base and in the outfield. It’s hard for me to believe that Coxie couldn’t find some innings for him this year.

He’s managing like a man who is out of time …

RHR

September 4th, 2009
3:12 pm

Hey, it’s not so hot and humid today, maybe we can get a solid 4 out of Lowe before he sweats himself to the point of severe dehydration. I like our chances! Go Braves!

RCinATL

September 4th, 2009
3:14 pm

The reason Medlen was up again last night is the same reason that Greg Norton usually is the first up when the game is on the line. BOBBY COX. He does not manage a bullpen well to begin with, and that, coupled with his toxic loyalty to all of his players, is what costs the Braves most of the time. The time has never been more right for this man to go.

Shamus Thacker

September 4th, 2009
3:15 pm

Thrillhouse44: Maybe a goofy helmet will fix Prado.”"

If that’s the case, it would take a hollowed-out-watermelon helmet to fix Norton.

RCinATL

September 4th, 2009
3:15 pm

Again, I lament, I would love to work for a man who does not hold you accountable for failure. Great ‘players manager.’ ‘Bout time for a ’season ticket holders manager.’

McFann Ô

September 4th, 2009
3:16 pm

Keylargo

I hear (read) ya. Course, when BMac was 22 (in ‘06), he had that collision with Eric Byrnes and got that sprained ankle that eventually put him on the DL and hampered him for the rest of the year and even through 2007. He actually has a bone spur in that ankle, but it obviously hasn’t caused any major problems since ‘07.

But I cann totally see where you’re coming from. Forgive me for not getting too deep in to this at the moment…

bravesgrl4life

It is disheartening. And I really appreciate it if he and the Braves just pounded the Reds this weekend…

Yeah, last night was bad…real bad…

McFann Ô

September 4th, 2009
3:17 pm

bravesgrl4life

Meant to add, “Thank you for understanding me.”

atlbravesfan44

September 4th, 2009
3:18 pm

DOB,
Jack White fan? Have you heard any of the new “Horehound” album by The Dead Weather. Definitely my favorite Jack White project. “Treat Me Like Your Mother” and “Cut Like a Buffalo” are my favorite tracks.

atlbravesfan44

September 4th, 2009
3:20 pm

Done

September 4th, 2009
3:21 pm

It woud have been nice to see a picture of a tombstone with following description “Here lies our playoff hopes for 2009″ on the front page of the sports section this morning. That type of message drew a response in Houston a few years back. That’s the kind of thing good newspapers do…they get attention and provide a voice for their readers. This country thrives on checks and balances…in politics…and even in the management of a sports franchise. You see this in the big markets like New York and Chicago, where managers and players are held accountable. If only the fans of Atlanta had such a voice. Instead in Atlanta the milionaires are coddled in a secure blanket of apathy where boat-rocking and name-naming are as rare as our world championship banners.

dcp

September 4th, 2009
3:24 pm

The Braves are doing themselves no favors…another wasted week in neutral going 3 and 4. They need sweeps now – not enough time to think 2 of 3 will get it done. We need to face the facts that this time is what it is – a few games over .500 and nothing more. It’s September – that’s more than enough time to have gotten the act together. I don’t see another run in them – last night was a joke running Medlen out there 3 games in a row after he looked terrible the night before. Seriously, for all this great starting pitching, why is the bullpen so worn out? I know, I saw the stats on the relievers games pitched – I get that. But do the Braves only have 3 relief pitchers that can compete – do they need 3 left handers, regardless of how many times they face the Phillies and their lefty lineup – has that helped thme over the season, certainly did not last night. With no more head to heads against the leaders, it will be too hard. Even if the Giants and Rockies battle each other and the Dodgers, the Braves still have FL and the Phillies, and STL as part of their stretch run – they may win those series, but at best go 6-3 if lucky; more likely to go 4 and 5, and then you need sweeps over NY and WAS. Houston is not terrible and CIN will likely win one this weekend. The Giants have 6 with AZ, 6 with SD, 6 with LA, and 3 with Col, with Mil and CHC in there. I cannot see the Braves making it. I know it is very much alive mathematically, but being realistic – these guys are what they are – they are showing signs of fatigue and not consistent enough, especially against big teams..the LA series was the last big moment – since then it’s been sideways.

TnBrian

September 4th, 2009
3:24 pm

RcinATL, no way Cox goes anywhere unless he decides he’s ready. See, in Atlanta, apparantly, it takes a 1000 angry voices compared to 1 angry NY/LA/Chi voice to be heard. It is what it is and fans are just going to have to live with the man.

Nova Scotia Steve - Is Worried

September 4th, 2009
3:24 pm

Very Worried

ncscoots

September 4th, 2009
3:25 pm

Actually, Prado hasn’t been the same since the last week of July. He had that monster 15-hit week in the middle of the month, and understandably starting tailing off. It just hasn’t stopped yet, is all.

Ron Gant

September 4th, 2009
3:25 pm

I dunno if this is gunna work out playas’

DAP

September 4th, 2009
3:25 pm

hats fire, i checked out that greg norton thread. that is hilarious. i hope norton doesnt read this blog, but a few of my favs:

Greg Norton is so bad, when he’s batting the catcher throws down the sign for “whatever.”

Greg Norton’s so bad… he swings at pick off attempts.

Greg Norton is so bad, the back of his baseball card says “hahahahahahahaha!”

Greg Norton is so bad that he thinks Chipper has been putting up some really good numbers lately.

Greg Norton is so bad that AAA said we’ll take Brooks Conrad, you can keep Greg Norton.

Greg Norton is so bad, when he looks into the dugout for the sign, Chino shoots him a bird.

Greg Norton’s so bad… he can’t even get to first base with his wife

Nova Scotia Steve - Is Worried

September 4th, 2009
3:26 pm

I said the same thing about Medlen.

And its not like the guy was actually gettin the Marlins out.

He was foolin anyone – for three days in a row -

d-rock

September 4th, 2009
3:27 pm

comparing the checks-and-balances of the Federal Constitution with the coverage of a baseball club is simply bat-crap-crazy. The AJC does not run the baseball team. They report, quite well in my opinion, on the minutiae of this sometimes-frustrating team.

The braves still have a shot at the playoffs, but I really like their outlook for next year. You can’t blame the local paper because they aren’t as critical as you think they should be. DOB can’t pinch-hit.

Bob in SF

September 4th, 2009
3:28 pm

A late season slump can’t be a surprise; the bullpen has been abused like a cheap rental car by Cox (as usual) with two of its most important members coming off arm surgery. Also when the second best hitter on the team is the catcher who inevitably is going to wear down in the dog days of August as the innings behind the plate and accompanying dings and nicks add up, the offense took a hit as well. I don’t think I can add anything to massive stink of FAIL that is pouring of off Norton as he plods towards the end of his career. Bobby is notorious for falling in love with battle scarred vets and running them out there long past when their usefulness has passed; Keith Lockhart comes to mind.

Roman Gal

September 4th, 2009
3:29 pm

DOB-

You forgot to mention that today is Jordan Schafer’s birthday. What kind of news could possibly be more important than that?

monty

September 4th, 2009
3:32 pm

I say…

McLouth or Diaz
Prado
McCAnn
LAroche
Escobar
Anderson
Chipper(hurting team in the 3 hole)
Diaz or CHurch

Greg Cote

September 4th, 2009
3:33 pm

Dave O’B: Small world. Me a huge Brendan Benson fan. Good friends with his dad down here. In fact I started a Twitter site called Brendan_News. Gary Stevens, though — probably NOT such a big Brendan Benson fab. See you in the playoffs. –Greg Cote, Miami Herald

Oh Boy! Oh Boy! Oh Boy!

September 4th, 2009
3:35 pm

RHR,

“If you’re out of the race is it still considered putting the team on your back? And if so, where are you headed with that team on your back when you’re out of the race? To the offseason? Why not just give your back a rest? You’ll get there at the same speed, team on your back or not.”

And to take it a step further, many more players are capable of putting a team on their back when there is no pressure as opposed to the few who are putting a team on their back when they actually are playing for something meaningful. KJ not a “team on his back in the clutch” kind of guy.

Roman Gal

September 4th, 2009
3:35 pm

What kind of news could possibly be more important than that?

Ok, maybe the BBQ stuff. I’ll give you that since we all need sustenance to survive…

NO MORE BOBBY

September 4th, 2009
3:36 pm

2010!!! 2010!!! 2010!!!

Nova Scotia Steve - Is Worried

September 4th, 2009
3:37 pm

We lose tonight…compared with a Rockies/San Fran win…Its over.

We won’t be making up any 5 game deficits…Another critical series (ho-hum). That I believe we need to sweep.

And I know the MIB blogs position on needing to sweep anyone (we got real far with that call against the Padres).

But yeah….We NEED a sweep.

Done

September 4th, 2009
3:37 pm

I’ve always wondered what an empirical long-term study grounded in hard data would reflect on the following question: just how much of a difference do managers have on the impact of individual games and seasons? How often do their moves or non-moves work? Has anyone come across any articles to that effect?

Done

September 4th, 2009
3:39 pm

One cannot call for Cox’s removal without some thought on his replacement. Surely his replacement will be someone that had once been under his tutelage. TP? I wonder where Ned Yost is these days?

ChipperFan

September 4th, 2009
3:42 pm

Definitely gettin’ late early. No question about it: Braves don’t make the playoffs this year. We’d have to pretty much win out the rest of the season to make the WC now, as the losses have really piled up. It’s a shame, because Wren did a lot of things that put us in a position to possibly pull off the WC, and we’ve come up short in every big series since that Dodgers series.

‘09 has been absolutely maddening as a Braves fan. Speaking for myself only.

BossLady

September 4th, 2009
3:43 pm

Don’t even start talking about TP replacing Bobby Cox. That would be the worst possible move in baseball. I would say that given the managers out there, Cox would be best.

Oh Boy! Oh Boy! Oh Boy!

September 4th, 2009
3:43 pm

Done,
“One cannot call for Cox’s removal without some thought on his replacement. Surely his replacement will be someone that had once been under his tutelage. TP? I wonder where Ned Yost is these days?”

It’s not that hard, Done. Virtually any guy with managing experience at the A ball level could handle this team better than the comatose Cox has the last few years! It’s simple ABC baseball Anybody But Cox!

Daslied

September 4th, 2009
3:46 pm

Second the Yim Yames album – fantastic stuff!

Frank Wren

September 4th, 2009
3:46 pm

RcinATL, no way Cox goes anywhere unless he decides he’s ready. See, in Atlanta, apparantly, it takes a 1000 angry voices compared to 1 angry NY/LA/Chi voice to be heard. It is what it is and fans are just going to have to live with the man.

Actually most fans in ATL support Cox. As do I . The problem is the baseball IQ on this blog is not very high.

I blame ‘91 for most of this. Alot of new fans were created that year. People who who had never heard the word baseball before were all of a sudden swept up in ‘91 and following the braves.

Some of these fans have stuck around and the problem is they really dont know the game at all.

Bobby Cox is one of the most respected and well liked managers in the game. His players current and former universally praise him.

Yet some Braves (cough) fans will nitpick every little move he makes. Needless to say Bobby knows the team and what it takes to build a winner more than everyone on this blog combined.

ncscoots

September 4th, 2009
3:46 pm

empirical long-term study [on] how much of a difference do managers have on the impact of individual games and seasons?

Such studies have been done, though I can’t quote you a link to any of them, and the discussion has been made here before. I’m sure someone on here can post the research for you, but, here’s a hint: managers do not affect win-loss nearly as much as bloggers like to think, LOL.

Replace the Blog Posters

September 4th, 2009
3:47 pm

Signed,

Greg Norton and Bobby Cox

Thrillhouse44

September 4th, 2009
3:47 pm

“It’s gotten late in a hurry” ~ a phrase that makes every single man’s heart drop.

Anders

September 4th, 2009
3:49 pm

I think honestly I could umpire. All I’d have to do is say ‘ball,’ and one down the middle I’d call a strike.” (Bobby Cox rant last night)

You know what’s ironic about this? Cox is basically accusing the umps of the same type of behavior that many on here are accusing him of. Need a pinch hitter, use Norton. Need a relief pitcher, use Medlen. No deviation based on game situation or results.

Nova Scotia Steve - Is Worried

September 4th, 2009
3:49 pm

RE: We won’t be making up any 5 game deficits…Another critical series (ho-hum). That I believe we need to sweep.

Or if we don’t sweep…can’t afford to lose any more ground i guess is what I’m tryin to say.

Einstein

September 4th, 2009
3:50 pm

Thanks DOB…your usual good job. Three questions: 1. Why does Bobby tend to burn-out our bullpen? 2. Is Bobby more concerned with adding to his record of “being thrown out” of games (particularly arguing balls/strikes) than actually managing the game? 3. Do the Braves not have any other warm body that should be brought in to pinch hit than Greg “Mr. .128″ Norton? I want us to win; however, it sure appears that the game has passed Bobby by, and he’s probably too stubborn to admit it…a shame for a HOF manager.

Oh Boy! Oh Boy! Oh Boy!

September 4th, 2009
3:52 pm

Done

September 4th, 2009
3:37 pm
“I’ve always wondered what an empirical long-term study grounded in hard data would reflect on the following question: just how much of a difference do managers have on the impact of individual games and seasons? How often do their moves or non-moves work? Has anyone come across any articles to that effect?”

It’s easier for a manager to actually contribute to losing a game than it is winning a game. So in essence, a “manager” does just that. He manages. Managing the talent he has to “not lose” is very important. Sending David Ross, Kelly Johnson, Omar Infante, Brooks Conrad or any number of players up to pinch hit with the tying run on third is a crap shoot. The manager is not really affecting the game in a negative manner. Sending Norton up to pinch hit with the tying run on third when he has failed over and over and over and over and over is nuts! The manager is contributing to NOT WINNING the game in that circumstance.

Medlin into the game last night under the circumstance was another no brainer…..at least a no brainer for anyone who has a brain! Only Bobby would have stuck him out there last night and the results were predictable.

So yeah…. a manager who is making indefensible moves that cost the team a chance to win games is a real issue.

curtis jones

September 4th, 2009
3:54 pm

As Jeff Foxworthy might say: If you just LOVE 3rd-4th place finishes year after year…you might be a Bobby Cox fan!

Done

September 4th, 2009
3:54 pm

ncscoots – I’m sure you are right. At the end of the day hitters have to hit and pitchers have to execute good pitches. This board is a venue for frustration. We don’t see what goes on in the dugout, we don’t know exactly what Bobby was thinking. That said, I think most of us knew Medlen was meat and most of us probably would have walked to set up some possible double plays over the past few days in a couple of key situations when that move wasn’t made. I’d like to see that data on game impact matched to win-loss records…results would probably be ambiguous. Maybe a post-Cox world would include that crazy guy who used the rosin bag as a grenade? That is about how I felt watching the strike zone last night.

ncscoots

September 4th, 2009
3:54 pm

Anders, who taught you the definition of the word “analogy”? I believe they might have misspoken, at the time, because your attempted use at 3:49 missed the mark by, oh, that much.

Lew

September 4th, 2009
3:55 pm

Cox will not be replaced and Chipper will not be batting seventh, either.

Stat Boy

September 4th, 2009
3:56 pm

After Soriano’s 61 appearances, who is the next most frequent used pitcher out of the bullpen?

Jeff Bennett with 33

The braves have 4 pitchers with atleast 60 appearances out of the bullpen. The angels have?

0

Frank Wren

September 4th, 2009
3:56 pm

RE: We won’t be making up any 5 game deficits…

Good thing too seeing how we are 4 games back

Nova Scotia Steve - Is Worried

September 4th, 2009
3:57 pm

Lew – Way to set the record straight!

Let’s sign Greg Norton to a multi-year deal while we’re at it!!!

Lew

September 4th, 2009
3:57 pm

Yes, the game must have passed Bobby by because it is played so differently than it was 20 years ago. Right. Whatever.

richbrave

September 4th, 2009
3:58 pm

DOB:

I think the significance of your comment about KJ’s September 2008 back totin’ abilities “…when the BRAVES were out of the race” is well taken. Nothing wrong with the young man that a devil-may-care attitude couldn’t fix. Not that he will adopt one.

I hate to turn my back on this season, but things are getting desperate. If you can’t take three out of four from the “floundering” fish there’s not much hope that BOTH COLORADO and SAN FRANCISCO are going to sink to your level of play.

KRUK’s assessment of BRAVES probabilities of success was undoubtedly the straw that broke the camel’s back. How could we hope to make the WC with him backing our hopes? I mean…..

So it’s probably time to move the BBQ venue upward in the order of things in ATLANTA. And college football still reigns supreme this fall in BRAVOS-ville for the fourth time in a row. And some smooth tunes to soothe the savage beast within the frustrated BRAVES fan. Better days are ahead.

Nova Scotia Steve - Is Worried

September 4th, 2009
3:58 pm

Frank Wren – I guess you know what I’m trying to say…If we fall five games back in the loss column etc etc.

dcp

September 4th, 2009
3:58 pm

Oh Boy

There actually was a study done last year – wish I knew where it was, that analyzed how many games a manager was worth to each team in baseball and I am almost sure that the best manager was “worth 4 extra wins” per year”. I’ll see if i can find it. Sadly I thought it said Cox and LaRussa were at the higher end and people like Charlie Manuel/Terry Francona were on the low end.

King Bobby

September 4th, 2009
4:01 pm

I say when I go and that’s the end of it!

I won a World Series Championship and 14 division titles!

Tom Glavine contributed, but he got old and lost it.

Maddux contributed, but he got old and lost it.

Smoltz contributed, but he got old and lost it.

What do we do when guys who perform at a high level lose it? We ship their azzes off! We don’t keep those high priced old timers here!

Good thing I’m still as sharp as I ever was! My performance hasn’t slipped one bit! They won’t ever ship me off because my record is as good as it ever was! (well…… maybe not)

ncscoots

September 4th, 2009
4:01 pm

Done, baseball delivers bad results for good decisions (and vice versa) almost as a matter of course, LOL. Nature of the game. Determining what might have happened had a manager chosen another option for any tactical decision would require some confidence in that other option producing a specific result, and that does not exist, I’m afraid.

Toe Tag

September 4th, 2009
4:02 pm

attach me to the braves ‘09 season

Jonas

September 4th, 2009
4:02 pm

DOB….Set your DVR on Tuesday Sept8 At 10Pm
” SON OF ANARCHY” SECOND SESON PREMIER…

Lew

September 4th, 2009
4:02 pm

Nova Scotia Steve-Dude if you haven’t figured out by now that whatever we post on this blog does nothing but relieve (or add to ) your frustrations because it’s a venting venue, and not a deal changer, then I really don’t know what to say to you.

Bobby is not being replaced and Chipper will not be moved to the 7th spot in the order. It just won’t happen. Rant, rave, piss and wail, bitch, moan and groan to your heart’s content or until you sopund like a radical madman. Write letters to Frank Wren. Send Bobby hate mail. Nothing will change except your bneed for blood pressure medication.

Donny Corleone

September 4th, 2009
4:04 pm

I’m so depressed that I’m puttin out a contract on myself.

Thrillhouse44

September 4th, 2009
4:05 pm

Lew, I think you crushed a few people’s dreams with that post. Sometimes it’s tough for people to face reality.

If only Conrad hadn’t been sent down…(I kid)

Frank Wren

September 4th, 2009
4:06 pm

As Jeff Foxworthy might say: If you just LOVE 3rd-4th place finishes year after year…you might be a Bobby Cox fan!

Forgetting the 14 straight years he finished first.

And the fact that

BOBBY COX TOOK THE WORST FRANCHISE IN PRO SPORTS AND TURNED THEM INTO AN ANNUAL WINNER. THE BRAVES WERE A LAUGHING STOCK IN THE 80’s AND COX SLOWLY DRAFTED WELL AND TURNED THE WHOLE ORGANIZATION AROUND.

King Bobby Rhetorical

September 4th, 2009
4:06 pm

Funny how some of the same people who wouldn’t accept keeping a Glavine, Maddux or Smoltz because they were losing it are the same folks who accept Bobby’s failing skills as an aging manager whose mind isn’t exactly a steel trap.

gayle

September 4th, 2009
4:07 pm

Hey Frank – Since when does respect by players and peers trump championships? If the players or fans want a friend, let them get a dog (as Harry Truman once said). Once more, the mettle and worth of a manager is measured not by the names on his Christmas card list (I’m sure BC has many), but in the number of rings he brings to the team,

Cox has brought one – only one. With three HOF’ers in his rotation, he has brought only one. The problem is there are so many enablers and apologists like you in Atlanta who point to how close and how many tough breaks the team has had and how many injuries, etc. – always passing the buck beyond this relic in the digout.

I’ve said this all year (and thank you DOB for mentioning me among the cynics) that this is a .500 team that will never get over the hump until they clean all the dead weight out of the dugout. The moves of dumping Smoltz and Glavine have proven to be correct. They should have done it for Chipper as well – how many more errors and hitting slumps are $14 mil/year players supposed to have? He’s not going to get better, he is just going to continue to get older.

And please, stop with the critical must-win games. There have been so many of those and like Cox teams usually do, they lose when they must win.

So Braves fans, once more I ask for you to please pass the fork so I can stick it into the 2009 Braves and hope that the fat will be cut in the off-season and we can truly have a chance of winning with this great nucleus of young players next year and beyond.

Done

September 4th, 2009
4:07 pm

Well, Bobby or no Bobby, I doubt we’ll see Norton back next year. Our playoff hopes for 2010 will hinge upon continued above-average starting pitching and among other things…the ability of a sharp young kid from McDonough to adjust to major league pitching very quickly.

dcp

September 4th, 2009
4:08 pm

Lew – they ought to consider a change in the lineup – go Diaz/McLouth #1, Prado #2, with Escobar as #3, LaRoche #4, McCann #5, and Jones #6. I agree it will not happen, but the Phillies dropped Ibanez to 6 when he slumped badly. Chipper is not the player he was. We agree none of our opnions matter, but would love to see the move.

O'Brien

September 4th, 2009
4:08 pm

The Phillies have won 2 division titles the last 2 years. But they’ve won 1 World Series.

The Marlins have more world series championships than the Atl Braves, and how many years have they been around? What’s their payroll?

With 14 division titles, the Braves only won one World Series. The only constant has been Bobby Cox and Chipper Jones.

The Braves are good for 162 games, but when its a best of 5, best of 7, either certain players dont step up, or the manager is not making the right moves…

A change is needed.

Nova Scotia Steve - Is Worried

September 4th, 2009
4:09 pm

Rant, rave, piss and wail, bitch, moan and groan to your heart’s content or until you sopund like a radical madman.

RE: Paul Lentz?

Einstein

September 4th, 2009
4:10 pm

Bobby…Bobby Cox! Quit using “Lew” as your posting name and get your players ready for tonight’s game. PS, I think Medlen’s had plenty of rest and is ready to go. And, Greg Norton’s all set for either a game winning hit or a rally killing strike out…do you feel lucky tonight?

King Bobby Rhetorical

September 4th, 2009
4:11 pm

Frank Wren,

“BOBBY COX TOOK THE WORST FRANCHISE IN PRO SPORTS AND TURNED THEM INTO AN ANNUAL WINNER. THE BRAVES WERE A LAUGHING STOCK IN THE 80’s AND COX SLOWLY DRAFTED WELL AND TURNED THE WHOLE ORGANIZATION AROUND.”

Well Gee Frank, maybe we could let Bobby have your job again and get his butt out of the dugout.

jackets77

September 4th, 2009
4:11 pm

Bobby’s in his office right now thinking….tonight’s the night Nort gets going….

TnBrian

September 4th, 2009
4:12 pm

Frank Wren, pardon me, but if we were “nitpicking” at what we believe to be a bad move by Cox… well, it’s just impossible. We, at least I am, pointing out his moves that make us LOSE ballgames. Ones that are so obvious to a blind dog. Those are the ones I nitpick at. Sorry, but the team needing a new manager is an understatement.

Lew

September 4th, 2009
4:12 pm

Thrillhouse-That’s me, Ole Dream Crusher Lew. Sometimes I swear that if all the energy that was put into ranting about Bobby Cox, Greg Norton, overused bullpens and whatever the gripe of the day is (My all-time favorite was the one where for three days, an out of the strike zone pitch that Yunel hit into the stands was debated ad nauseum-because it was a bad pitch), enough man (woman) power would have been expended to bring a civic project (something like stadium building) to fruition.

Funny,how in the midst of all the griping about things we are powerless to change, no one has thought to mention the Braves have already improved by 12 games over last season’s performance.

Frank Wren

September 4th, 2009
4:13 pm

Yeah Bobby told Lonnie Smith to stop running in ‘91

And he told Wohlers to hang a slider in ‘96

Thats two more right there.

Lew

September 4th, 2009
4:14 pm

dcp-First of all, YOU think that’s what they should do. They won’t. Maybe if they made YOU the manager?

Thrillhouse44

September 4th, 2009
4:14 pm

gayle, you and the other self-proclaimed cynics sound the way Tennessee Volunteer fans sounded when they called for “Fat Phil” to be fired. Once he was out, they then realized they had a bigger problem – who now? They exchanged one imperfect coach for another one. Thing is, the new coach doesn’t exactly have the resume fat, stupid Phil did. So, gayle, you seem to have the answer to “what’s wrong”, so why don’t you answer “who would be better”? Sounds like a simple question, but I think you’ll find it difficult if you’re honest with yourself.

ncscoots

September 4th, 2009
4:15 pm

I doubt Cox has become the drooling nutcase some here think, LOL, but I do think he was better served when he had folks such as Jimy Williams and Pat Corrales around him, a brain trust that had previous managerial experience. That isn’t to say that coaches without that on the resume are bums (Snitker is well-regarded by baseball folks; not bloggers, necessarily, LOL), but I’d think that input from other guys who have had to sit in the decision chair would have more value to a guy like Bobby.

And, of course, I’m never in the dugout, so I could be 180 from the reality, LOL.

monty

September 4th, 2009
4:17 pm

It’s not a matter of knowing the results when you try something different, there’s a chance something will or will not work out. I believe what so many on here, myself included, and DOB and Ms. Rogers(if you can read between the lines) are frustrated with is BC making repeated managerial moves that have a very high probability of not working out. i.e. using Norton repeatedly or pitching a guy 3 days in a row especially after he didn’t pitch well the night before. It’s the seemingly “no brainer” type stuff that makes one question BC’s judgment.

David O'Brien

September 4th, 2009
4:18 pm

No McLouth in lineup

LINEUP
1. Diaz
2. Prado
3. Chipper
4. McCann
5. LaRoche
6. Escobar
7. Church, CF
8. Infante, LF
9. Lowe

Thrillhouse44

September 4th, 2009
4:19 pm

no one has thought to mention the Braves have already improved by 12 games over last season’s performance. Lew

Now what fun would it be to actually look at the big picture? No, it’s a lot better to ignore facts and dump on one of the best managers around. Cox also had nothing to do with Vazquez’s turn around. In fact, had he stayed out of the way, Javy would probably have a 2.00 ERA.

TnBrian

September 4th, 2009
4:19 pm

Speaking of having won one WS… all a man has to do is watch a MLB playoff series to realize that a manager must be a bit more strategic at times during these short series. Have to be a little more open minded and take a risk, you know? Well, if I’m correct then that might just explain why Mr.Stubborn in the dugout took the Braves to only one WS championship.

monty

September 4th, 2009
4:20 pm

Einstein

Your 4:10 LOL!

King Bobby Rhetorical

September 4th, 2009
4:20 pm

Frank Wren

September 4th, 2009
4:13 pm
“Yeah Bobby told Lonnie Smith to stop running in ‘91

And he told Wohlers to hang a slider in ‘96

Thats two more right there.”

Two key dates: ‘91 and ‘96

Eighteen years ago and thirteen years ago!

That’s the problem! Bobby is living off his performance from 18 years ago and 13 years ago! He’s living off of Glavine, Smoltz, Maddux, Justice, Mcgriff, and countless other players!

Those guys got old. Their skills deteriorated. Most of them retired! Bobby is old. His skills are gone. He needs to retire as well!

slippy r

September 4th, 2009
4:22 pm

DOB i think you said about 3 weeks ago:
“They are playing just good enough baseball to break your heart”
i guess that’s an old baseball cliche actually, but so true. Though i think we’ve only lost one of our “must-win” series this season (those losses to the pads) we sure are making things hard on ourselves by not winning the important ones, that, if we won, we wouldn’t force ourselves to have so many “must-win” situations….if that makes sense

monty

September 4th, 2009
4:22 pm

“12 games better than last year”

what coach wouldn’t be with Lowe,JV,Hanson, and KK? You need a better argument than that!

Macon Braves (RIP)

September 4th, 2009
4:23 pm

From BaseballAmerica.com Prospects Hot Sheet:

As a polished college junior pitching in the South Atlantic League, it’s not shocking that Braves’ first-round pick Mike Minor is having success. But the 21-year-old lefty’s dominance at Rome is noteworthy especially since he was coming off of a two-month layoff. Minor allowed one run in nine innings this week while striking out 13. He’s now struck out 17 batters, while walking no one in 14 innings

Guess the Braves scouting and draft guys aren’t as dumb as so many on here said they are back during the draft.

Lew

September 4th, 2009
4:25 pm

NS Steve-Yeah, he’s one of the main piss and moaners, for sure.

Look-I don’t always agree with Bobby’s bullpen moves. I wouldn’t have pitched Gonzo or Soriano in blowouts and I wouldn’t use either of them three or more consecutive days unless absolutely necessary. BUT-I’m not a ML manager, or GM (know one, though and met a couple more) and never will be. Maybe there’s something behind the scenes I’m not privy to that affected the situation. I probably would have released Norton and kept Conrad up earlier in the season, too (though I really felt the hue and cry over Brooksie being sent down was somewhat absurd in it’s vehemence and much ado about not much of anything).

But in the long run, the call isn’t ours. Fans don’t run the show. If you don’t like the product the Braves are putting on the field, the only real form of protest is not to spend your money on them-in any form at all (though I would never advocate this). Everything else is meaningless and does nothing to change the situation.

To me, being the fan of any team is an exercise in supporting them through whatever chances to happen. Only being a fan when they win is just not acceptable. Sometimes they win-other times they don’t. That’s baseball. But believe me-the 14 straight titles are the aberration-NOT the fact we may not see the playoffs for four straight years. Maybe that’s why it’s not been done by anyone else-EVER-not even the legendary Yankees or The Big Red Machine.

dcp

September 4th, 2009
4:25 pm

Lew – I don’t care…it’s an opinion, something we all have a right to…when things don’t work in business, no one asks the audience so to speak, either, so this is all gamesmanship. I don’t expect any changes or to be consulted by the Braves. It is obvious that things are not as good as they could be. At some point, Cox will have to step down – he will never be fired – that’s life, but people here have legitimate arguments for errors in judgment on his part. He deserves his credit for winning the division all those years, but now it’s 3 in a row with no playoffs and looking like 4. Baseball is a business, whether you like it or not, and when you are not reaching the goal, you need to consider changes. He’s more concerned with standing by the microphone and shouting “c’mon kid or c’mon whoever is up” so we all can hear what a great player’s manager he is. Enough.

gayle

September 4th, 2009
4:26 pm

Hey Thrill……………. Who is “Fat Phil” and what is a Volunteer? The only volunteers we have here in the northwest are people working at polling places and giving blood.

As to your question, if you are suggesting that Cox’s longevity be a function of finding an adequate replacement, how do you know unless you try? But when you consider, as some have here today, that the only consistent among the hallowed “championship” run is Cox and Chipper and the fact that the Braves consisently fail in the post season, the situation seems ripe for change.

As for replacements, I would only point to those who have left this team to work elsewhere, most notably Fredi Gonzalez of the Marlins. But I am not a General Manager or owner and I can only hope that people like Frank Wren or Terry McGuirk (Liberty’s b-boy of the Braves) have the access and wherewithall to put the team in the best possible manner to contend in the future.

As long as Bobby stays, be prepared for continued underperforming, wearing out of arms and loyalty and favoratism that contradicts a winning team. It amazes me how the people of Atlanta can be content with such a mediocre team.

Loaf on a blackberry smokin some good sh@! next to Arroyo playing his guitar

September 4th, 2009
4:28 pm

y’all some crazy MoFo’s!!

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