NL East looks like a beast, but Braves still like chances

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – The National League East has become a beast, and many experts are picking the Braves to finish no better than third or fourth in the division in 2012.

But while acknowledging bold offseason moves by the up-and-coming Washington Nationals and stadium revenue-boosted Miami Marlins, Braves players say their own team is capable of holding off the upstarts and nouveau riche and making another run at the Philadephia Phillies.

“That’s what you play this sport for, to have competition, to have a challenge,” Braves left fielder Martin Prado said. “This is what we’re looking for. This is the kind of season where either you put all your money in, or you’re out. So I’m putting all in.”

After the Braves lost 20 of their final 30 games in 2011 and were eliminated from the wild-card race on the final day of the season, general manager Frank Wren rolled the dice by not making any major additions and putting faith in the Braves’ ability to play as they did before the collapse.

On August 25, the Braves had the fourth-best record in the majors (79-53) and a 9-1/2-game wild-card lead over San Francisco (St. Louis was third, 10-1/2 games back).

“Like I’ve said from the get-go, I think it’s been good that Frank didn’t make any moves,” Braves pitcher Kris Medlen said, “because I thought we had a top-five team in major league baseball last year. We had some injuries and whatever else, a slump with pitching and hitting. I know our offense gets blamed a lot but our ERA was like a 5-something [in September].

“It was a whole team thing, but I think injuries had a lot to do with it.”

While the Braves stood pat, the Nationals — after finishing 8-1/2 games behind second-place Atlanta — added pitchers Gio Gonzalez and Edwin Jackson to form a formidable rotation with returners Jordan Zimmerman and now-healthy Stephen Strasburg. They added Brad Lidge to a bullpen that already had some overpowering arms.

Meanwhile the Marlins, who finished 17 games behind the Braves, spent lavishly on shortstop/leadoff man Jose Reyes, closer Heath Bell and durable veteran starter Mark Buehrle. They also traded for former Cubs starter Carlos Zambrano, who slimmed down and has looked like a potential star again this spring.

“Everybody got better,” Braves veteran Eric Hinske said. “And everybody thinks the Mets aren’t going to be good, but I disagree. I think the Mets are going to be very competitive. We’re going to have our hands full everywhere we go in the division.”

Braves right fielder Jason Heyward: “Man, it’s going to be a lot of fun. It’s going to be tough for one team to pull ahead and be up so many games unless something happens, injuries or what have you. But I think it’s going to be a tight-knit division. When we play each other we’re going to beat each other up, then when we play other teams it’s going to set us up to have a lot better odds going against other divisions.”

The Phillies added closer Jonathan Papelbon but will be without first baseman Ryan Howard (Achilles surgery) for at least a month and second baseman Chase Utley (knee) for perhaps much longer. There’s no timetable for Utley’s return.

The five-time defending East champions still have a stalwart rotation led by Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels.

“They’ll always be in it with that pitching they have – always,” Hinske said. “They’ve been winning for the last however many years. Until someone takes them down, they’re the ones to beat.”

Medlen agreed: “The last few years they’ve won by multiple games – it hasn’t really been close. Obviously they have strength on their team with some veteran guys. They’ve got Papelbon in the back that’s going to help their ‘pen. [Jim] Thome’s there…. They’re going to be strong again.”

But despite payroll constraints, the Braves believe they can compete with anyone in the division.

“Absolutely,” Braves pitcher Brandon Beachy said. “On paper they [Nationals and Marlins] both improved their lineups. But again, that’s on paper. You never know how it’s going to play out. None of that really affects what we’re doing here and we’re still just as confident in what we can do as we were before they made those moves.”

The Braves got off to a dreadful start in spring training, winning just one of their first 12 games before they began playing better. Not that players or coaches care about Grapefruit League records the way some fans do, but the Braves were encouraged by how things began clicking as they went 7-4 with two ties in their past 13 games.

They have a week left in Florida before breaking camp and heading north for an April 3 exhibition game at Gwinnett County against the organization’s top prospects. The Braves open the season on the road with six games against the Mets and Astros, teams picked to finish last in their divisions.

After that it’ll be home at Turner Field for six games against the Prince Fielder-less Milwaukee Brewers and Mets. The Braves know their first dozen games present an opportunity for a fast start.

Whatever happens — at the beginning of the season or the end — they think they’re better prepared to deal with adversity and make adjustments after experiencing their late-season meltdown.

“We need a little bit of luck and to go after it from the beginning of the season,” Prado said. “If we get in that situation like we were in last year, we’re going to act differently because we learned from it. But I’ll take my chances. I believe we have the team that we need to have right now. There’s a lot of talent in here and we believe in ourselves. That’s all that matters.”

They will be without ace Tim Hudson (back surgery) until at least the last week of April and without third baseman Chipper Jones for the first road trip and possibly longer, after Jones had arthroscopic knee surgery Monday. Prado moves to third to fill in for Jones and the Braves are looking into a trade or free-agent signing to improve outfield depth.

Their strength remains the pitching staff, and Jair Jurrjens’ drastically improved performance Sunday – six innings, one run, three hits — helped ease concerns after he’d posted a 10.13 ERA and .403 opponents’ average in his first four starts. He’s wearing a knee brace to protect the leg that’s been injured for each of the past two unsuccessful September playoff pushes.

“We like our chances,” Hinske said. “Guys are healthy except Huddy, and we know what we’re going to get him back pretty soon. [Hinske said this before Jones’ latest injury.] So if we stay healthy and we just stay consistent, we’ll be fine. Put the past behind us and go. Move forward.”

Jones got hurt again Thursday, just before the previously scheduled news conference where he announced he’ll retire after the 2012 season. The injury doesn’t change how the Braves feel about their team’s chances, since they already anticipated before this latest injury that the soon-to-be 40-year-old would miss plenty of games this season anyway.

With the addition of a second wild card in each league beginning this season, some think it possible that three playoff teams could come from the five-team NL East.

“I think so,” Medlen said. “But a lot also happens and the Phillies could come in last place. You never know. That’s why you play the games.”

95 comments Add your comment

Gredi Fonzalez

March 26th, 2012
2:51 pm

We stink. We should fight the Mets for last in the East down to the wire.

VinnyD

March 26th, 2012
2:58 pm

If Fredi doesn’t trust more than 3 guys in his bullpen, we will have a repeat of last year. If Fredi bats Chipper (probably going to hit .280 and 12 home runs) in the 3 spot, we will have a tough year.

Tbyrd

March 26th, 2012
2:58 pm

Another example of a “first”commentor not being very smart!

John Schuerholz' Toupee

March 26th, 2012
2:58 pm

So Martin Prado is the teams’s left fielder, huh? Funny that he’s playing third base. Is there a weak link somewhere? Maybe on the DL in SPRING TRAINING?????

DePort

March 26th, 2012
2:59 pm

Go cheer for another team then

Len's Barker

March 26th, 2012
2:59 pm

Just a bunch of lolly-gaggers!

Who Me?

March 26th, 2012
3:03 pm

this teams full of unrealized potential. Until that converts to W’s, I’m still thinking 4th in the East and no playoffs this year. And yes, I’ll knuckle under and come down to the park this year even though I promised I wouldn’t after the stunning lack of anything over the winter.

Fragile Bob Horner

March 26th, 2012
3:03 pm

Me thinks there may be a curse upon us.

George Stein

March 26th, 2012
3:09 pm

You can be critical and still be a fan, DePort.

I still think they’ll win around 87-91 games and fight it out for the WC. I don’t think Philly will pull away quite like they did last year, either.

GaryinBham

March 26th, 2012
3:14 pm

If we finish fourth, it will about match our fan enthusiasm for our team.

Darryl Blackberry

March 26th, 2012
3:14 pm

The Braves are going to make all haters and trolls look like fools this year. Don’t know if they’ll make it to the postseason, but they’ll make it interesting. I predict 2nd in the East, with Washington a very close third. Miami will get off to a good start, then implode late in the year.

I couldn’t get any further info on 2012 because my palmist demanded I pay for the full hour, but you get the gist. Go Braves!

Trainwreck

March 26th, 2012
3:19 pm

I think the Braves will be just fine this year. Pitching may be a little worse than last year but I’m looking for the O to get better. It really is going to be close in the division so anything really could happen. I’m not going to bail on my Braves before they have even played a meaningful game.

Lady Liberty

March 26th, 2012
3:20 pm

Not holding much hope on these guys. Nothing has changed and no additions have been made. Our pitching got it done last year but this lineup needs some help. I’m really fed up with the same ole same ole. Maybe I will route for the Mets. At least they know they are not good because of the bone head owners financial moves. The Braves however, there is no sense in staying pat with a team that went so far down like they did last year. To me as a fan, I think we deserve better then tight wad owners who cant open it up just a bit for one single hitter. Sad, so very very sad.

Herschel Talker

March 26th, 2012
3:23 pm

Stick a fork in these losers. A bunch of apathetic, couldn’t care less guys who are looking forward to the Chipper retirement circus.

FIRE FREDI GONZALEZ THE FOOL!!!

Braves rooter

March 26th, 2012
3:25 pm

I think they should rename the field. As soon as we moved to Turner Field this team went down hill. Ted Turner sold the Braves out to Liberty and Liberty has done nothing for the Braves. They need to change the field name back to Fulton County Stadium and take the bad carma off this team.

parabrave

March 26th, 2012
3:25 pm

Like their chances for what? In the NBA they call it waiting for a Lottery Pick Chance.

ChopAttack

March 26th, 2012
3:27 pm

Lady Liberty… no Braves fan would ever contemplate or say “route for the Mets.”

I do love the concept that fans “deserve” something. What is wrong with people?

Roy

March 26th, 2012
3:28 pm

I like our pitching staff along with our young talent and the Phillies are getting old quicky.

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ChopAttack

March 26th, 2012
3:31 pm

Will the Braves hit like the 2010 team or like the 2011 team? That’s the question. Even if the Braves are a middle of the road hitting team in 2012 they could win 95 games if the pitching staff stays healthy.

John Leonard

March 26th, 2012
3:33 pm

We may not win many world series,but we lead the world in TIP YOUR HAT TOO’s and excuses.

Nattering Nabob

March 26th, 2012
3:35 pm

I love old quicky. I’m almost 60.

JoeFan

March 26th, 2012
3:36 pm

Does anyone expect a member of the Braves to publicly say they don’t like their chances in the division? This is a rfebuilding year and nothing more. The only true optimism is that the rebuilding process will be completed by 2014.

STRETCH

March 26th, 2012
3:37 pm

Tell it like it JoeFan! LOL! The truth shall set you free!

extremus

March 26th, 2012
3:44 pm

I don’t mean to be a wet umbrella here, but the typical guy who loses his shirt in Vegas usually “likes his chances” going in, too. I say this because so many things are uncertain, “hope sos”, or already beginning to fray around the Braves the Spring. Much of that vaunted pitching the Braves stubbornly held onto has been either woefully ineffective or been injured, Heyward’s optimism and “hitting adjustments” during the winter coming in now appears to find him riding the pine anyway as a backup outfielder, Chipper Jones’ knees are already hurting (forcing Prado to take third, which may force the Braves to make a trade they don’t want to or go with platooning Diaz and Hinske, both of whom are streaky at best), and two wet-behind-the ears rookie shortstop candidates. Hopefully at least some of this will go right for the Braves, but you’d have to be Pollyanish in your optimism to believe that ALL of these question marks will end up going smoothly. I hope I’m wrong, but I don’t have a good feeling at all about this upcoming season…except the possibility of Liberty Media dropping the team like a bad habit when they see its profitability go through the floor from lack of attendance by August or September.

bravesgrl4life

March 26th, 2012
3:54 pm

Unless there is a game going on, I am off the blog until season starts. Too many negative nellies on here.

1eyedJack

March 26th, 2012
3:55 pm

Bring back Chief Noc-A-Homa, the tepee, and that hottie Princess Win-A-Lotta!!!!

DogsBrekky

March 26th, 2012
3:56 pm

Prado and JHey at 2010 levels puts us in a great position to win NL East with our RP core and above avg SP

Michael G.

March 26th, 2012
4:00 pm

With that opening schedule, the Braves can do absolutely no worse than 9-3 to have any hope of being competitive this season. 10-2, or 11-1 would give me more hope.

DogsBrekky

March 26th, 2012
4:01 pm

bravesgrl4 life – thats why I usually just follow Dave on twitter now.. too much nausea on the old bloggage these days

Spring of George

March 26th, 2012
4:03 pm

Sometimes it’s better to be under the radar. And really lucky, huh St. Louis?

Spring of George

March 26th, 2012
4:06 pm

Timing, timing, timing….It’s all about making it and then being hot in October…this game of streaks can help you or ruin you.

dap01

March 26th, 2012
4:08 pm

The weak link is not Chipper Jones. The weak link is the Front Office that did nothing to get the back up outfielder or SS during the off season.

Michael from Macon

March 26th, 2012
4:10 pm

You doubters better get ready to eat a lotta crow! wild card for sure, good chance to win the division!

Steve

March 26th, 2012
4:16 pm

“Dap01″ I guess you don’t follow baseball or the Braves. You see, Jack Wilson is the back-up at SS.

benchwarmer

March 26th, 2012
4:20 pm

What’s available for outfield help? I think surely Wren is looking now.

tim

March 26th, 2012
4:22 pm

our chances to even get in as wild card are slim and none and slim has left town

Coach (2012 Fredi's beisbol fandango)

March 26th, 2012
4:27 pm

Bottom line is….the division is tougher this season. The Nationals and Marlins improved, we did not making the road to the playoffs much tougher.

dap01

March 26th, 2012
4:34 pm

benchwarmer: I do know baseball and I know Jack Wilson. He is not exactly a difference maker at SS. Frank Wren did nothing to address the 2 most obvious weaknesses of our club.

ptrepdaa

March 26th, 2012
4:42 pm

Enter your comments here

DA Braves

March 26th, 2012
4:43 pm

We just received our season tickets and we are ready fo some Baseball. With the addition of the best leadoff man in baseball to this year’s club all year and Uggla looking so much better at the start, there shouldn’t be as many 1 run games and that will relieve the burden on the bullpen. Heyward should have a better year than last, Prado should return to form and show that last year’s season was anything but normal for him. Hopefully the Braves starters will have continued success but be able to pitch a little longer in the game so that the bullpen gets some relief. That is the key to me. I feel pretty comfortable in predicting the Braves will finish 2nd to the Phillies again and make the playoffs as a wild card. Would love to predict a divisional titie but the Phillies look to be the best team in the national league…at least on paper. Go Braves!

IHEARTCARROLL

March 26th, 2012
4:56 pm

It’s easy to be negative. Of 30 teams, only one will be champion next fall. So 96.7% of the fans can complain that their team won’t win. But what’s the fun in that? I’m going to be positive until we win it all or until we are eleminated.

ptrepdaa

March 26th, 2012
4:56 pm

You can tell who are real atlantan’s and who had to move from towns that have no team or jobs
. To all of you haters go home a cheer for that double A team you grew up wishing your
jobless dad couldn’t afford to take you to see. Winning or not they are my braves. Why take time from your life that you will never get back to hate!!!!

Brave New World

March 26th, 2012
4:57 pm

About 90 wins will take The NL East in 2012. Can the Braves get to 90 wins? Yes, but so can the Phils, Nats, and Marlins. The only team with realistically no chance at 90 wins is the Mets.

bvillebaron

March 26th, 2012
5:27 pm

I have posted this repeatedly and I will do it again. The Braves are at least the 2nd best team in this division as presently constituted despite the additions made by the Nats and Marlins (who both had to make major additions). I couldn’t disagree more with Extremus’ comments about the pitching staff. The staff is clearly better with Minor manning the 5 position rather than Derek “Batting Practice” Lowe. With the exception of Hanson (shoulder), the injuries to JJ (knee) and Hudson (back) don’t involve their throwing arms.

It is truly amazing how so many negative nellies on here whine about the Braves “ifs” and overlook the fact that every other team in the divsion has major “ifs” as well (despite the fact that Johnson has had major shouilder problems, somehow we are to believe that Hanson will break down, but Johnson will be fine; Strasburg is coming off TJ surgey and will be capped @ 160 IPs; the Phillies are getting older by the minute and won’t have Howard for a while and may not have Utley at all this year, etc.).

With the exception of Hudson, all of the other starters are less than 26 and figure to get better; Teheran and Delgado both need work, but showed immense potential when I saw them; the Braves’ pen is as good as any in baseball and will be even deeper with Medlen’s return this year, etc.

It is hard to imagine the Braves’ offense being as bad as last year since McCann, Uggla, Prado, Chipper all performed below their career norms: Heyward was injured and had a sophomore slump (the poster who claimed that Heyward is a 4th outfielder needs a reality check) and the team will have Bourn, one of the best leadoff hitters in baseball and the best base stealer from the start of the season.

Wren tried to get an everyday OF and I am sure he is still trying, but the deals he was offered were ridiculously one-sided. I remind all of you negative nelles that there is an old saying in baseball–sometimes the best trades are the ones you don’t make. I think that applies to the Braves, especially given the youth on the team.

Steve

March 26th, 2012
5:29 pm

Fumbling Frank Wren does nothing during the off-season when quality players were available, and now is looking for help off the wavier wire. Frank Wren for GM of the year!

DA Braves

March 26th, 2012
5:37 pm

Steve,
If you had been the general manager, what trade would you realistically have made? Remember realistically…..not talking about a Lowe for Kemp trade or something rediculous like that.

alanfalcon

March 26th, 2012
5:42 pm

Liberty Mutual has exactly what hey want in a GM, manage the money, not the teams capabilities, that way you will lose attendance and create a nice tax write off. I remember the old addage, you have to spend money to make money, just remember that .

phil

March 26th, 2012
5:46 pm

Fire someone!!

That will make us hit…

Brave New World

March 26th, 2012
5:47 pm

Division is up for grabs with Phils in decline, Marlins and Nats improving and Braves with strong pitching and decent hitting. Mets are bottom-dwellers for 2012 and near future.

Rafael

March 26th, 2012
5:48 pm

Liberty CHEAPIA sure has the correct formula for building a World Series Championship team… add NO offseason upgrades, continue to have “AFFORDABLE” players on the roster, and LOWER concession prices by 33%!!!!!!

We also have SUPERSTAR Matt Diaz in our lineup. The Phillies, Marlins, and Nationals cannot say that.

Wow, Liberty Cheapia people are smart… you increase attendance by LOWERING concession prices. I always thought you put more fans in the seats by having a winning product on the field. Boy, am I wrong.

Ken Stallings

March 26th, 2012
5:51 pm

Baseball is not a forgiving game for hopes and prayers. It is a marathon designed to expose all your weaknesses and test your strengths. The Braves have a multitude of weaknesses they hope to improve this season, but the results of spring training (nearly complete) do not appear to have corrected any of them.

Spring training does not tell the entire story, but for young hitters looking to get their groove back, it says a lot when they struggle. Heyward has struggled and he was the key to a thin line of hitters the Braves had to all have clicking to produce. The Braves simply cannot go another season with Heyward hitting the Mendoza line with a paultry 15 HR and 45 RBI. His defense while good is not great, and so far pitchers have appeared able to exploit the same holes in the swing they exploited last year. He’s become an easy scout chart entry.

Chipper’s balky knees have already resulted in him missing opening day. One hopes that will end it and the man can enjoy a very nice year as the swan song. But, again, baseball is a cruel endurance test, remorseless and pittyless for age. The odds are not in Chipper’s favor, nor the Braves.

Baseball rewards proven talent. The Braves of the ninties and early 2000’s had a pitching staff with few question marks and a lot of proven talent. Their offense was above average with a number of players in their prime contributing and coming off good seasons. Rookies were inserted piecemeal, and only after proving themselves ready.

Looking at his lineup when Chipper is not there, I see two All-Star caliber hitters — Uggla and McCann. If Prado is recovered, he could be a borderline third. But, that’s insufficient. In the immortal words of Don Sutton, “this is a lineup where good pitchers can go to find outs!”

The regular season of baseball is pure Darwinism. And this collection of players don’t appear to be the fittest — not even in the NL East.

64 year Braves fan

March 26th, 2012
5:54 pm

Bourne has a low OBP for a leadoff man. Mistake was not trading for Pence instead. He is much
better than Bourne.

Waffle House or Bust

March 26th, 2012
6:00 pm

The Braves will win just enough games to show hope for that dreaded “next year” and we miss out on hiring Francona to save the day in 2013.

jayvee

March 26th, 2012
6:09 pm

I have to say that I want to give Fredi the benefit of the doubt, but he really hasn’t impressed me in any way, shape or form since he arrived In Atl. I think the Braves need a skipper who’s more intense. Much more intense.

And if Medlen ain’t in the rotation to start the season, somebody needs a kick in the behind. Medlen and Beachy and Minor could emerge as the top three starters on this team, given the opportunity. Beachy and Medlen are both pitbulls, and could carry this team. Minor has the makeup to follow their examples. Hanson’s brittle, JJ’s questionable and I’m not confident he’ll ever regain his form, Huddy’s another question mark for now.

If I were Fredi, I’d put my faith in these three, and if Hanson lasts and Huddy rebounds or JJ returns to form, that’s all frosting….

Go Bravos!

Lane Moore

March 26th, 2012
6:18 pm

Who is this Orlando Bedwetter Ledbetter writer anyways, he is just plain dumb. But as his picture shows it is in his DNA. So sad. Go Obamma ?

Steve

March 26th, 2012
6:24 pm

DA Braves,
The point is the price just went up because of Chipper’s injury. A Diaz/Hinske platoon strikes fear in no one.

Disgusted

March 26th, 2012
6:38 pm

I do see trouble for Philly this yr, but I see a big change of the guard in the NL East with the Nats first and Marlins as a WC.

Both the Phillies and Braves miss the playoffs.

The Braves have pitching potential, and develop two good bats in the system and by 2014 or 15, this team could be back as a serious contender. By then who knows if a guy like Salcedo or Terdoslovich might be impact guys and Freeman and Heyward should be begining their prime.

Because of Liberty Media the window of opportunity will be short, sort of like Cleveland from 2005 thru 07.

Graham

March 26th, 2012
6:40 pm

People should stop attacking Liberty Media and realize the real reason we have payroll constraints. Yes Liberty Media does not present itself proudly as the owners of the Braves, but that is fine, they stay out of the way! Would you rather have the Wilpon’s or McCourt’s and the fiasco’s they bring on running the team. Liberty Media realizes they no nothing about baseball and stay back and let Schuerholtz, McGuirk, and Wren run the team. They are no longer receiving the great tax cuts that were acquired when they first bought the team. The Braves can’t find a legitimate new owner or increase payroll due to the short sighted T.V. deal signed in the 90’s. The Braves have no out for another thirty years or so and instead of being able to cash in on a new deal they are tied down to a middling profit.

Larry

March 26th, 2012
6:42 pm

Ken,

Touché.

It seems we have on here three types: the Pollyanna’s that think (hope in reality) everything will be just fine despite last September; the perpetual “half empty glass” folks that blame everything on Liberty, Bush or Obama; lastly, those like you and I that see the possibilities, consider both the real and circumstantial evidence and believe this team could possibly compete for the postseason but, based on facts and circumstances, look like a inferiorly managed team that makes up the middle tier of baseball talent and coaching.

I will only add this…I think this team with a better manager could be the next Giants or Cardinals, but with Gonzalez, not a chance in hades. This team, as constructed and coupled with the Chipper Jones reality series, is too much to handle for one Mr. Fredi Gonzalez!

Harsh Marsh

March 26th, 2012
7:33 pm

Braves are going nowhere but down under Fredi Gonzalez. It’s true that a manager seldom affects very many wins or losses, but Fredi is that rare case, running the Braves into outs and blowing up the pen arms. With Uggla, Freeman, Bourn, Prado, and McCann, they’ve got the talent to make a run, but they won’t. They’ll be just good enough to make it excruciating. Have fun, Atlanta.

MitchC

March 26th, 2012
7:41 pm

Even with the Phillies injury problems, they can plod along the first couple of months of the season, get hot in the summer, and win the East comfortably, much like the Braves used to when we won divisions.

The Braves have a few questions.. How well will Hanson rebound, and will Heyward have a better season than last year? Also, will there be a carryover effect from The Collapse. As we know, the Mets collapsed in both 2007 and 2008 and havent been heard from since.

The Braves still should be decent on paper, and might have a chance for one of the two wild cards. We just have so many questions., Hanson, JJ, will Kimbrel have a soph slump.

I think we will be decent, but I fear we may fall just short of the playoffs, unless we play a bit above expectations, and win one of the two wild cards.

Samantha

March 26th, 2012
7:48 pm

Hey Harwsh Marsh How are you?

bobby

March 26th, 2012
8:28 pm

There may be three teams from the NL East this year but none of them will have Braves across the front of their uniforms.

1eyedJack

March 26th, 2012
9:20 pm

National League East current standings
Philadelphia 0-0
Atlanta 0-0
Miami 0-0
Washington 0-0
New York 0-0

TheOnlyBravesFan

March 26th, 2012
10:11 pm

@1eyedJack You are so correct there, stop complaining people. The season hasn’t started yet.

phil

March 26th, 2012
10:23 pm

Fire positive bloggers!!

STH

March 26th, 2012
10:29 pm

Take one eyed jack and the only braves fan to a game. They are perfect company.

STH

March 26th, 2012
10:34 pm

And deport de port from whichever port. Take that other idiot lobotomy with you.

Chuck

March 26th, 2012
11:16 pm

I thought Heyward was coming into the spring strong, but I look and he’s batting .183. How is that strong? With 17 SOs in 60 ABs. I guess he’s not peaking too early. How is he doing in the last week? I guess everyone gets a pass for the first few weeks, except the ones fighting for a job. I also noticed that Durango is hitting .500 in 22 ABs.

snapback

March 27th, 2012
2:40 am

Sometimes I wonder! But I still choose to believe that more time!
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Ekim

March 27th, 2012
7:09 am

Whine, whine, whine. You so-called “critical Braves fans” would never have survived the 1970s. Google “Ted Turner Ostrich Races.”

Ekim

March 27th, 2012
7:13 am

You guys hated Fredi Gonzalez before he got here. You hated Cox the whole time he was here. You will never be satisfied.

Looks awfully easy from the couch, I’d say.

Frank Wren

March 27th, 2012
7:42 am

We’ll be having several 70s themed game promotions this season. The players will be wearing the circa 1974 Braves softball uniforms, and we’ll even do some ostrich races.

I figure by August our attendance will be down to 5,000.

Cheap Trick and the Village People are scheduled to perform.

Frank Wren

March 27th, 2012
8:29 am

How about “Pet Rock Night” with Biff Pocoroba’s face on it?

phoenix

March 27th, 2012
8:37 am

IF Heyward, Prado and Uggla bounce back. IF Chipper can play 140 games. IF McCann can play like an All-Star for a full season. IF one of the rookie shortstops can play in the majors. IF the starting rotation gets healthy. IF the bullpen doesn’t get worn down. IF lightweights like Diaz can contribute a home run or two.

Too many IFs. Few, IF any of these are likely to happen.

Braves4life

March 27th, 2012
8:46 am

There is no way you can judge the braves without seeing them play? I think god will bless them this year.

Samantha

March 27th, 2012
8:52 am

phoenix have patience. A quality which men dont know what is.

Barry Obama

March 27th, 2012
10:20 am

33% off concessions for season ticket holders?

Sounds more like welfare for the rich !

I can’t believe this Bush-era mentality has crept into Turner Field.

The average working stiff – assuming he has a job, still has to pay full price.

What’s fair about this?

How about a little stimulus for the average working stiff?

Reality

March 27th, 2012
10:53 am

By June 1st Chipper will be on the DL; Prado will be on third; Diaz in LF, and Hinske in RF because Heyward will be in the minors by then.

By late July Bourn, Jurrjens & Hudson will be dangled as trade bait for the many contenders seeking their services for the pennant run.

4th Place in NL East projected

reckingball

March 27th, 2012
12:13 pm

Braves will win the NLEast Div. in 2012.
Go Braves!

Mitchell

March 27th, 2012
12:30 pm

The world’s biggest Atlanta Braves homer picks them to finish third in the NL East behind the Phillies and Nationals?

Didn’t see that coming.

Et tu O’Brien?

DOB, they’re not going to want to talk to you anymore after they see your predictions.

I thought you were boys with Chipper.

Maybe that’s a good thing. We are in short supply of objectivity around these parts.

Perhaps now when players divulge newsworthy information it will actually get reported in the AJC and not by Buster Onley or Ken Rosethal.

Still, third behind the Nats? That’s cold as ice.

Mitchell

March 27th, 2012
12:49 pm

When was the last time we heard anyone one this team say anything to the effect of, “Our goal is to win the World Series”?

I mean, this is the kind of bunch that when they’re in the midst of blowing a huge division or wild card lead in September are grateful to still have a chance at the end of the season.

As in, “Our ten game lead is now down to 1.5 with five to play but if you told us in the spring that we still had a shot to make the playoffs, we’d take it.”

Not “We’re the team to beat.” Not “We intend to win the division and make a deep run into October.”

Just, “We like our team. It will be fun.”

I can’t watch the Giants and Cardinals win World Series and find any rational reason why that couldn’t or shouldn’t be the Braves.

Take the Tomahawk off the front of the jersey and you’ve got a 95 win team.

For some god forsaken reason nobody wants to step up and be an MVP for more than a week and a half.

Somebody has to be a leader or they are going to finish third.

Really not giving anybody just cause to pick them to do anything than what they did last year.

Mark's for the Braves

March 27th, 2012
1:15 pm

I hope Medlen doesn’t stir up the Phils with his “last place” comment he made in jest.

I’m ready for the season no matter what happens. I think we’ll be fine. I can’t wait for 2013 when we have a lot more $$ to spend. We should be able to finally get some big bats in 2013.

Chipper Jones

March 27th, 2012
1:15 pm

Come October I fully expect to be on my Texas ranch doing some serious deer hunting
with Mike Hampton and Adam LaRoche.

World Series? That was back in 1999 !

ManOfTeal

March 27th, 2012
1:28 pm

I love your optimism

BUT!

The Braves made no significant changes. How can you expect different results?

You do know what they call someone who does the exact same thing over and over again while expecting different results right?

Those people are called insane.

Phillies Phanatic

March 27th, 2012
1:35 pm

DOB picked the Braves to finish third?

Handwriting is on the wall, huh Braves’ fans.

Must suck to be a small market team like Atlanta, Kansas City or Pittsburgh, where you basically subsist to be a farm team for the contenders.

Maybe Heyward will remember how to swing the bat, or Chipper starts 140 games, or little green men will land on your house …

Jake Mastroianni

March 27th, 2012
2:09 pm

Braves Spring Training; ready to play ball. And thoughts on Chipper.

http://bravesandmore.mlblogs.com/2012/03/27/braves-spring-training-ready-to-play-ball/

I love Spring Training in Florida

March 27th, 2012
2:15 pm

Thank GOD for the Astros & Mets !

Two teams the Braves can beat !

Bud

March 27th, 2012
4:32 pm

If the can be signed cheaply, I say go for Magglio Ordonez.

Bud

March 27th, 2012
4:35 pm

If he, I mean ..

Joshua

March 27th, 2012
6:12 pm

Mitch,

Your expectations are irrelevant. Thanks.

Joshua

March 27th, 2012
6:13 pm

DOB picked the Braves to finish third?

Handwriting is on the wall, huh Braves’ fans.

Must suck to be a small market team like Atlanta, Kansas City or Pittsburgh, where you basically subsist to be a farm team for the contenders.

Maybe Heyward will remember how to swing the bat, or Chipper starts 140 games, or little green men will land on your house …

=======

Sounds like someone is still mad about the 90s.

Disgusted

March 27th, 2012
6:17 pm

Dead on Mitchell. No confidence, no dugout and clubhouse team leaders since Glavine left, our Manager is a bump on a log good for nothing, way worse than Cox. Heyward will flail away at inside junk again this year and hit a God awful sub .240 avg, Gimper Jones will limp out onto the field and bleed us of cash one more time, our SS and LF situations are ridiculous, Bourn ditches us after this year leaving another gaping hole in the OF (all 3 spots) as we’ll have to move Prado to 3B following another excruciating season (this time not just for one month), Hudson and Hanson are the walking wounded and Fredi can’t manage our bullpen. Ahhhh, fun times in Braves country. We need a salary cap in baseball. If we cant do that, let’s tie Ted Turner down and fire 100 mph fastballs at his face until he’s no longer with us. He ditched us just like his B889h wife ditched our troops. As a matter of fact, let’s tie Hanoi Jane up to an airplane just prior to takeoff.

Chrystal Overly

September 23rd, 2013
2:06 pm

Thanks for the article, can I set it up so I get an email whenever you make a fresh post?
Chrystal Overly http://my.telegraph.co.uk/areyeastinfectionscontagious/

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