Braves outlook: Some improvements, plenty of question marks

NEW YORK – The Miami Marlins and Washington Nationals made bold offseason moves to try to make up ground on five-time NL East champion Philadelphia and runner-up Atlanta. The Braves’ notable moves were subtraction — a salary-dump trade of Derek Lowe and letting shortstop Alex Gonzalez go as a free agent.

So where do the Braves stand on opening day 2012, five months after dropping 20 of their final 30 games to miss a wild-card playoff berth and finish 13 games behind the Phillies? Are they better? Worse? Same? Too early to tell?

Let’s take a quick inventory:

Starting pitching: Braves starters finished fifth in the National League with a 3.73 ERA, and also fifth in strikeouts and wins (63-48). That despite getting almost nothing after the All-Star break from injured Jair Jurrjens and Tommy Hanson, their best duo before the break. They’re both healthy now and the Braves need badly for them to remain that way. Lowe was a weight on the rotation by season’s end, but until Tim Hudson returns from back surgery, the Braves don’t have a pitcher who eats innings like Lowe did. Mike Minor seems poised for a strong first full season. Until Hudson replaces fill-in Randall Delgado, Braves starters aren’t as formidable as they were early in ’11.

Relief pitching: Closer Craig Kimbrel and setup man Jonny Venters and Eric O’Flaherty are the NL’s best trio and led the Braves relievers to a majors-best 3.02 ERA. Avoiding overuse and late-season fatigue for them is now an emphasis for the Braves. Helpful in that regard is versatile Kris Medlen, out most of last season, and just-added long reliever/spot starter Livan Hernandez, who’ll free up Cristhian Martinez to throw in a variety of situations. Chad Durbin was signed this week to add a veteran presence to a still-young ‘pen. If the Big Three stay healthy, it’s the NL’s best ‘pen.

Infield: The right side is solid with Dan Uggla, the Braves’ best hitter after July 4, and Freddie Freeman, the NL’s best hitting rookie last season and a machine scooping low throws. Those two could combine for 60-plus homers, and six-time All-Star catcher Brian McCann and the best backup catcher (David Ross) in ‘ball are back. But the left side has question marks with shortstops Tyler Pastornicky (no major league experience) and Jack Wilson (still a strong glove, but little offense); and third basemen Chipper Jones (how many games will his knees allow him to play?) and recently added Juan Francisco, who has big power potential, low OBP, and some whispers about work habits in Cincinnati. Can he prosper in his first season with perhaps 250 or more at-bats? How much does Martin Prado play third base? Jury’s still out on the left side.

Outfield: Atlanta outfielders had the fewest RBIs (162) and second-fewest homers (41) in the NL last season, after producing the fewest homers (40) and third-lowest average (.250) in 2011. This year should be different. They have three-time NL stolen-base champ Michael Bourn in center for the entire season, plus the return of Martin Prado and Jason Heyward to good health, after Prado missed more than month for a staph infection in 2012 and Heyward was plagued by a sore shoulder that got him into some bad habits as he tried to compensate. Prado should be able to focus on left field now with Francisco backing up third. Prediction: Braves’ biggest improvement comes in the outfield.

Bench: Braves pinch-hitters went most potent in the NL in 2010, with 10 homers and 42 RBIs, to arguably league’s worst in ’11 with a .175 average and league-low .239 OBP. Jack Wilson replaces utility man Brooks Conrad, giving the Braves better defense but not as much sock at the plate. Left-handed pinch-hitter Eric Hinske is complemented by Matt Diaz, who re-acquired late last season and still a threat vs. lefty pitchers. With the Braves comfortable having Heyward back up center field in a pinch, they’ll have more flexibility to bring up players from Triple-A when need arises. Bench should be improved.

Manager: Fredi Gonzalez’s first season as Braves manager was sailing along until one of the worst September collapses in baseball history. The scrutiny will be greater from Day 1 this year, especially in how he uses the back of his bullpen given the end-of-season struggles of Venters and Kimbrel after piling up early appearances. Gonzalez has a reputation a good baseball man and players’ manager. But last year’s collapse won’t be quickly forgotten. Fair or not, if things go sideways again this season, plenty of people in Braves Nation will say it wouldn’t have been so under Bobby Cox.

93 comments Add your comment

summer of 91

April 4th, 2012
7:03 pm

summer of 91

April 4th, 2012
7:04 pm

MY FIRST FIRST

reckingball

April 4th, 2012
7:17 pm

The Braves are good enough to win the WS.
Go Braves.

VinceVanGo

April 4th, 2012
7:18 pm

The starters will be fine. The bullpen will be great. Pastornicky will be okay and hold his own. If Bourne is a decent lead off hitter, and Uggla, Freeman, McCann, Heyward, and Prado hit, anything the Braves get from third base will be gravy. If Fredi G. uses the bullpen properly and doesn’t burn them out, and with the addition of Livan Hernandez and Medlen returning for a full year, there won’t be a month long collapse in September. Braves win division or wild card in Chipper’s final season.

Tomahawkin

April 4th, 2012
7:18 pm

The Same if not Worse…This Team Prolly wins the Wildcard but will get upset in that Bullcrap 1 game Wildcard Playoff game…Thanks Dud Selig.

And These Cats still don’t know what playing small-ball means on offense. Gotta stop trying to Out-Solo-Homer everyone

That wildcard playoff should be a best 3 games. Anything stupid that is unexpected can happen (A BS umpire like the old Eric Gregg) or a Choking Error (Connie in 2010) can decide 1 game

Also Fans Can’t expect The OVentbrel Triple Team to repeat all their respective seasons…I meant for instance Easy E had an era of 0.99…As good as Easy-E is no way in hell he repeats that stellar performance

Tomahawkin

April 4th, 2012
7:26 pm

88-90 wins, Watch!

Rafael

April 4th, 2012
7:32 pm

Matt Diaz still a threat vs. lefty pitchers has about the SAME chance as the Minnesota Vikings getting a NEW stadium with the current Minnesota House & Senate.

“Steve”… you don’t have to hide under the name “Steve” when we all know you are Matt Diaz’ WIFE!

Larry, THANK YOU for having my back.

reckingball

April 4th, 2012
7:33 pm

I think that the Braves can win 95 to 100 games this season.
With what looks like an improved Bullpen, it will be about the best one in MLB.

reckingball

April 4th, 2012
7:35 pm

Rafael….Does Matty D. come by your house every morning, and take a great big dump in your grits and eggs?

reality

April 4th, 2012
7:36 pm

these kind of reports make me laugh. Being “healthy” is listed as a positive for outfielders and pitchers…. well DUH! I bet they started last year healthy too and look what happened. Since injuries are inevitable, what we are really saying here is if the Braves are LUCKIER then their competition and STAY healthy they might be better then last year.

reckingball

April 4th, 2012
7:39 pm

Well DUH, Yeah.

Brian Smyrna

April 4th, 2012
7:48 pm

The Braves line up has a lot of potential. The problem is, everybody has to have a solid year and when does that ever happen? We have to hope Heyward can pull it together, hope that Freeman doesn’t have a sophomore slump, hope Uggla doesn’t wait until July to start hitting, hope Prado can reclaim his magic and so on and so on. Having to rely on so many probabilities makes me very nervous. If we can catch magic in a bottle it can be a fun ride.

Jerry

April 4th, 2012
7:52 pm

It’s nice to be optimistic, but not when you lose all focus on reality. This is simply a team with lots and lots of holes and question marks. It’s one thing to have a question mark here or there, but this whole squad is permeated with them. All I see is a team not much better than .500. Be optimistic yes, but be realistic that this team did very little to improve and Wren thinks that everyone that stunk last year will have career years this time around. It’s a recipe for disaster.

Larry

April 4th, 2012
7:54 pm

Fair assessment, CR, and much more challenging with regards to the manager than we will ever get from DOB. I wish you had your own blog…you have earned it.

And though FG may be “a good baseball man,” the problem is he neither commands or warrants the respect of the players he manages. They like him, sure, but they do not see in him a commanding presense, a strong and smart leader, and one of sound and logical judgement.

I know for a fact that several veterans view him as a “nice man,” but short on deciveness and leadership skills. And when you’re having your brains beaten in a boxing match, you’re facing an all out attack in a foxhole, or in this case, you’re blowing everything you’ve worked for in September, you look to your leader to guide you through the peril.

When his players looked to FG for leadership that last week of the season, he destroyed all faith and confidence when he trotted out the horrid Lowe (0-4 at that time in September) in a must win game. When they needed a strong leader, they saw a man with a blank stare and puzzled look instead.

Cox was dumb and stubborn, but he at least commanded the respect of his players…what solid leadership quailty can one claim about FG? Think about this….name one solid leadership quailty of the Braves’ manager. Pretty telling that you have to think about this, isn’t it?

Who would you trust to get you out of that foxhole alive, Gonzalez or La Russa, Manuel, Girardi, Leyland, and Torre, just to name a few?

least of the east

April 4th, 2012
8:01 pm

Jerry is 100% right. can’t expect everyone to have maximum production. the team is mediocre. they didn’t address the OF issue and may now be even worse off at SS.
the top prospects like Teheran and Delgado didn’t pitch well and neither will be on the team when Hudson returns.
winning the division is a pipe dream and even coming in 2nd is a long shot.
we’ll miss the playoffs by a lot more than 1 game in 2012 despite an extra wild card team

K.K.

April 4th, 2012
8:06 pm

The Braves send K.K. to Mississippi. Now they least of the East.

SR

April 4th, 2012
8:07 pm

Very well said Jerry, thoughtful and accurate post imo. Question marks up and down the lineup and the fact that Wren sat tight after last season’s collapse will no doubt go down as a titanic error in judgment.

JNick

April 4th, 2012
8:25 pm

When you look at the NL East, every team has question marks…Philly is aging and injured – will Howard return to form? What about Utley? How bad ARE his knees? Jimmy Rollins and Polanco are aging and often injured…Halliday is a year older, Cliff Lee doesn’t do well against the Braves – will Vance Worley have a sophomore slump? Bullpen outside of Pappelbon? And how will he fare in transitioning to the NL? Their outfield has just as many question marks as ours…sorry, but I don’t see them as being a clear-cut winner this year. Marlins and Nationals, jeez, where do you begin with these possibly-improved teams?

I think the NL East is wide open – every game will be a battle.

Troy

April 4th, 2012
8:32 pm

Reckingball wake up to the real world. Well said Jerry.
The biggest improvement was getting Walker and his asst.hitting coach.
I love the Braves but you got to be realistic and they are not a world series team..but they’re still my team.

Ugg

April 4th, 2012
8:38 pm

@7:35–what idiot made that stupid remark–Duh!

Steve

April 4th, 2012
8:43 pm

“Experts” nationwide = “Miami’s offense will be much improved and they should win the Wild Card at least.” Tonight = 0 hits through 5 innings. Braves will win the WC or the division if they stay healthy. Not worries about the Nats at all.

JNick

April 4th, 2012
8:46 pm

Stanton is the Marlins only real threat in the lineup. Hanley Ramirez and Jose Reyes are CAPABLE, but headcases/injury cases/streaky. I can see them running off 10 wins in a row, then losing 10 in a row…pitching is very suspect.

Hetch Hetchy

April 4th, 2012
8:48 pm

Chipper’s ailing health is a metaphor for the upcoming Braves season. It will be a 115 game excruciating struggle that will end in despair and futility.

Steve McP

April 4th, 2012
8:49 pm

Larry – DOB did write this story,

Bill

April 4th, 2012
8:51 pm

3-0 Cards in 6th.. Cards have no-hitter going in Marlins new crib….lol

Bill

April 4th, 2012
8:54 pm

Now 7th Lohse is still in control–no hitter.70 pitches

David O'Brien

April 4th, 2012
8:57 pm

Fair assessment, CR, and much more challenging with regards to the manager than we will ever get from DOB. — Larry

Good point, Larry.

JNick

April 4th, 2012
9:00 pm

Lohse was re-born thanks to Dave Duncan…

Hetch Hetchy

April 4th, 2012
9:03 pm

Larry, you have to mow DOB’s lawn for a month. Maybe change the oil in his hog too.

Bill

April 4th, 2012
9:07 pm

my bad Reyes gets 1st hit in 7th.

Larry

April 4th, 2012
9:16 pm

Dave, my apologies, but because Carrols’s photo is clearly displayed on the link to this blog, we’ll just call it even between us, ok?

Hetch can change your oil and mow your lawn…I doubt with a name like this he’ll even get this.

JAFO

April 4th, 2012
9:16 pm

DOB- taking the kids to the Apple in the am for Opening Weekend. Where do the Braves stay in the city?

Steve

April 4th, 2012
9:23 pm

Ha. Larry I bet you feel really cool! Who’s photo is at the top of this page and who does this say it is By?

Opening Day

April 4th, 2012
9:23 pm

Opening day where everyone’s hopes are sky high and everyone has a shot at the World Series!

Lots of folks drinking that particular beverage on the blog it seems.

Hetch Hetchy

April 4th, 2012
9:32 pm

I wouldn’t let Larry change the oil. Maybe mow. Maybe. It’d have to be a mower with a rubber blade.

Coach ( 2012 Fredi's beisbol fandango)

April 4th, 2012
9:36 pm

We will live or die on the strength of our pitching. Which will need solid defense in the field. My overall feel for this team is an improved offense, still questionable pitching staff until Huddy returns, an unimproved bench along with depth questions across the board. I still think this team will win although they will be hard pressed to compete within an improved division.

That said, the two wild cards tend to make projections difficult and my opinion remains unchanged altogether. Playoffs? flip the proverbial coin.

229Bravsfan

April 4th, 2012
9:37 pm

GO BRAVES!!!

Coach ( 2012 Fredi's beisbol fandango)

April 4th, 2012
9:40 pm

One other obvious but over looked attribute as pertains to the 2012 Braves. Uggla, McCann, Freeman and Heyward look monstrous. But will they hit lefty’s? Or hit in the clutch with runners on the pond.

JAFO

April 4th, 2012
9:48 pm

The season hinges on improved hitting with with RISP. It’s just that simple.

Coach ( 2012 Fredi's beisbol fandango)

April 4th, 2012
9:53 pm

p.s. I’m picking the Marlins to win the N.L. East

double

April 4th, 2012
10:08 pm

1st in Errors & Excuses.

Ralph

April 4th, 2012
10:11 pm

Just hope Martinez sobers up before tomorrows game.

ernisTbass

April 4th, 2012
10:21 pm

Bourn won’t be here the entire season, he’ll be traded to a contender for some prospects

DHughes

April 4th, 2012
10:35 pm

When the Braves fire this worthless manager at mid-season, will they hire Bobby Cox to finish the year?

B-F_52

April 4th, 2012
10:35 pm

Good job of reporting DOB let the games begin

JNick

April 4th, 2012
10:43 pm

@ernisTbass, I don’t see that happening. Braves would rather have 2 first round picks vs whatever a contender would give up for Bourne. Would have to be 2 dynamite prospects…at least.

richbrave

April 4th, 2012
10:50 pm

Under the manager heading DOB, everyone knows it’s BOBBY’s fault. FREDI is just a tool of COX. So whatever isn’t happening that good, or conversely, everything that’s happening bad was caused by the former New York Yankee in shiny new spikes.

JNick

April 4th, 2012
11:00 pm

Yeah, and it’s all Bush’s fault too…

Coach (2012 Fredi's beisbol fandango)

April 4th, 2012
11:00 pm

JNick

April 4th, 2012
8:46 pm

Stanton is the Marlins only real threat in the lineup. Hanley Ramirez and Jose Reyes are CAPABLE, but headcases/injury cases/streaky. I can see them running off 10 wins in a row, then losing 10 in a row…pitching is very suspect.

>>>>>>>>

I laughed out loud with glee after reading this little jewel of slobbering, sawdust infested poop of cow dung. I can’t even bring myself to argue with it :)

JNick

April 4th, 2012
11:15 pm

Ok…lol. Whatever you say, Coach…

Marlin's really ?

April 4th, 2012
11:22 pm

Talked about overrated and over hyped. LOL

Cory

April 4th, 2012
11:22 pm

DOB, what’s your prediction for Braves record? Division winners?

My 2 cents:
NL East: Braves (94-68)
NL Central: Cardinals
NL West: Giants
NL Wild Cards: Phillies, Dodgers

AL East: Yankees
AL Central: Tigers
AL West: Rangers
AL Wild Cards: Red Sox, Angels

JNick

April 4th, 2012
11:24 pm

Marlins lost tonight, almost no-hit – next 6 games are on the road against the Reds and Phillies. Good chance they start the season 0-7.

Younger Than That Now

April 4th, 2012
11:40 pm

Opinions are like… well, lots of things and everybody’s got one! I’m just ready for the season to start and since I’ve been an avid Braves fan and follower since the late 60’s, just knowing that when you go to the ballpark that your team has a good chance of winning that day is a wonderful feeling!

I’m predicting a good season and best wishes for good health for all the Braves and for all of those that follow the team! If that happens, then we all should be happy when the season comes to an end.

Thanks for the always stellar job DOB… I greatly look forward to much of the usual from you!

GO BRAVES!!

Aaron

April 4th, 2012
11:40 pm

Third place, here we come!

phil

April 4th, 2012
11:53 pm

Larry secretly equates FG with a LaRussa or Leyland….lol

It’s gonna be a very long season if we don’t hit with RISP. Someone else made this point, and that’s it in a nutshell.

SR

April 4th, 2012
11:58 pm

As I said in a recent post, always fun to see people’s predictions- These are from Yahoo Sports folks, Tim Brown, Steve Henson and Jeff Passan. They don’t think too highly of the Braves either.

SEASON PREDICTIONS

BROWN HENSON PASSAN

Rays 91-71 Rays 95-67 Rays 96-66
Yankees 90-72 Yankees 94-68 Yankees 94-68
Red Sox 87-75 Red Sox 91-71 Red Sox 91-71
Blue Jays 81-81 Blue Jays 85-77 Blue Jays 83-79
Orioles 70-92 Orioles 60-102 Orioles 64-98

Tigers 90-72 Tigers 94-68 Tigers 95-67
Twins 80-82 Royals 81-81 Royals 81-81
Indians 78-84 Indians 79-83 Indians 79-83
Royals 73-89 White Sox 71-91 Twins 69-93
White Sox 72-90 Twins 69-93 White Sox 68-94

Angels 90-72 Rangers 100-62 Rangers 94-68
Rangers 90-72 Angels 99-63 Angels 93-69
A’s 70-92 A’s 69-93 Mariners 72-90
Mariners 70-92 Mariners 58-104 A’s 68-94

Phillies 90-72 Marlins 89-73 Phillies 92-70
Marlins 88-74 Phillies 86-76 Nationals 91-71
Braves 84-78 Braves 86-76 Marlins 88-74
Nationals 84-78 Nationals 86-76 Braves 84-78
Mets 74-88 Mets 64-98 Mets 69-93

Brewers 87-75 Reds 90-72 Reds 87-75
Cardinals 86-76 Brewers 88-74 Cardinals 85-77
Reds 84-78 Cardinals 86-76 Brewers 82-80
Pirates 72-90 Pirates 75-87 Cubs 72-90
Cubs 68-94 Cubs 71-91 Pirates 71-91
Astros 57-105 Astros 54-108 Astros 59-103

D’backs 89-73 D’backs 92-70 D’backs 88-74
Giants 87-75 Giants 87-75 Rockies 84-78
Dodgers 83-79 Rockies 83-79 Giants 80-82
Rockies 81-81 Dodgers 83-79 Padres 77-85
Padres 74-88 Padres 70-92 Dodgers 74-88

AL wild card Yankees over Rangers Angels over Yankees Yankees over Angels
NL wild card Marlins over Giants Giants over Brewers Nationals over Marlins
ALDS Rays over Yankees Angels over Rangers Rays over Rangers
Tigers over Angels Tigers over Rays Yankees over Tigers
NLDS Marlins over Phillies D’backs over Giants Phillies over D’backs
D’backs over Brewers Marlins over Reds Nationals over Reds
ALCS Rays over Tigers Angels over Tigers Rays over Yankees
NLCS Marlins over D’backs D’backs over Marlins Nationals over Phillies
World Series Rays over Marlins Angels over D’backs Rays over Nationals

Ozzie

April 5th, 2012
12:15 am

85 wins no post season as of today mostly due to Chipper being really broken and Juan being really out of shape and a poor hitter apart from moon shots.

IF they can hang in there until July and make a trade maybe the sniff the WC.

2013 will be when the next phase of the Braves will come together. 2012 looks to be a coin toss.

SFBravesFan

April 5th, 2012
12:23 am

Guys, in case you have missed watching MLB Tonight, Harold predicted the Braves would win the East division, while other three were same old sh*t, Phillies. The season is about to begin, think possitive, GO BRAVES!

Rogers

April 5th, 2012
4:32 am

DOB, you wrote that the Braves will have Bourn for a full season. I predict that they won’t b/c Wren will trade him at the deadline.

David O'Brien

April 5th, 2012
6:09 am

DOB, you wrote that the Braves will have Bourn for a full season. I predict that they won’t b/c Wren will trade him at the deadline. — Rogers

Not if Braves are in thick of playoff race. If they’re out of it, yes. But not if they’re in the race. Try to name one team that, while in the middle of a playoff race in legitimate contention for a postseason berth, traded away its leadoff hitter– or any offensive catalyst — at the July 31 deadline. And don’t say Teixeira, because the Braves had slipped from serious contention when they traded him.

Mitchell

April 5th, 2012
6:11 am

reckingball

April 4th, 2012
7:17 pm

The Braves are good enough to win the WS.
Go Braves.

Yeah, and how does that make them any different than any team they’ve fielded over the last twenty years, minus 2006 and ‘08?

Good enough but won’t.

knockahomerx

April 5th, 2012
7:17 am

I am 53, The Braves are my team. There are holes that need filling. l have my doubts about a playoff team. The only way is to have a plan, stick to the plan, know who we are and execute to our identity. l want some hitting. l rather have more .355 avg, hitters and keep the pressure on the defense. Homers are great, but need ducks on the pond. Solos keep pressure on our pitching.

Prince Fielder

April 5th, 2012
8:08 am

WE BACK, SON

OPENING DAY, SON

YOU LOOK UP, YOU GONNA SEE MY HOPES, SON. BECAUSE THEY HIGH.

NOW LETS GO GET EM BRAVES!

Chop-It-Up All-Star

April 5th, 2012
8:12 am

I’m so excited about Opening Day today, but I admit, I just don’t know what this team is going to be. Here’s hoping for a great start…Go Bravos!!

David O'Brien

April 5th, 2012
8:12 am

NEW BLOGGAGE

eddie53

April 5th, 2012
8:12 am

Don’t understand Wren picking up a guy (Durbin) with a lifetime 5.10 ERA and calling him a veteran presence to help the young guys. Fredi will overuse the young guys enough to make them grow old fast. Fatboy Francisco will probably be a bust and waste of a roster spot since the only real position that he can stand at is 3rd base. No speed, out-of-shape and another Wren mistake!

ChrisfromSacramento,Ca

April 5th, 2012
8:53 am

Folks, I think our Braves are in trouble.

reckingball

April 5th, 2012
9:35 am

Jerry@7:52………I couldn’t disagree with you(mitchell, troy, and the rest of the doom and gloomers) more, had one of the “everyone that stunk last year” group that you refer to, had of gotten a couple of hits with RISP in a couple of those 1 run games, then the Braves would have at least, been in the NL playoffs.

FORGETABOUTIT!

April 5th, 2012
9:36 am

Don’t worry folks! Same old Braves will appear tonight and they are serving nothing special.

reckingball

April 5th, 2012
9:43 am

The realistic, “reality” is that the Braves CAN win the NLEast and CAN win the WS in 2012.
Look at the Giants, in 2009, how many “experts” predicted that they would win it all.
The biggest IF, is getting more hits with RISP.
It may be too optimistic for all of the defeatist, but that is my humble opinion.

Marietta Bill

April 5th, 2012
10:24 am

Make no mistake about it….Wren has made many mistakes!!! can they win it….NO!! Will Jason Heyward rebound…NO!! Francisco is a fatboy and will not make any contributions to the team.The bench leaves alot to be desired. And the pitching….what happens when the injury bug hits again??? The pen…the big 3 need to repeat last years record and they can if they are used properly…Freddy!
Bottom line….2nd place for 2012!

KK

April 5th, 2012
11:41 am

Bring back KK!

Blackberry Cobbler

April 5th, 2012
11:45 am

DOB– Lowe “eat innings”?! What are you smoking? The guy was gased in the 5th inning and rarely good for 5 or 6 innings per outing.

Homer the Brave

April 5th, 2012
1:00 pm

PMC

April 5th, 2012
3:40 pm

so the pitching is still pretty good but we still can’t get runners in.

Very excited it’s a new year, but we still can’t score for anything.

heartofdarkness

April 5th, 2012
4:08 pm

Don’t know how you can predict how this team finishes up unless you can answer the question, “If the Braves are within 5 games of the division lead a week before the deadline, will they trade or buy an outfield bat that is young, powerful, healthy and hot?” For now, I would give them the benefit of the doubt on whether they will have more multi-run innings than last year and will have more games where they score three runs or more.

Peter

April 5th, 2012
4:20 pm

Please this team and the GM stinks !

frank

April 5th, 2012
4:24 pm

The Braves offense stink

One And Done

April 5th, 2012
4:54 pm

Looks like another frustrating and underachieving year for the Braves. With runners on base, this team can’t hit a lick. Should have won today. Fredi is clone of Bobby — why not try a squeeze to get Pastornicky home? Same old, same old just isn’t going to cut it guys! What good is great pitching if you can’t score a stupid run? Won’t be long before the pitchers start to show their frustration.

knockahomerx

April 5th, 2012
5:00 pm

I told you. Hitless Wonders. Braves can not hit. Everyone of our hitters is way over rated. l tell you if you gave our guys aluminum, they still can not hit. The Rev, our offensive weak link gave us only chance to plate a run. We got all these fast players why not bunt that run home???? We had 2 fast weak hitters throwing the bat at the ball. Ugh! You have to make contact to hit, way to many swings and misses. Easy Texas League loopers all day long. Where are the fancy smancy hitting coaches we hired. Santana could not break glass all day. Game looked like a 50 and over softball game.
EMBARRASSING PERIOD.

knockahomerx

April 5th, 2012
5:02 pm

I had just as much or better chance to hit Santana today. Put me in Coach.

knockahomerx

April 5th, 2012
5:04 pm

There is a saying in the Southeast. “If you can not play with the big boys get off the porch.” Braves team is not porch worthy. Lay in the dirt with the deer ticks.

Heath

April 5th, 2012
5:05 pm

New year, same sorry managing and hitting. When the Braves got Gonzo I thought we were getting a good manager, but he’s far from it. He doesn’t know the personnel. Everyone knows Costanza is a good bunter so why not play to that advantage instead of an unlikely chance of getting a sac. fly?? I’m ready for a innovator and motivator in the clubhouse. Freddy got old really quick!

knockahomerx

April 5th, 2012
5:09 pm

if we are not going to spend and pay talent, move to somewhere like Pittsburgh or somewhere else and let MLB put a competitor in Atlanta. Chipper is my hero, but next year we need to find some pro talent. I love B Mc, but no way l sign him to a large contract, pass the job to Bethancourt.

reebok

April 5th, 2012
5:11 pm

the braves were an average team last year that spit the bit down the stretch and honked up a playoff berth on the last day of the season. they did zero to improve the team in the offseason. they looked terible in spring training. 3rd, maybe 4th in the division, out of contention by mid-july.

knockahomerx is a morn

April 5th, 2012
5:12 pm

if the game was a softball game knockahomerx then why was it 1 to 0 oh no we lost a game and we didnt hit john santana who is a good pitcher its opening day the pitchers are supposed to be the best of the best we lost boo hoo if we still dont hit by next week then start to worry not game one shut up

Eddie Matthews' Ghost

April 5th, 2012
5:14 pm

CONGRADS TO THE BRAVES. LAST PLACE ALREADY!!!!!!!!!!!! WOOPIE!!!!! SORRY BRAVES LOSE TO THE SORRY MUTTS. GREAT GAME BRAVES. ZERO ZERO ZERO ZERO ZERO ZERO ZERO ZERO ZERO ZERO ZERO ZERO ZERO RUNS!!! Woopie! What a team. Beaten by a pitcher who has not pitched in basically 1 and 1/2 years! Broken down lefty beats sorry Braves.

Ken Shelton

April 5th, 2012
5:28 pm

In wake of the Bravos season opening loss 1-0 to the team virtually everyone, anyone will listen to is predicted to finish the 2012 campaign in the basement…Granted one game, is just that one game, but the eyes couldn’t help but notice lineup regulars that are being counted on, seemed to have very bad approaches at the plate, with players like Brian McCann, Freddie Freeman and Jayson Heyward seemingly over-swinging more times than not. Of curse part of that could be good pitching by the Met’s former two-time Cy Young winner starter, and the good Lord knows I hope I’m wrong, but with the next two Met’s hurlers, their knuckle-ball specialist R.A. Dickey and Jonathan Niece that the Braves have endured past problems with, it wouldn’t be shocking to see Atlanta drop all three games in the Big Apple. Let’s all hope this first game out of the gate our boys with Tomahawk’s across their chest was simply getting the kinks out of the way, hopefully more due to good first game of New York’s hurler Santana, and come out of the gate in game two more aggressive!..

kdawg1017

April 5th, 2012
5:31 pm

if i remember correctly here eddie matthews ghost that tim hudson missed a full year and came back dominant so why cant johan its one game every team gets shut out grow up if we suck stop watching please one less dumbass fan would be better for everyone

reality

April 5th, 2012
6:18 pm

Gotta feel bad for Hanson. Gives up a run and gets the L. Long term, how excited are pitchers going to be to sign/resign with the Braves? Money aside, if your success depends on you performing at your peak EVERY day because the team will not invest in any hitters, are you looking to be a Brave? Or would you take your chances where you can give up 4 runs and still get a win?

Reggie

April 5th, 2012
6:59 pm

Folks do not get upset with this team and do not expect much either.Until there is a change of ownership to a local person like Authur Blankenship, there will be not much in the postseason department.The current owner have money but will not improve the Braves. They should have upgraded SS and the outfield.Liberty Media only wants a decent team out there and not one to go deep in the playoffs. Our only hope is to pray that A local owners get them.

Braves Oldie

April 5th, 2012
7:52 pm

Im excited for a new season in a way. Ive been a Braves fan since the 70s and I just dont feel good about this year. I sure hope they prove me wrong but just like the Hawks ownership there is not a commitment to wining a title.

Prove me wrong boys!

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