Brave change: from can’t score to majors’ 2nd-most runs

PHOENIX – Remember when many of us wondered if the Braves could score enough runs to compete for the division title this season? Or if their left-leaning lineup had any hope whatsoever of being strong offensive team in a division with so many good lefty pitchers?

Considering it was only about 10 days ago, I certainly remember.

Freeman has seven hits, three homers and 10 RBIs in his past three games, including a career-high five RBIs and two homers in Thursday's 10-2 win at Arizona.

Freeman has seven hits, three homers and 10 RBIs in his past three games, including a career-high five RBIs and two homers in Thursday's 10-2 win at Arizona.

What has happened to this team, folks? I mean, seriously. I can’t recall a more resounding reversal of team fortunes in such a short period as we’ve witnessed with these Braves, who’ve gone from team that couldn’t score in a – oh, wait, that line was for our underground Braves blog – to team that’s lighting up opposing pitchers on a nightly basis.

The team that totaled 10 runs in its first four games has 65 runs in nine games since, and the Braves now rank second in the majors in scoring behind only the Texas Rangers (79).

Before we go any further, let’s acknowledge for those who’d otherwise let us know in a hurry, that these are extremely Small Sample Sizes. Yes, yes, we know. SSS. We get it. And it’s not like the Braves have been facing Verlander and Halladay, or the Dodgers, Tigers or Rangers.

That said, let’s examine the quick turnaround that’s taken place with the Bravos, who’ve gone from a team that couldn’t shoot straight to a team that has its offensive engines humming (and is also getting much improved work from its starting pitchers). All in the span of two weeks. Less, actually.

The Braves hit .165 with 10 runs and a 4.78 ERA during their 0-4 start to the season, getting swept on the road by the Mets and losing a series opener at Houston, inciting blog and Twitter mayhem and widespread demands from fans for heads to roll, field personnel to be fired, management to be purged, players to be released or traded, cats and dogs to be separated properly in their living quarters.

The Braves decided to continue the season and not disband the team.

And in the nine games (8-1) since that 0-4 start, they have hit .297 with 13 homers, averaged 7.2 runs per game and posted a more respectable 3.67 ERA.

During their current three-game winning streak, the Braves have hit an absurd .363 with 33 runs, a 3.33 ERA – man that’s a lot of 3’s – and six homers, including two homers (and five RBIs) on Thursday night by young Freddie Freeman.

While on the subjects of turnarounds and Freeman, the first baseman hit .162 (6-for-37) with one double, one RBI and a .189 slugging percentage in his first nine games. In his past three, he’s hit .538 (7-for-13) with three doubles, three homers, 10 RBIs and a 1.462 slugging percentage.

The Diamondbacks must wonder why Freeman isn’t on the cover of magazines: In his brief career against them, he’s 10-for-23 (.435) with three homers, seven RBIs and a .913 slugging percentage, including 7-for-13 with four extra-base hits and five RBIs in three games at Chase Field.

Freeman hit a homer off lefty Wade Miley on Thursday, giving the Braves a league-high five homers off lefties.

Granted, they also have 171 at-bats, second-most in the NL behind Colorado (which has three homers in 180 at-bats vs. lefties). But the point is, many of us wondered if the Braves, who got even more left-handed with the late-spring acquisition of backup third baseman Juan Francisco, would struggle against lefties the way they did in 2011, since no significant additions had been made to the lineup during the offseason.

The Braves ranked dead last in the NL in 2011 in average (.229), OBP (.291) and slugging (.354) against lefties.

This season against lefties, the Braves are third in average (.281), second in OBP (.346) and second in slugging (.468) behind the Marlins (.472), who have 72 at-bats vs. lefties compared to Atlanta’s 171. And that’s with switch-hitting Chipper Jones having missed more than half the games.

By the way, so far Francisco is 3-for-6 vs. lefties with a double, two RBIs and one strikeout.

The team that many of us thought would struggle again against lefties – and maybe they will; again we know it’s early – is currently hitting .281 with an .814 OPS against lefties, compared to its .246 average (eighth in the NL) and .719 OPS against right-handers.

Go figure.

• Heyward’s heavy impact: One huge part of the team’s improvement vs. lefties (and overall offensive upgrade) is, of course, Jason Heyward, who looks a lot more like the 2010 budding-superstar Heyward than the injury-slowed 2011 version.

After going 3-for-15 in his first five games this season, Heyward is 13-for-31 (.419) with a .471 OBP and .710 slugging percentage in his past nine games. He’s hit .400 during a nine-game hitting streak, with four extra-base hits (one triple, two homers), five RBIs and four stolen bases.

And against lefties, early results are quite encouraging: Heyward, after hitting .192 (20-for-104) with four doubles and two homers against lefties in 2011, has hit .368 (7-for-19) with two doubles and a homer against lefties in the first two weeks of the new season.

His entire approach looks more sound and consistent this season, and pitchers haven’t been able to exploit holes in his swing, jam him inside on a regular basis or get him to chase and flail at breaking pitches away.

All the work he did in the winter and during spring training is paying off for a healthy Jason Heyward, who has a .400 average during a nine-game hitting streak and has been one of the big reasons for the Braves' offensive turnaround.

All the work he did in the winter and during spring training is paying off for a healthy Jason Heyward, who has a .400 average during a nine-game hitting streak and has been one of the big reasons for the Braves' offensive turnaround.

All the the work he did all winter, first with his personal hitting instructor and then from the first of January through spring training  (and ongoing) with new Braves hitting coaches Greg Walker and Scott Fletcher, has paid off. And it’s been a treat watching a healthy Heyward do the things he can do on the ballfield. (By the way, anyone notice that throw to the plate was last night? It got overlooked because he had no real chance to throw out the runner on such a deep sac fly, but Heyward made one of the stronger throws I can recall him making, a one-bouncer right on target.)

“We’re seeing stuff that is exciting to see,” manager Fredi Gonzalez said of the offense, before Thursday’s 10-2 win. “We see Jason Heyward, he’s been working with them since January, with the swing path and everything. Sometimes it’s just a mental thing. I think Greg is an unbelievable mental guy – he talks to these guys and stays positive. He pumps them up.

“Fletch is more of a technical guy. It’s been a good combination. Not that Walker can’t talk about swing path and technical things, but when you’re dealing with hitters their success rates, the good ones are failing 70 percent of the time. The last thing you want to hear is more negative stuff. Greg has got this way of fixing and telling them what they’ve got to fix, and being positive with it.”

Later, Gonzalez added more about the change in hitting instruction technique this year: “I think these guys are buying into it. Like anything else, when you’re dealing with teaching or coaching, your students or you players have got to buy into what you’re selling. If they don’t buy into it, then they’re not going to change. He [Walker] had them right from the very beginning of spring training. Because he let them work and watched initially, he wasn’t overbearing.”

BRAVES LINEUP FRIDAY

  1. Bourn CF
  2. Prado LF
  3. Freeman 1B
  4. McCann C
  5. Uggla 2B
  6. Jones 3B
  7. Heyward RF
  8. Pastornicky SS
  9. Beachy RHP

• More from “unexpected” file: Remember when the Braves’ inordinate number of solo homers was a big topic of discussion for much of last season? (Even if you don’t remember, just say you do – trust us, it was.)

Well, the Braves currently have 15 homers – tied for third in the NL behind the Brewers (19) and Cardinals (16) – of which 10 have come with runners on base, one off the major league lead. The Cardinals and Rangers each have 11 homers with runners on base, and no other team (besides the Braves) has more than eight….

Mike Minor had nine strikeouts and no walks in a career-high eight innings Thursday, and has allowed one earned run in 15-1/3 innings over his past two starts.

Mike Minor had nine strikeouts and no walks in a career-high eight innings Thursday, and has allowed one earned run in 15-1/3 innings over his past two starts.

The Braves led the majors in bullpen ERA in 2012. So far this season they rank 15th in the NL with a 4.05 bullpen ERA, and have league-worst marks in opponents’ average (.333), on-base percentage (.374) and slugging (.364). Again, small sample sizes. But it’s still surprising….

Jonny Venters hasn’t been charged with a run, but the lefty setup man has only one “clean” inning – no baserunners – in six appearances this season. Venters has allowed at least two baserunners in four of his six appearances, including two walks in the ninth inning last night, after starter Mike Minor walked none in eight exemplary innings.

•Gattis is en fuego: You might recall Evan Gattis, the 25-year-old catching prospect we wrote about this spring – remember, the colorful Texan who was out of baseball for about four years while working odd jobs and traveling the western U.S. in search of the meaning of life?

Well, he is making Carolina League pitchers wish he’d do something else for a living.

Gattis is absolutely raking at high-A Lynchburg, batting .435 with four doubles, five homers and 19 RBIs in 13 games, with a .509 OBP and .848 slugging percentage in 57 plate appearances. Those are not typos.

For those who missed the story during spring training, check it out by clicking here.

Or by putting this link into your browser: http://blogs.ajc.com/atlanta-braves-blog/2012/02/29/braves-slugger-gattis-has-a-story-man-does-he-ever/

Etc.

Michael Bourn is 12-for-29 (.414) with a double, a triple, six runs and five steals in his past seven games, with a .485 OBP and .517 slugging. This after going 3-for-24 (.125) with one extra-base hit, two runs and one steal in his first six games, with a .192 OBP and .167 slugging…. Against tonight’s Arizona starter Trevor Cahill (1-0, 1.35 ERA), right-handed batters are 1-for-21 with six walks (.259 OBP); lefties are 5-for-21 with three walks. The only Brave who’s faced him is Jack Wilson (1-for-4)…. Tonight’s Braves starter Brandon Beachy (1-1, 0.75 ERA) has the exact same career .234 opponents’ average by left-handed hitters and right-handed hitters. This season, lefties are 4-for-24 (.167) with two walks against him, and righties are 3-for-20 (.150) with three walks. No Diamondback has more than three plate appearances or one hit against Beachy.

• Let’s close with Robert Earl Keen’s tribute to the late, great Levon Helm, who made the planet a better place before he left us yesterday. You can see REK do the song live by clicking here.

Levon Helm

Levon Helm

“THE MAN BEHIND THE DRUMS” by Robert Earl Keen

We left New York City, with nuthin’ but a song,
she’ll be coming’ ’round the mountain when she comes.
We wound up in Woodstock, at an old time jamboree,
came to see the man behind the drums.

Levon digs the doghouse, playing in The Band,
when he locks in to that backbeat it ain’t hard to understand.
Get your body movin’, celebrate your soul,
Levon digs the doghouse, that’s sho-nuff rock and roll.

Son of a plain dirt farmer, from southeast Arkansas,
he was born in a bare ramblin’ shoe.
Up and down the highway, and all around the world,
laying down the rhythm and the blues.

Levon digs the doghouse, playing in The Band,
when he locks in to that backbeat it ain’t hard to understand.
Get your body movin’, celebrate your soul,
Levon digs the doghouse, that’s sho-nuff rock and roll.

We were hangin’ from the rafters, singing every song,
that big barn band was hot as it could be.
Up there in the spotlight, the man behind the drums,
was takin’ all the load off for you and me.

Levon digs the doghouse, playing in The Band,
when he locks in to that backbeat it ain’t hard to understand.
Get your body movin’, celebrate your soul,
Levon digs the doghouse, that’s sho-nuff rock and roll.

Yea, Levon digs the doghouse, that’s sho-nuff rock and roll.

— David O’Brien, Braves/MIB blog

1,248 comments Add your comment

nolie

April 20th, 2012
3:58 pm

Thank you DOB.

PMC

April 20th, 2012
3:58 pm

I remember, I said it.

Color me impressed, and pleased.

Fish Bisch

April 20th, 2012
4:00 pm

Kayhill owns us :cry:

nolie

April 20th, 2012
4:01 pm

yeah we have never beat him….

nolie

April 20th, 2012
4:03 pm

no Chipper again tonight?

Stress releiver

April 20th, 2012
4:03 pm

These 10 run smack downs are a lot less stressful then last seasons 1 run games every night.

cabravesfan

April 20th, 2012
4:03 pm

lineups are not up yet, nolie :)

MiaBchBravesFan

April 20th, 2012
4:04 pm

I thought you meant in the context of the new season, nolie.

Enquiring Minds Want to Know

April 20th, 2012
4:05 pm

I think anyone who pretends to know what the Braves have, one way or the other, in Mike Minor is fooling themselves. He might be a star in the making who has recently turned the corner. He might be journeyman pitcher on a little hot streak. He might be one of those frustratingly inconsistent types who will vacillate throughout an overall mediocre career. We’ll need to have a little perspective, don’t you think?

Sample size, and all that.

brian

April 20th, 2012
4:08 pm

I am still surprised that on the last blog people spent a good bit of it today bashing Minor. Can’t we just praise and enjoy his success?

Another question – what % of 1st rounders make the majors and what % contribute significantly to their team? I think a lot of teams would be thrilled to have a young #3 starter with their 1st round pick.

nolie

April 20th, 2012
4:08 pm

yeah I figgered MBBF ;)
and I will be just as thrilled as anybody else if he becomes a star

Powderfinger

April 20th, 2012
4:09 pm

This is one of those days where I really wish we had an earlier game time…

Notewise

April 20th, 2012
4:09 pm

Outstanding “nugget-filled” blog! Thanks, DOB. GO BRAVES!!!

John in Wichita

April 20th, 2012
4:09 pm

My favorite blog quote ever: “The Braves decided to continue the season and not disband the team.”

Murph

April 20th, 2012
4:12 pm

Ward

April 20th, 2012
4:12 pm

Thought I would drop in for a couple of post. Great blog DOB! We are lucky to have writers like you, and Carroll.

Ward

April 20th, 2012
4:13 pm

Here some thing to think of? Who would you rather see Gattis, or Bethancourt? I would go with the big guy Gattis.

cabravesfan

April 20th, 2012
4:14 pm

Ward-

I think, if Gattis even makes it to the majors, it will be a while and not as a catcher…

Rufus

April 20th, 2012
4:15 pm

Eh, they’ll fade again. Then we can start complaining and demanding Freddie’s firing again, right?

/sarcasm

Ward

April 20th, 2012
4:17 pm

Cab – I know, and figured lets start the debate.

MFin04

April 20th, 2012
4:17 pm

Take out Chad Durbin’s stats and I’m sure we lead the NL in bullpen ERA. ;)

Whiskey River

April 20th, 2012
4:17 pm

You cannot get away Murph I am still here. When are you going to admit what you did. Do you think you are too good to right a wrong. When you admit to everyone what you did then I will think about leaving you alone.

nolie

April 20th, 2012
4:17 pm

ooking at 14 years of Baseball America’s top prospect lists to determine the relative success and failure rate of prospects. The conclusions are a real splash of cold water:

About 70% of Baseball America top 100 prospects fail.
Position player prospects succeed much more often than pitching prospects.
About 60% of position players ranked in Baseball America’s top 20 succeed in the majors.
About 40% of pitchers ranked in the top 20 succeed in the majors.
About 30% of position players ranked 21-100 succeed in the majors (with the success rate declining over that ranking range from about 36% to about 25%)
About 20% of pitchers ranked 21-100 succeed in the majors (with the success rate declining over that ranking range from about 22% to about 15%)
Prospect success rates have not improved much over time and there is little data to support the contention that prospects are more likely to succeed now than they have in the past.
It should be said that these numbers are not predictive and they’re based on only 14 years of data off just one top 100 list per year.

It’s particularly stark how often pitching prospects fail. 77% of the pitchers in Baseball America’s top 100 list from 1990-2003 have failed to turn into average players.

It is What it is

April 20th, 2012
4:18 pm

Same answer as after the 4 game slide. It’s only 9 games plus it’s against the worst teams in the world, the Astros and the Mets.

Still say 84 wins tops and 3rd place

Quote Reader

April 20th, 2012
4:18 pm

@Fish Bisch So do Wandy Rodriguez and RA Dickey, typically.

bravesgrl4life

April 20th, 2012
4:19 pm

Keep the juggernaut rolling, Braves, keep it rolling :grin:

Powderfinger

April 20th, 2012
4:19 pm

On the next episode of “I Know What You Did Last Blog”…

nolie

April 20th, 2012
4:19 pm

time to get shutout…..

cabravesfan

April 20th, 2012
4:19 pm

Ward-

Don’t think there is much to debate right now…or in the near future

DAP

April 20th, 2012
4:20 pm

nolie there is no doubt minor is better than most people here thought he would be when he was drafted. after he was drafted,…DAP

no he is not.

actually, yeah he is. he was drafted at #7 as a soft tossing polished lefty. as soon as he started in pro ball, his velocity ticked up, and he began striking out alot of guys. the perception of him was immediately changed once he started doing that. its a fact. when he was drafted, absolutely no one thought he would throw 93 and K a batter per inning. nobody.Enter your comments here

Ward

April 20th, 2012
4:21 pm

Francisco, is awsome…….Like his power, and love the way he crushes the long ball.

bravesgrl4life

April 20th, 2012
4:23 pm

Yeah, nolie, lets hope the old reverse psych blog doesn’t work this time :)

nolie

April 20th, 2012
4:23 pm

actually no he is not. he was drafted with a projection of a #3 starter that is where he is headed. . I don’t know where you thought he would be but most all who complained about the pick admitted that he would likely be an average pitcher, their complaint was about up side.

keylargo

April 20th, 2012
4:23 pm

ATLANTA BRAVES FIRST ROUND PICKS

Anyone who thinks a fisrt rounder is a sure thing better think again. You’d have a hard time putting together a team that could compete with Gwinnett out of this bunch.

1965 Dick Grant First baseman Watertown High School
(Watertown, Massachusetts) 12 [16]
1966 Al Santorini Right-handed pitcher Union High School
(Union Township, New Jersey) 11 [17]
1967 Andrew Finlay Outfielder Luther Burbank High School
(Sacramento, California) 12 [18]
1968 Curtis Moore Outfielder Denison High School
(Denison, Texas) 7 [19]
1969 Gene Holbert Catcher Palmyra Area High School
(Palmyra, Pennsylvania) 12 [20]
1970 Ron Broaddus Right-handed pitcher Brazosport High School
(Freeport, Texas) 21 [21]
1971 Taylor Duncan Shortstop Grant Union High School
(Sacramento, California) 10 [22]
1972 Preston Hanna Right-handed pitcher Escambia High School
(Pensacola, Florida) 11 [23]
1973 Pat Rockett Second baseman Robert E. Lee High School
(San Antonio, Texas) 10 [24]
1974 Dale Murphy Catcher Woodrow Wilson High School
(Portland, Oregon) 5 [25]
1975 Donald Young Catcher Dos Pueblos High School
(Goleta, California) 18 [26]
1976 Ken Smith Third baseman East High School
(Youngstown, Ohio) 3 [27]
1977 Tim Cole Left-handed pitcher Saugerties High School
(Saugerties, New York) 4 [28]
1978 Bob Horner Third baseman Arizona State University
(Tempe, Arizona) 1 [29]
1979 Brad Komminsk Outfielder Shawnee High School
(Lima, Ohio) 4 [30]
1980 Ken Dayley Left-handed pitcher University of Portland
(Portland, Oregon) 3 [31]
1980 Jim Acker Right-handed pitcher University of Texas
(Austin, Texas) 21[a] [31]
1981 Jay Roberts Outfielder Centralia High School
(Centralia, Washington) 12 [32]
1982 Duane Ward Right-handed pitcher Farmington High School
(Farmington, New Mexico) 9 [33]
1983 no first-round pick[b] [34]
1984 Drew Denson First baseman Purcell Marian High School
(Cincinnati, Ohio) 19 [35]
1985 Tommy Greene Right-handed pitcher Whiteville High School
(Whiteville, North Carolina) 14 [36]
1986 Kent Mercker ‘95 Left-handed pitcher Dublin Coffman High School
(Dublin, Ohio) 5 [37]
1987 Derek Lilliquist Left-handed pitcher University of Georgia
(Athens, Georgia) 6 [38]
1988 Steve Avery ‘95 Left-handed pitcher John F. Kennedy High School
(Taylor, Michigan) 3 [39]
1989 Tyler Houston Catcher Valley High School
(Las Vegas, Nevada) 2 [40]
1990 Chipper Jones ‘95 Shortstop Bolles School
(Jacksonville, Florida) 1 [41]
1991 Mike Kelly ‘95 Outfielder Arizona State University
(Tempe, Arizona) 2 [42]
1992 Jamie Arnold Right-handed pitcher Osceola High School
(Kissimmee, Florida) 21 [43]
1993 no first-round pick[c] [44]
1994 Jacob Shumate Right-handed pitcher Hartsville High School
(Hartsville, South Carolina) 27 [45]
1995 Chad Hutchinson* Right-handed pitcher Torrey Pines High School
(San Diego, California) 26 [46]
1996 A.J. Zapp First baseman Center Grove High School
(Greenwood, Indiana) 27 [47]
1996 Jason Marquis Right-handed pitcher Tottenville High School
(Staten Island, New York) 35§[d] [47]
1997 Troy Cameron Shortstop St. Thomas Aquinas High School
(Fort Lauderdale, Florida) 29 [48]
1998 no first-round pick[e] [49]
1999 no first-round pick[f] [50]
2000 Adam Wainwright Right-handed pitcher Glynn Academy
(Brunswick, Georgia) 29[g] [51]
2000 Scott Thorman Third baseman Preston High School
(Cambridge, Ontario) 30 [51]
2000 Kelly Johnson Shortstop Westwood High School
(Austin, Texas) 38§[h] [51]
2000 Aaron Herr Shortstop Hempfield High School
(Lancaster, Pennsylvania) 40§[g] [51]
2001 Macay McBride Left-handed pitcher Screven County High School
(Sylvania, Georgia) 24[i] [52]
2001 Josh Burrus Shortstop Joseph Wheeler High School
(Marietta, Georgia) 29 [52]
2001 Richard Lewis Third baseman Georgia Institute of Technology
(Atlanta, Georgia) 40§[i] [52]
2002 Jeff Francoeur Outfielder Parkview High School
(Lilburn, Georgia) 23 [53]
2002 Dan Meyer Left-handed pitcher James Madison University
(Harrisonburg, Virginia) 34§[j] [53]
2003 Luis Atilano Right-handed pitcher Gabriela Mistral High School
(San Juan, Puerto Rico) 35§[k] [54]
2003 Jarrod Saltalamacchia Catcher Royal Palm Beach High School
(Royal Palm Beach, Florida) 36§[l] [54]
2004 no first-round pick[m] [55]
2005 Joey Devine Right-handed pitcher North Carolina State University
(Raleigh, North Carolina) 27 [56]
2005 Beau Jones Left-handed pitcher Destrehan High School
(Destrehan, Louisiana) 41§[n] [56]
2006 Cody Johnson Outfielder A. Crawford Mosley High School
(Lynn Haven, Florida) 24 [57]
2006 Cory Rasmus Right-handed pitcher Russell County High School
(Seale, Alabama) 38§[o] [57]
2006 Steven Evarts Left-handed pitcher Thomas Richard Robinson High School
(Tampa, Florida) 43§[p] [57]
2007 Jason Heyward Outfielder Henry County High School
(McDonough, Georgia) 14 [58]
2007 Jon Gilmore Third baseman Iowa City High School
(Iowa City, Iowa) 33§[q] [58]
2008 Brett DeVall Left-handed pitcher Niceville High School
(Niceville, Florida) 40§[r] [59]
2009 Mike Minor Left-handed pitcher Vanderbilt University
(Nashville, Tennessee) 7 [60]
2010 Matthew Lipka Shortstop McKinney High School
(McKinney, Texas) 35§[s] [61]
2011 Sean Gilmartin Left handed pitcher Florida State University
(Tallahassee, Florida) 28 [62]
[edit]Footnotes

southern hope

April 20th, 2012
4:23 pm

I really really wish that the AJC engineers would add a LIKE button to these comments…it is truly not hard…even with home=grown message board technology…and then all of us could give props to great postings….

c dog

April 20th, 2012
4:23 pm

it seems like the steals are up as well

glove51

April 20th, 2012
4:23 pm

DOB, I saw REK in concert at The Cain’s Ballroom 2 weeks ago and he sang that song. I had no idea Levom Helm was sick again until about 2-3 days ago. He was just a lovely guy from all acounts.

phil

April 20th, 2012
4:23 pm

Good effort today, DOB. Thanks.

I note we’re hitting under .300 as a team of late.

We should disband it immediately and fire all concessions staff back home at the Ted….

Ward

April 20th, 2012
4:23 pm

Fish Bisch – Braves are due, and I think the Braves will own him tonight. It’s about time the Braves own Arizona.

Pure Evil

April 20th, 2012
4:24 pm

Whiskey River what’s your secret to making it through each day without throwing yourself into oncoming traffic!!

Ralph

April 20th, 2012
4:25 pm

DOB, This team started the season with the “Top 10 IF’s List” i’m not going to list them because we all know what they were. We all knew that if most of those IF’s turned out to be a positive rather than a negative that we would have a strong team but most of us thought that most of the IF’s would be negative. Well so far most of us were wrong and almost all the IF’s have been positive and that is why they are doing so well. I just hope things continue in that direction.

nolie

April 20th, 2012
4:25 pm

that has a lot to do with Heyward being lighter and quicker this season I think c dog

Juan

April 20th, 2012
4:25 pm

Ward….Remenber this Cisco Kid is only 24 y rold…i love it to….I think he can be ours Future 3 base

Ralph

April 20th, 2012
4:25 pm

DOB, This team started the season with the “Top 10 IF’s List” i’m not going to list them because we all know what they were. We all knew that if most of those IF’s turned out to be a positive rather than a negative that we would have a strong team but most of us thought that most of the IF’s would be negative. Well so far most of us were wrong and almost all the IF’s have been positive and that is why they are doing so well. I just hope things continue in that direction.

Murph

April 20th, 2012
4:25 pm

You cannot get away Murph I am still here. When are you going to admit what you did. Do you think you are too good to right a wrong. When you admit to everyone what you did then I will think about leaving you alone.

Alright, I’ll admit it. I didn’t really make green chile cheeseburgers last night. I ended up picking up a rotisserie chicken on my way home from work because I didn’t feel like grilling.

There… whew! I feel a lot better, you’re right.

Oh… and I had sex with Whiskey River’s wife.

Ward

April 20th, 2012
4:25 pm

Cab – It was a nice try.

Ward

April 20th, 2012
4:26 pm

Who did the Braves pick this year in first round. I missed it?

nolie

April 20th, 2012
4:26 pm

I bet that was an ordeal Murph. I hear she is ugly as sin

nolie

April 20th, 2012
4:27 pm

not til early June ward

phil

April 20th, 2012
4:27 pm

southern hope

April 20th, 2012
4:23 pm

I really really wish that the AJC engineers would add a LIKE button to these comments…it is truly not hard…even with home=grown message board technology…and then all of us could give props to great postings….
************
What great postings?

TennesseePaul

April 20th, 2012
4:28 pm

Thanks for the work DOB.

GO BRAVES!!!

From now on I will be utilizing the S³ marker when refuting a claim based on a small sample size. (If, of course, this post turn out like I hope it will.)

nolie

April 20th, 2012
4:28 pm

there are a couple of nice polished college lefties available though….

Powderfinger

April 20th, 2012
4:28 pm

Not only is she ugly, but she deflates every 10 minutes or so…

DAP

April 20th, 2012
4:28 pm

great blog, DOB. funny.

nolie

April 20th, 2012
4:29 pm

many of scoots postings are great

Frankie Wren

April 20th, 2012
4:29 pm

Joe Mather rakes against the D-Backs! As long as Nate stays clear of Heyward shagging fly balls, this game is in the bag.

MiaBchBravesFan

April 20th, 2012
4:29 pm

keylargo: I dunno. Looking over the names, I can put a team together that can give the G-Braves a run for their money! :-)

CrαZy

April 20th, 2012
4:29 pm

Ward
I don’t believe we had a 1st round pick last year and this year it’s in June 21st pick!!

Murph

April 20th, 2012
4:30 pm

I took one for the team. Mrs Whiskey River might not be much to look at and all, but the slump is over, isn’t it?

You’re welcome Braves fans.

Ward

April 20th, 2012
4:30 pm

All have a good one! Be cool , and excellent towards one another, and Peace my friends….. “Go!!!!!Braves!!!!!” Let’s keep the Good Times Rolling……..Talk tonight……..

IHEARTCARROLL

April 20th, 2012
4:30 pm

We are still last in HBP. Not one. Could someone please lean in and take one for the team ?

phil

April 20th, 2012
4:31 pm

Is that opinion, nolie, or fact? :-)

MFin04

April 20th, 2012
4:31 pm

“time to get shutout…..”

Well if the defense didn’t play soo poorly we could probably get some shutouts. Man we’ve given away some runs lately.

Whiskey River

April 20th, 2012
4:31 pm

Thats not what I am talking about and you no it. Cannot stand to be attacked when you are4 wrong. Let everyone know what you did and maybe the man upstairs will forgive you. Get it out. You and I both know what you did. All you have to do is tell everyone else. Truth hurts .

richbrave

April 20th, 2012
4:31 pm

So let’s assume FATSISCO is really ‘LEAN GENE’ instead and his recent hitting streak is not an aboration. Let’s assume FREDDIE FREEMAN does not have a ‘Sophomore Jinx’ slump. Let’s assume this is the real JASON HEYWARD. and not that shill in a BRAVES uniform form 2011. Where does that leave us hitting-wise?

And how about that MIKE MINOR huh? Maybe we don’t have to mail in a first place finish in the division after all.

But we better be more that 2-4 in the division, if we want to be on top at the end. Let’s get after trhese competitors withing the N.L. East in earnest!

nolie

April 20th, 2012
4:31 pm

need to sign Don Baylor or Craig Biggio

phil

April 20th, 2012
4:31 pm

Ward’s ceaseless optimism is depressing…

nolie

April 20th, 2012
4:32 pm

fact to any discerning reader

Whiskey River

April 20th, 2012
4:32 pm

BTW Whiskey River is nor married. So you LIE again

DAP

April 20th, 2012
4:32 pm

nolie most all who complained about the pick admitted that he would likely be an average pitcher,

based on the idea that he was a finesse/control pitcher, when actually he is a strikout/power pither. thats what im saying when i say he is better than he was when he was drafted.

no one knew he was going to throw in the low 90s and K a batter per nine. its a fact. everyone was surprised that he did and is still doing it. im not talking about rotation slot projections, i dont care about that. but, there is no doubt he is doing things right now (and has been doing them for a few years) that no one thought he could do when he was drafted.

TJ Lambert

April 20th, 2012
4:33 pm

God Bless Levon Helms RIP. F

BravePack(FreeFan)

April 20th, 2012
4:33 pm

Murph

Oh… and I had sex with Whiskey River’s wife.

Murph was Mrs. Murph involved as well? You lucky dog you.

phil

April 20th, 2012
4:33 pm

It wasn’t THAT, was it, Whiskey?

nolie

April 20th, 2012
4:34 pm

but he still has an ERA of 4.5. his increase in speed led to less command

southern hope

April 20th, 2012
4:35 pm

Now see, Phil, I would have given you two LIKES for that…and that’s social currency in your pocket, son.

DAP

April 20th, 2012
4:35 pm

nolie, his ERA from partial seasons is irrelevant to my point. hes better than anyone thought he was when he was drafted.

Juan

April 20th, 2012
4:36 pm

Braves Draft # 21…hope Victor Roches still available…

Coach (2012 Fredi's beisbol fandango)

April 20th, 2012
4:37 pm

Last night was certainly impressive in that our Braves played nearly perfect baseball. Pitching, defense (except for Uggla), power and speed. All facets of the game were on display.

And Chipper didn’t even play. Of course the foursome of McCann, Uggla, Freeman and Heyward were expected to eventually become a murderers row…..but this soon? Geesh.

As for our starting pitching. Mike Minor looks and pitches like a ten year veteran. Kid reminds me of a young Tommy Glavine. Then with the expected return of Tim Hudson our pitching should get even better down the road. So as long as they stay healthy, avoid overusing the bullpen and get by with a short bench, our Braves should continue to compete.

phil

April 20th, 2012
4:37 pm

Nolie, your hatred towards Minor is distressing to many.

You must stop it.

nolie

April 20th, 2012
4:39 pm

he might be to you but he damn sure isn’t to me. I don’t care that he throws harder since so far it has led to no more success.

Whiskey River

April 20th, 2012
4:39 pm

He knows what he did, He is just not man enough to admit it. Like I said. I am not married so he lies again.

Coach (2012 Fredi's beisbol fandango)

April 20th, 2012
4:40 pm

O yea….

Thirteen for fifteen in stolen bases. Don’t pinch me, I don’t want to wake up from this delicious dream :)

Tumbledown

April 20th, 2012
4:40 pm

Enjoyed reading the blog DOB. Thanks.

MFin04

April 20th, 2012
4:40 pm

Probably the top two plays last night, were Martin’s running catch in LF, or his throw to home to get the runner AND McCann going 1st to 3rd on a bloop single to right.

He did have that bonehead play trying to get a double to the right field wall. He was channeling his inner Jason Heyward/Michael Bourn I guess.

Lew

April 20th, 2012
4:41 pm

nolie – And after his age 22 season two years ago, he had a 5.98 ERA, primarily as the result of four starts in September 2010.. But he isn’t that pitcher now and has not been for almost a year now. Since last May 25, he’s a 3.63 ERA pitcher who is getting better with each start.

nolie

April 20th, 2012
4:41 pm

being able to throw harder is not a valid definition of being better, tons of guys who throw harder than he ever will are failures

Chris from the Rock

April 20th, 2012
4:41 pm

Francisco for shortstop!!!

El Bravo

April 20th, 2012
4:41 pm

Cahill has averaged 5.6 walks per 9 innings over his MLB career. Lets see if the Braves can stay patient against this cat. If we can walk a few runners on base for the big boppers I would not be surprised if we put up a big number again tonight…

Al

April 20th, 2012
4:42 pm

If Cody Johnson is playing this year, where is he Playing?

Jbailz

April 20th, 2012
4:43 pm

Thanks DOB – Can I ask what this damn Meebo bar on the bottom of my screen is? Is that an ajc thing or my computer?

nolie

April 20th, 2012
4:43 pm

AA Yankee team

nolie

April 20th, 2012
4:44 pm

if it was in your computer it likely wouldn’t appear only on the AJC page

cabravesfan

April 20th, 2012
4:45 pm

Jbailz-

It’s an ad- if you hover your cursor over the right side arrows (the blue ones that are pointing up), a menu bar will pop up and allow you to hide the bar

J-MAN

April 20th, 2012
4:45 pm

I’ll give Fredi Gonzalez credit for getting the team off that0-4 scnide but YOU STILL HAVE SOMETHING TO PROVE. Its not in April its in August and September. Now I like that your not using up OVentabrel but you need to also not keep starters in that are not performing….. Jair Jurrjens cough cough…… Dont fall into that Derek Lowe mistake twice in row. Jurrjens hasnt pitched with any consistancy since Late June 2011. His ERA after the All-Star break was 5.88.
His ERA this year is 8.10. Also he got lit up in Spring Training. So you have half a baseball year and 3 start and a Spring Training to see inconsistantacy. Delgado has outplayed Jurrjens noone can tell me otherwise, Julio Teheran, the #4 rated prospect in all of baseball and our number 1 rated prospect is pitching lights out in AAA with a 2.14 ERA. But we have fans that are willing to lose games and “Let him figure it out”, instead of letting BETTER pitchers perform.

Coach (2012 Fredi's beisbol fandango)

April 20th, 2012
4:45 pm

MOVE UGGLA TO LF……………

The drum beat is getting louder and I’m the one pounding on them!!!!

Murph

April 20th, 2012
4:46 pm

He knows what he did, He is just not man enough to admit it. Like I said. I am not married so he lies again.

I admit that I am having a good laugh at you right now. Mrs River was laughing about you too. She told me about your “affliction”… and how you got the nickname “Whiskey River”. Funny stuff.

I’ve heard that happens to a lot of men your age.

Shaun

April 20th, 2012
4:46 pm

There is a gross misunderstanding here and this keeps getting overlooked. Most criticized the Braves’ draft philosophies and criticized the Minor pick in that context. They weren’t criticizing Minor, or arguing that he was likely to be some journeyman, or criticizing the pick in the context of how the Braves chose to budget in the draft. It was much more a criticism of the Braves’ draft philosophies, especially with concern to the economics of their draft philosophies.

Regarding the offense, the Braves are swinging more at pitches both within and outside the strikezone than they did last season. But they are seeing more pitches per PA and obviously posting more impressive numbers so far. It seems they are being more aggressive on their pitches, pitches they can crush, instead of being concerned with getting a pitch they can merely put in play and being overly concerned about contact.

nolie

April 20th, 2012
4:46 pm

I’m getting bored with Minor. y’all are all correct and I am wrong again as usual. a mea culpa for DOB too….

Coach (2012 Fredi's beisbol fandango)

April 20th, 2012
4:47 pm

Mebo bar sucks dark chocolate donkey turds. AJC should get rid of it…NOW.

nolie

April 20th, 2012
4:47 pm

why in God’s name would they move Uggla to LF?

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