Another mid-innings meltdown for Braves’ Minor in loss to Boston

BOSTON – There was plenty to recommend from the Braves’ six-day swing against the traditional American League East powers, but the road trip started and ended in alarmingly similar and troubling results for pitcher Mike Minor.

Minor allowed two walks followed by two homers before getting an out in the fourth inning of a 9-4 loss to Boston on Sunday at Fenway Park, where the Red Sox won the last two games to take the series 2-1.

The Braves finished 3-3 on a trip that began with a series win at Yankee Stadium, where their only loss came in the opening game when Minor sailed through four hitless innings and had a 2-0 lead before giving up three runs in a three-hit, two-walk fifth inning.

Eric Hinske broke from a long slump with a double, triple and two RBIs, and Jason Heyward extended his hitting streak to 10 games and continued his scorching month of June with three hits including a double and his 11th home run. But the seven runs (four earned) off Minor in the fourth and fifth innings put the Braves in a hole from which they could not climb back

“We’ve got to somehow, some way, get over the hump there,” manager Fredi Gonzalez said of Minor’s middle-innings meltdowns. “I keep saying the ‘young pitcher’ phrase. [But] we’ve got to get him over the hump somehow, whether it’s just keep running him out there, let him learn in those situations….”

Or what? Gonzalez didn’t mention any other option, one of which would be to replace Minor (3-5) in the starting rotation with reliever Kris Medlen, who returned just over a week ago from a two-week stint in Triple-A to build arm strength – “get stretched out” – in case he was needed to start.

If the Braves do decide to plug Medlen into the rotation, it might not necessarily even be in Minor’s spot. The Braves have two inconsistent young starters in the rotation, Minor and rookie Randall Delgado, who gave up four runs, six hits and two walks in just 1-1/3 innings of an 8-4 loss on Saturday in the briefest start of his career.

Delgado had pitched eight strong innings in his previous start against Baltimore.

“For us to be consistent we’ve got to have starting pitching,” Gonzalez said. “We’ve got to go two and three times through the rotation and have good outings. We can’t go time and half and all of a sudden have two starters or one starter give you three innings, that kind of stuff. We need to roll through the rotation two or three times with good outings.”

Minor, who on Sunday gave up three homers among six hits in 4-2/3 innings, had allowed just two runs in 12-1/3 innings during two encouraging starts at Miami and at home against the Yankees before going 0-2 with a 6.97 ERA in his starts on the trip to New York and Boston.

But those two previous strong starts were exceptions during a period in which Minor has gone 1-5 with 7.16 ERA in 11 starts while allowing 70 hits, 28 walks and a whopping 18 home runs in 60-1/3 innings.

“I’ve felt good my last four starts,” said Minor, who has a 6.14 ERA overall. “I know you’re not going to have your greatest stuff every time. I feel like today is one of those days.”

After giving up a three-run homer by Cody Ross followed two pitches later by an Adrian Gonzalez solo homer in the fourth inning, Minor watched his teammates score three runs in the top of the fifth to cut Boston’s lead to 4-3. Then he committed the pitching sin of giving up three runs in the bottom of the inning, including another two-run homer by Ross.

It didn’t much matter to Gonzalez that those three Red Sox runs in the fifth were unearned, after shortstop Andrelton Simmons’ throwing error to start the inning, the second error in 20 games for the impressive rookie since he arrived from Double-A.

“As a pitching staff we’ve got to cover that up,” Gonzalez said, meaning it was up to the pitchers not to overcome an occasional miscue. “Nobody goes out there without making errors or a mistake, a bloop single…. As we go forward with these guys, we’re going to have to cover that up….

“I think in the last six innings we’ve scored runs, we haven’t had a shutdown in five of their home halfs — they’ve scored right back at us. And that’s just tough to do, to keep doing that. These guys are second or third in their league in hitting and scoring runs, so it’s a good offensive team. But we’ve got to take it upon ourselves as a pitching staff to bear down and get a shutdown inning.”

The Red Sox have won seven of their past eight games to climb to four games over .500 (38-34) for the first time this season.

“We just ran into a pretty hot team,” said Hinske, who had been 4-for-58 with no extra-base hits before Sunday during a career-worst slump since a four-hit game May 4 at Colorado. “They’re swinging the bats well. If you look at the road trip, you say you split on it and take the positives. Winning three in a row and then losing the last two, you never want to do that. But we played pretty well.

“We swung the bats good, strung some runs together. We just gave up too many runs early to try to fight back from the last two days.”

160 comments Add your comment

Ken Stallings

June 24th, 2012
8:08 pm

I’ll repeat what I wrote earlier today:

“Got a little … edgy on the mound.” — Fredi Gonzalez on Delgado.

Ditto that for Mike Minor!

The main problem that the Braves have with their young starters is that they lack mental toughness. Anytime something goes the least bit wrong, a little adversity creeps into the game, they go from cruising to disaster in quick order. The reason is a lack of toughness.

In today’s game against the Red Sox, Minor did the exact same thing. He was crusing through the first three innings. Then, he started pitching like he was scared to throw strikes and walks two runners to start the bottom of the fourth inning. He then throws a cookie with two runners on the bases and surrenders a three-run homer on a low inside “wheel house” cement mixer slider that had “hit me hard” written all over it!

Then, his team scratches out three runs to make the score 4-3 and a mentally tough pitcher goes back out rejuvinated. But, Minor goes out and surrenders another homer after a throwing error put base runners on. Mentally tough means putting that throwing error out of your mind.

That is the difference between being a Tom Glavine, Greg Maddux, or John Smoltz kind of pitcher versus being a Mike Minor or Randall Delgado type pitcher (or any number of other highly regarded rooking ptichers who flammed out.) Glavine, Maddux, and Smoltz all had mental toughness. Even when Smoltz needed a psychiatrist early in his career, he still had toughness. He overcame. The difference between being a winner and a loser is that the winner gives up a run or two and then gets tough and ends the damage.

Had Minor done that today, or Delgado yesterday, both pitcher could have won those games as the Braves hitters cam back in both games to score multiple runs. But, both pitchers lost focus and toughness and turned a few runs into a flameout.

They better learn how to be mentally tough. They won’t get much more time to learn on the job!

Coach (2012 Fredi's Beisbol Fandango)

June 24th, 2012
8:09 pm

When the hottest hitter on the team is in the six hole, and the coldest is batting clean up……

YOU DESERVE TO LOSE.

Brian from Villa Rica

June 24th, 2012
8:09 pm

Minor is on thin ice.

Coach Joe

June 24th, 2012
8:11 pm

Coach Joe

June 24th, 2012
8:16 pm

Team is so hot/cold..Jeckyl/Hyde..Minor/Delgado…one has to go..Slot JJ back in after his last performance..put Medlan in rotation..Minor to bullpen or use Delgado/Minor in the same game… both of them are strong fist time thru the order…try something ..this rotation is not working…

Ken Stallings

June 24th, 2012
8:21 pm

The Braves scored enough runs in these last two games to win them both. Had the starting pitchers been effective, the offense would have had the chance to score more. These last two losses go squarely on the backs of the two starting pitchers.

Kris Medlen proved the point. He relieves Minor after the second melt down in the fifth inning, and he surrenders an RBI double, but with the runner on second, he stays tough and throws strikes and gets out of the inning without further damage.

This is precisely what both Delgado and Minor need to do. Both have had starts where they dominated. They looked great in those starts, but they have to get the toughness to weather adversity and limit damage.

dawg4u

June 24th, 2012
8:22 pm

I would like for Fredi to say something that at least gets the fan base thinking that he’s just as frustrated as we are which I feel is the first step in doing something about it.. He keeps running up pitchers hoping for a different result. How about managing and thinking and making decisions to fire this team up. The Braves team is a business as usual club that needs a Ron Gant type guy in the clubhouse – an edgy, competitive guy that hates to lose. Chipper used to be that guy that replaced Gant but he’s a short timer here now with injury issues and looking at retirement. I love Chipper Jones and his contributions to the Braves but my feeling is with FG as manager – we really need a take charge type team leader who hates to lose and will call out fellow teammates. Okay I feel better now! Go Braves and thanks DOB.

dawg4u

June 24th, 2012
8:26 pm

@Ken Stallings – totally agree with both of your posts and couldn’t have said it better!

Who Me?

June 24th, 2012
8:29 pm

Fredi needs to go back and take baseball mgmt 101. Highly questionable use of the bullpen,set up of the batting order, and in-game decisions indicate he doesn’t have the fundamental soundness to run this team.

ChipChop

June 24th, 2012
8:30 pm

I’m sure this has already been said, but time for Minor and Medlen to swap spots, just to see if Medlen can do better. If not, then maybe we need a Garza or someone similar.

And I would love to see us go get Willingham from the Twins and stick him in left. No disrespect to Prado, but we can move him around between 3rd, 1st and the outfield to have him start almost every day. Willingham would give us more pop and a good average. Diaz and Hinske only need to PH or be late inning replacements. Starting for them doesn’t seem to be working this year.

ltdbrave

June 24th, 2012
8:33 pm

Pitching stinks, can’t believe the number of HRs given up, middle of batting order hitting 233, 244 and 247, McCann, Ugla and Freeman. Braves aren’t going anywhere this season or any season til this is fixed. that will not happen until someone other than a corporation, buys the Braves.

Ken Stallings

June 24th, 2012
8:38 pm

Coach,

Gotta a newsflash for you here!

Ready for it?

Dan Uggla leads the Braves in nearly every offensive category! Furthermore, he went 1-4 in today’s game. Uggla leads the team in HR, RBI, runs scored, and until recently OPS. Prado leads in OBA and batting average. So, putting Uggla in the cleanup slot makes perfect sense.

Uggla also went 1-4 in yesterday’s game, scoring a run.

Despite having to come from behind, the Braves scored four runs yesterday and today. But, they were behind the entire way. This means the Braves never could move runners over but instead had no choice but to keep them where they were and hope to sequence a lot of hits together for a huge inning.

That’s the price paid for your starters failing to keep their teams in the games.

Largo

June 24th, 2012
8:43 pm

I don’t feel good today, I can’t play…………….. I feel fine today, think I’ll go pick up my paycheck. Guess who.

Profiler

June 24th, 2012
8:59 pm

Largo….you are an idiot!

Largo

June 24th, 2012
9:05 pm

LakeDawg

June 24th, 2012
9:17 pm

Just wondering…did Chipper plan on playing at least 80 games this year? Or is he just picking up an extra 15 mil to help with the divorce he saw coming?

Wil Wheaton

June 24th, 2012
9:18 pm

The chipper pic says it all. Retire NOW, TODAY, Larry.

Whiskey River

June 24th, 2012
9:20 pm

He pulled a hamstring going home with paycheck. Can’t play 6 weeks.

LakeDawg

June 24th, 2012
9:25 pm

Ken has a good point. The Braves lack toughness. And its not just the young pitchers. This culture of softness has run through the program since they blew the 96 World Series. Great tralent for many years, but after 96 you knew they wouldn’t ever win another World Series and they didn’t. They have had some individually tough players, but as a team they couldn’t summon up the gumption to play to their potential.

LakeDawg

June 24th, 2012
9:26 pm

Gotta go. I keep accidentally scrolling across the Walmart logo and I hate Walmart..

moboman

June 24th, 2012
9:26 pm

Minor wears the “no intestinal fortitude” face when he’s out there pitching. Until he ditches that hangdog face and has some fire in his eyes, I’m ready for him to go back to Gwinett to get his act together. He doesn’t look like he’s ready to belong here.

1eyedJack

June 24th, 2012
9:30 pm

Is Medlin still stretched out?

BravesfaninWis

June 24th, 2012
9:35 pm

If the Braves want any chance at getting to the post season, they need to get rid of Minor and Delgado. Whether that is using them in trades, or sending to the minors, it doesn’t matter to me, just get them the hell out of the rotation. We have 3 of the 5 starting pitchers that are extremely iffy, and you can’t have that when you are trying to get to the playoffs.

We all know that Delgado, Minor, and Jurrgens are very capable of giving up so many runs that it completely takes the Braves out of the game. Hell, even Hanson and Hudson aren’t that reliable all the time. We have a very shaky starting pitching staff to say the least.

The Braves need to make a trade or two for starting pitching, otherwise they may as well throw in the white flag right now. If the rotation consisted of Hudson, Hanson, Garza (hopefully) Jurrgens, and Medlen, I would say the staff is instantly better. Garza would be a huge upgrade over either Minor or Delgado, and Medlen I believe would be a upgrade over either of them as well. If Jurrgens can get back to pitching like he did last season, the staff would be good.

Hopefully the front office is talking with the Cubs about Garza and they can pull something off. I prefer Garza over Dempster because Garza can be had for at least a few seasons, and is younger whereas Dempster is a free agent after the season. It would make more sense to give up some top tier prospects to get Garza. It would take a few prospects to get him, but at this point I think Delgado and Teheran are available. I know they are both young and could easily come around, but both don’t look like they are going to live up to the hype that surrounded them a short time ago.

nuh uh

June 24th, 2012
9:38 pm

Here’s the plan: Add Medlen to rotation and keep both Minor and Delgado. Every 5th day start Delgado and let him go until he falls apart. Then, bring in Minor to relieve for 3 or 4 innings since that’s all he’s good for anyway. Hopefully the two of them will be able to team up to get it to the 9th for Kimbrel. Oh, and the Braves will have to score at least 5 runs or so on those days.

I’m a genius.

cj

June 24th, 2012
9:40 pm

Why isn’t Heyward Batting 3rd???

nuh uh

June 24th, 2012
9:44 pm

Also, carry and extra reliever and start using Ross off the bench as a pinch hitter and just hope McCann doesn’t get hurt.

Boom, I’m a genius again.

BravesfaninWis

June 24th, 2012
9:44 pm

I agree with the Willingham idea. Next year when Chipper is gone, we can stick Prado at 3rd, and have Willingham as our starting LF. That would gove the offense more pop. Then hopefully with the money saved from Chipper’s and Lowe’s contracts, the Braves can afford to extend Bourn. Having a guy who can get on base all the time at the top of the order, steal some bases, and easily score on a base hit is huge. Get the guy signed and stop being cheap already. You can spend 15 million a year on a guy who plays 100 games at most, but can’t spend the money needed to keep a game changer at the top of your order who happens to be one of the best defensively as well. I could never understand this team.

welikebaseball2

June 24th, 2012
9:46 pm

To many question marks in the starting rotation. This series: We HOPED to get a resurgent outing from Jurrjens (fortunately we got it), we HOPED the inconsistent rookie Delgado would hold up well against one of the top offenses in the league (fail), & today we HOPED Minor wouldn’t stink it up as bad as he has all season (fail). Those, folks, were the 3 pitchers we ran out against the Boston Red Sox. If we don’t make a bold pitching move, it’s going to be a long season.

southgabrave

June 24th, 2012
9:47 pm

My batting order:
NAME GP AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI TB BB SO SB CS BA OBP SLG OPS
Michael Bourn 72 309 48 96 14 4 6 24 136 22 65 20 7 .311 .356 .440 .797
A Simmons 20 70 5 23 4 1 2 10 35 5 8 0 0 .329 .368 .500 .868
Martin Prado 70 276 42 87 19 3 5 28 127 27 30 8 1 .315 .378 .460 .838
Dan Uggla 72 254 49 62 14 0 11 42 109 50 82 0 2 .244 .370 .429 .799
Jas Heyward 69 241 39 67 15 4 11 35 123 25 62 10 3 .278 .351 .510 .861
Fr Freeman 59 231 36 57 13 1 9 41 99 16 62 0 0 .247 .295 .429 .724
Chipper Jones 39 138 19 38 5 0 5 26 58 16 17 0 0 .275 .348 .420 .769
Brian McCann 57 213 23 50 9 0 9 32 86 23 30 1 0 .235 .308 .404 .712

If we had another left fielder, Prado would supplant Chipper at 3b and the LFer could bat 7th

JNick

June 24th, 2012
9:49 pm

Who is Jurrgens (is he the lotion boy?) and why is McCann still hitting 3rd? He’s the worst hitter on the team right now….he has no business hitting 3rd – he of the .200 average and 4 RBI in June. Wasn’t there just an article on AJC a few weeks ago about him “finding the flaw in his swing and fixing it…”???? Seems like you might want to go back to the drawing board, McCant.

Also…who is Medlin? We have Jurrjens and Medlen….if you’re going to post on here about someone, at least spell their name correctly (unless you’re poking fun at someone, i.e, McCant)

Ken Stallings

June 24th, 2012
9:54 pm

I understand the frustration with Chipper’s limited playing time, especially since it is on the back end of three consecutive such seasons. I am frustrated also. But, I would like to balance the analysis just a bit.

All of baseball is gaga about whom Kevin Youkilis will be traded to (just announced to the White Sox). As a primary third baseman, with a good glove, let’s take a look at Youklis and Chipper this season:

Youklis: 42 games played: 146 AB’s, 25 runs scored, 35 hits, 7 doubles, 1 triple, 4 homers, 14 RBI’s, 14 walks, 39 strikeouts, 0 stolen bases, .233 BA, .315 OBP, .377 slugging, .692 OPS.

Chipper: 39 games played: 138 AB’s, 19 runs scored, 38 hits, 5 doubles, 0 triples, 5 homers, 26 RBI’s, 16 walks, 17 strikeouts, 0 stolen bases, .275 BA, .348 OBP, .420 slugging, .769 OPS.

Folks, it’s not even a contest! Chipper is a far better hitter this season than is Youkilis!

Chipper is 40 years old and Youkilis is a lot younger — drafted in 2001! Chipper was drafted in 1990!

Salary? Youkilis is making $12.25 million. Chipper is making $14 million. I would say frankly that Chipper is earning his money a lot more so than the man whom prompted a bidding war in a trade — one that sadly the Braves just were not equipped to compete in.

That last point is where the rubber hits the road, this year and in the future. Youkilis has a career OPS of .832 while Chipper has a career OPS of .932! Folks, a career OPS of .932 is huge! That’s why Chipper is going in the Hall of Fame and Youkilis is not!

Still, the rubber hits the road because the Braves are hamstrung by a tight-fisted ownership group and unliike when we could steal Fred McGriff from the Padres, the Braves are no longer a choice destination for a veteran player looking for post-season opportunity. Youkilis would have been a very nice trade if the Braves could have gotten him.

I’m frustrated because chronic injury is keeping a career .932 OPS batter out of our lineup and retired from baseball next year. It seems some of you are frustrated because you regard Chipper as deadwood. He’s hardly deadwood people! The man’s OPS in 2012 is a very healthy .769. Second newsflash in one blog for me tonight — take a look at how many starting infielders have an OPS of .769 or higher. It’s a mighty thin list, people!

Penpal

June 24th, 2012
10:11 pm

Just watched the Rays take a double header from the Phils and the hero of the Rays was Brooks Conrad. He drove in 4 of the 7 runs. I was shocked to see him playing for the Rays, and as usual, very humble in the interview after the game. Good luck to him. The Rays are my favorite AL team. (I live in Fl.) But the Braves are my team since 1975 when I moved south.

nuh uh

June 24th, 2012
10:11 pm

well done Ken. You’re a genius.

BrianSC

June 24th, 2012
10:19 pm

Its easy. At 3-6 and an ERA north of 6. Minor needs to be sent down. Those numbers are not capable (at the current rate) of contributing to the success of a major league team. They sent Jurrjens down, now its time to send Minor down.

DJ

June 24th, 2012
10:29 pm

If I know that almost every time Minor starts he pitches very well in the first 3 innings and then gets pounded, how does FG not know this? They either need to replace Minor in the starting rotation OR do what the Rays just did in game 2 of their double dip sweep of the Phillies tonight, starter pitched 3, reliever pitches 3, another pitches 2, another pitches 1. Minor would be an awesome 2-3 inning relief pitcher.

phoenix

June 24th, 2012
11:06 pm

“Putting Uggla in the cleanup spot makes perfect sense.” Absolutely. Unless you want to play in the postseason.

TWO GOOD DOGS

June 24th, 2012
11:07 pm

LET’S STOP TALKING ABOUT MEDLEN AS A STARTER. HE’S BEEN ABYSMAL OVER THE LAST MONTH AS A FILL IN OVER 1 OR 2 INNINGS. HIS INHERITED RUNS ALLOWED IS OFF THE CHARTS. HE’S JUST NOT THE GUY. THERE ARE NO PROSPECTS LEFT. WE NEED TO GRAB SOMEBODY TO START AND GIVE UP SOMETHING TO GET HIM. WHOEVER. AND WE DON’T HAVE A MIDDLE RELIEVER THAT’S WORTH CRAP. WE’RE IN TROUBLE NOW AND WORSE IF WE DON’T DEAL. GET RID OF THIS GARBAGE. ALL OF IT. THROW IT ALL OUT,OR FIND A WAY TO USE IT. GOOD LUCK WITH THAT, THIS MIND TRUST IS TOTALLY INEPT.

I’M SURPRISED PEOPLE CAN’T SEE AND HEAR HOW INCOMPETENT WREN IS WHEN ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT THE TEAM AND WHEN HE IS ON TV. HE’S SUCH A FOOL. HE’S SO IMMATURE . TOTALLY THE WRONG GUY FOR MANAGEMENT. BETTER HAVE HIM ARGUE SEASON TICKET STUFF IN THE TICKET OFFICE WITH OLD LADIES . I’D NEVER HIRE HIM WITH WHAT HE’S BROUGHT TO THE MEDIA AND HIS ATTITUDE.

JAFO

June 24th, 2012
11:21 pm

KS- great analysis but NO one is gaga over youk. It was a pr blast and misdirection of the fo and boston media. No comparsion required. Boston can afford, miss, and keep going. Shockingly they got more than expected.

Del

June 24th, 2012
11:26 pm

Attention Mr Mgr: Some of the lineup fought back. However, the power slots of 3 thru 5 did sguat, as usual.

PMC

June 25th, 2012
12:09 am

Is this team really 15 and 17 at home really? wow.

So, I’m thinking if they really can get Garza for Teheran, might not be a terrible idea.

PMC

June 25th, 2012
12:10 am

Still frustrated with the drafting of all these average pitchers high in the draft when they are hurting for quality outfielders off the bench and several other positions like 3rd could have been addressed.

Wish Uggla was a left fielder still.

reckingball

June 25th, 2012
12:22 am

The Braves need get players that never lose games, then everything will be alright.
go braves!

reckingball

June 25th, 2012
12:22 am

JO JO MINOR

June 25th, 2012
1:48 am

why the people tak about TEHERAN FOR GARZA??? WHY NOT MINOR AND AA PROSPECT FOR GARZA???

WHY TEHERAN lol ahaahahah HE DONT HAVE THE FAULT ABOUT MINOR CRAP

FRANCHISE GUY

June 25th, 2012
1:51 am

WELL IF CHIPPER REALLY LOVES HIS TEAM HE MUST NEED TO RETIRE DURING ALL STARS GAME BREAK

WITH THE REST OF THE CONTRACT OF HIM THE BRAVES CAN TRADE FOR A NICE OF

Matt

June 25th, 2012
1:59 am

And Minor was all high on himself back in spring training, talking about wanting to be traded if he didn’t make the starting rotation. Hindsight is 20-20. Next time a player runs his mouth like that, ship him out of town while we can.

ButterMilk Tuesdays

June 25th, 2012
2:18 am

What are Wren and Gonzalez waiting for, exactly? I just don’t understand their mentality or the way they run this club, it doesn’t make any sense whatsoever. You’ve got a 5-man rotation that has two rookies that hold losing records and are essentially automatic losses when it’s their turn to throw. Beachy is gone, and Jurrjens is still a question mark, as we still can’t say for sure whether he’s going to be able to cut it, at least until we see a few more starts from him. Why don’t we shake things up a little bit? Let’s have Medlen in the rotation and have Minor take Medlen’s bullpen duty. I can understand the desire to have at least one LHP in the starting-five, but let’s face it, Minor is not ready to be a major league SP, and it’s only hurting the team’s chances to win ballgames when he’s starting. An additional LHR would be great, and I think Minor would be an effective one. I’m not saying he should be converted into a career LHR, but for the rest of the year, I think that’s where he would help the team the most. Let’s send down Delgado, and bring up Todd Redmond and see what the guy can do in the rotation. Redmond is a really solid pitcher, his stuff is by no means electric, but the dude puts together quality outings on a consistent basis. That’s what we need from our starting pitchers, consistency… Delgado and Minor just aren’t providing this. At the very least, give Redmond a spot-start and see how he does. If his outing is promising, put him in the rotation… the guy deserves a chance. Varvaro, I’m not a fan of, the guy’s fastball doesn’t have much movement and he can have a difficult time locating his pitches. Send him down, and bring back up Gearrin. Gearrin wasn’t given a fair shot his last call-up, and I believe he deserves another chance.

And lordy, we really need to address our bench. Jack Wilson is completely obsolete at this point, and there’s no reason to keep him on this team. Release him, he’s wasting space. I love Hinske and Diaz, but they need to get things straightened out, and they need to do so in the minors. Once they work on their hitting mechanics a little and start driving the ball again, bring them back up. Until then, bring up some new blood, they’ve got Lipka, Gattis, Terdo, Cunningham, and Bethancourt, (and we’ve got Pastornicky as well). Bring a couple of them up and at least see what they can do. I really don’t understand why we haven’t already brought a few up, some of these guys could have provided invaluable depth at 1B, 3B, C, and LF. Those positions, as we all know, are the source of many potential issues for this club. Give them a shot, let’s see what we have.

The heart of the lineup… well, my heart aches just thinking about it. We all know Uggla’s “Beast Mode” comes in waves, but until another “Uggla Tsunami” arrives, Gonzalez needs to bite the bullet and move his friend down in the order. I know that has to suck to do that to his buddy, but it needs to be done. McCann, I love the guy, but he should be nowhere near that 3-hole. Even when McCann comes around, he’s not a 3 hole build… that’s Heyward, and given Heyward’s recent performance, I would say that he’s earned the opportunity to hit clean-up for the time being. And really, regardless of Heyward’s performance, he should be in that 3 hole, and I think it’s pretty apparent why that should be the case rather than McCann, Freeman, or Chipper… the slow-pokes. ;) Freeman, again, I love this guy too, but he’s not getting it done. You have to move him down in the order. Simmons is consistently getting on base and pitchers have no idea at this point how to pitch to him, why not take advantage of that? Move him up in that 3-hole for now.

Bourn, Prado, Simmons, Heyward, Jones, McCann, Uggla, Freeman, (Pitcher’s spot)– This lineup would surely produce more runs. Why not try it out? There’s no reason to continue employing the same order when it’s clearly not at it’s most effective.

I truly don’t understand the lack of urgency from management at this point, are they not even willing to try some things before the trade deadline? How are we going to know what we actually need if we don’t shake things up a bit? We may not even need a starting pitcher, but until we bring up some guys and see what they can do, we won’t know. Obviously, we don’t want to make another epic mistake like the Teixeira deal… or do we? I can’t even tell at this point.

O’Brien, what’s your take on all of this? Is there something I’m missing here? Is Wren and Gonzalez pleased with our current roster?

David the Shepherd

June 25th, 2012
2:21 am

“Or what? Gonzalez didn’t mention any other option, one of which would be to replace Minor (3-5) in the starting rotation with reliever Kris Medlen, who returned just over a week ago from a two-week stint in Triple-A to build arm strength.”—DOB

Hey Dave, instead of asking yourself or us this question, why not ask the “leader” of the club? Afraid he might not invite you on a poker run? — David the Shepherd

Hey, Dave, why don’t you read the quotes before asking about something you don’t know anything about? You’d see we asked several questions about specific plans, and Gonzalez tap-danced around them and said he wasn’t going to get into discussing it 20 minutes after the game.

Or just act tough and parrot the same comments that the same five or six folks on here have said since they grew to dislike Gonzalez and/or the beat writer that cover the team, and pretend we didn’t ask him yesterday about whether Minor would stay in the rotation and whether he needed to make a chance. Makes no difference to me. Just keep clicking, Dave. But if you care to actually read the questions and answers, they’re in the quotes from yesterday.

Here, I’ll even provide a link since I wouldn’t want you to have to look too hard and disrupt the flow of your eloquent questions to me about taking a motorcycle ride to do a long interview with Gonzalez before his first spring training with the Braves. Here you go, Dave, just for you: http://blogs.ajc.com/atlanta-braves-blog/2012/06/24/braves-quotes-after-sundays-loss-to-red-sox/?cxntfid=blogs_atlanta_braves_blog

David the Shepherd

June 25th, 2012
2:25 am

Reckingball, go grab HomoSolo & sing some Kum Bah Yah while you jump off a cliff.

hank henneman

June 25th, 2012
4:09 am

would anyone trade Minor and Delgado for Cliff Lee? … not saying the Phills would, or what price would we pay?

hank henneman

June 25th, 2012
4:11 am

I think this “in division” mentality is crap … should be what’s best for the team

longtimefan

June 25th, 2012
6:55 am

To some above:
1) Chipper is not going to retire or be released or some such nonsense before the end of the season. He is still an excellent hitter.
2) Prado is not going to be turned back in to some super utility guy. He is an All- Star caliber everyday player.
3) You don’t bring up your most talented minor league players in the middle of the season unless you are going to let them play every day. You let them play everyday in the minors.

joe

June 25th, 2012
7:12 am

Minor, Delgado,Tehran….. 3 “can’t miss” guys that can’t pitch effectively/ consistently at the major league level. End of story !

Larry

June 25th, 2012
7:38 am

Ken,

The fallacy in your argument is all your stats regarding Chipper are WHEN he plays! The problem is he plays so little at such a great, handicapping cost to this team he is hurting this team more than he is helping due to his continued, prolong absences. In fact, based on his project number of innings played this season, his actual annualized income is closer to probably double that of his $14,000,000.00 salary.

He’s simply not a good investment by any measure and if he had an ounce of integrity he’d just retire. You can see it in his eyes, mannerisms and behavior he’s already emotionally retired and is simply collecting checks…at the detriment of his team and its fans.

I say…shame on him!

Larry

June 25th, 2012
7:42 am

As for this manager, I’ve said from the moment he was without competition (because of the booger picker) for this position, he’s an absolute pinheaded dolt…just dumb as a box of rocks and absent any sort of baseball instincts or intuition.

That this dolt has batted Brian McCann, and not our best al around hitter, Prado, in the number 3 spot for so long says everythin abou his utter, unabashed idiocy. Cox was stubborn to the detriment of his team; Gonzalez is both stubborn and stupid.

Juno Scrotuso Ali

June 25th, 2012
7:43 am

Fredi will keep Uggla hitting 4th no matter if he goes 0 for 200. I’d bench him for two games. Ditto for McCann’t hit.

Juno Scrotuso Ali

June 25th, 2012
7:46 am

I agree Buttermilk. Move Simmons and Heyward up and Uggla & McOut down. Now.

Juno Scrotuso Ali

June 25th, 2012
7:49 am

DOB, why don’t you ask Fredi about moving Uggla & McCann down in lineup or benching them a few games ? The Red Sox Benched slumping Youkilis and Middlebrook became a star. Everybody wants to talk about the struggles of Delgado & Minor but won’t talk about the struggles of Uggla & McCann. Why the double standard ? All four suck right now.

Carl Farvman

June 25th, 2012
8:01 am

“Everybody wants to talk about the struggles of Delgado & Minor but won’t talk about the struggles of Uggla & McCann. Why the double standard ? All four suck right now.”

True, but really, without consistantly competent starting pitching none of this other stuff matters. The Braves really don’t have the talent necessary to get consistantly strong starting pitching. Some can talk generally about mental toughness and all the other cliches—–but the club has no God-given right to duplicate a staff of the qualities of the past…Smoltz, Glavine, etc, etc……..it is what it is.

Juno Scrotuso Ali

June 25th, 2012
8:11 am

Exactly. Give the AAA guys a chance. They might become a Beachy,Kimbrel,Simmons,or Heyward if given a chance. You know the awful performance you’re gonna get from Wilson,Hinske,Diaz,Venters,and Minor.

davidinvirginia

June 25th, 2012
8:12 am

I’ll believe Fredi is serious about winning games when I see Heyward hitting in the 3 hole. But The Frediot doesn’t like him, so he’ll continue to bat in the bottom half of the order and lead off innings after the out-makers ahead of him kill any rallies that might be going in the previous inning.

re: Mike Minor…I never thought the guy was as good as he was hyped to be, but I didn’t think he’d be this bad either. Looks like Bruce Chen lite with less personality, and that probably isn’t being fair to Chen who has managed to hang around in the majors for a long, long time despite Cox thinking he wasn’t good enough to pitch in Atlanta. Medlen should be the rotation ahead of Minor (who belongs back in the minors)…Delgado has sucked at times, but at least has shown flashes of being a major league quality pitcher this season. Minor has just shown himself to be a AAA quality mid-rotation guy…at best.

Juno Scrotuso Ali

June 25th, 2012
8:13 am

I disagree. If Uggla & McCann both were going 4 for 5 (with some home runs) most games the team would be scoring 3 to 6 more runs per game. That would make the 4-3 losses 6-4 wins. You need both hitting and pitching to win.

alanfalcon

June 25th, 2012
8:15 am

Medlin has to be given a starting rotation start, with what happens to Minor it seems that he would be better in the pen as he can’t get pass 4 innings, Delgado is also a big question mark and maybe, just maybe someone like Redman or a trade for a proven starting pitcher. The only thing that is coming out as for as Minor and Delgado is a 90% chance of a loss.

PaulG

June 25th, 2012
8:24 am

Lineups, lineups……it’s counter intuitive but there have been hundreds of simulations of lineups & there is no evidence that various combinations work

What ?

June 25th, 2012
8:27 am

Enough of Minor/Delgado, ENOUGH !!! They ARE killing us. They need to be in AAA working on skills, NOT downtown working on them.

Where is Chicken wren ???? Off doing summer school work at The don waddell school of how to be THE WORST GM in your sport !!!!!!! This guy is so outclassed it is awful !, Hell he could not manage the roster of a girls T-Ball team, He MUST BE FIRED and a Solid replacement named !!!

Let’s not forget “freddi”, the nuse is getting much tighter and if between Today and the All-Star game, we are still floundering, GOOD-BYE !

Formul8or

June 25th, 2012
8:39 am

Rotation needs to be Hudson/Hanson/Jurrjens/Medlen/Teheran

Teheran did fine his last outing until Fredi pulled him for Livan who gave up every inherited runner

Kenshin Kawakami

June 25th, 2012
8:50 am

I’m available and can be in Atlanta tomorrow ready to start.

dean

June 25th, 2012
9:02 am

Mental toughness? This off-season maybe Mike and Randall could do 13 weeks at that SC resort known as Parris Island. Make a reality show about it. Be forewarned though, the last “celebrity” who tried it didn’t last a week.

TomB

June 25th, 2012
9:05 am

Fredi stayed with the young pitcher too long again. Minor is not Glavine, and Fredi’s handling of the pitching staff is horrible. I mean he lost to a Valentine coached team twice…Arghh.

Kenshin ; Be ready, just the kind of move Wren would make.

Felix

June 25th, 2012
9:15 am

During the game, as the Braves played more like clowns than ballplayers, the dog was barking at the TV again. It’s really funny. I think he senses when I’m mad. He must think I’m angry at the TV….so he gives the TV hell.

Gene

June 25th, 2012
9:15 am

Minor is on track to beat Lowe’s losing record of last year. It is not doing this kid any good to send him out to put games out of reach by the 4th inning. There are too many holes in this team, from the front office down, for any possibility of post-season play. Man up, Chipper. Mantle played half of his career with alcohol induced flu like symptoms.

Braves Management

June 25th, 2012
9:18 am

Kenshin: Yeah, sure. You know what, just stay close to a phone. Yeah, that’s it, like you are on standby.
But don’t call us, we’ll call you.

Let's Go

June 25th, 2012
9:20 am

This Braves team is not a bad team, actually a good team, but far from being a great team. With the new wildcard format this team could be in that 1 game playoff for the 4th spot but they first have to address some big problems because yes they can win 4 or 5 in a row at anytime but they also could just as easy drop 8 in a row.
Starting pitching is not as strong as people thought coming out of Spring Training and another arm would help but it’s not terrible and really no team has 4 aces on their staff.

Relief pitching is a problem and in reality may be the biggest concern right now. The closer is find but after that it’s ugly. Because Medlen doesn’t walk a lot or give up HR’s he may be best suited for the 8th inning set up spot because O’Flaherty just doesn’t have it this year and Venters has been very shaky the month of June.

Hitting is nuts right now. The 3 spot in the lineup has been a big problem of late and I don’t know what the answer is there but the Braves need to find someone that can get a hit because Bourn & Prado are doing their job but getting left on base too many times. McCann has been in a slump all year and right now Freeman and Uggla are not getting it done either. They both strike out too much but at least Dan takes a walk every now and then, Freddie only has 16 walks to go against 62 K’s. It might be time to put Jason in the 3 spot and move Freeman down to 7th.

If the Braves make a trade this year I believe it has to be for starting pitching with a move of Minor or Delgado to the bullpen. Another hitter would be great but where are you going to play them and the Braves recent history of getting big bats in mid season trades as been pretty bad.

shorty

June 25th, 2012
9:25 am

Fire Fredi without his awful managing this team would be in front by 10 games…his incompetence has caused at least half of our losses and send Wren out the door with him…Francisco and Hernandez were not what this club needed and neither is Fredi’s laid back style…that experiment has failed miserably.

reckingball

June 25th, 2012
9:28 am

I don’t know what that youngun(Dave the Slepherd) @ 2:25am is doing up at that time in the morning, but he shouldn’t be talking to grownups like that.

I think my idea by about getting players that never lose games, is a perfect solution to the Brave’s problems.
go braves.

Buddy Landel

June 25th, 2012
9:36 am

Angel Wings

June 24th, 2012
8:05 pm

@My Thoughts I am going to leave you alone. But just a thought. A woman can say what she wants off duty. I an not a kid , I am 24 yrs old and just graduated from academy. So I will bid you farewell and won’t be back. Thanks for calling me a liar. I do not appreciate that. I put a lot of work into where I am. So thanks for nothing
****************************************************************************************

Will “Samantha” the stripper ever stop with the multiple screen names?????

Felix

June 25th, 2012
9:40 am

I have decided to lower my expectations for this year. There are too many pitching and hitting issues. I’d like for the Braves to spend the rest of the season developing the young pitchers like Minor, Medlen and Teheran. Also, getting J.J. and Venters back on track. I don’t want to see Wren go out a pay a bunch of money for someone like a Garza or Dempster. I’m just hoping the Braves can stay around .500 for the year and build for next year.

trophymom

June 25th, 2012
9:41 am

Luis Salazar to Atlanta & Fredi to Lynchburg so that team can show him what winning is all about!

Winchester

June 25th, 2012
9:43 am

“Keep running him out there”…what more info do you need to see in Minor? My Lord! The kid is not major league material. We lose every game he pitches. Get rid of him. He is infectious bad karma.

Ditto for Degado.

Winchester

June 25th, 2012
9:45 am

Ditto for Venters.

Marvin Mangrum

June 25th, 2012
9:45 am

You have two problems. First Delgado and Minor are not ready for the bigs. You can dance with, you can talk to it , but regardless of where you go they aint ready. Number two, your pitching coach is infact not a pitching coach. He may be an arm tossers warm up guy, he may even have a great bench personna, but regardless he aint no coach. Evidence? Sure! Minor is piece number one, Delgado is piece number two. Fire the guy you got right now, then either rehire Leo Mazzone or the guy for the White Sox. In 30 days you will be much better. Now Wren and Fredi G, thats another story.

hunter55

June 25th, 2012
9:51 am

Why is double play McCann still bating 4th, enough said.

reckingball

June 25th, 2012
9:54 am

Basically, all that Fredi Gonzalez has to do, is make the hitters score runs when the Braves pitchers are pitching good. They will win a lot more games if he does.
Any idiot can see that.
go bravos

Yogi Berra

June 25th, 2012
9:55 am

Mr Wren the great young pitchers are not really so great. Seems you put all your marbles in one bag. Then you put the bag in Roger (the mouth) McDowell’s hands and that was a no-no!
Three years now you said you’ve been looking for a RH bat for LF..while throwing money away for Lowe, KK, Nate & etc..you have failed at your job and should be fired. Plus hiring a dumb manager!

phoenix

June 25th, 2012
9:57 am

Folks, don’t get too bent out of shape. This is a .500 ball club. This is what Liberty Media is paying for, and this is what we’ll get. If you’re expecting greatness, you’re rooting for the wrong team. If a couple of guys get hot, the Braves will finish 3rd. If not, it’s a 4th place team. Kimbrel, Prado and Bourne will keep them out of the cellar.

But with a mediocre player like Uggla clogging the cleanup spot, a once-good hitting catcher like McCann on the decline, Chipper on his farewell tour and nothing more, and duds like Francisco, Diaz and Wilson somehow on a major league roster….this is not a postseason team. Nowhere close.

Marvin Mangrum

June 25th, 2012
9:58 am

Sorry, its been bugging me a long time. First time thru the order its the pitcher, second time thru its the pitcher, third time thru its tha, why is it tha pitcher? If General Patton is on the mound moving the ball up and down right and left over and over again, and by the fifth inning hes still doing this and it aint working, why is it the pitchers fault? The pitcher throws what the catcher asks for which is generally what the manager asks for! If you got Whitey Ford why would you want Casey calling pitches for him. Certain throwers like certain recievers, there must be a reason? But why in tha hell would a freaking guy that record is near 500 be calling pitches for a major league guy. I mean, good enuf for the majors, too stupid to get with the catcher on pitches?

bvillebaron

June 25th, 2012
10:03 am

I am ususally a glass half full guy, but I just don’t understand how Minor still remains on the roster and the Braves still parade him out there every 5th day. I understand that you need to be patient with “young” pitchers and that he is the only left hander in their rotation, but frankly I see little or no progress with him and feel that he has done nothing to remain in the rotation.

A few facts foks. Gonzalez keeps repeating how Minor is “young”. The fact of the matter is that he turned 25 last December. By contrast, Delgado is 22 and Teheran I think is still only 21. Minor is a former No. 1 pick, whereas both Delgado and Teheran were free agent signees.

Minor has made 37 starts (i.e. more than one full season) and has an ERA of 5.29 and a 1.49 WHIP. Delgado has made 21 starts and has a 3.98 ERA and 1.38 WHIP. I see improvement and promise with Delgado, but little or no improvement with Minor and confusion and uncertainty.

I also saw where Gonzalez said that Minor had nothing more to “learn” in the minor leagues. Hey Fredi, the Braves aren’t the Chicago Cubs who are in complete rebuiling mode and can afford to keep sending a guy out to learn “tough lessons”. The Braves are contenders and this is not a lab experiment. I understand that they are hesitant to promote Teheran because he has been inconsistent in AAA. However, I for one don’t think he can pitch any worse than Minor. If they don’t want to promote Teheran and want to keep Medlen in the bullpen, then how about Redmond or ever Buddy Carlyle. I know the latter will result in a number of howls on here, but he is a veteran who at least will give the team a chance to win which is something Minor simply is not doing right now and has not done far too often over his career.

Tom

June 25th, 2012
10:13 am

Are the braves keeping minor in the rotation, just to have a lefty in the rotation? About time to give mionr the nick name Chuck, as in Chuck James.

PMC

June 25th, 2012
10:15 am

Minor is very lucky that he’s left handed.

PMC

June 25th, 2012
10:18 am

Phoenix, they are a 2nd place team if guys get hot, who else in this division is any good? It’s a bunch of average teams.

BravesRealFan

June 25th, 2012
10:21 am

Hey DOB how about doing a report on how GOOD Heyward’s play has been lately? what happened to that? you were quick to post a report on how bad his play was earlier in the year. how about now?

BravesRealFan

June 25th, 2012
10:22 am

oh, and i don’t hear ANY report of MINOR being sent down after a horrible start like that. What’s the logic there? he’s NEVER been as successful as JJ, yet he’s STILL on the rotation.

Sounds like a good ole boys club thing to me.

Sons of Rick Matula

June 25th, 2012
10:25 am

I don’t see the Braves firing Fredi … unless they completely tank and are sub 500 at the All Star break. We are stuck with the Fredi face for another three plus months.

They won’t fire him because Wren will be asked to defend the totally lame job he did (or basically the job he failed to do) in restocking the club after the September collapse. I hate to pick on Jack Wilson, he’s probably a great guy and all, but what is he doing on this roster? Diaz got one big hit off CC Sabathia. Give him a lovely parting gift. Hinske’s Sunday showing was the first sign of life from him all year.

It’s an organizational failure. Over-rating “talent,” mis-managing pitching, doing things “the Braves way.”

Clean house!

te29wr

June 25th, 2012
10:28 am

Deer in the hes Freddie He has no clue as hw watches his rookie pitchers get banged around and does not get off his dead ass to go to the mound or send the pitching coach or catcher The only to talk to them is Simmons the rookie. He has three guys batting below 250 and keeps then at 3-4-5 in the batting order. A sub thirdbasemen who strikes out 60% of the time GET RID OF FRED

reckingball

June 25th, 2012
10:29 am

Watching yesterday’s game, another solution occured to me, on how to help Minor, and possibly Delgado, pitch better and have less walks, more consistantly.
The Braves need to hire some of the old-time umpires, to call their games, from behind the plate.

Whiskey River

June 25th, 2012
10:42 am

@ Buddy Landel Mind your own business. It is you who is Acting up. For your information, I know your Samantha{not real name} I arrested her twice. I was the one who helped her get to the institution where she is, Your Samantha is in a mental institution in Oregon. She has no contact with the outside world. So get your facts right befopre you start telling lies. MIND YOUR OWN BUSINESS!!

Ebenezer Snerdberg

June 25th, 2012
11:00 am

Minor, like Delgado has no business in the ‘Bigs’ at this time. Just the way it is. Seems we need a new Conditioning Coach as well as Pitching Coach. Our young starters seem to have trouble lasting past 4-5 ininngs!

Ebenezer Snerdberg

June 25th, 2012
11:04 am

Cool down Whiskey. As a former MAA in the Canoe Club, I know how you feel.

BravesRealFan

June 25th, 2012
11:05 am

I agree Ebenezer. Minor, like Delgado, should have been treated like Famous Gonzo did to JJ. Not the other way round. That’s my issue w/ that. He’s treating JJ like a minor leaguer and Minor like a 10 seasoned pro. I have a serious issue w/ that, and DOB is not calling him out on that cuz i know he saw the same thing too

Coach Joe

June 25th, 2012
11:08 am

Love the blog….Its either pop the champagne or walk the plank..

Love Chipper..He was raking before he got his with the line drive…Even If he retired at the All-Star Game his salary is still owed him. Doesn’ come off the books to free up money to spend…He’ll catch fire and we can ride him and the kids into the play-offs…

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