Braves say things are better as another September looms

SAN DIEGO – The Braves lead the National League wild-card race but have lost eight of the past 12 games as September approaches. Fans can be forgiven if this is starting to feel all too familiar.

Twelve months isn’t a lot of time to forget one of the worst collapses ever by a would-be postseason team.

The Braves’ mantra since spring training has been that last season’s meltdown – 20 losses in the final 30 games – was something they learned from and made them stronger, but was otherwise behind them. They still said something to that effect Wednesday, on the last day of a 4-6 trip that included series losses at Washington and San Diego and a four-game split at San Francisco.

“I’m not thinking about last year, I’m not thinking about yesterday, I’m not thinking about tomorrow,” third baseman Chipper Jones said after Wednesday’s 8-2 loss against the Padres, in which the Braves played uncharacteristically sloppy defense and got a rough outing from Tommy Hanson, a recent weak link in an otherwise improved starting rotation.

“I’m just going to go out and play the game and I’m going to play it as well as I can and let the chips fall where they may,” Jones said. “We’re going to have to win some close, big ballgames down the stretch. And I don’t foresee it being any different than last year in the fact that the last couple of weeks to a month of the season, every game is a playoff game.”

Jones, who’s retiring after the season, and his younger teammates believe the Braves are in better position this year to avoid a September swoon. So does manager Fredi Gonzalez.

They based that on the lineup and starting rotation being deeper and healthier, and the bullpen being more rested than it was entering September 2011, when closer Craig Kimbrel and setup man Jonny Venters struggled after otherwise terrific seasons.

This year, Braves pitchers lead the NL with a 3.07 ERA since the All-Star break, and they’re getting strong work from four starters: Tim Hudson, ascendant ex-reliever Kris Medlen, July addition Paul Maholm and much-improved Mike Minor.  Hanson’s recent starts are troublesome, but the Braves could have an option for his spot if Ben Sheets’ sore shoulder calms down.

With Hanson and Jair Jurrjens hurt most of the second half in 2011, the Braves pieced together their rotation and got 11 September starts from rookies Minor, Randall Delgado and Julio Teheran, too often of the five-inning (or less) variety. Derek Lowe was an abysmal 0-5 with an 8.75 ERA in September.

“Last year I just remember we kept getting down early, one, two, three runs,” catcher David Ross said. “It felt like for half a month everything was an uphill battle, every win was really tough. It doesn’t feel that way this year. We’ve got guys who are going to keep us in the ballgame, do their job and just go out there and have fun and grind at-bats.”

After having Kimbrel, Venters and Eric O’Flaherty all among baseball’s top eight in relief appearances in 2011, including a majors-high 85 for Venters, the Braves have none among the National League’s top 10 this season.

“Hopefully it’ll help them in this last month,” center fielder Michael Bourn said. “Last year I noticed we were putting them in every day when I came [in a July trade]. Even though they’re young, everybody gets tired at some point, I don’t care who you are.

“Things like that happen and you learn from it, and you try your best not to let it happen again. We tried our best last year. This year we’re going to try to give it a better effort that we did last year. I think we’ll come out better than we did last year, too.”

The Braves seem to be enjoying the games more in the second half this season than a year ago, when they began to wonder what else could go wrong, and question whether their injury-riddled pitching staff could hold it together. Or who in the lineup could pick up the slack on any given day for the Braves to hold off  teams like the Cardinals, who heated up when the Braves stumbled in 2011.

“For me the fun is, I’m on the field every day, able to contribute and go out there and affect the ballgame,” said right fielder Jason Heyward, enjoying a resurgent season after being slowed by a sore shoulder in 2011 and spending time on the disabled list and the bench. “Not just be out there for support, but be able to actually affect the ballgame physically, playing the game.

“That’s what you want to play for, for the chance to win the division, going to the playoffs and playing some October baseball.”

The Braves’ 2011 collapse began in late August, a month that saw Heyward hit .213 with two homers in 47 at-bats. This year in August he’s hit .280 with a team-high seven homers and 17 RBIs in 107 at-bats.

Martin Prado struggled mightily last season after missing 5-1/2 weeks for staph infection that required surgery. He hit .219 with a .611 OPS in August 2011, and has hit .275 with a .776 OPS this month.

But while those two are back to their 2010 All-Star form, the Braves are getting career-worst seasons from catcher Brian McCann, who has hit .194 with no extra-base hits in August while playing with a frayed labrum and cyst in his right shoulder, and Dan Uggla, hitting .150 with six homers in his past 71 games.

McCann also struggled late last season, hitting .180 in his last 37 games after returning too soon from a DL stint for an oblique strain.

Trailing Atlanta by 10-1/2 games in the wild-card race on the morning of Aug. 26, 2011, the Cardinals won 23 of their final 32 games including a sweep against the Braves, whom they overtook on the last day of the season to win the wild card.

There was only one wild card in each league, so the Braves were done. Shell-shocked and done for the year after a 13-inning, season-ending loss to the Phillies.

Don’t look now, but the Cardinals were just 2-1/2 games behind the Braves (74-57) before Thursday, when the Braves had a day off following a demanding stretch of 20 games in 20 days. St. Louis played Washington on Thursday in the opener of a series that could help to either shrink the Nationals’ five-game lead over the Braves in the NL East standings, or increase the Braves’ wild-card lead.

But here’s another factor that could make this September different than last: Starting this year two wild-card teams in each league advance to the postseason, not just one. That’s another reason the Braves might avoid stressing out so much if their recent sub-.500 stretch continues for another week and their fan base and media members start drawing more comparisons to last September.

Or, maybe not. Because with the addition of the second wild card there’s a one-game playoff between wild-card teams to determine who advances to the division-series round. That’s made it more of an imperative to win the division, since a wild-card berth no longer means a slot in a best-of-five division series. It just gets you a “play-in” game against the other wild card. Win or go home.

And so the Braves’ goal remains the division title. Even though they just wasted an opportunity to gain ground on Washington when the Nationals lost five in a row while Atlanta sputtered on its trip, the Braves still have a chance, albeit not a great one, of catching them. A year ago, the Phillies had all but clinched the division in August.

“It’s all hands on deck,” Jones said of the remaining schedule. “Let’s go out and grind at-bats, execute our pitches, and make plays in the field and win ballgames. Plain and simple.”

113 comments Add your comment

David from Athens, Alabama

August 30th, 2012
7:33 pm

beachcomber

August 30th, 2012
7:45 pm

Sometime during September, we get Simmons back at SS. That will be a major addition.

Cold Case

August 30th, 2012
7:51 pm

This will be a better September and will be even better when we get Simmons back… DOB, any news of Simmons starting baseball activities and/or rehab assignment? Thanks…

Matt

August 30th, 2012
7:53 pm

@SemperFi Braves Fan– If you’re name means what I think, thank you for your service to ur country which allows me to thump my Bible anytime and any place I can…. GO BRAVES!!!

Venice Jim

August 30th, 2012
7:53 pm

DOB – maybe a Wednesday in the 3rd and 4th paragraphs?

Venice Jim

August 30th, 2012
7:59 pm

Never mind… :)

David O'Brien

August 30th, 2012
7:59 pm

Venice Jim — Impeccable timing. You, I, and the copy editor (on the version I filed for print) all noticed that within the same minute. Your comment and his email arrived just as I was reading it over myself.

You have a future with a green-tinted visor. (Not that copy editors actually wear those anymore, but it’d be cool if they did, and we wore fedoras with a press pass stuck in the ribbon.

Amber Girl

August 30th, 2012
8:16 pm

@Venice Jim Isn’t it ironic that Hamels gets sick Wed. However he suddenly gets well where he can pitch against the Braves, Something fishy in the wind.

Couch Tater

August 30th, 2012
8:16 pm

but it’d be cool if they did, and we wore fedoras with a press pass stuck in the ribbon

DOB – You should do it for Chipper’s last game. Nice conversation piece for years to come.

BravesFan79

August 30th, 2012
8:18 pm

If theres a 1 game playoff, the Braves better use Medlen!

Venice Jim

August 30th, 2012
8:30 pm

Since I was at the game yesterday, it hit me rather quickly (and I spend a lot of time reading essays and such)…

AZBravoFan

August 30th, 2012
8:31 pm

It will be interesting to see when Fredi’s new found “impatience” kicks in with Hanson.

Oh'man

August 30th, 2012
8:33 pm

I don’t get it, why are we talking about Wednesday?

Amber Girl

August 30th, 2012
8:40 pm

@Oh’man Hamels was supposedly sick Wed. Couldn’t pitch. Braves would have missed him. Suddenly he gets well. Will pitch against Braves. Something very fishy

Amber Girl

August 30th, 2012
8:42 pm

@AZBravoFan When Braves out of playoff.

[...] The rest of the article can be found here: Atlanta Braves [...]

Fredo

August 30th, 2012
9:18 pm

lets see, to end August last year they took 2-3 from the Nats (which I’m guessing is the last time they won a series against that team). Lost 2-3 to LA in first Sept series. Then swept by the Phillies, swept the Mets in the Hurricane Irene makeup games, and then the biggie .. swept by the Cardinals.

This time they’ve got 7 “big” home games (to get back on track or give fans more ammo), then 6 road games before they have this years version of last years Cardinals series .. 3 home games vs the Nats

Semper Fi Braves Fan

August 30th, 2012
9:23 pm

That it does Matt, just the whole first is last thing is silly dont ya think

Hy Ronatt

August 30th, 2012
9:26 pm

Personally, I’m looking forward to the Bravos snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.

Dum-Bass

August 30th, 2012
9:31 pm

Noticed one very common denominator in the Braves’ last 3 wins (the two at SF and the one at SD) that jumped out at me. Many commenters on here had been asking for it. Reed Johnson started all 3 of those games in left field. Something else that coincided with that was the fact that in the one win on 8/25 vs SF, there was no CJ and no McCann. In the other win at SF on 8/26 there was no CJ and no Uggla. In the last win vs SD, even though Johnson was in the lineup, and Uggs and BMac also, it probably would not have mattered since this was the “Medlen game” in which he was lights out and the Braves only scored 2 runs off a HR and a double. Coincidence that Reed Johnson was in there for all 3 wins? Maybe, maybe not? Does FG take note of these things? Probably not!

vitriol spewer (phil)

August 30th, 2012
9:36 pm

Phillies are lying in wait for us….ugly weekend ahead more than likely.

sheeesh

August 30th, 2012
10:17 pm

I read it with and without the “Wednesdays”. Reads fine either way to me.

Reed Johnson is a defensive liability. He doesn’t get to as many balls nor does he field the ones he gets to as effectively as Prado/Bourne/Heyward. Other than playing him to give someone a day off when they really need one, he is much more valuable to this Braves team as a PH. Starting him to get an better bat or an extra RH bat in the lineup is done at the cost of downgrading the defense, both in the outfield and, in some cases, at one of the infield positions. But I will concede that one good argument would be if Johnson plays left, Prado plays 2B, and Uggla sits.

Semper Fi Braves Fan

August 30th, 2012
10:32 pm

Uggs sit?? That’s blasphemy!

Coach (2012 Fredi's Beisbol Fandango)

August 30th, 2012
10:49 pm

Things are better?

Well not from my perspective. The boys sound just a wee bit to comfortable right at the moment. So they must be reminded that there a four NL teams within one game of each other, currently vying for two wild card spots.

Tired of excuses!

August 30th, 2012
11:15 pm

The Braves are circling the drain!

Virginia Brave Fan

August 30th, 2012
11:26 pm

Mark my words: Braves will win the NL East and Heyward will finish with more than 30 hrs.

Ken Stallings

August 30th, 2012
11:28 pm

The Braves are better positioned to sustain good play in the final full month of the season. The bullpen is in vastly better condition. We approach September with a starting rotation in better condition, though Ben Sheets must return to form. The offense is better but it would charge ahead strong if Dan Uggla could rediscover the magic that last season made him the hottest hitter in baseball for a full six weeks.

Every team has a series of “ifs” that if they came together positively would drive them to post-season and success. The Braves have those also. A lot had to go wrong to facilitate the epic collapse last season. I doubt we shall see that again.

What we will see is to be determined, and that is the unique joy of September as the Boys of Summer play on to fall. Let’s watch it and enjoy it!

Semper Fi Braves Fan

August 31st, 2012
12:16 am

Ken I agree with you the bullpen is seemingly in better shape than last year, with the exception of 1 person.

Johnny V has had some serious issues with command this year. Speed on pitches, movement, and all that jazz seems good… just cant get anything across for strikes. Then he groves pitches that get hit, and hit hard.

sheeesh

August 31st, 2012
12:36 am

It is true that injuries to starting pitchers and a weary bullpen (along with a lack of offense) were significant factors in the Braves’ collapse last September and the pitching misfortunes are unlikely to reoccur this year. However, one big difference between this year and last is the Braves’ margin for error this year is much smaller. They have 3 other teams (last year there was only StL) challenging them for one of the two WC spots and only about 4 games separating them from the worst of those 3. Fortunately, they lead that race right now by 3 games. But it won’t take as much misfortune to sink the ship this year as it took last year.

At least one of the four teams in the NL WC race is probably going to catch fire in September. And at least one of the four will probably fold like a cheap card table. Should be fun and, at times, gut-wrenching to watch how it all shakes out.

bruce mac

August 31st, 2012
2:10 am

I know Chipper, lets call the ball in the air like they teach in Little League. Tough at bats, make plays on defense? What a bunch of bull crap. Hustle and focus for a change. Quit trying to act so cool and be a real leadrer.

southgabrave

August 31st, 2012
2:24 am

Any idea what call-ups the Braves will make and when? I assume Delegado, Gearrin and Simmons from the DL. I am hopin for some bench help, some bats that can hit off the bench.

Lil' Barry Bailout

August 31st, 2012
6:33 am

Things are better? Perhaps. The bullpen is less worn down but the starting rotation is made up of a bunch of #3’s. Just don’t claim you “made the playoffs” until you’re actually IN the playoffs–and that means winning the wildcard play-in game.

Chas

August 31st, 2012
7:26 am

They can whistle in the dark all they want…especially Fredi Bozo. This team heads into September looking like the same CHOKE JOB group of 2011.
There will be no playoffs for Atlanta in 2012. The only positive of 2012 will be the firing of Fredi G. (and hopefully Franki Wren).
Also, Braves fans won’t have to look at Worthless Dan Uggla for a few months.

Wink

August 31st, 2012
8:01 am

Things are better, how?

We are still trying to win a Wild Card and not the Division Title.

We closer to losing out on TWO Wild Cards, than the one we lost last year heading into September; then we had an 8 game lead vs 3.

We are still being chased by the Cardinals, who motivation is high, they are World Champs this time and they have done it before.

Braves can still lose out when they play the Nats at the end of year, games will be meaningful, and Nats will be looking to send them home.

Uggs & McCann are worst than last year and no momentum going into September

FG does not have a clue again as we enter the strecth run; can’t commit to a line up & managing with favortism & over inflated egos.

Lastly, coming into the season, you would have never thought, needing a pitcher to win one game to get into the playoff, Medlin would have to be your choice!

Yeah things are different this time…they can lose 2 Wild Cards!

JNick

August 31st, 2012
8:56 am

@Amber Girl, I guess it is fishy that Vance Worley will have season ending surgery too – he was originally supposed to pitch in this series – what’s fishy about pushing back a starter to fill in? Smart move by the Phils if you ask me…they’re not out of the race yet, they just swept the Nats and could still make a run at the Wild Card – would take an unbelievable September, but stranger things could happen. They need every win they can get. Maybe it was a calculated move…maybe they thought Cloyd had a better shot at beating the Mutts…or maybe, just MAYBE, Hamels was sick and pushing back his start worked out w/ the injury to Hamels.

Better go put your tinfoil hat back on…

JNick

August 31st, 2012
9:04 am

The Cards are awful on offense, if you haven’t noticed, and they’ve lost 3 in a row, and scored something like 1 ER in their last 5 games. In their final month, they play 4 games in LA, 6 more against the Nats (after last night’s drubbing) and then 3 against the Reds.

Even if they win all 6 against the Nats, all that does is help us push towards a division title – if they lose all 6, they’re further back in the WC – if they split, well, no change, and we’re 6 games closer to the end of the year.

Disbott3000

August 31st, 2012
9:04 am

I mean, what else are they going to say? “We’re in a perfect situation to have the same collapse, or possibly even worse, as last year. At least by this point last year Uggla was hitting kind-of well and our pitching is as unreliable as ever. No, I think we can definitely fail big-time.”? Uh, no.

Kwajbraves

August 31st, 2012
9:08 am

Surging Phils + slumping Braves = trouble for Braves

No Flag Since Lemke

August 31st, 2012
9:15 am

Let’s suppose the Braves do indeed fold again this September. I don’t think they will but if they do that surely will earn Fredi a copy of the home game – perhaps Wren as well.

Then comes the question – replace him with who? Really don’t see any talent within the organization to step in unless Bobby Cox pulls a Danny Murtaugh (60’s Pirate’s manager who was pulled from retirement every time another guy flopped).

Presents a fascinating question and opportunity if we don’t make the playoffs – a very big if.

JNick

August 31st, 2012
9:16 am

Terry Francona

No Flag Since Lemke

August 31st, 2012
9:20 am

JNIck – would be my first choice unless my college classmate at USF, Mr. LaRussa, could be talked out of retirement.

bruce

August 31st, 2012
9:20 am

Dave, nice job of talking about last year and not making it sound like re-hash, the significant differences that you point out between this and last year make it a solid report and easier to read.

reckingball

August 31st, 2012
9:36 am

Coach@10:49pm……”there are four teams within one game of each other vying for 2 wildcard spots”
Coach, you need to look at the standings, the Braves are 3 games ahead of the Cards(who are 2nd in the WC race).

stew

August 31st, 2012
9:43 am

Reed Johnson is doing a good job. But he is at best a fourth outfielder. Playing Prado instead of Freeman doesn’t make any sense at all. Tell Fruti we gotta play our best players.

reckingball

August 31st, 2012
9:46 am

The Braves are in a far, far, better position than they have been in the past two years, as far as the players that they have on this year’s team are concerned.
If they will-or-can start hitting, stay healthy, and replace Hansen(IMO) in the rotation(maybe with Delgado), they have an outside chance of winning the whole shooting match.
That is what I believe, anyways.
go braves

Erudite Ed

August 31st, 2012
9:54 am

The precise nature of my concern is the offense. We seem to have no reliable “sticks” out there, and Mr. Uggla has been less than exemplary.

And Uggla Strikes Out

August 31st, 2012
10:00 am

Gotta keep Tommy Hanson off the mound. There is hope if there is no Hanson on the mound!

Lost Cause

August 31st, 2012
10:02 am

Got to get to the bull-pen with a lead first to prevent collapse. Limit playing time for hanson, uggla, and mccan and they might make it though september

Peter R.

August 31st, 2012
10:03 am

Watch the Braves wind up taking the shaft and wind up the visiting team in the WC play off. Kind of lame, if you ask me. I read this article somewhere on the internet that said the Braves’ subpar infield defense would cost them the postseason, and I think it will. Fuggly is what the worst fielder in baseball presently and he makes Fred worse, whose range is already limited at best. We need Simmons back hella bad to counter Dan. Might as well play Juan at third. He or Prado are a definite improvement over the Jones. I’m fine with Juan. He doesn’t cost 14 million for Christ’s sake.

JNick

August 31st, 2012
10:16 am

Braves sub-par defense? We’re 3rd or 4th in all of baseball in defense…and Janish is more than holding his own at SS, he’s comparable with Simmons – you’re not going to see any grand improvement at short like you did when Simmons took over for Rev. Uggla isn’t terrible at 2B, and Freddie is one of the best defensive 1B in the league. Other than the pop-up the other day, Chipper has been above average at third, bad knees and all. He can still dive, he still has an accurate arm, and I’ve seen him make his signature barehanded charging play numerous times this year. If you want a team whose defense will kill them (if they make the playoffs), look to the American League. Jeter is the worst defensive SS in the league (and A-Roid at 3B isn’t much better – if they don’t have GG Tex at 1B, they’re S.O.L.), Andrus isn’t much better at SS, and Baltimore is dead last in defense. (SF is 25th, LA Dodgers are 22nd, Pit is 16th and StL is 17th).

On to the next invalid argument…

Sad Sack

August 31st, 2012
10:30 am

bla bla bla….

Dan Uggla's Swing

August 31st, 2012
10:49 am

Simmons back, Hanson to the bullpen, or mexican league, Uggla, I dont know what to do with Uggla. the guy is all or nothing, hence the strikeouts. Hopefully Sheets feels better soon. I feel good about the potential of this team, but I see how they play and the inconsistency and have to wonder why. Why should a team with this quality of talent struggle so much? Are they merely mediocre or are they good? I know good teams struggle, look at the Nats recently. It is all in how they bounce back though, and that is where the Braves struggle. We will know over the next month I guess.

Let's Go

August 31st, 2012
10:49 am

Am I worried? A little bit. The next week scares me with the Phils and Rockies coming to town and the thought of what happens if this team loses 4 or 5 of these 7 games. My biggest worries:
Brian McCann, is it a slump or an injury
Bullpen is starting to look like it did in April and May
Michael Bourn has peaked and is slumping. 245 avg in July
Suddenly the Braves need a 5th starter. Depending on Minor tonight maybe a 4th one too.

I know most folks are screaming Uggla, Uggla, Uggla but in reality the guy has been in this funk since early June and the team has still been able to win and unlike last year he is getting on base via walks so at this point anything positive he does is a bonus and if he does rediscover that pop in his bat and gets moved back into the 5th or 6th spot in the order he is going to make those around him that much better.

[...] Braves say things are better as another September looms [...]

least of the east

August 31st, 2012
11:21 am

if they play .500 ball, they should be able to win a wild card. can they ? debatable. winning the division isn’t happening.
can’t be any worse than 2011 by default. they need to be a lot better not just a little.
Teheran has had 2 consecutive quality starts at AAA so maybe he is another option besides Delgado.
they will likely fade and make it exciting. without anyone resembling a true #1 starter, we are vulnerable in a one game playoff. hopefully, the opponent won’t have one of their best guys scheduled to pitch-if we get there

alex

August 31st, 2012
11:34 am

two major weak links on braves line up. consider like a bonus any uggla hit, but usually going to be 0 for 3, or 0 or 4, consider also 5 loss in remaining hanson 5 starts. just 1 win will take as a bonus. now other players also humans let him get couple bad days or injures. so difficult task. go braves.

Semper Fi Braves Fan

August 31st, 2012
11:39 am

I for one will admit that I had no fait at all in Minor the first half of the year. However, since the whole thing of him or Delgado being sent down came about he has been a stud. When he started being worried about job security he made the adjustments. Minor has been better than everyone but Medlen since the break.

ESPN*
Braves pitcher Mike Minor has held opponents to 3 runs or fewer in each of his past 9 starts (2.50 ERA).

Orange Brave f/k/a Billy Jack's BBQ

August 31st, 2012
11:52 am

I have not posted in a while as I view the last 3 weeks as a disappointment. The team lacks 3 things IMHO:

1. Leadership, other than Chipper and Huddy. The presence of Sheets and Prado help, but Fast Fredi is paid to manage and I strongly feel that he has cost us 6 to 8 games with “odd” decisions during games and odd pitching moves. No question that Medlen should have been in the rotation sooner. Not sure if that was Fredi’s call or Rodger Dodger, but if Med’s had been in the rotations sooner we may have picked up another win or 3.

2. No fire. See above.

3. No consistent hitting after the 5th spot. 2b, SS, C (exc. Ross), and the Pitcher’s spot (exc. when Huddy bats) are consistent outs, K’s, or the like. We are playing with about 1/2 of a lineup when it comes to hitting. Look at the batting stats/runs scored since the All Star Break, the Braves suck. Sorry hate to be downer, but we need offence.

Just my 2 cents worth, but I am fearful the slide and implosion has already started.

wayne-o

August 31st, 2012
11:54 am

Give Hanson one last shot then replace with Delgado or Teheran or Sheets. Move Hanson to the long relief roll

Uggla, some else made this point, but he’s stunk all year, braves have won with out him so who cares.

McCann, should platoon with Ross on a Righty/Lefty match ups. he needs to have his playing time cut

Simmons will be a nice boost when he gets back, go for the division Fredi. Win all the games.

chipontheroad

August 31st, 2012
11:56 am

I believe reckingball is on to something

nice article D O’B

GO BRAVOS

Semper Fi Braves Fan

August 31st, 2012
11:59 am

Minor last 9 (57.2 innings pitched) 2.50 ERA (6.2 innings per start)
Maholm last 5 (36 innings pitched ) 2.50 ERA (7.1 innings per start)
Sheets last 8 (48.1 Innings pitched)3.54 ERA (6 innings per start)
Hudson last 9 (55 innings pitched) 3.60 ERA (6.1 innings per start
Hanson last 9 (49 Innings pitched) 6.06 ERA (5.1 innings per start)

Just for giggles (Delgado’s numbers over his last 9 starts before being sent down)
Delgado last 9 ML starts (47.1 innings pitched) 4.56 ERA

Didn’t put Meds on the list because it would make these bums look that much worse.

Waffle House or Bust

August 31st, 2012
12:07 pm

The fact last September is in their heads still is scary.

htownbravesfan

August 31st, 2012
12:09 pm

I believe the Braves will capture one of the wildcard berths, but there is cause for concern when it comes to the offense. Without Simmons back, the 6, 7, 8, and 9 spots in the lineup are about as close as you can get to automatic outs. McCann, Uggla, Janish, and the pitcher are the players to which I am referring. In the playoffs, whether that be just the one game or more, we’re going to see the same thing we have seen in so many other postseasons in the last 20 years, an inability to score. On that note, go Braves, and let’s figure something out.

BravesBanter31

August 31st, 2012
12:12 pm

BRAVES fans on TWITTER, please add me @BravesBanter31 Love talking Braves baseball during games and all day long! Keep chopping til we catch Washington!!!

BillEGoat

August 31st, 2012
12:13 pm

Everybody knows that the Braves are VERY weak against LH pitching, not only starters but also bullpen lefties. In key late-inning situations this September, the Braves will be facing lefties coming out of every opponent’s bullpen. And this has not been “pretty” for the Atlanta hitters. I had hoped to see them pick up a extra RH bat before 1 September. Yes, Simmons will be coming back, but remember that he has not played in a game since his early July injury and will be very rusty, will not have much rehab since the minor seasons are ending. I am much more optimistic about 2013 than about this season. The Braves have a few too many holes,

Fly On The Wall

August 31st, 2012
12:28 pm

Uggs has how many walks, & runs this year? …and how many errors since the break…..did I hear a big goose egg? He is not as bad as some here hold him out to be….is he hitting….no….but it could be a lot worse.

swright

August 31st, 2012
12:41 pm

I’m an optimist at heart, but fact is the braves can play much better than last September and still spend October on the golf course.

Last September they had to blow a 9.5 game lead in the wild card standings. This year losing a 3.5 game lead will yield the same result. In fact, if they continue to lose 8 of every 12 games played (as they did over the last 12), they can go ahead and get their October tee times.

And it provides no solace to note that the next few series are against teams with losing records. It looks like the next two are against folks at least as hot as losing-record San Diego was before the last series the Braves played (and lost). And the Phils (with their losing record) are blowing into town and throwing at least two Cy Young winners against the homeboys.

alex

August 31st, 2012
12:43 pm

from the REAL alex: to fly on the wall, uggs, for 13.5 million he is a waste product,period and end of story. H ewas brought here to hit dingers, how has that worked out this year, now he’s 8th in the lineup -getting a “walk”, for whom , the PITCHER! His play in D.C., may not have been an error, but it was poor!! Goodness man, Uggs is not the only underachievor, but he may be the most blatant example of a player declining after the big contract. ” A lot worse”, Menoza awaits the next victim…Sheesh

No Flag Since Lemke

August 31st, 2012
12:51 pm

Too late for this year but next spring, the Braves need to hold a “Camp Leo” for their pitchers to focus on hitting. Don’t expect any Ken Bretts or Babe Ruths but our staff is ridiculous. Medlin .100; Minor .047; Hanson .025 and Maholm and Sheets .000. All at or below the infamous Aquirre line – the pitcher’s version of the Mendoza line. Get those averages even in the mid one hundreds and we win another 3-4 games during the season.

Fols

August 31st, 2012
12:55 pm

Play In game……..still just a silly ‘playoff’ game in a sport that has little to do with single game match-ups.

This sport is built around the 3 game series….why not just have an extra round to allow a couple more teams and it’s all one big best of 3 week? Super exciting, forcing many series to go to an elimination game which is what drives the playoffs into a frenzy.

One game play-in is not the answer to expand the post-season.

Chas

August 31st, 2012
1:01 pm

The Braves are toast. Their 2012 collapse has already started. The Phillies we sweep them this weekend, as the Braves are flushed away.
The good news: Fredi will be fired (and hope that Franki Wren goes with him).

tony austin

August 31st, 2012
1:07 pm

4-8 in the last 12 isn’t instilling too much confidence.

BravesFanInBama

August 31st, 2012
1:11 pm

I love, love, love Simmons, but why are all of you infatuated with his offense? He USUALLY got hits, but he wasn’t some kind of hitting machine that you all are making him out to be. As I said, I love Simmons, but you people need to realize that when he gets back, he will not have swung the bat much, and will still be sore in the finger area (see Freeman, etc.). Guys like Mac, Uggla, Chipper, and Freeman really really need to step it up down the stretch. I put Chip and FF because they have both gone through quite a few slumps over the past 2 weeks. Mac and Uggla are just mind boggling…On the plus side, Mac is finally realizing he doesn’t need to make a HR swing each time…Problem is that he has struck out looking quite a bit lately….Still eye issues? Uggla on the other hands tries to hit the ball out of the stadium with his swing. I am pretty sure that if any of us went out against live pitching and closed our eyes and swung as hard as we could we may hit a few homeruns as well. It just looks as if he is “swinging away” with no regard to skill or hand/eye coordination….Hence the reason he has whiffed…a LOT.

I think this team could be really special…but they needs EVERY piece to click. Bourn needs to get on first more often (you are not a power hitter, stop trying to be) and the other guys need to start hitting singles. There is no way that Heyward and Prado can keep carrying this team the rest of the year.

Double Zero Eight

August 31st, 2012
1:13 pm

I am optimistic the Braves will make the playoffs.
One thing we have learned as Atlanta fans is to
“never say never”, about any of our sports teams.
It is possible the Braves might collapse again. If they
do, Fredi should get the axe.

Fly On The Wall

August 31st, 2012
1:36 pm

Alex…I’m not saying Uggla is living up to exectations…he isn’t…eveyrone knows that. I am saying he is no more of a disappointment than a handful of others on the team….Mac, Ski, Big Red, JJ for example and that there are a lot worse 2nd basemen out there.At least there is sill some hope he can find his bat….there is no hope for the others except maybe Mac if he isn’t hurt permanently.

Fly On The Wall

August 31st, 2012
1:38 pm

Alex…I’m not saying Uggla is living up to expectations…he isn’t…everyone knows that. I am saying he is no more of a disappointment than a handful of others on the team….Mac, Ski, Big Red, JJ for example and that there are a lot worse 2nd basemen out there. At least there is sill some hope he can find his bat….there is no hope for the others except maybe Mac if he isn’t hurt permanently.

Fly On The Wall

August 31st, 2012
1:38 pm

Damn double post…sorry!

No. 1 Braves Fan

August 31st, 2012
1:44 pm

Why are people suggesting Terry Francona as a replacement for Fredi G?
His Red Sox collapsed with a bigger lead than the Braves last year and did not make the playoffs. Also, he had major problems keeping control of his players in the clubhouse. Does not make sense to me.

TN Jeff

August 31st, 2012
1:48 pm

Medlin & Huddy & pray for Muddy!!!!!!

Mister Frisky

August 31st, 2012
1:53 pm

By the time Simmons gets back and is at big league game speed, Braves will be out of wild card spots.Turn the page on this bunch of choking dogs and lets think ahead to 2013.No Chipper,Uggla,McCann,JJ,Habson,Hinske,Diaz,and that stiff Wilson.Addition by subtraction right there.

BobbyDawg

August 31st, 2012
1:55 pm

They’re already in a hitting and run scoring slump. When they start scoring 5 and 6 runs per game is when the winning streak starts. GO BRAVES

Brave Hokie

August 31st, 2012
2:03 pm

If they make it to the Wildcard PO game, they’ll lose ~ I’ll bet ANYTHING.

& its a big IF they make it.

The Braves as a sports entity crumble in these situations.

Melvin Flowers Macon Ga.

August 31st, 2012
2:14 pm

Here We Go Again, First Of All, The Braves Can’t Win Under Pressure, The Pitching is fair but not as good is the Nationals.
The Braves are a up and down Team. The Win 5 loose 4, under these condictions they want catch up with the nationals and St Louis will win the wild card again this year.
we need to get these pitchers out of here with this tommy john mess out of here and doing the off season make trades for good pitchers.
my hopes are not as high as was with the Braves, Im sorry it will be the same as last season a mentall break down in September.

JNick

August 31st, 2012
2:15 pm

No.1 –

Francona only won 2 WS rings in 7 years with Boston…but yeah, he can’t control his players…

JNick

August 31st, 2012
2:16 pm

Now my head hurts, thanks Melvin…

JNick

August 31st, 2012
2:24 pm

(Braves have the best ERA in the league since the ASB, yes, even better than the Nationals)

Melvin Flowers Macon Ga.

August 31st, 2012
2:34 pm

What’s Wrong with Uggla and why want the manager start his bull pen when he sees his pichers are loosing it. they can be winnimg the game and by the next few min we down runs.
He must be a better manager in September.
Send Ugglaoff for retirement he’s hurting the team with the bat and at times with defense.

Melvin Flowers Macon Ga.

August 31st, 2012
2:34 pm

What’s Wrong with Uggla and why want the manager start his bull pen when he sees his pichers are loosing it. they can be winnimg the game and by the next few min we down runs.
He must be a better manager in September.
Send Ugglaoff for retirement he’s hurting the team with the bat and at times with defense.

Melvin Flowers Macon Ga.

August 31st, 2012
2:34 pm

What’s Wrong with Uggla and why want the manager start his bull pen when he sees his pichers are loosing it. they can be winnimg the game and by the next few min we down runs.
He must be a better manager in September.
Send Ugglaoff for retirement he’s hurting the team with the bat and at times with defense.

Ward

August 31st, 2012
2:42 pm

This will be one long Sept. for us Braves Fans. Braves sure don’t make it easy for us, but I will ride rhe wave……

Ward

August 31st, 2012
2:45 pm

Tn Jeff – Pray for us Braves Fans that we keep our sanity down then stretch……

Bob Horner

August 31st, 2012
2:59 pm

BravesFan79
August 30th, 2012
8:18 pm

If theres a 1 game playoff, the Braves better use Medlen!

BravesFan: You know they’ll run Huddy out there… and can’t you see him giving up 4 in the first? Medlen is our best pitcher right now.

Brave New World

August 31st, 2012
3:28 pm

Let’s make this simple: If the Braves can average 4-5 runs per game for the remainder of the season, they will be a playoff team. The pitching and defense have been good to very good; it’s the hitting that comes and goes.

JNick

August 31st, 2012
3:30 pm

Yeah, let’s run Medlen out there, then he won’t be available for the divisional series until Game 4 (if necessary).

To be honest, my vote would be Maholm for the 1 game playoff. Save Huddy, Medlen and Minor for the Div series. Chances are, the 1 gamer will be against STL or Pitt – Maholm has a lot of knowledge about both teams…

JNick

August 31st, 2012
3:38 pm

Right now, if the rotation stays intact (even if someone – Sheets, Delgado, etc – replaces Hanson) – Minor is in line to pitch the final game of the season…that would put the rotation back to the “top” with Hudson, followed by Maholm, with the most “rest” for the 1 game play-in.

bobbymahlon

August 31st, 2012
3:44 pm

I get a kick out of the Braves saying Uggla has only made one error since the allstar game. I think he has been credited with twelve errors thus far but you can probably triple that if the scorer gave him errors when he should of.
If he was playing high school baseball and I was scoring he would have many more errors than he has been charged with this year. One for example was bases loaded and a ground ball hit to him, he looks home,than second than juggles the ball than drops it on the ground and walks off the field and they give the hitter a hit. I also saw him make two errors on a play and another earlier in the game and he was not charged with any. He must be friends with the score keeper.

Nerdville

August 31st, 2012
3:55 pm

I am definitely no rah rah, but seems like a lot of negativity being posted today. Maybe it is a hangover from that pathetic last attempt Wed. night at beating the Padres. But also, I guess a lot of fans are like me; suspecting that Charlie Manuel and his Phillies are licking their chops hoping to once again spoil the Braves’ party. I too suspect that Cole Hamels purposely missed that start so Charlie could pitch him in this series.

jonathan

August 31st, 2012
4:16 pm

I’m starting a trade Tommy Hanson campaign. Who’s in?

JNick

August 31st, 2012
4:42 pm

Not sure what we’d get for him – but I’m all for trading/non-tendering his dart-throwing ass…

Maverick60

August 31st, 2012
4:50 pm

I am flying out from California for the final two home games so we can see them play at home while Chipper is still around. My 6 year old daughter and I would really like it if they could still be in the playoff hunt for us! She lives and dies by the score updates that I give her, and she is just really getting into baseball. These games where they have 3 hits through 7 innings arent cutting it. Hit the damn ball!
Go Braves!

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