Braves at the quarter point: Your take

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The Braves are hovering around the .500 mark as they reach the quarter point of the season. So what do you think?

Will the Braves make the playoffs?

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It’s been an up-and-down first quarter of the season for the Braves. Highlights included Jason Heyward’s mammoth home run in his first at-bat in the big leagues and the continued emergence of Martin Prado as a star. Lowlights included a struggling offense that led to a nine-game slide in late April and Kenshin Kawakami’s 0-6 start to the season.
Even with all that, the Braves are still very much in the mix in the N.L. East.

The offense got off to an extremely slow start to the season.

The offense got off to an extremely slow start to the season.

What is team's biggest weakness?

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As they reached the quarter point of the season, the Braves were batting .247 as a team and were ninth in the National League in runs scored. The offense started to pick it up in May, but still has room for improvement. The starting rotation has been steady, except for Kenshin Kawakami. The Braves are in the middle of the pack in the National League with a 3.99 ERA.

Billy Wagner announced that this will be his final season.

Billy Wagner announced that this will be his final season.

How confident are you in Billy Wagner as the closer?

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Through May 18, Wagner was 3-0 with four saves and a 1.93 ERA. He has announced that this will be his final season. It will be interesting to see how the 38-year-old left-hander will hold up down the stretch.

Jason Heyward has been as good as advertised.

Jason Heyward has been as good as advertised.

Who is the team's MVP?

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Heyward leads the team in home runs, RBI and on-base percentage. Prado is batting a team-high .321. Off-season acquisition Eric Hinske has been swinging a hot

In return to the mound since arm surgery, Tim Hudson has been great.

In return to the mound since arm surgery, Tim Hudson has been great.

If the Braves were facing a Game 7 today, who would you want to be the starting pitcher?

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Hudson has been by far the Braves’ most consistent starter. Lowe has the most wins, but his ERA is over five. Hanson has pitched better than his 3-3 record, with 56 strikeouts and a 2.88 ERA.

39 comments Add your comment

William

May 19th, 2010
10:45 pm

After suffering the 9 game losing streak, the Braves are at .500 quicker than most thought. Big improvement needs to come from Chipper, McClouth and Escobar. When these three come around, the Braves will put up good offensive numbers which will take pressure off the pitching staff.

I see the Braves as the wild card and advancing at least until the second round.

richard

May 19th, 2010
11:09 pm

I think its a matter of time until Chipper and McCann pick it up, hopefully Yunel also. But if Glaus, Hinske, Prado, and Heyward continue to produce I think we have enough power to win more games than we lose. The pitching has always been there. Medlen has great stuff and helps us out tremendously until JJ gets back. If the Braves can realize that these games right now are just as important to those in September, I think we can make the playoffs. All the pieces are there. I think the worst is behind us, for us to be 500 through all the mess we’ve experienced is a great sign.

BCC0224

May 19th, 2010
11:11 pm

Second? Third? Tenth? Never been this high before…

Never have I seen a rookie have his name chanted on a daily basis, at least not just two months into the season. “Ja-Son Hey-Ward!” Clap clap clap-clap-clap. What’s boggling as well is this kid keeps coming up with huge in pressure situations. He has been the Braves’ 1Q MVP.

Our starting pitching has been good. Bullpen’s been good (tonight not withstanding). The offense is coming around; Chipper and B-Mac are getting solid hits now. Now if we can remain healthy… If we can, #6 will go out in style.

JJ

May 19th, 2010
11:29 pm

The good news is the Braves can only improve, Kawakami still cursed at 0-6 with the pen not letting him get the W tonight, they can improve because Chipper, McCann, and Escobar are all struggling.

Reid Adair

May 19th, 2010
11:29 pm

The offense has shown some improvement (it certainly couldn’t have gotten much worse from April), but this lineup does not have the ability for the consistency needed to make the playoffs.

Frank Wren told everyone that Melky Cabrera, Troy Glaus and Eric Hinske would make an improved offense from a year ago; he was wrong – again. Jason Heyward and Martin Prado can’t continue to carry this team offensively and expect anything above a .500 record.

Robert

May 20th, 2010
12:20 am

Melky Cabrera stinks, we really need Hinske out in left permanently. The guy can hit.
Chipper Jones is really showing his age and he’s quite injury prone. Kawakami is even worse than last year, and Jurrjens is hurt. Hopefully, we can get Medlen into the rotation and when Jair comes back Kawakami can move to the bullpen as a long reliever.
Prado is the most consistent player on this team. Heyward is the magic maker, but he’s a bit hot-cold……nothing unusual from a rookie, though he’s not the average rookie!
I hope McCann can come back and McLouth can add something. And, Glaus has been doing well lately, but I’m still very skeptical of him.
If we need a leadoff man, we could trade for a guy like Scott Podsednik in Kansas City. Fast, good average, good OF, wouldn’t cost much…..but they’ll want to (re-fail) with the Jordan Schafer experiment.

Nothing Like Optimism

May 20th, 2010
6:41 am

But seriously, any objective fan can see that this bunch does not have a realistic shot at making the playoffs. The 9 game losing streak happened when the Braves played good teams. The subsequent good stretch has come on the backs of the 3 worst teams in the national league.

This is a .500 ballclub, and that is where they will hover all season. At least watching Heyward is amazing.

bobby basher

May 20th, 2010
7:26 am

This team is at .500, where would they be if Bobby knew how to manage? Give Bobby time, he’ll screw it up.

Marc in FL

May 20th, 2010
8:14 am

If they trade for an OF in KC it better be fore Dejesus, he’s the only guy over there I would want. I don’t see that happening though with Schafer working his way back.

In fact, the more I look at this team, taking into account the individual projections, salaries, and what they’ve actually done so far, I don’t think we’ll be trading for anyone.

McLouth, Lowe, KK, Chipper, McCann, Saito, Hudson, and Wagner aren’t going anyway because of their contracts and projections.

Heyward, Prado, Medlen, Hanson, Escobar, Venters, and Kimbrel are cheap and part of the next-gen Braves – plus none of them are struggling bad enough to give up on right now

Hinske, Glaus, Ross, Moylan, O’Flaherty, and Infante are all cheap fillers that are serving their purpose well, if not better than expected in most cases (in fact, looking at that list, our fillers are better than most of our core, lol)

Schafer and Freeman are part of the next-gen and aren’t going anywhere, JJ is still going to return from the DL at some point, Procter may be another month or two out, but will probably crack the club at some point.

The only odd men out are Cabrera, Conrad, Clevlen, and Chavez (wow, all C’s). You won’t get anything for any of these guys except maybe dumping some payroll with Melky. Chavez, and Clevlen are both going to be sent down at some point and replaced by Schafer and JJ. Conrad looks like he’ll be a regular bench for us this season unless he really struggles, and eve then, if Norton could hang on for a full year…

More long-winded of a post then I meant for it to be, but bottom line is, the only trade that’s realistic this year is the salary dump of Melky, unless of course, the FO gets a wild hair up it’s but and decides to mortgage the future again for another year or two rental.

chazs

May 20th, 2010
9:02 am

Waiting on Jordan Schaefer.
If he, Shoes (McCann) and Larry can get back to last year’s numbers we will not have to worry about MWcubed dropping off in the second half. (Man who walks on water: Jason Heyward.)

Bill

May 20th, 2010
9:32 am

KK deserves better. Every game he pitches they give him no run support. Last night he had a 4 run lead after six (FOR A CHANGE) and the great BULL pen with Wagner blowing the save and getting the win. Thats BS to blow lead and get win. KK had 6 great innings.

chazs-you might be waiting along time…

Justafan

May 20th, 2010
9:50 am

Without a trade in July the Braves will finish 3rd or 4th. Team plays in streaks , winning a few then losing a few. Still have to many “IF” on this team. Lose to good teams beat bad teams don’t get it.
Hope Wren gets it right before trade deadline but don’t believe they will do anything important. This team seems to be just playing in the pond. Management needs to step up!

KnightInATL

May 20th, 2010
10:13 am

Stuff the All-Star ballot boxes, Braves fans. Martin Prado deserves it…and it won’t happen unless we get off our collective butts and vote him in.

DogTheMan

May 20th, 2010
1:24 pm

This is a .500 ballclub. We do not have the horses to sustain over the long haul. We need to build around McCann and Heyward. Stop signing stop gap players and get some BIG TIME PLAYERS on the roster. Melky Who?? McLouth Who? Glaus Who?? Quit being cheap and sign players..

Heyward4MVP

May 20th, 2010
1:24 pm

This shirt says it all for the Braves:
http://thejheykid.com

If the Braves didn’t have Heyward up in the Bigs they would be about 5-6 games below .500. He is the MVP.

Tom

May 20th, 2010
1:39 pm

The 9 game choke streak is going to keep them from the playoffs later this year. Playoff teams can have 4-5 game losing streaks. Not 9. If they won just 2 of those games, they would be 2 over 500 now. These games will matter down the stretch.

Flash

May 20th, 2010
1:40 pm

They will get better Chipper and McCants are proven hitters it is just a matter of time.

NAte

May 20th, 2010
1:51 pm

Escobar is a goner. They are trying to move him as soon as possible. Bad attitude and poor play. Hopefully, we can get an outfielder for him and then move infanti to short.

KnowledgeBraves44

May 20th, 2010
2:03 pm

William I agree with you, when Escobar and McClouth come around, forget Chipper, he is done and will probably at best hit .260 with 12 HR and 5 stolen bases at best. Put Chipper batting 6th and he will probably do better, but his best years are behind him. I hate to see this, I am a big Chipper fan, No. 10 Braves HOF and MLB HOF.

Wes

May 20th, 2010
2:20 pm

I don’t understand why Bobby Cox will bench a player the day after he had a great, offensive game. Perfect example: Omar Infante last Friday went 4-for-4, then the very next day, he was benched because Escobar was removed from the DL. Eric Hinske had a home run on Monday night, then Bobby benches him and puts Melky in left field the next game.

BOBBY – Don’t bench players when they’re hot. Let them play please. Thank you.

michaelprick

May 20th, 2010
2:33 pm

2 bad outings in a row for Hanson. Is something wrong with him?

Paulm

May 20th, 2010
2:49 pm

The Braves are a 500 club maybe 525 if you bench players hitting 200 and 225.Think we need to switch Heyward’s and Jones’s contracts. Don’t wait until the end of the year. We need a Cox and Jones retirement party now. Never saw a team so willing to give up an out with the bunt. Down 5 to nothing or 3 to nothing and we play for one run. No playoffs here.

Captain Lou Albano

May 20th, 2010
3:01 pm

The Braves will finish 3rd in the NL East. Ahead of the Mets and Nats.

k483

May 20th, 2010
3:03 pm

Towards the later half of the season, would you expect JH to cool, given that by then all the teams would have had a good look at him? Also, you have to credit the statistical anomaly of everyone slumping at once to explain the bad 1st qtr. Definitely not an indication of the overall quality of this team, and, it wouldn’t be totally out of reason to have a 9-0 streak somewhere during the season remainder. Methinks injuries will be the key to a playoff chance.

peter

May 20th, 2010
3:04 pm

I see us competing for the basement in the division…… Very Exciting !

Old Number Six

May 20th, 2010
3:21 pm

As soon as Cox is gone, the team will be a winner once again.

BallHawg

May 20th, 2010
3:27 pm

Huge question mark at third & back of the starting pitching plus inconsistent hitting=stay at home during the playoffs

GSU Eagle 91

May 20th, 2010
3:35 pm

I feel that the pitching and defense are quite adequate..The problem this team has is Chipper, McClouth and Escobar failing on a continual basis with RISP…Chipper may need to sit a bit and let Conrad play! We can make the wild card but the Phillies are the NL’s best team…

JASon

May 20th, 2010
3:35 pm

There’s a difference between playing hard and losing and putting forth a braindead effort. I stopped watching this team on April 24th against the Mets. Once bobby and chipper are gone I may give them another chance, but until then, I’ll have much more free time during spring and summer. Yay me!

Bobby Coccyx

May 20th, 2010
3:44 pm

They’re all a bunch of good kids

michaelprick

May 20th, 2010
4:11 pm

Are you freakin’ kidding me? Hanson gives up 8 runs in the second and the Braves just scored 7 runs in the bottom of the ninth winning the game 10-9 on a grandslam from Brooks Conrad. Wow!!!!!!

Braves Fan

May 20th, 2010
10:01 pm

Hey Nothing Like Optimism,
You are the kind of person we don’t need as a supporter. Do you believe in God? My guess is no because God’s fans never give up. It’s called faith if yo mama never taught yught you. One of my coaches told me a long time ago that on any given night or season the worst teams can win. Obviously you have failed in most of most or all of your ventures in life. Get a life and most of all, find GOD in your life so it will be easier!

cubs and braves watch playoffs at home

May 21st, 2010
4:17 am

How odd while we play Pittsburgh why we not play Tampa Rays at all yet and we will soon and they will beat us so bad here u see why Rays for real for a shot at WS and we not.I thrilled we doin it make Wren big headed now but he be fussed after trade hayward to Cubs soon.Oh and again Lou Pinnella be fired by Cubs he has vote of love by owners n GM yes as that Go’s he be fired anyway! So all u Cubs fams waitin for a WS not again maybe in 2024 and Braves in WS in 2014!

cubs and braves watch playoffs at home

May 21st, 2010
4:21 am

Reason Cox do these dumb things ask him in the 91 WS and 1992 one where he choke n 1993 also when we won more n let the sillies um phillies win n lose to toronto. Are ask why he choose to choke to fla in 1997 and NY in 96. Yes Hall of fame Manager but Hall of fame as worst mananger in the 90’s n 2000’s/

PAUL D.

May 21st, 2010
8:48 am

HINSKE, AND DIAZ PLAYING REGULARLY, INFANTE AT SHORT, CONRAD AS INSURANCE FOR CHIPPER ARE THE KEYS TO THE OFFENSE BEING SUCCESSFUL.
THE PRIMADONA’ ESCOBAR FORGOT HOW HE EARNS HIS PAYCHECK! LET HIM SIT.
PRADO, GLAUS, HEYWARD AND McCANN WILL GET THEIR JOBS DONE.
ON THE PITCHING SIDE JJ WILL BE BACK, HANSON &
MEDLIN WILL BE A BIG PIECE OF THE PITCHING PUZZLE, HUDDY, LOWE & KK
WILL BE STEADY AS THE SEASON PROGRESSES.THE PEN WILL JUST GET BETTER WITH VENTERS OUT THERE. WE WILL BE IN THE HUNT. THE BRAVES BEST BASEBALL
IS STILL TO COME. GO OUT TO THE PARK AND CHEER THEM ON AS THIS VERY GOOD
SEASON UNFURLS.ENJOY THIS TEAM, DON’T GET ON THE BUS AT THE LAST STOP!

Paddy O

May 21st, 2010
11:47 am

Robert – that looks like i wrote it. I concur completely. This team is better than it has been showing; but, Chipper, McCann, Diaz, McLouth have been slow (McLouth is a 260 guy, but even on this, he ws slow); Cabrera just stinks. Heyward has been heaven sent; Prado playing to par. If Escobar could avoid the doghouse, he is still a good player.

Paddy O

May 21st, 2010
11:48 am

I’ve always liked Hinski, Cox WAS VERY SLOW TO play him.

[...] May 18, the Braves were 20-20. At that point, the pseudo-quarter pole of the season, we asked if the Braves would make the playoffs. Out of 1,197 voters, 51 percent believed the [...]

hal

May 31st, 2010
5:25 pm

frank hasnt morgaged the future some other idot did but the complete gnius of this blog will never admit we could use a ss with 19 stolen bases and a great glove and a right handed reliver who throws over 100mph regularly of course they were just throw aways who would have never playerd a game for the braves according to one of the brighter bloggers on here completly mind boggling that some of these ppl even consider them selves fans its like they have never witnsed a game in their lives pathetic…