Sad to say, this Braves’ season could be over very soon

Folks, the Braves could be finished by the Fourth of July. They’re 30-33, no longer even in third place in the NL East. Of their next 15 games, not one is scheduled against a team under .500.

There’s no reason to think they’ll make a big move in the standings this next fortnight. They haven’t since the season’s first week. There’s a basic reason for that: They’re just not very good.

The starting pitching is solid but not 1990s-era solid. The relievers are so-so. The offense is awful. They’ve already made one major trade, and they’re 4-7 since Nate McLouth arrived. There’s not much more they can do to better themselves except play better, and at this point it doesn’t appear they’re capable.

Where will the Braves be in 15 games?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

They’ve scored 37 runs in the 11 games since the McLouth acquisition, and even those numbers are misleading. Seven times in those 11 games they’ve scored three runs or fewer, and all seven times they’ve lost. Not to put too fine a point on it, but they just can’t hit. And I doubt they’ll ever hit much.

Twelve of the next 15 games are against the Red Sox, Yankees and Phillies. Those teams can hit. I wish I could say I’m optimistic, but I’d be lying. By the time the Peachtree Road Race gets here, the 2009 Braves could be done running.

406 comments Add your comment

E. Tampa Ironworse

June 17th, 2009
2:22 pm

MB, You say the Braves haven’t made a major move since the first week of the season? You then say later that the Braves made a major trade for McLouth. Bro…your article is too short to not even remember what you said in the first 4 sentences. Mailing it in…or emailing it in…not good.

E. Tampa is a moron

June 17th, 2009
2:24 pm

I think by big move in the first week he meant move in the standings. Learn some reading comprehension before an idiotic post like that.

Mark Bradley

June 17th, 2009
2:26 pm

That was indeed what I meant. But I’ll admit I was unclear about it. So I’ve made it clearer.

Thanks for the copy-editing. I need every bit of help I can get.

NCBravesFan

June 17th, 2009
2:29 pm

Sad to say, I agree with you. I’ve said it before and it bears repeating – I do give Wren credit for getting a plan together and sticking with it. But I think it’s way too soon to judge whether signing Lowe, etc. was a good move for this team at this point in time.

Another thing that I’m wondering a lot about lately is: do the Braves really have a good grasp of the players in their system and what they are (and are not) capable of doing on the field? Every offensive player they counted on to step up their game this year has regressed instead.

LSU

June 17th, 2009
2:32 pm

Ironhorse,

I took what he said about making a move to be, winning games..Their 1st week was good, pretty much after that nothing, except for maybe that Toronto sweep.

Kramerica Industries

June 17th, 2009
2:34 pm

This team would have had a chance if Kelly Johnson & Francoeur had stepped up as hoped.
Instead they have both been miserable & thus no chance in 2009.

LSU

June 17th, 2009
2:35 pm

Mark,

What’s the overall team attitude at this point? Do you sense that they’ve given up?

Mrs. Chanandler Bong

June 17th, 2009
2:39 pm

Yes, Mark. We’re done. I think it’s time to start looking at what we can do now in order to be more competitive next year. I have to say, though, it breaks my heart.

tim

June 17th, 2009
2:40 pm

This teams needs a youth movement both on the field and in the dugout. For everything BC has done it may be time to move on and bring in a new manager (younger) and whole new staff with the possible lone exception be Glen Hubbard. Some of our dead weight KJ,Frenchy,Kotchman,Anderson,Escobar to name a few don’t even get me started on the bullpen. This people should either be traded for whatever you can get or outright released and bring up the kids let them learn on the fly. They can’t play any worse

Herschel Talker

June 17th, 2009
2:41 pm

MB – love the new format, the non-stop blogging. And the content has been great. You’re dead on except that you’re late. They are already done. Just do the math. Stick a fork in ‘em. On to the next. Let’s go Falcons!

LSU

June 17th, 2009
2:46 pm

Kramerica,

Kelly Johnson is one of the big reasons why I’m so anti Bobby Cox…To listen to Cox talk about Kelly, you’d think that he was an awesome hitter…Bobby’s judgement has been skewed for the last 2 or 3 seasons.

Mark Bradley

June 17th, 2009
2:50 pm

Thanks, Herschel. And better late than never, I always say.

I haven’t been to the ballpark since last Wednesday, LSU, and I’m not in Cincinnati now. I don’t think anyone has given up — there are still three-plus months to go — but I think reality is setting in. An awful lot is going to have to go awfully right for the Braves to stay close.

JP

June 17th, 2009
2:52 pm

The Braves are out of it now. They can’t score enough runs to be competitive. They need changes, and I would start in the dugout with Cox and Pendleton. BC has been a great manager, but his time has ended. we have the worst hitting outfield in the major leagues, and some of those guys need to be traded, with the exception of McLouth.

Take One for the Team

June 17th, 2009
2:57 pm

Bobby should do the honorable thing and step down. All those years of success with the division winners will be forgotten if he is fired. The team no longer has any swagger or passion. Frenchy is such a mess at the plate, it’s tough to watch anymore. I keep hoping for a multi-game winning streak, but just don’t see it coming.

Mrs. Chanandler Bong

June 17th, 2009
2:59 pm

I read a comment on another post that I think is worth mentioning. We can’t really pin Francoeur going out there every day and making a mockery of himself on Bobby. The reality is, we have no one currently in our farm system as good or better than the likes of the slums like Frenchie, KJ, etc.

brent a.

June 17th, 2009
2:59 pm

The Braves lose, and aren’t even entertaining. I appreciate good pitching, but terrible, lifeless offense is hard to stomach for 9 innings almost every night.

Mark Bradley

June 17th, 2009
3:00 pm

OK, OK! By popular demand, I am going to write something for tomorrow about Bobby Cox as a manager.

For entertainment purposes only, what do you think I’m going to say?

Mrs. Chanandler Bong

June 17th, 2009
3:00 pm

And as it’s already been proven, we can’t GIVE Frenchie away, much less trade him.

ChopHasFlopped

June 17th, 2009
3:02 pm

Braves season may be over SOON?!

Harry

June 17th, 2009
3:02 pm

the season was over before it started brotha

Mrs. Chanandler Bong

June 17th, 2009
3:02 pm

You’re going to plagarize me and say what I just did. (Just kidding — love you, Marky Poo.) Getting rid of Bobby is not the answer.

Mark P.

June 17th, 2009
3:04 pm

I can’t see the Braves getting any better this season, and in looking forward to 2010, the outlook isn’t much better. Their best position players are two or more years away, and to get help in LF, RF, or 2B, they will have to either trade current pitchers like Soriano, Vasquez, or Gonzalez(players of value) or minor leaguers(mortgaging the future). Noone wants to write off the next two years, but the sad truth is that might be what will happen.

LSU

June 17th, 2009
3:05 pm

Wasn’t there a story on the AJC website not long ago about Bobby Cox wanting to continue managing? Can someone give me the gist of that story please?

coach joe

June 17th, 2009
3:06 pm

i’ve given up and i love the braves.

LSU could beat them and maybe even georgia..

Jack

June 17th, 2009
3:08 pm

Bobby and the Braves continue to do the same thing, but expect different results. Insanity!

Joe Fan

June 17th, 2009
3:08 pm

My guess is that Bobby is going to finish the season but ikely will announce before season’s end that he is moving to the front office and someone such as Ned Yost will be replacing him. Well before the trade deadline the Braves will be sellers and hopefully will be receiving top level prospects in return. As a result 2010 will be better, with 2011 being a key year for returning to the top of the division. My crystal ball is partly cloudy otherwise.

Brave Fan since 1977

June 17th, 2009
3:08 pm

One or two things (or possibly both) needs to be fixed for the Braves to ever be a threat in BB. 1. Bobby Cox’s hitting philosophy. 2. Terry Pendleton as hitting coach. They have messed up too many good hitters. It seems that no one ever improves when they become a Brave. Most get much worse.

TRobb1

June 17th, 2009
3:11 pm

I think Frank Wren has made solid-to-dynamite moves (OK, I’d've liked a little more ballast in LF, even at the expense of one less starting pitcher) and at the end of the day, it’s all fallen completely flat, like a bad souffle’. Nobody has developed or improved or even been a pleasant surprise (CF, SS, 2B, 1B, LF, RF), which is what had to happen in conjunction with the existing solid spots and upgrades.

Very disappointing and frustrating to watch. Bottom line: This ain’t fun. I checked out on about August 1 last year, kinda looking like the same this year, though I do like the team better in theory.

jj

June 17th, 2009
3:12 pm

Mark,what’s going on with the Braves ain’t very entertaining.What Bobby accomplished over those 14 years were great,but everthing has an ending.This drama is turning those 14 years into a bad dream.You know,I really think those years are overrated.We were losers 13 of those years.With the talent that JS brought through The ATL,I think BC came up short.It’s time to bring a new act to The Braves.

Say it a'int Sosa

June 17th, 2009
3:12 pm

This is going to be another long, frustrating summer.

LSU

June 17th, 2009
3:13 pm

Bradley vs Smoltz has been way more entertaining than the faux baseball that the Braves play.

TBraveFan

June 17th, 2009
3:13 pm

One word sums up the problem with the Braves — KARMA… it’s payback for how they’ve treated certain icons recently…. it’s just a shame good players have to pay the price for the idiot management (but don’t we all in the working world).

timthebrave

June 17th, 2009
3:14 pm

I refuse to quit. Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor? This team is capable of putting together a run. We are only 6 games out of first and 4 games out of a wild card with 100 games to play. This team is capable of getting on a run. If we can just keep them close until Hudson gets back, if Francouer only gets 1 out per at bat instead of 2, if KJ doesn’t go o-for. A lot of ifs but I still haven’t given up because although we aren’t a great team nobody in the east is complete in all aspects of the game. Go Braves!

Adam

June 17th, 2009
3:14 pm

When a predominantly left-handed hitting lineup gets dominated by guys like Aaron Harang (nothing but fastballs), Jeff Suppan and Paul Maholm, the season is over on June 17.

No speed, no power, no plate discipline, no hitting with RISP, no bullpen throwing strikes, no coaching adjustments.

Tigers don’t change their stripes.

Game, set and match.

brianh

June 17th, 2009
3:14 pm

MB! The next 15 will certainly tell. However, I wrote more than once in the spring the major difference in these teams lately and most of those in the 90’s were pressure. How much pressure could the Braves put on opposing teams’ pitching. The Braves had speed most of the time and could take some of the pressure off their own selves and give it to their opponents. Speed doesn’t slump and helps make up for a lot of mistakes.

aahz

June 17th, 2009
3:15 pm

Mark is right, the Braves are no more than an average team right now. There’s nothing shameful in that–this isn’t Lake Wobegon, most teams aren’t going to be above average–but it’s a hard thing to accept after all those years of dominance.

And why should we expect anything different? The Phillies are outspending us by $15 million and the Mets by $40 million. That means somewhere between one and three top-notch, league-leading players on your team. How can you expect to compete with that? I know money doesn’t dictate results, but it sure helps. You can’t be disappointed when a team performs about how their salary predicts they’ll perform.

The worst thing for the Braves was being sold to Liberty Media, an organization which is only interested in the short-term financial side, not in building a better team.

alex

June 17th, 2009
3:16 pm

yea we suck.. we dont have a power bat that can give us 35-40 homeruns. chipper isnt gonna play everyday and i dont blame him(he is only gonna play 120games minimum). brian mccann is our best hitter, but he is a catcher. escobar is solid. omar infante should be a starter but he is injured. we need to trade both kelly johnson and francouer for one solid player. pitching is terrific. bullpen is a mess because bobby cox doesnt know how to use it. y do we keep putting moylan in during clutch situations? moylan stopped taking his roids thats y he cant pitch no more. fire pendleton. i hate watching us loose. we suck big time. we have a bigger payroll than the brewers, marlins, reds, cardinals, etc and yet we have the worst record. someone please tell me how thats possible? AND MARK BRADLEY DONT U WEAR GLASSES? OR IS THAT JEFF? IDK

bob

June 17th, 2009
3:16 pm

This trend of the last four years is sapping the energy from fans. It seems as though there is no strategic game plan for this team. Plug a hole here and there with a veteran like GA or rent a player like MT, but ignore the basic problems.

Front office needs to put together a blue print and stick to it. Develop young talent. Have some balance between speed and power.

And, most importantly make a decision of how to transition Cox into a different role and prepare for a Chipper wind down in the next couple of years.

As for this season, look for a couple of bright spots in the lineup….NM and CK and BM and YE…as well as pitchers. In short, set reasonable expectations.

Eware

June 17th, 2009
3:20 pm

Nice use of the word “fortnight”. Well-played, sir.

NCBravesFan

June 17th, 2009
3:20 pm

Mark – my guess would be two essential points about Cox tomorrow.

1: That Cox has done a reasonably good job managing a flawed roster the last 3 years.

2: If the Braves fall out of contention, they should reassess who they are as an organization and where they are going …and how Cox fits in the mix going forward.

How’d I do?;)

BIG MAC

June 17th, 2009
3:20 pm

Which Braves player just flat out sucks? I’d say none of them with the only marginal player being Kelly Johnson. However, which player(s) are underachieving?? That would have to be all of them except McCann. When it gets to this point, it has to be motivation and personal pride. For years, all we’ve heard is that Cox is a “players manager”….well of course he is because he holds none of them accountable for their actions or efforts. This team has the talent to compete for titles just like they did for the ’90s, but no one is getting pushed for playing time and they are all to passive. The so called coaching staff is abysmal….not a single pitcher or position player has improved in the last 5 years. The pulling of Escobar should have occurred a long time ago & other players have certainly done just as many boneheaded plays as he has. Until Cox retires and the ENTIRE staff is dismissed, things will not ever improve in Atlanta.

LSU

June 17th, 2009
3:22 pm

Now that the Braves season is over and I live in Baton Rouge, I wonder if I can get a prorated credit on the $9.99 MLB.COM app for my iPhone that I purchased to listen to the Braves games?

Mizzou

June 17th, 2009
3:23 pm

I think it’s time to evaluate management. Schuerholz did a great job for years, but left the team in a mess for Wren. Some of Wren’s acquisitions have been surprisingly disappointing (G. Anderson, for one). Bobby Cox has been one of the great clubhouse managers of all-time, but I’m not sure he and the coaching staff are getting through to the young players now. Just when defense, bunting and taking the extra base have become essential, the fundamentals seem lacking. The team could use a base-running coach. And, after the team runs Escobar out of town, where will be the spark in the lineup?

Adam

June 17th, 2009
3:23 pm

One more thing — every team has a defining moment in a successful season. A few years ago, the Braves were down 7-0 in Baltimore, won 8-7 and went on to win the NL East. It was the defining spark for that season.

When Kawakami oudueled Halladay 1-0 a few weeks ago — that was the Braves’ moment. You all saw what happened after that series. The spark fizzled, gonzo.

Chipper doesn’t need to wind down. Chipper needs to go where he can win. Get something for him and anyone else who you can right now. Gut this thing. Too many teams to pass.

Braves will finish fourth with these guys, fourth without them. Truth hurts.

Herschel Talker

June 17th, 2009
3:24 pm

MB – hopefully you’re going to say that it’s time to put him out to pasture?

Welcome Home 80's Braves

June 17th, 2009
3:24 pm

Mark,

You’re going to say that Bobby Cox is not Oral Roberts and can’t heal the masses or even the Braves.

Bet you don’t say that Bobby seems to have lost his fire, his desire and his ability to motivate and he should retire.

Now THAT…. IS NOT what you are going to say tomorrow even if it’s true!

Go Bravos

June 17th, 2009
3:26 pm

Mark, if you’re going to write about Bobby Cox as a manager, I’d be very interested to see how he stacks up against other managers in MLB in terms of calling for steals, hit-and-runs, sacrifice bunts (if such statistics are kept), and the average number of innings per game that the Braves score runs in (as opposed to the total runs scored at the end of the game). Reason being, I believe Cox isn’t inclined to play so-called “small ball.” Which, on a team that hits as poorly as we do, maybe we should be trying more of. What’s wrong with leading off with McLouth, hitting K. Johnson second, and telling Kelly, “if McLouth reaches with less than 2 outs, bunt him over, every single time.” Its not exactly like Kelly has earned the right to swing away. Then take your chances with Chipper or McCann driving him in. Put some pressure on the defense and manufacture a run or two here and there as opposed to relying on big innings out of a team that isn’t swinging the bat too well. Just two cents from your average know-it-all fan.

Paul Lentz

June 17th, 2009
3:26 pm

As a life long Braves fan, I regretfully say that Braves management is not going all out to win this year. I’m not talking about potential trades or call ups from the minors. I’m referring to the refusal of Braves management to bench Jeff Francoeur. Over the past year and a half, I have become very frustrated with Francoeur’s inability to drive the ball and knock in runs when the game is tight.

Yesterday’s game was CLASSIC of the negative impact that Francoeur has on the Braves offense. 4th inning, runners 1st and 2nd and 2 outs, swings at first pitch and grounds out. 6th inning, bases loaded and 1 out, swings at ball 4 and grounds into a double play.

However, many of you Jeff Francoeur apologists will point out that weak a$$ infield single that he got in the 8th inning as evidence that he is coming around. Going 1-4 with an infield single is not what I call “carrying a team”.

If Braves management cared about trying to win TODAY, then they would start Matt Diaz in right field and either bench Francoeur or send him to Triple A. When I say “cared”, I’m not talking about “wanting” to see the Braves win. I’m talking about taking “action” to help the Braves win. Putting Francoeur in the line-up does not give the Braves the best chance to win, PERIOD.

The Braves’ offensive woes lie deeper than Jeff Francoeur. However benching him would be a START to addressing those woes. No team is going to trade for Francoeur PERIOD. He has ABSOLUTELY no trade value. Main reason (besides him sucking as a hitter) is the fact that will be in line for a significant bump in salary during salary arbitration after this year. Do you really think that any team out there is going to give up anything for a hitter who not only cant hit……….but also likely to command $6-7 mil in salary arbitration after this season?

The Braves only options are to either bench Francoeur and use him as a late inning defensive replacement……….or……..send him to Triple A.

Maybe I’ll hold out hope that the Braves will finally bench him when Omar Infante comes back. Then again, they’ll probably bench Kelly first and have Omar play second base.

"Chef" Tim Dix

June 17th, 2009
3:27 pm

The Braves biggest hurdle is that their best player, a HOF player, is offensively what they’re built around and Hoss can’t go 140-150 games a year. So, whatcha gonna do?

Should Bobby leave, C. Jones loyalty could be tested as a trade in the best interest of the team.

We’ll never see another like Chipper or Bobby for that matter.

For manager, I’d like to have Freddie Gonzalez.

KD

June 17th, 2009
3:27 pm

Good points made by all, first of all BC & TP have got to go. Anyone has any idea of a coach for this team. I have one idea-Joe Torre, if he would come back after what happened in the past, didn’t he leave on not so good terms.