Live from Braves-Bucs: There’s good and better news

Good news: The Braves are playing really, really well. They’ve won 14 of 18. They’re a whisker out of first place, and not long ago they were last. They’ve raised their team batting average to .253, and a month ago they were under .230.

Better news: They’ve still got one game remaining against Pittsburgh, which isn’t the worst team in baseball but is looking like it.

Best news: They don’t have to face Roy Halladay when Philadelphia arrives this week.

It being (almost) Memorial Day, I’m tempted to make of the (in)famous Bradley milepost predictions: You know, like the one from two years ago where I said the Braves would be in first place by the Fourth and pulling away by Labor Day. I’m not going to do it this time, for a basic reason: I’m not yet sure how good these Braves are.

They had a rugged schedule in April. They had a soft slate for most of May. They look good at the moment. I’d like to wait and see how they look a few weeks hence. In other words, I’m resisting the urge — for maybe the first time ever — to pass judgment.

But certainly you’re free to express your sentiments as we proceed through the day, and I suspect we’ll be here awhile. Rain is surely coming, though the field is uncovered as of 12:55 p.m. (The ground grew is standing in the outfield. Ominous sign.) Still, that’s the beauty of baseball: You can tell me how wrong I am about the Braves — even though I’m kind of fence-sitting at the moment — at length.

As ever, I welcome your company. As ever, I say thanks in advance.


424 comments Add your comment

RKCola

May 30th, 2010
1:11 pm

Reid Adair

May 30th, 2010
1:18 pm

The offensive lineup isn’t nearly strong enough to keep this pace, and they can’t put it all on the pitching staff – especially when Kenshin Kawakami comes up in the rotation.

May was a great month, but unfortunately that success won’t last. No matter how much Frank Wren wants everyone to believe that Melky Cabrera, Troy Glaus and Eric Hinske were significant improvements to the offense.

jeffrey d

May 30th, 2010
1:20 pm

Thanks Mark…I don’t always comment but I love reading your blogs and responses

Dayman

May 30th, 2010
1:20 pm

Don’t be lazy…vote Heyward and Prado into the all-star game.

Mark Bradley

May 30th, 2010
1:22 pm

Kudos, RKCola. And thanks, jeffrey d.

Mark Bradley

May 30th, 2010
1:22 pm

Still not raining. And Kenshin Kawakami got the OK to warm up.

Today's first bad pun

May 30th, 2010
1:25 pm

Time to trade Chipper to Texas, so he can have a new nickname, one befitting the one true offensive skill he seems to have left.

Walker, Texas Ranger.

Dayman

May 30th, 2010
1:25 pm

@Ried Adair

I would love to hear your reasoning as to why Hinske and Glaus have not been good signings? Outside of Heyward and Prado they have been our best hitters.

Mark Bradley

May 30th, 2010
1:25 pm

I predict Kawakami will win a game in 2010.

Mark Bradley

May 30th, 2010
1:26 pm

Hey, Today’s first bad pun: Chipper is all the way up to 18 RBIs and is batting .237. He’s coming around.

chip caray's eyebrows

May 30th, 2010
1:28 pm

I think with JJ coming back in the rotation at some point, that will be a huge boost. HOPEFULLY that will allow kawakami to move to the pen and maybe become more effective. As far as the offense, I am on the fence as well Mr. Bradley. I am getting close to sold on Glaus. He hit in 2008, was hurt last year, his healthy this year, and his is now hitting. His is not going to hit .300, and will strike out some, but he still has some popand breaks up the lefty dominated lineup. I don’t think Cabrera or Hinske, though both (especially Hinske) have played well of late, are the answer in left, IF you have McLouth hitting .188 in center. A platoon is fine, but there needs to be an upgrade at either left or center, in which case the platoon is fine. I don’t know what to do with Diaz when he comes back. I feel like we missed the boat not trading him awhile back when he had far better numbers. The pen is very solid. Saito scares me at times, but gets it done most nights. Wagner is is still Wagner most nights, and far more dependable than anything the Braves have had since Smoltz. The bench is really deep as well, which is great. If you add a bat in the outfield (said that a million times over the years) and add JJ in the rotation, I think they win the East. If they don’t, then it’s more of a game of hope, which is never good. All in all, very satisfied with where we are. Didn’t even mention chipper and escobar haven’t hit yet. wow.

Mark Bradley

May 30th, 2010
1:29 pm

Sun’s out now. Hooray!

Today's first bad pun

May 30th, 2010
1:30 pm

Well Mark, he’s been hanging his hat on the fact he’s seeing the ball well, as evidenced by his walks. The pun was too strong to resist though.

Mark Bradley

May 30th, 2010
1:30 pm

Not arguing with the quality of the pun. It was All-Star caliber.

Today's first bad pun

May 30th, 2010
1:32 pm

Thank you, Mark.

sc ace

May 30th, 2010
1:32 pm

Who has the betterf aVerage, chipper or hudson?

Mark Bradley

May 30th, 2010
1:35 pm

Tim Hudson is hitting .280, sc ace.

NRBQ

May 30th, 2010
1:36 pm

Hope they get this one in, if only to see the McDunnah Thundah hit from the three-hole, where he belongs.

I thought 2 weeks into the season he should be moved up, but of course I was schooled otherwise by the resident DOB baseball experts.

Mark Bradley

May 30th, 2010
1:37 pm

Speaking of Chipper: He’s not playing today.

Prado, 2B; Infante, 3B; Heyward, RF; Glaus, 1B; Escobar, SS; Cabrera, LF; Ross, C; McLouth, CF; Kawakami, P.

Today's first bad pun

May 30th, 2010
1:37 pm

Yes, but I bet Chipper has a better OBP than Hudson!

Flappy the Wounded Hawk!

May 30th, 2010
1:38 pm

Medlen had better stay in the rotation. He is better than Kamakazi. Thank goodness for the weak schedule in May. Maybe they can beat the Phillies for once. The west coast trip is coming up too.

Dayman

May 30th, 2010
1:38 pm

@NRBQ

Heyward and the Braves have been very successful with J-Hey in the two spot….just saying.

Mark Bradley

May 30th, 2010
1:39 pm

Chipper leads Hudson in OBP .395 to .280.

GA Tech BELIEVER

May 30th, 2010
1:39 pm

I’d say by the All-Star break we’ll be able to gauge them. We still need to see consistency from the offense, and the pitching. I’d like to think Kawakami will be able to win 5 games this season, but that’s really not something I’m looking to put money on right now.

The Real UT

May 30th, 2010
1:39 pm

Radio guys just said it’s been a year and 8 days since KK won in ATL. WOW! Not a good stat if you play for Atl.

Mark Bradley

May 30th, 2010
1:40 pm

Kawakami retires the first two Bucs. Groundout and flyout.

The Real UT

May 30th, 2010
1:40 pm

17 starts since a win.

Mark Bradley

May 30th, 2010
1:40 pm

Clean inning for Kenshin.

NRBQ

May 30th, 2010
1:42 pm

Dayman:

I was referring to weeks he was stuck batting 7th or 6th.

He appears to be a perfect #3 hitter, imo. Patience, power, and speed.

Not bashing Jones, but so far he’s shown one of those qualities.

"Chef" Tim Dix

May 30th, 2010
1:43 pm

J-hey in the 3 spot. The future is now.

#22=MANBEAST

May 30th, 2010
1:44 pm

I like this lineup with the Venezuelan Dynamic Duo at the top and MANBEAST batting 3rd.

"Chef" Tim Dix

May 30th, 2010
1:44 pm

Not to look a head, but to look ahead, road trip might tell the tale.

Mark Bradley

May 30th, 2010
1:45 pm

I know Prado makes the occasional out, but I never seem to see one.

JMayne

May 30th, 2010
1:45 pm

Good job by bobby to give a few guys the day off. Espically with the upcoming run of games coming up. McCann doesnt need to be healthy vs. the pirates. Just get him and chipper ready for the series against the phils and get two out of three. Prado just got another hit, this guy is amazing. He just hits. Vote him and J-Hey for the ASG. Hell, vote Yunel and Chipper so we dont have to see 6 phils in the starting lineup.

Mark Bradley

May 30th, 2010
1:45 pm

Road trip is long and important, Chef Tim. But you said as much yourself.

#22=MANBEAST

May 30th, 2010
1:46 pm

Dayman, is your name a reference to It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. If so, well done my friend.

Mark Bradley

May 30th, 2010
1:47 pm

The Braves also play three afternoon games in four days, JMayne. That takes a toll on older players. We old guys need to sleep late.

"Chef" Tim Dix

May 30th, 2010
1:48 pm

Say what you will about KK, but you have to admit, he’s really glued together well.

Today's first bad pun

May 30th, 2010
1:49 pm

JMayne, I don’t think even Prado and J-Hey can fix the Atlanta Spirit Group

"Chef" Tim Dix

May 30th, 2010
1:49 pm

Could it be as Prado goes, so do the Braves?

Mark Bradley

May 30th, 2010
1:49 pm

It’s the same with Jason Heyward. I never see him make an out.

He just doubled off McCutchen’s glove. Braves on the flanks.

Mark Bradley

May 30th, 2010
1:50 pm

Glaus with a sacrifice fly. Braves ahead.

"Chef" Tim Dix

May 30th, 2010
1:50 pm

Spirit Group fix? Addition by subtraction.

Mark Bradley

May 30th, 2010
1:51 pm

Prado’s so good he belongs in a museum. (That’s a joke. I believe there’s a museum named the Prado.)

"Chef" Tim Dix

May 30th, 2010
1:51 pm

And now for something completely different: Esco and his tips…

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by AJC , Mark Bradley. Mark Bradley said: Live from Braves-Bucs: There’s good and better news http://bit.ly/cLyYRC [...]

"Chef" Tim Dix

May 30th, 2010
1:52 pm

I’ve actually been there Mark and can confirm it’s existance.

#22=MANBEAST

May 30th, 2010
1:52 pm

MANBEAST appearing to be somewhat human…

Perspective

May 30th, 2010
1:53 pm

GO AND VOTE FOR HEYWARD IN THE ALL-STAR BALLOTING – YOU CAN VOTE UP TO 25 TIMES AND IT IS REAL EASY TO DO REPEAT VOTING – YOUR PRIOR BALLOT IS SAVED EACH TIME YOU VOTE AGAIN

"Chef" Tim Dix

May 30th, 2010
1:53 pm

And while there, I was looked at funny by most.