8 reasons why these Braves will NOT squander this lead

This young man is about to get going again. Just watch. (AJC photo by Johnny Crawford)

This young man is about to get going again. Just watch. (AJC photo by Johnny Crawford)

They’d suffered a bad loss late Wednesday, and now the Braves had to play an afternoon game against the team with the National League’s best record on a sweltering day. (Heat index: 106.) They won so easily as to make you believe there’s no way the final 10 1/2 weeks of this regular season hold any danger for this dauntless band. The reasons why:

1. They can pitch. It never changes. As long as you can pitch, you can win. The Braves won breezing Thursday — actually, they did some sweating, too — because Tim Hudson never gave the Padres a chance. He worked seven innings and yielded six baserunners, one of whom was erased by a double play. This isn’t a team apt to lose five in a row because the rotation won’t let that happen. Jair Jurrjens looks hale and hearty, and even if Tommy Hanson and Derek Lowe haven’t been dominant they’re fine as Nos. 3 and 4 starters.

2. They’re buoyant. Not 15 hours after a sobering loss, the Braves had taken a lasting lead in the decisive game of a three-game set against an opponent they might well see in October. Said Billy Wagner, who blew a save Wednesday night: “Good teams are resilient. The heat out there today was awful; I guarantee you the Padres had never felt anything like that. We jumped on them early and kept them out there a long time.”

3. They’re daring. The key play of the first inning was the rookie Jason Heyward going first-to-third on Chipper Jones’ single to left field, which isn’t easy to do. (Heyward scored the only run the Braves would need on Troy Glaus’ sacrifice fly.) Said Bobby Cox of Heyward: “His instincts are off the chart, and he’s got some larceny in him. He’s not afraid to take a base.”

4. They’re clever. The 20-year-old right fielder is wise in the ways of older men, and there are a bunch of older guys to backstop him. Back to Heyward taking third: “You’d be surprised how many [left fielders] at this level can’t make that throw,” Jones said. “We’re a smart team. We steal bases at a very high percentage [69.5 percent, to be precise]. We’re very good at taking the extra base.” Then this: “We’ve got ballplayers. We’ve got guys with great instincts.”

5. They have a dependable shortstop. Alex Gonzalez, nicknamed Sea Bass, had four hits Thursday and made another series of deft defensive swoops. Said Cox: “Watching him play shortstop these past few days has really been special.” Jones likened A-Gonz to Ozzie Smith and Omar Vizquel, saying: “It’s great that he’s having a great offensive year, but what I want out of a shortstop is defense — to know that 99 percent of the time he gets his mitt on something he’s going to make the play.”

6. They have a healthier Heyward. He was hitting .251 at the All-Star break, but this is in no way a .251 hitter. He carried this team when nobody else could do a thing in April, and he’s capable of more heavy lifting. He hit .321 over the seven-game homestand. He will do even better very soon.

7. They have a working lead but they’re not impressed by it. Said Wagner: “We play as a team. Chipper has said it a million times, but it’s not one person keeping us going. It’s someone new, a new face in the bullpen, helping us win a game. And we worry about one game at a time, and that comes from the manager.”

8. They have it going in a way that makes you believe they’ll keep it going. They didn’t panic when they lost nine consecutive games in April. They didn’t wring their hands over the lost lead Wednesday night. They press on. They’ve won or halved 20 of their past 21 series. Said Gonzalez, on board only a week: “When you watch the way they play ball every day, you think, ‘This is a great team.’ ”

“Great” overstates. This is a good team that has come to maximize every resource. It isn’t without flaws, but after 95 games it holds the best record in its league. Gonzalez again: “We play hard. We do the little things you have to do. We want to put ourselves in position and see what happens at the end of the year.”

What will happen: The Braves will play beyond the 162nd game for the first time since 2005.

247 comments Add your comment

AHolt

July 22nd, 2010
4:51 pm

Trashy

July 22nd, 2010
4:52 pm

Go Bravos, Awesome!

james

July 22nd, 2010
4:52 pm

Those padres just collapsed. What was all that about their number 1 ranked bullpen?

rc35

July 22nd, 2010
5:42 pm

It seems to me that the Braves are playing like the teams that always knocked us out of the playoffs or World Series. I would surely like to see us return the favor and win the Series this year!

vmguru

July 22nd, 2010
5:44 pm

I am sure someone will jump on here and call you names Mark but they will be wrong. Good assessment of this year’s Braves. I have been a Braves fan since 1969 and all of those early lean years just make all the division titles and now this 2010 resurgence all that much better. This group looks more like a team than some of the previous years’ winners – they really seem to enjoy playing the game every day and pull for each other to succeed. Even Blanco was very much a team player in the way he took the demotion despite some solid work on his part. A very good sign for the future if they can keep it up.

Keep up the good work Mark. (My first post – been reading for some time just never felt the urge to contribute).

Score

July 22nd, 2010
5:44 pm

willie

July 22nd, 2010
5:44 pm

Hudson, JJ, Hanson, Lowe, Medlen and a great bullpen? Even with average hitting this will be a tough team to stop.

jfreak13713

July 22nd, 2010
5:50 pm

No team in the NL is as good top to bottom as the Braves. They don’t have the BEST player at any position except maybe catcher but they have GOOD players at every position. They are a team that looks like the OLD braves in 1991 …. GO BRAVES

Joey

July 22nd, 2010
5:52 pm

Bat Masterson

July 22nd, 2010
5:53 pm

Foilin Moylan picks up un Dunn.

Pretty good bullpen too, Mark,

mikeDW

July 22nd, 2010
5:53 pm

Mark,
We were in the sam boat early in the season. I didn’t think we were going anywhere. The losses were mounting; the batters looked flailess. So now….I think it’s time….for you to write the biggest MEA CULPA ever…and please realize; it’s not just for you. It’s for a large part of the Braves’ Nation, who did not think this group had the heart or talent to be where we ae today!
Go Braves.

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Mark Bradley, Sport Fanatic, Allegra Coleman, Ashley Jacobsen, Andrew DeMillo and others. Andrew DeMillo said: RT @MarkBradleyAJC: Here are 8 reasons the #Braves will NOT squander their lead. http://bit.ly/d2YFrT (A jinx? Me? I thought that was be … [...]

bravesfan37

July 22nd, 2010
5:56 pm

What a fun game to watch today. Hudson pitched a brillant game. I would like to see Troy Glaus come back to his form in May, but you cannot stay that hot. This is fun and exciting. Looking forward to the rest of the season. Good to see Heyward hitting the ball hard again. Prado has had some bad breaks.

George Stein

July 22nd, 2010
5:57 pm

And…boom goes the jinx dynamite.

gadawgs

July 22nd, 2010
5:59 pm

Nice read Mark. You are light years ahead of your counterpart Shultz. I love this team.

Mike Jay

July 22nd, 2010
5:59 pm

Mark,

Good read enjoyed it and agree with it all. You did leave out the bullpen though. Simply stellar work all year and crucial come playoff time. Has there ever been such a thing as a positive/important 9 game losing streak? I can’t think of one. I calso can;t think of any team who has one and made the playoffs. Hmmm didn’t Denver a couple years ago have close to one that long?

Scrappy

July 22nd, 2010
6:03 pm

Great response to last night’s disappointment.

Gotta love the chemistry of this team.

dawginDC

July 22nd, 2010
6:04 pm

The Braves should have swept the padres…will take the 2 though…Go bravos!

chin music

July 22nd, 2010
6:06 pm

and if they lose the next nine games, mb, will you write them off again? this is a solid team, as it has been from opening day, but i expect the standings to tighten up a bit if the phillies get another solid starter and when chase utley comes back. that team is capable of reeling off a 17-3 run once their bats start clicking. there’s a lot of season left to be played, but if our biggest contributors can stay healthy for the remainder, there will be important baseball games at the ted come autumn.

Bradley!

July 22nd, 2010
6:07 pm

Damn you, Bradley. Damn you. Every time you do this to a team, you know what happens. You’re spot on, but I just hate it when YOU make predictions. Not that I’m superstitious – oh man, THAT would be bad luck….
Nice comments vmguru.

ErnisTbass

July 22nd, 2010
6:07 pm

Milosh wasn’t even warming up last night in a tie game real real late, nor in an 8-0 game when the pen needed some rest on a real hot day. Nobody else would want him so is he about to be waived whatever the cost or possibly traded for two balls and an order of sushi??

Larry

July 22nd, 2010
6:08 pm

Mark,

Agreed. However….

The reason none of this will matter is….Bobby Cox–the worst postseason manager in MLB history because he is the worst at finishing the deal.

Maybe this time will be different, but 14 last postseason game losses out of 15 chances are odds only a fool would gamble on!

Batman bin Suparman

July 22nd, 2010
6:10 pm

So, is Adrian Gonzalez flying to South Florida with the Braves?

Yes, I said Adrian.

Jack in Macon

July 22nd, 2010
6:10 pm

Lovin my some Braves…. This team is fun… This team is a team is full of baseball players… Loving it… Go Braves! I feel a trip to the world Series… Me thinks the Cards are the team we will have to beat in the end to get there… If so, then anything can happen… Good lord…. I’d love to pay the Yankees back on the national stage….

Ben

July 22nd, 2010
6:14 pm

9. The Mets and Phillies just aren’t that good.

If the Braves lead is to shrink, the Mets and Phillies have to start winning games, which neither team has done a lot of recently.

JohnSmith

July 22nd, 2010
6:15 pm

Everyone on this team contributes. The Braves can be every bit as pesky and scrappy as the Padres, but the beauty of it is, THEY DON’T HAVE TO BE. They have power here and there, hit for a decent average, take a healthy share of walks, take extra bases when they can, play solid D up the middle, have two great arms in the outfield on a nightly basis, and they can pitch. The Braves can win in a number of ways, and over the course of this season, they have. This is truly the mark of a versatile, winning team.

Alaska Braves Fan

July 22nd, 2010
6:16 pm

Larry: Go ahead, stink the place up with nonsensical statements like that. It’s important to be realistic and to keep our feet on the ground, but you seem not to be satisfied until you have popped every balloon and rained on every parade. Raspberries!

ABF

Hammerin Hank

July 22nd, 2010
6:21 pm

Funny how the Padres came in as supposedly the best defensive team in the league, but made some really boneheaded plays in this series. Venable looked lost on the fly ball that flew over his head, Hairston has a weak arm for a left fielder. He got nothing on the throw to the plate. They’d better not look behind them, the Giants are gaining.

Batman bin Suparman

July 22nd, 2010
6:25 pm

Now if only the Braves will sweep the Fish on the road. Meanwhile, here’s hoping the LA Galaxy beat the SJ Earthquakes …oh, and that Atlanta FINALLY gets Major League Soccer. Please, Arthur?

ReddJonn68

July 22nd, 2010
6:27 pm

Right on target Mark. I still say looking at it realistically that we could use some more speed, the only true threat on the base paths is J-Hey. I feel we need at least one more threat in this present lineup. Watching some of the Red’s game on ESPN last nite, I really like the type of game Dusty has his crew playing. Come playoff time runs are hard to come by, because everyone has decent pitching. We need at least one more dirty uniform at the end of these games, we could manufacture a few more runs when the game is close, like last nite.

mikeDW

July 22nd, 2010
6:28 pm

I think Larry had a point, ABF.
Bobby Cox is a great, regular season manager; but he tends to overwhelmingly fail in the post season.
I don’t claim to be an expert; I’m just a fan; but statistics don’t lie. I, Personally, believe it is because Cox is loyal to a fault, and will not play the “hot” players in the post season. In a shortened series, lifetime average should not factor in. Recent play should be the most determining factor….We all want to win; I’m sure Greg Norton and Nate McClouth would agree! Everyone, please feel free to agree, or disagree.

ABravesFan

July 22nd, 2010
6:29 pm

Another series win for the Braves. Let’s keep that going and the NL East would be ours soon enough.

With Diaz back and healthy, I feel that much better about this upcoming Florida series.

Alan

July 22nd, 2010
6:30 pm

I agree. This team feels so different than others in the past. I feel very confident this team can win the world series. How great would that be. Even going .500 the rest of the way puts them over 90 wins and easily a spot in the playoffs. But I think they will win 97-102, win the NL, have home field and beat the yanks or rays. I am hoping it’s the yanks for revenge but the rays would be cool too cause I might be in tampa during the time.

TruthSeeker

July 22nd, 2010
6:30 pm

Larry, I’ve seen you cite that statistic countless times over the years. While I’m certainly not going to defend Cox’s postseason record, your usage of that statistic is misleading. Only one out of the eight teams that makes the playoffs wins their last game. That’s like saying Joe Torre is a bad posteason manager because he’s lost his last eight final games of the postseason. He’s also got four World Series rings.

ReddJonn68

July 22nd, 2010
6:33 pm

Agreed mikeDW having been a Braves fan all my life, some of Bobby’s postseason move does leave you scratching your head. Not hating, just stating the truth.

Willy

July 22nd, 2010
6:36 pm

Whenver I see CAPS in the blog title I know Mark’s about to get busy. So big props to thee.

Jo Bling

July 22nd, 2010
6:37 pm

I like the optimism and the Braves have certainly looked good. They seem to have all the components. But let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves. They have played 95 games, which is less than 60 percent of the season. I get a kick out of watching every year, as the dog days of August drag out and move into September, how baseball fans everywhere suddenly begin to remember just how long the major league baseball season really is. It’s an eternity, folks. So much is yet to happen. The Braves are going to hit a slide or two – it’s inevitable – and the Phillies are going to catch fire at some point (not guaranteed, but at least a likelihood). To say that the Phillies “just aren’t that good” is ridiculous. They are that good, and they are the World Champions. We’ll hear from them sooner or later. I like the Braves’ chances, though, for all the reasons Mark mentions above, plus our outstanding bullpen. It’s going to be a fun second half of the season, but I wish the Braves advocates would temper the talk of running away with the division. It could happen, but it’s a loooooong season.

Willy

July 22nd, 2010
6:39 pm

I don’t even have to read the blog to be convinced. I just know.

ReddJonn68

July 22nd, 2010
6:41 pm

I meant moves. Great point Truthseeker, but do you think that we would have one ring if Torre or LaRussa had been managing us for the same tenure as Bobby ???

Justin

July 22nd, 2010
6:41 pm

They played much better than all the teams they have played so far. Including the Padres, Mets, and Phillies. And they should have swept them today. They only team that worries me is the Cards. But they Braves will hang in there.

Larry

July 22nd, 2010
6:46 pm

Truthseeker,

Everything is a stat in baseball! Just yesterday they were pointing out the great W/L record of the Braves and Padres when leading after 7 or 8 innings. Well, for Pete’s sake, EVERY team has a great W/L record when leading after 8 innings!

Further, I would argue that when a manager and his players have to watch the other team celebrate on the pitcher’s mound 14 out of 15 last games of the postseason this just may be the most important statistic of all! It’s called finishing with a win, Truth, and that’s the truth!

As for Torre, yes, I would absolutely take a last postseason record of 4-11 for Bobby Cox. This would mean he has four rings and a .364 last postseason game winning % versus his embarrassing .071 winning % (1-14).

And “mikeDW” is correct in that Bobby always managing the same way in a 5 or 7 game series as he does in a 162 game marathon. He’s patience and tolerance pays of over 162 games; his utter, unabashed ignorance of strategic, situational, in-game decision making is legendary.

Thank goodness old Tommy Glavine pitched that one hitter against the Indians in game 6 of the ‘95 series or old Bobby Cox just might be a perfect 0-15–that’s a 0.00 winning percentage, Truth!

mikeDW

July 22nd, 2010
6:55 pm

Yeah, not tryin’ to hate; but I would definitley take 4 rings over 1.

mikeDW

July 22nd, 2010
6:56 pm

Oh yeah; And the one we got, was 15 years ago! Either that’s a long time, or we’re just all gettin’ onld.

James

July 22nd, 2010
6:57 pm

Braves need to trade for Jeff Francoeur he can revive his career back in Atlanta with a second chance.

Katherine

July 22nd, 2010
6:58 pm

9. Chipper has a deer thumb.

Srvtecej

July 22nd, 2010
7:00 pm

Really enjoyed this article. Well said. Not a great team but they are a very good and fun to watch team. Some real memorable games this year already.

Larry

July 22nd, 2010
7:03 pm

ReddJonn68,

Give Torre, LaRussa, Herzog, Leyland, Soscia, Francona, Anderson, Weaver, Lasorda or Gaston the likes of a Smoltz, Glavine, Avery, Maddux, Smith, Leibrandt, Merker, Stanton, Wohlers, Pena, Schmidt, Borbon, Bedrosian, Remlinger, Rocker, Mulholland, Hammond, Marquis, and Millwood, to name a few, to through out there in most or all of 14 consecutive season and, yes, any of these managers would certainly have lead thier teams to more than one final game victory.

We lost in 1992, 1993, 1996, 1998, 2001 and 2002 due to being out managed by a superior postseason manager–period!

Larry

July 22nd, 2010
7:03 pm

…insert “throw” and “led”

1eyedJack

July 22nd, 2010
7:05 pm

I have heard that Glaus historically starts to heat up in August.

ReddJonn68

July 22nd, 2010
7:11 pm

Hear ya loud & clear Larry, heres another thought replace Chipper for all those years & put Barry Bonds or Ryne Sandberg on the Braves for the same amount of years do we still have one ring ???

Satchmo

July 22nd, 2010
7:14 pm

Outside the division play in August and September the 4 game series with St Louis in September looks to me to be the litmus test on how we will fare going forward, as the pitching match ups will tell us who most likely will dominate the playoffs.

jacket3

July 22nd, 2010
7:14 pm

Good story line MB. My Partner is from San Diego so I get to give him the “bidness”. I know that I have seats at Qualcomm if and when they play for the pennant. This was an exciting series to watch. There were a number of blown calls, out of position umpiring and a few dusted players on both sides. I am just glad the Braves came back out and took the rubber game on a sweltering day. This series displayed dedication, great effort, good pitching, spectacular defense and run production. Atlanta is on top because they are playing “Billy Ball”. They have not played in this fashion for a long time.

Joe

July 22nd, 2010
7:14 pm

Braves should sign Jermaine Dye first the rest of the season.

St. Clarkston

July 22nd, 2010
7:17 pm

This race will tighten up. Braves are bound to have a slump, that’s baseball. Still I say they win the division by five games. Playoffs are always a crap shoot.

NCBravesFan

July 22nd, 2010
7:17 pm

First of all, thanks Mark for a great analysis of where the Braves stand.

It’s too bad that not everyone can enjoy this renaissance at face value and just savor the moment. It’s been a long time since the Braves were in first with a team like this. I’ll worry about October when it gets here. For now, I’m going to enjoy this season immensely.

JT

July 22nd, 2010
7:18 pm

I could not agree more that Cox’s post season blunders have cost us dearly over the years.

Looking forward, has anyone noticed that LaRussa and Torre are both in the last year of their contracts?

Katherine

July 22nd, 2010
7:22 pm

Maybe Torre will come back to the braves?

ReddJonn68

July 22nd, 2010
7:22 pm

Good point JT knowing Wren he’ll let Bobby hand pick his successor !!!

ReddJonn68

July 22nd, 2010
7:27 pm

Wishful thinking Katherine when have you known our ATL franchises to actually make a common sense decision, I love Torre as manager plus he has history with us, perfect match.

bob

July 22nd, 2010
7:34 pm

9. The Phillies and Mets are fading fast.

JT

July 22nd, 2010
7:35 pm

Heard Chipper talking to Rome on the radio yesterday. He said he would not be surprised for the next Manager to be someone that had a history with the Braves. Think he has heard something?

bob

July 22nd, 2010
7:37 pm

Would not be the first time Torre got the credit for a team that Cox built.

rebman76

July 22nd, 2010
7:41 pm

Bradley,

I was listening to Fox Sports radiothis evening and they mentioned the L.A. Dodgers possibly putting Andre Ethier on the trading block. What are the chances the Braves could trade for him? He is a power hitting outfielder is he not?

ReddJonn68

July 22nd, 2010
7:42 pm

Yes he builds them & when the postseason comes along, he stands back and admires his work !

Fan since 1977

July 22nd, 2010
7:44 pm

Mark –

Any doubt in your mind that the past 2 days we were simply showcasing Dunn & McLouth for the Florida advance scouts, since they are interested in dealing Cody Ross?

I’ll hang up and listen.

mikeDW

July 22nd, 2010
7:48 pm

Attn. NCBravesFan….. We ALL are truly savoring the moment. But after all those years of built up pension, some of us are ready to explode! We don’t want to just make it. Any manager worth his salt could have just made it ’till October! I no longer want to “Wait till October”. With a rotation of Maddux, Smoltz, and Glavine, anyone coulda made it till October! Geeze, will any team EVER see such a rotation again?
IRREGARDLESS, which isn’t even a word, this team feels Spunky…not all pitching and business…..just some good old boys tryin’ to win! I think we have what it takes to get there….Let’s just hope Cox doesn’t spoil it (like by playin McClouth for the rest of the season).
Go Frank Wrenn. Go Fans. Go Braves!

Go Navy

July 22nd, 2010
7:55 pm

Good to see the Braves whup up on the Padres. The heat was brutal. Wife and I left after the 7th. Go Braves!

"Chef" Tim Dix

July 22nd, 2010
8:06 pm

In a season of bell weather moments, maybe wednesday’s, Wag’s blown save in a game they lost is such. Bitter like the inside of a pecan shell. I’ll leave you with this: In my mind, this is more like ‘91 than we’d like. Yeah, home sched is good, but something is foreseen. It will be like waiting on the late west coast scores, but worst.

Alas, the outcome will be ultimate.

JMayne

July 22nd, 2010
8:07 pm

This is great. Go braves. Hudson is the ace we all thought he would be when he got traded here. Phillies or Mets are gonna have to play some great baseball to catch and overtake the braves. As of now (before nym game) all three teams (atl, phi, nym) have 67 games left and they are both 7 back. if braves go 37-30, one of those teams have to 45-22. thats .672 win%. If the braves win 40 more games(40-27), that puts them at 96. gonna be hard for either team to win more than that. phi or nym would have to go 48-19. Go braves. Skin those fish.

Herschel Talker

July 22nd, 2010
8:08 pm

MB:

Outstanding piece. Well written. The math works too. Even if they go .500 the rest of the way (which they won’t), the Phils need to play at a far higher clip than they have so far. And neither will happen. And the Mets are irrelevant. So like you say, it’s over.

HT

Billy

July 22nd, 2010
8:08 pm

James …U are nuts. Frenchy will not return to Braves.

Good job Mark.

Still believe Wren will add another outfielder shortly.

frank james

July 22nd, 2010
8:09 pm

Shoot it will take a hurricane to stop us!

912 Dawg

July 22nd, 2010
8:11 pm

ANY news on Eric Hinske?

frank james

July 22nd, 2010
8:12 pm

Joe Simpson and Chip said he had X-rays and they were negative. Just a deep bruise. Day to Day

Grandpa Right, formerly of Cochran

July 22nd, 2010
8:15 pm

Forgive me for saying so, but Larry is an a$$.

Manny

July 22nd, 2010
8:16 pm

I think the Phillies will take the lead. See, they aren’t afraid of the Braves and they only beat themselves. When they finally stop beating themselves they will start winning games.

See? I listened to the Jedi Mind Trick that the Philly homer columnist did while trying to explain why the Phillies are terrible. See? Heyward and Sea Bass is an easy out. And the starting rotation is merely average…

(Sorry, but I tried to go through an entire comment without laughing at that Phillies columnist. It didn’t work!)

Frank Bolling

July 22nd, 2010
8:17 pm

What a strange game in every way. When I saw our starting line up — I thought I was gonna puke. Of our nine starters, our pitcher had the second highest batting average of the nine Brave starters. Behind only Prado. Is that gonna win you a World Series?? But, they take that and beat the SECOND best team in the National League 8 to 0. Who would have thunk it?? Alex Gonzales was a “magician” out there today. Same for scrawny, little old Tim Hudson! Chipper looked like he was 28 again. Bobby looked like Bobby. At least he didn’t start McLouth. Then, he simply stayed out of the way. Good for him. I can’t figure this team out. No team speed at all except Heyward. No real big bats. Top tier pitching, but in the play offs and beyond, all the teams will have that — plus some of the the pieces we lack — as of now. This season appears to be a mirage of sorts. Does anyone seriously believe this team can ride this magic carpet and WIN the World Series??? Seriously, now folks. GO BRAVES!!

oleman

July 22nd, 2010
8:18 pm

Larry’s got a good point.

mikeDW

July 22nd, 2010
8:19 pm

Yes, Frank. Yes.

Frank Bolling

July 22nd, 2010
8:20 pm

Hope you are right Fan Since 1977!! Man, I hope you are right…..

Chip Caray's Eyebrows

July 22nd, 2010
8:30 pm

I agree that at some point the Phillies will probably put some streak togther, but they better do it relatively soon or it wont matter. If the Braves keep winning series after series, no one will catch them.

Larry

July 22nd, 2010
8:31 pm

Grandpa,

My wife says the same thing!

DoninToccoa

July 22nd, 2010
8:33 pm

Fan since 68 and these guys are coming together cold or hot weather!

Fan since 1977

July 22nd, 2010
8:42 pm

JT _

You been under a rock? No question Freddy Gonzales will be our mgr next year. I’ll bet Chipper’s salary next year on it.

Of course, I am counting on him to retire.

Fan since 1977

July 22nd, 2010
8:47 pm

Chef –

You a fatalist or trying to sound like a Victorian era author or both?

This team is more like ‘95. My support:

1. Starting pitching.
2. A real closer.
3. Depth.

In fact, this bullpen as a whole is better than ‘95. We didn’t need many guys besides Wohlers when Glavine, Maddux and Smoltz got the ball.

MB is a butt kisser

July 22nd, 2010
8:55 pm

MB I wish I could find that article you wrote in late April or Early May about the Braves being a below average team.

NCBravesFAN

July 22nd, 2010
8:56 pm

Hey Mark…so glad you not only hopped on the bandwagon, but it now appears you are driving it too!

Go Braves!!

MB is a butt kisser

July 22nd, 2010
9:04 pm

Oh MB, after some searching I found the wonderful article- Do you remember this?

“This, sad to say, isn’t a very good team. It has some pitchers but too few hitters. As constituted, these Braves aren’t going to win anything.”

http://blogs.ajc.com/mark-bradley-blog/2010/04/30/as-constituted-these-braves-arent-going-to-win-anything/

Herschel Talker

July 22nd, 2010
9:07 pm

MB is a butt kisser:

lol. Great find. However, instead of lambasting MB, perhaps you should dig up the article where he admits he was wrong. There’s nothing wrong with someone asserting a position and then changing his position when the facts and circumstances change.

HT

TommyP

July 22nd, 2010
9:08 pm

Gonzalez like Ozzie or Vizquel???? What the hell? That’s insane.

MB is a butt kisser

July 22nd, 2010
9:12 pm

I guess I agree HT, I have to do that a lot with my wife. Maybe I’m taking my anger out on MB

Sorry MB, Good Article (the one about the Braves making it to the playoffs)

Go Braves!!!!

Fan since 1977

July 22nd, 2010
9:13 pm

Gonzalez ain’t the Wizard but I’ll take him over Yunel who?

Keith

July 22nd, 2010
9:19 pm

Yes, Mark, let’s make it #9…..

Playoff roster of bullpen come September (not exhaustive)
Moylan
Dunn
Oflaherty
Saito
Venters
Wags

Not too bad I must say! :)

NCBravesFan

July 22nd, 2010
9:19 pm

Heck, who in April after that nine game skid thought the Braves would be where they are now? Hard to criticize Mark for saying what a lot of us were thinking.

Keith

July 22nd, 2010
9:21 pm

Oh and #10 if you will…

Motivation from a rival team’s city newspaper

“Braves are nothing special….”

That’s a paraphrase of the article, but you have to wonder if they posted that in the locker as a little motivation….;)

NCBravesFAN

July 22nd, 2010
9:25 pm

HT

I can agree with changing your stance but when the local sports writer dogs on a team all winter, through spring training, and even into the month of may….THEN starts writing articles like this and ending them statements like he did above it seems a bit hypocritical. In the article posted by “butt kisser” MB ends it with “these Braves have no chance”. I feel quite alright ignoring his admittance of being wrong and calling him a bandwagon driving, butt kisser!

Chris

July 22nd, 2010
9:28 pm

Mark….I agree with you that this team will play into October. I really thought they were the team to beat in the National League. However, word is that Oswalt is probably headed to the Cardinals. If you add him to a rotation that already includes Carpenter and Wainwright you are talking about a rotation as good or better than the Braves.
I know Oswalt to the Cardinals is not a done deal yet but the road to the NL penant may have to go through St. Louis.

NCBravesFAN

July 22nd, 2010
9:32 pm

To the other NCBravesFAN who posted at 9:19…..I still watched every game and still believed. Call it blind allegiance if you will but I knew what these guys were capable of, saw them doing it at the end of last year, through spring training and then when they found every way possible to lose games in that 9 game stretch, I knew the schedule would get easier and we still had a chance.

Also…why exactly did you choose to copy my screen name??

Stanley Palmer

July 22nd, 2010
9:35 pm

I love Chipper

NC Braves fan

July 22nd, 2010
9:35 pm

I stand corrected…you posted under that name hours before I got on this blog tonight. Pardon me.

NCBravesFan

July 22nd, 2010
9:37 pm

Well good for you for believing in this team, my fellow Braves fan.

As for me, I’ve been posting with this screenname for at least a year and a half. Can’t recall seeing you before, but hey … carry on. It’s a blog and the more the merrier I say.

Frank Bolling

July 22nd, 2010
9:47 pm

Fan Since 1977. I keep agreeing with you. Up to a point. If you have played the game — you have to be solid and strong up the middle. Defensively. Catcher, pitcher,short stop, second base, and — OOPS — center field. All those play-off teams you noted — ALWAYS had a player who could play THAT center field position. Marquis Grissom. Otis Nixon. Andruw Jones with his SOLID gold glove! Nate McLouth?? This is a joke; a pox; and the Archilles heel of this Braves team. Here’s my question for everybody on here who cares. Where is it written that Jason is a right fielder?? WHERE?? On every team I’ve played on, we always put our fastest guy with a cannon for an arm in center field. It’s a no brainer. Cover lots of ground — left and right. Turn would be doubles — into outs — and guys trying to go to third from 1st on a single — into automatic outs. Here’s my simple plan to WIN — not just get there — WIN — this year’s World Series. Pick up a guy who can hit, with a strong arm, to play one of the outfield positions. Pick one Wren. There are several good ones out there. Give up a couple of young pitchers, even old pitcher Lowe if necessary, and throw McLouth in for free. There goes part of that ridiculous salary. Addition by subtraction. Diaz/Cabrera platoon in left according to pitcher. Jason in center. New guy — (Willingham, Ross, fill in the blank here — some of those Brewer guys who might be in a fire sale mode!) It will work. Whom ever it is. Case in point. Look no further than Alex Gonzales. Get a good to great player — buried on a team going absolutely nowhere — and bring ‘em here. They’ll think they died and went to heaven! We are really in a pennant race? A shot at the World Series?? Like my old granny used to say, “It’s Katy bar the door!” I don’t think even Bobby could screw this one up, and believe it or not — I’d like to see the Old Goat go out a WINNER!!!! Roll Braves!!

Larry

July 22nd, 2010
9:51 pm

Wow! A blog fight between the real and imposter “NCBravesFan!” How much to watch on Pay per View? Another “Larry” want to take me on?

Keith

July 22nd, 2010
9:52 pm

Re:Chris.

Yes, i agree with you that it is better for Philly to land Oswalt than the Cardinals. THat team scares me enough as it is and if they were to land another #2 starter, then they would be very difficult. I know there’s a lot of baseball left and injuries to unfold, but if they land oswalt, I say we need another piece….probably a powerhitting RH bat. But please, don’t let it cody ross..corey hart, sure.

Frank Bolling

July 22nd, 2010
10:01 pm

I just wrote a short novel here full of insight. Where did it go? Too long, MB?? Doesn’t matter…

Frank Bolling

July 22nd, 2010
10:08 pm

Ah, back up again! Here’s the Cliff Notes version of how to win it all. Deal whom ever for a power hitting outfielder. Move Jason to CF where he belongs. Forget McLouth. Not even on the bench. Move him, some young pitchers, for that one critical piece. DEFENSE UP THE MIDDLE. We are set everywhere but center field. Where is it written that Jason has to play right field? Move him. Put new guy where ever. Every problem area solved and World Series back in the ATL in October. Thanks for the memories Bobby. Glad to see you go — but may as well — go out a winner!!!

Jacket Backer

July 22nd, 2010
10:10 pm

Good team. I’m glad Cox has this team to go out with. Maybe something special will happen in October!

Herschel Talker

July 22nd, 2010
10:27 pm

NCBravesFAN at 9:25:

I must say that we all though this team was going to suck. The Glaus signing was a joke or so we thought. We all hated the Vazquez trade (and maybe still do). So I applaud MB for not being a blind homer at the time and telling it like it was, namely that those transactions sucked. But we were all terribly wrong (though Glaus has resumed sucking as of late, but that’s another topic for another day). And MB admitted it. Is he supposed to continue bashing them? So like I said, there’s no shame in changing one’s stance in the face of changed circumstances and facts.

HT

Ed

July 22nd, 2010
10:33 pm

I love the 10 reasons the BRaves will win, however, there are a couple of reasons they might not:
1. The Phillies get Oswalt.
2. The Mets dump Franceur (sp)
But I do like their chances today.

Drexel Gal

July 22nd, 2010
10:38 pm

You are right … Bradley IS far ahead of Schultz. If the Braves lose the Division this year, Schultz will blame it on George Bush.

Gwalk

July 22nd, 2010
10:44 pm

That last sentence made my heart melt. What an awesome year we are having…Go Bravos!

thunderbull56

July 22nd, 2010
10:44 pm

.667, .280,3.50, Scares all the mules who come to play.We are close.That’s what is so cool about the game.Individual contributions make up a team’s success.Win 2 of 3 week in and out, .667 is the WP line.Research the games history and to obtain that a team generally has to bat close to .280 and it’s pitching has to maintain a little below .400.Yeah, I’m guilty,I’m gloating a little,while sweating how much better we could be.

Yunel the fry cook

July 22nd, 2010
10:45 pm

Would you like some fries with that order, sir?

bruce

July 22nd, 2010
10:55 pm

9. Braves are doing it right now with Martin not having his at-bats turn into on-base as often as he has been. Going through a time then the hits will start falling in again and he will pick up someone else who is not as hot.

IlliniBrave

July 22nd, 2010
11:09 pm

Interesting comments MB – very revealing with respect to the Gonzalez-Yunel trade. Note the following attributes of the Braves from your article:

“they work hard”
“they do the little things”
“they are resilient”
“they play baseball the way the game is supposed to be played”
“they play as a team”

NONE of these can be said about Yu-smell. The guy just didn’t fit in with the Braves. Wish him well, sort of, but glad as hell that we no longer have to deal with all the distractions.

Yunel Escobar

July 22nd, 2010
11:36 pm

Yo quiero hombres

Nevada Roy

July 23rd, 2010
12:44 am

How about offering Kawakami straight up for Francoeur? On his arrival, option him to Gwinnett and non-tender in October. Saves Kawakami salary for 2011.

DB

July 23rd, 2010
1:25 am

Mark,
You really need to do a story on how the Braves and the Atlanta PD treat senior citizens that come to a game by bus. I took a bus group there Thursday and following the game they were forced to stand out on the curb for over an hour with the heat index at 105 degrees before I could pick them up. They were not familiar with the stadium or the area and were physically unable to walk to the lot across the interstate to reach the bus. I talked to everyone possible trying to get permission to drive to them and pick them up, the only response I received was that it couldn’t be done. I questioned a number of officers about a location for handicapped seniors to be dropped off or picked up by the stadium and the response was the same, one even told me to “:have them write their congressmen.” I am not certain but it sure seem like this may be a violation of the Americans With Disabilities Act. The Braves do provide a golf cart that will carry 3 at a time to the bus, with 50 passengers, this still takes over an hour. It’s a shame that senior groups are discouraged to come to the games after being treated like this.

edmaster

July 23rd, 2010
1:46 am

hey what about bautista from the blue jays is he available? and can the braves actually make a push for him ?

Headley Lamar

July 23rd, 2010
2:08 am

anybody seen my rubber duckie?

Baldemar Huerta

July 23rd, 2010
3:13 am

From Liebrant to Gant, The Choke-o-matic is warming up for the post season.

Mike in LA

July 23rd, 2010
3:59 am

I think some of you guys are nuts fire blaming Bobby Cox for the Braves postseason losses. The players have something to do with that as well. It wasn’t Bobby’s fault that Lonnie Smith forgot how to run the bases in the seventh game and failed to score in the 91 series, it wasn’t his fault that Wohlers gave up the homer to Leyritz that changed the entire series, and it wasn’t his fault that Maddux and Glavine were mere mortals in the postseason. Fact remains that if you look at pure stats, he’s right up there with the greatest managers of all time. And if you look further than numbers, at qualities such as loyalty to players and consistent optimism there’s no one in his class. Hell, I think they should change the Braves name to the Atlanta Bobby Braves, he’s meant that much. I will miss seeing him in that dugout, that’s for sure.

Larry

July 23rd, 2010
5:17 am

Mile in LA,

“The Atlanta Bobby Braves?” Seriously?

You may want to mention the GM and and the Farm System too! It was Mr. John Schuerholz who acquired Mr. Bream, Mr. Billiard, Mr Pendleton, Mr. Pena, Mr. Leibrandt, and Mr. Nixon to compliment the youth and kick start the 1991 team, adding Mr. Maddux and Mr. McGriff in 1993 and adding Mr. Grissom, Mr. Devereaux and Mr. O’Brien in 1995. It was the Braves farm system that produced too many players for Bobby to mention.

I’ll agree that Bobby is a loyal, optimistic and a really nice guy and this bodes well at keeping players happy and content for the nine months of February through September. However, those same players, the media, and, perhaps, people like you, were in a state of “shock and awe” earlier this season when Bobby Cox came out of character and ordered a squeeze play to win a game. Me? I thought this is the kind of strategic, situational, in-game decision making that has so many times been absent from Bobby during so, so many tight, one run games during the postseason.

You see, Mike, in my opinion, a baseball manager is the easiest managerial job in professional sports when it comes to decision making. Really, how hard is it to fill out a lineup card, set up a five man rotation, and call for a relief pitcher or a pinch hitter over a 162 game season? The most talented pitchers and players will win the majority of 162 games! However, during a 7 game series in the NLCS or WS, you expect to also be facing the league’s best pitchers and players and this is when a manager can shine. This is when a manager’s key, in game decisions are critical! This is when the best managers of a must win game surface!

Bobby Cox is a great 162 game season manager; however, Bobby Cox has also been the worst and making the right call at the right time in the postseason and a 1-14 record in the last game of the postseason is overwhelming and convincing evidence of this!

Maybe, just maybe, should we get into the postseason this year, Bobby will appoint an offensive coordinator to make the calls at key moments of a close game. Otherwise we fans will at some point watch yet another opposing team’s players and their manager celebrate on the pitcher’s mound again–and I’ve been watching this since 1995!

Stuart Smalley

July 23rd, 2010
5:47 am

If I had managed the Braves instead of … Bobby … um … Cox, I would have fifteen championship trophies instead of a downward shame … spiral. Why would I have been a better manager than the current manager? Because I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and, doggone it, people like me!

*Sarcasm-Identification gene required*

Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

July 23rd, 2010
7:23 am

phillies won’t get oswalt, going to the cards per MLB. barring any setbacks/injuries, braves should clinch 1st place and start the postseason.

Just Me

July 23rd, 2010
8:00 am

Only hole we have is in Centerfield and it needs to be addressed now. Give him time to fit in with Braves. McLough is not the player we thought we were getting, he didnt hit before the crash in the outfield and he will not hit now. Hes a inning killer and we need that hole done and gone if we are to go all the way.

We need a right handed batter who can be productive in the lower end of the lineup and thats not McLouth. Time to turn that position over to a real hitter and we have the team that can go all the way. Dont stall, just go get us that hitter and were as good as gold.

GO BRAVES!

Shug

July 23rd, 2010
8:17 am

Yesterday’s game doesn’t erase the fiasco on Wednesday. Championship teams don’t blow multi-run leads in the ninth inning.

Paddy

July 23rd, 2010
8:23 am

In the age of hugh MLB salaries, it is unheard of for a team to play with no selfishness. The Braves ar playing Old Thyme Baseball. One reason, Bobby Cox knowns what he is doing. Brought up in the Yankee tradition under Ralph Hoak(sp). We will miss him when he is gone because he is a once in a lifetime manager. Just ask any professional baseball man their impressions of Bobby. Every team in baseball wishes they had someone with his qualities.

mowreck

July 23rd, 2010
8:27 am

Mark, I really enjoyed your article. One of the best articles you have written about the Braves. Congrats, you hit the nail right on the head.

Fan since 1977

July 23rd, 2010
8:32 am

Just Me -

To address your concerns over CF, I strongly believe we have showcased McLouth and Mike Dunn the last 2 games for the Florida advance scouts in attendance, because Florida IS interested in dealing Cody Ross and they specifically mentioned Dunn. Why else would McLouth pinch run for Diaz? Diaz is one of the faster guys on the team. Dunn did not help his cause yesterday, though, as Moylan had to come in and save his butt. Stay tuned because some kind of deal may get done. Florida is not out of it, and they won’t have another fire sale since they get a new stadium next year (or they would have dealt Hanley Ramirez by now), but they do want a RP.

mowreck

July 23rd, 2010
8:35 am

p.s. Are they gonna take my favorite pitcher (Chris M) out of the starting rotation?

Kenny J

July 23rd, 2010
8:37 am

Bradley, good one. You’ve offered us a rounded perspective and 8 clear reasons to “think October.” #9 is Frank Wren. i am not sure what’s with this town when it comes to its sour view of him. He’s done a great job, including cleaning up the messes Scheurholz made his final 3 or 4 years on the job after making the Braves the great franchise they were for 14 years. Frank, since then, has put together a solid team and restored the minor league system, and for a payroll that’s $40 million less than the Phillies. The Yunel deal was another example of the soundness of minor tweaking that makes a major difference. The national beat says the Braves sold low on Escobar, which from a raw talent standpoint may be true, but not from a professional one. Also, I’d be surprised if another smart deal doesn’t show up before the July 31 (or August 31) deadline. Either way, for the 8 reasons you gave us MB, I still like the team’s chances a lot. Here’s hoping the 2010 post-season is special.

One last thing on Post-season-Cox. To me his biggest, most repeated flaw has been to pitch his starters on 3 days rest in October, and it hasn’t worked. Let’s all hope he doesn’t do that again this time around. We all really enjoy this team and would love to fly the championship flag in a final celebration of his remarkable career.

bad brad

July 23rd, 2010
8:41 am

One thing I dont’t understand is how they are dealing with Medlen. The Braves win 10 of his 11 starts and put him in the bull pen/relegate him to 5th starter status. I think this will mess up his head; re the late inning loss to SD.

Also have heard the rumor from Chuck Dowdle on the radio that the Braves are considering trading Medlen for Florida’s Ross. I, for one, do not want to see that happen. Enjoy watching Medlen attacking opposing hitters and think he is the real deal for years to come.

Maybe D Lowe should be the 5th starter until his contract is up.

Dan

July 23rd, 2010
8:49 am

But… But…,But the Fillies are so much better than the Braves how will the Braves keep ahead of them?

Curious George

July 23rd, 2010
9:05 am

Wouldn’t the concept of building an actual T-E-A-M based on a strict No-Thugs policy be a reason as well?

Anyone see Yunel?

Let's Go

July 23rd, 2010
9:06 am

9th reason: The schedule is in the Braves Favor. 4 game series coming up against Giants, Dodgers, & Cardinals are all at home. Have to go face the Reds next week and the Rockies & Cubs are on the road. Also 7 of the remaining 10 games with the Mets are in Atlanta.

Kenny J

July 23rd, 2010
9:07 am

brad brad — so right on. Kris Medlen is the man. All heart, grit and over-achievement. A great example of the soul of this team. I’d hate to seem him get traded.

crymeariver

July 23rd, 2010
9:11 am

What does no-thugs policy refer to?

crymeariver

July 23rd, 2010
9:17 am

I’m not an expert, but I don’t think that the Braves really need to trade for anything.
And a Medlin for Ross to Fla. deal, is way to much to give away for Ross. I don’t think Ross is that valuable. I don’t believe Wren would ever do that.
They were trying to advertise Dunn yesterday, but he had the hic-cups.

Mr. Obvious

July 23rd, 2010
9:25 am

crymeariver @ 9:11am

If you HAVE TO ask that question, then that is probably one reason why you have not been asked by Bobby Cox to join this year’s team.

Enjoy your Carlos Zambrano, Lastings Milledge & Hanley Ramirez basbeall card collection.

Mr. Obvious

July 23rd, 2010
9:26 am

BASEBALL card collection

j

July 23rd, 2010
9:28 am

Great article MB! You are the man. I love watching these Braves! That is a huge win, bouncing back from some bad luck.

Mutley

July 23rd, 2010
9:32 am

To all the fans who wanted to fire Frank Wren please say, “I am sorry.”

j

July 23rd, 2010
9:35 am

Medlin will be a stud. we can’t afford to trade him. Blanco has an OBP of .400 and hitting. Get his @$$ back up here Wren!

Galen Hall

July 23rd, 2010
9:43 am

Cody Ross ain’t all that good. Trading Medlin for him would be a mega mistake.

Meanwhile, the L.A. Times quotes Larry Drew as saying Josh Powell to the Hawks “is a done deal,” yet the Atlanta paper, as far as I can tell, only has this new reported by fans on the blog of the vacationing beat writer. Is this any way to run a railroad?

crymeariver

July 23rd, 2010
10:00 am

curious george@9;05 or mr. obovious@9:25 or whatever other handle you use on this blog……….Your 9:25 post, still doesn’t explain what you were trying to say in your 9:05 entry.
What is a no-thugs policy suppose to be referring to? Or do you, even know what you are talking about?

crymeariver

July 23rd, 2010
10:22 am

I guess that you didn’t know what you meant either, bye.

schmeckdawg

July 23rd, 2010
10:32 am

Sorry everybody, I know this is a Braves site, but remember when Boise State rolled into Athens for the first game in 2005, they were done by the end of first quarter due to THE HEAT!!!!!!!!!

MitchC

July 23rd, 2010
10:36 am

The same Mark Bradley who said the Braves were going to finish third in April, is now saying in late July, that the Braves are going to the playoffs. From your blog, to a higher being’s .. ears, my friend.

I’m cautiously optimistic, but far from cocky. I remember 1983, when the Braves blew a 6 1-2 game lead in August. I remember the Mets in 2007, 7 games with 17 to go, blew it all. I remember the 1969 Cubs, 9 1-2 up in August, only to finish eight back.

I’m not saying any of those disasters will happen. On the contrary, I think the Braves SHOULD win the NL East by a decent size margin. It’s just.. as good as they’ve been, there are so many games to go, and its only July.

Hopefully, your prediction will be 100% right. It will be nice to see them play beyond Game 162 for the first time in five years.

Don

July 23rd, 2010
10:41 am

EIGHT Reasons Why The Braves WILL Squander This Lead:
(1) Bobby Cox blew who knows how many games in the first 1/4 of the season by playing McLouth full time (at the same time as Melky) when he was producing almost nothing. Who knows when he will do something just as stupid again.
(2) Bobby Cox lost who knows how many games in the first 1/4 of the season by playing Melky full time (at the same time as McLouth) when he was producing almost nothing at that time. May do something just as stupid again.
(3) Bobby Cox has kept Chipper in the 3rd spot in the batting order all season when he was hitting in the .230s or below most of the time with bad RBI production – causing the loss of who knows how many games. Will probably continue this even if he goes back to hitting poorly.
(4) Heyward was hitting great, being selective, being patient. Then Bobby Cox said he should be more aggressive. Soon thereafter he started not being selective or patient, swinging at bad pitches, overswing, trying to pull too much and his hitting went in the tank. Coming of the DL will he go back to his original form or will he continue the results of Cox’s comments????
(5)Like most seasons, Cox is probably going to have some of his best bullpen pitchers unnecessiarly overused and ineffective before the end of the season.
(6) Cox is likely to continue to show little or no understanding of playing the “hot hand” and will have players who are hot hitters sitting on the bench.
(7) Cox will probably follow his usual pattern of using some player who is not producing on and on and on – with a productive player on the bench.
(8) The bullpen is talented and deep, but Cox may follow his habit in past seasons of finding a relief pitcher who is very ineffective and using him on and on and losing game after game.
THE LIST could go on – and we didnt’ even get into questionable in game strategy moves.
TRUE – Pitching is the name of the game, and with their Pitching, the Braves should win the Division. But the BIG QUESTION is – Is the Pitching great enough to overcome the management procedures and lack thereof of Bobby Cox? One positive factor – the overall talent on this roster (the number of duds being limited) limits his potential for blunders.

Trevor Lamis

July 23rd, 2010
10:47 am

The Braves are going all the way this year. When can we get playoff tickets?

Hammer This

July 23rd, 2010
10:53 am

For those who want to bash Cox about the postseason. During the telecast Tuesday, they showed Smoltz and Glavine’s stats from the 1998 NLCS. Anybody want to guess what they were? Yep, 0-3 and a 4.50 ERA. I guess it was Cox’s fault.

Also, I think I remember Sheffield going about 2 for 30 in his two years here during the playoffs. I know, I know it’s Cox’s fault.

Hammer This

July 23rd, 2010
10:55 am

Don, you might want to check your facts on Cox stating that Heyward needs to be aggressive. I think right after the comment, he started lighting it up. He only slumped after he injured his wrist.

Don

July 23rd, 2010
11:00 am

Relating to Cox’s World Series record:
People forget that we are extremely, extremely LUCKY that it is not ZERO World Series wins out of 14 Post Season opportunities – instead of ONE World Series win out of the 14 chances.
The ODDS were all in favor of it being ZERO —Remember that in the final game the Braves scored only ONE RUN (on a home run) and it require Glavine to pitch a one hit SHUTOUT of the best team in the American League in order for the Braves to win the final game and have even the ONE World Series championship.

Don

July 23rd, 2010
11:05 am

Hammer, that is correct – which was to be expected — Because Heyward had been taking a lot of good pitches (especiall first pitch pitches) – and thus the Pitchers were laying the ball in with fat pitches early in the count – So naturally when Heyward started swinging early in the count – he was hitting great – until the pithers realized this. Then they stopped doing this – And Heyward (resulting for Cox’s comment) started swinging at bad pitches, overswinging, trying to pull too much (no longer being patient and selective) and as a result his hitting then went significantly declined.

The Red Panties are like St Christopher to me, can't travel safe without 'em

July 23rd, 2010
11:07 am

Now that we have Heyward and Diaz back healthy, I say we bring up Gregor again and send McLouth wherever, too bad he’s pretty much untradable at this point.
As for anyone dissing Chipper, all he seems to do is know how to get us a key hit when we need it – he is still good defensively and a real deal professional hitter.

Hammer This

July 23rd, 2010
11:07 am

Relating to Cox’s World Series record:

People forget that WE are extremely, extremely unlucky that it is not five. ‘91 – One of the greatest Series ever lost in 7 by one run.

‘96 – Wohlers should have never throw that slider to Dimwitz. Up 2-0 would have swept that series and won the next five in a row.

Hammer This

July 23rd, 2010
11:08 am

Don,

Do you actually believe the crap that you type?

Hammer This

July 23rd, 2010
11:12 am

Don,

Please tell us how many MLB Division Titles you have managed your team to? What is your World Series record?

Mike Bradley, Mark's evil twin

July 23rd, 2010
11:18 am

Mark,
Have you heard of any trade rumors for Braves before the break? Just wonderin if they are satisfied with the outfield or thinking about making a move. McClouth scares me. He just can’t hit high fatsball and can’t stop swingin at it. Diaz is killing the ball but he is streaky. Melky is good off bench and Omar is great at playing everywhere but we will need him at 3rd when Chipper pulls muscle sneezing this weekend.

dent

July 23rd, 2010
11:20 am

DB sounds like you were the one who dropped the ball and wasnt able to pick up the seniors on time. Not the Braves responsibility to be there it is yours. In order to qualify for ADA you must be part of a group designated as such. Being a senoir citizen does not assure such. While I appreciate you taking the senior citizens there you were the one at fault not the Braves! It called common sense. By the way how much advance notice did you give the Braves? None I’ll bet.

You are the problem not the Braves!

George

July 23rd, 2010
11:23 am

Larry, How many games have managed and won; regular or post season and when can we expect your induction in the HOF

George

July 23rd, 2010
11:24 am

Don, I look forward to seeing you in the dugout next year so the Braves will be the first team to win 162 regular season games and sweep the playoffs without a loss.

Kentavo

July 23rd, 2010
11:46 am

I know I’ll get savaged here, but if Medlen can net us an power-hitting OF bat then, so be it; pull the trigger!

Joshua

July 23rd, 2010
11:52 am

First of all, I’m curious as to what Mark Bradley thinks is a flaw on this team. To me what makes us such a good team is our lack of flaws. We may not be the best at any position but we have no glaring weaknesses anywhere.

Joshua

July 23rd, 2010
11:57 am

Don – you are not a Braves fan. Just shut up and go away. You do not know what you are talking about. It is quite obvious that objective reasoning is well outside the scope of your intellectual capacity, and to read post after post of your brainless and inane bantering just makes me feel stupider for reading it.

Joshua

July 23rd, 2010
12:00 pm

Herschel Talker – You are incorrect. Some of us knew the Braves had a good team. Some of us knew that Glaus was a good acquisition. Some of us knew that Vazquez had to be moved and that he wasn’t going to command a lot of trade value. Some of *you* simply don’t know as much about baseball as you would like to think.

PMC

July 23rd, 2010
12:10 pm

All is right with the world again. The Braves are in thier right place atop the NL East and the Phillies are firing thier hitting coach and talking about weakening thier lineup significantly so they can try and bring in a 34 year old to compete… NICE.

chip1960

July 23rd, 2010
12:14 pm

Hi my name is Don. Judge Wopner 4:00. I’m an excellent driver. 245 toothpicks, 245. Bobby Cox no good, Raymond, Bobby Cox no good. Just call me Rainman. I’m an excellent driver. Judge Wopner 4:00. Pitch shutout to win ONE WS, pitch shutout to win ONE WS.

GOOD GOD man!! Try coming up with some new material Rainman. Do you just keep repeating the same crap over and over? You are a sad and pitiful man and I’m sure I speak for all blogggers here who wish you would just go away or at least go to Vegas and and count some cards with your brother.

Jeff Blouser

July 23rd, 2010
12:34 pm

NO MORE TRADES PLEASE! Lets let this team play! GO BRAVES!

gcs

July 23rd, 2010
12:37 pm

One more reason: Even when they play bad, they win.
Game 1 vs San Diego is a good example. Three Braves errors, Padre baserunners all over the place early in the game and ATL still come out on top.

.

Mike Honcho

July 23rd, 2010
12:38 pm

Anybody know how the playoffs work? Which division winner will play the wild card winner? The one with the most wins?

ReddJonn68

July 23rd, 2010
12:59 pm

@ whomever thinks the Cards are getting Oswalt, fat chance too much money tied into Holliday & they must resign Pujols next year. Pujols is gonna break the bank just like Iso-Joe !!!!!

Flatsdawg1

July 23rd, 2010
1:02 pm

I think Bobby likes this teams makeup enough to come back one more year. This team isn’t scared of anyone and has a lot of players that can really contribute. Everyone in the lineup swings the bat with confidence. It would be so sweet to beat the Yanks in the final game of the season. They have made me a believer! This team doesn’t need to get a big lead and get complacent, It thrives on the underdog role, nobody in baseball is really believing they are a yankee killer yet, they just believe they can beat anybody , anytime, and that is the making of a great team! GO BRAVES!!

Flatsdawg1

July 23rd, 2010
1:05 pm

Let’s face it, Frank Wren was shuerholz -like when he got these players, kudos to him, Do ya think Bobby felt the great when he got the players he did?

Mike

July 23rd, 2010
1:23 pm

Wonderful team. Terrific instincts. Players who like to work and win together. Three holes that must be plugged: Pitcher #10, Pitcher #11 and Pitcher #12. One of those should sort out okay when O’Flaherty gets well and is strong enough to pitch. Currently you cannot do anything with Chavez, Dunn and Kawakami. Their presence means we are wearing out Moylan, Venters and Wagner. Add back in O’Flaherty and you have fixed one-third of the problem. Nobody will want Kawakami ever so Braves should concentrate on finding one more middle inning reliever.

GTSteve

July 23rd, 2010
1:33 pm

Yes Mike if you are still here, the team with the most wins draws the wildcard team, unless both teams are from the same conference, then the wildcard team would play the division winner with the 2nd best record

Rimfire

July 23rd, 2010
1:37 pm

Don,
U r an IDIOT.
Have you actually watched A game this year?
Don’t you have a clue…

Batman bin Suparman

July 23rd, 2010
1:40 pm

Mark, I lost track: how long before Liberty Media is allowed to sell the Braves to Arthur Blank, er I mean, to new owner?

39YearBravesFan

July 23rd, 2010
1:46 pm

It sure is fun to watch them right now. Take it Home, Guys, into Sep & Oct.

GO BRAVES!!

Nads

July 23rd, 2010
2:02 pm

Braves all the way. Ditching Yunel was the right thing to do. And I agree that McLouth has no business anywhere but the bench.

It’s gonna be a fun few months.

tampabrave86

July 23rd, 2010
2:12 pm

Go Bravos I haven’t been this exciting watching the Braves since Frenchy came up my senior year!!! Lets go get em Braves!!! Take em to the woodshed!

Chipper Jones stayed hurt

July 23rd, 2010
2:16 pm

I haven’t been this excited about the Braves since they finally traded McLouth.

Oh wait…

frank james

July 23rd, 2010
2:17 pm

I hope the Braves do hire a manager that will keep the coaching staff in tact. They are Braves and have always been loyal to the Braves. I feel since Fredi knows all of them well and he would do this. He would be a good hire.

Adam Edge

July 23rd, 2010
2:26 pm

Mark, I couldn’t agree with you more. However, your writing this article makes me a little nervous. In 1996, you wrote an article that crowned the Braves WS champs after we gained a 2-0 lead on the resurgent New York Yankees. We went on to lose that series in heartbreaking fashion. While I cannot deny your points, I ask you please, don’t jump the shark. Let us enjoy the Braves resurgence and live in the moment. For too long we had expectations and didn’t enjoy the ride, lets do something different this time around.

Chief Hittabatta

July 23rd, 2010
2:28 pm

Wow, Bradley cursed the Braves blog even before there was an Internets. Way to go, pal.

JASon

July 23rd, 2010
2:33 pm

Teams can go into huge slumps at any time. I feel as confident as everyone else with this team, but we need to support the team as much as possible right now, to make sure they don’t falter. Go braves.

Tale of Woe

July 23rd, 2010
2:34 pm

MB – Not sure if someone mentioned this – but your first comment

“This isn’t a team apt to lose five in a row because the rotation won’t let that happen.” is about as silly as one comment can be. I know it was just 2 months ago -but we did lose 9 in a row. I am pretty sure 9 is more than 5….

N

July 23rd, 2010
3:17 pm

Wow — Mark saying kind words about the Braves and even Lowe. Agree, I’ve been saying since Feb that their offense is better then people thought and pitching is great – holding true so far.

DB

July 23rd, 2010
3:19 pm

Dent,
You must not have ever attended a Braves game, they block off all the streets and will not allow a bus anywhere near the stadium until the traffic clears. The Braves had a months notice about a group that needed to use the elevators to reach their Lexus level tickets (they didn’t buy the cheap seats) yet once the tickets were paid for, they were on their own. During the 6th inning I tried to get the bus in position at the corner of Georgia Avenue and Hank Aaron Drive but was forced to move, I could not get along side the stadium because that is where they line up all the Taxis. I even went to a precienct headquarters to request help from a Captain and was told that they would just have to stand at the curb until the traffic clears.

The Atlanta PD and the Braves policy is clear, they could care less about a group of seniors standing in the heat, they simply want what makes it the easiest on themselves, ignore the problem, they already have their money.

Gary Nolan

July 23rd, 2010
3:23 pm

but the number one reason the Braves will not squander the lead……??? They are having FUN playing baseball.

Omar! Omar!

July 23rd, 2010
3:36 pm

Did you see the article in SI by Thomas Lake about Bobby Cox – “gran-Bobby” as the grandkids call him: “Thumbing His Way Back Home”?

Check it out at http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault/article/magazine/MAG1172328/1/index.htm

Bobby Cox

July 23rd, 2010
3:54 pm

Mark: I agree with #1 through #8 and I’d like to add one more—

#9. The Master and future hall of famer – Bobby Cox

Skeezix

July 23rd, 2010
3:59 pm

I agree with Bobby Cox.

Mrs. Cox

July 23rd, 2010
4:11 pm

You forgot #9 Mark. They have Bobby Cox. Oh, that’s right, your article listed 8 ways why they would keep the lead, not 8 ways they would blow it.

Even if this team does make it to the post season, there is no reason to believe they will get very far. Before this “dry spell” of no post seasons, this team was knocked out in the Division Series (first round for you life long Braves fans) in 2002, 2003, 2004 and 2005. Now that is a streak!

Jinxed

July 23rd, 2010
5:10 pm

Great, Mark. Now you’ve gone and done it. I agree with everything you said, but did you have to say it? You know you are the kiss of death. Hide the kids, sell the tickets, we’re doomed.

MyPatooti

July 23rd, 2010
5:24 pm

I always knew my cost accounting experience would come in handy one day. If ATL only plays 500 ball the rest of the season(67games left) they will still finish at 90-72. That’s probably not going to happen, but let’s say it does. Then the Mets or Phillies would have to play over 600 ball, and go 41-26 for the remainder, to finish tied with the Braves at 90-72. The odds (and the Gods, remember Big Mc and the All Star game) are definitely in the Braves favor. Now, I’m gonna go check my crystal balls and see if one of them shows the Bravos winning it all this year. Will let you know.

Chip's Mama

July 23rd, 2010
5:45 pm

MyPatooti……You got a pair of crystal balls?

bartbuzz

July 23rd, 2010
7:38 pm

I hope you are right. But I just watched Nate McLouth hit into an inning-ending double play. I hope Cox doesn’t let Nate ruin the Braves chances.

StillLoveLarry

July 23rd, 2010
7:58 pm

But he blows right now dude. Play Conrad more. Dont blow this season being loyal Bobby, we can win it this year.

jonnycash

July 23rd, 2010
9:07 pm

God himself could not sink this ship….famous last words. Lets hope it doesn’t happen to our Braves!!

John

July 23rd, 2010
9:23 pm

Bradley, do you have the balls to question St. Bobby for continuing to leave Lowe in when the sixth inning comes along. Again he blew it. Bases loaded, left hander up and Bobby leaves him in. No wonder everyone wants to play for him; gives the guy a chance to win, but makes it difficult for the Braves. Was 2-1, now 4-1. Should not have been if the manager was aware of Lowe’s track record, plus the heat. Great managing – not! Dare you comment about it, homey?

Katherine

July 23rd, 2010
10:55 pm

I agree…he always leaves pitchers in too long and then we lose grrrrrr

bravesfan37

July 23rd, 2010
11:06 pm

Billy Wagner sucks!!! Venters needs to be our new closer.

The Titanic is unsinkable

July 23rd, 2010
11:08 pm

Things were looking pretty good for the Braves. But for some reason god likes to say not so fast sometimes. Tonight the braves loss one they should of won. Mr. closer billy wagner blows another save in the same week. thanks for the Jinx AJC.

jeffrey d

July 23rd, 2010
11:09 pm

Wagner has been nasty all season….he has 2 bad outings and all of a sudden he sucks? Yeah okay.

Bruce Mac

July 23rd, 2010
11:10 pm

Eight reasons my azz. Thanks for the jinx Mark. Anybody with half a brain knows you keep your stupid mouth shut with 70 games to play. Idiot.

jeffrey d

July 23rd, 2010
11:16 pm

I love how the anonymity of the internet makes people brave enough to type stuff so rude that they would never say to someone’s face.

I also love how everybody overreacts after a loss.

frank james

July 23rd, 2010
11:33 pm

Boy some of you fans are unbelievable. I am frustrated by the loss, but I am smart enough to know that these are the same players that gave us this 6 game lead. Man I woud hate to coach your kids, oh never mind you people probably won’t let anybody coach your kid. Sounds like daddy ball to me!

ben

July 23rd, 2010
11:47 pm

Always liked Escobar, always will. People rip him, yet nobody can provide a single quote or real source of Escobar’s issues…just useless rumor. When Furcal dissed Atlanta, I was down, but then I thought we got a pretty good shortstop as it is (in Escobar).
BTW, Wagner blew a second save tonight…no biggie…but I wonder how Soriano would be doing in Atlanta if we kept him (Soriano is younger and is not far behind in movement/velocity).
Just maybe (be probably not) the season is making Wagner a little tired…

The Titanic is unsinkable

July 24th, 2010
12:11 am

You just had to go and say it didn’t you!

DedicatedDawg

July 24th, 2010
1:39 am

The one reason the Braves will squander their lead: Mark Bradley believes they won’t! ‘Nuff said!!

Yuels Frosted Tips

July 24th, 2010
6:37 am

Way to go Mark….you bozo.That was such a nothing article,tose reasons you gave are why the Braves are an accomplished team. Those are not the reasons that they’ll win the division,and if you just look at the scedule, they could EASILY lose this lead in a three week lead time. I hope that isn’t th case but Wagner has had stretches where he is very unreliable and losing a couple of games like we have in the last few days starts to eat at a teams psyche. Just like the late inning wins at the beginning of the season gave them hope and confidence, losing late breeds doubt and lack of confidence in your ability to win. This team lost 9 in a row and won 10 in row, nothing would surprise me less than them collapsing.

Seymour

July 24th, 2010
9:30 am

as long as Wagner is closing every team in the division is still alive

GAKnight

July 24th, 2010
10:05 am

There’s one way the Braves can squander the lead, play McLouth. Why would you continue to play a guy who hits below 200 from both sides of the plate instead of Melky Cabrera or Blanco, for that matter. There are NO circumstances where Nate McLouth would be on my active roster. I would release him immediately. There are two guys (mentioned above) who can play CF as well as MCLouth and have better arms. Bobby will trip on his stubborness with this one!

jeffrey d

July 24th, 2010
10:11 am

In an unfortunate ordering of articles, “Wagner can’t hold lead” is right above “8 reasons why the Braves won’t squander this leave.”

I still like you, Mark

jeffrey d

July 24th, 2010
10:12 am

whoops, *lead

Nativebird

July 24th, 2010
10:24 am

I love the Braves, but if you think our bullpen is not weak weak weak, the washed-up Wagner included, then you’re crazy.

john

July 24th, 2010
11:07 am

Don’t want to sound Braves “Negative” and while I was delighted with Alex G. coming to replace Yunel BUT Bradley Point 5 – has anyone noticed how many Runners he has LOB since coming here (6 last night alone) ?
Maybe that is something he “caught” from the too many of the Braves Batters.
Anyway, Braves have to get better at gettting those RISP to cross the Plate or here comes Philadelphia AND MARLINS (Mets, too even though stumbling right now as they will “BUY” pitching to win).National East VERY TOUGH DIVISION.

Alpha

July 24th, 2010
11:52 am

One reason the Braves will squander lead and season, Bradley says they won’t…

JT

July 24th, 2010
12:24 pm

John,
You are right on the money about our failure to advance RISP. Last night we had runners on first and second and no outs. They never moved.. Even Little Leaguers are taught to hit BEHIND runners. Until we get more SITUATIONAL hitting from these guys, we are going to lose a lot more close games.
With the exception of Hudson and hopefully Jurrgens, this team is having to go to it’s bullpen way too soon. It’s only July and those guys are going to be done by the end of August.

October

July 24th, 2010
1:03 pm

Here’s to Wagner recovering. Making the playoffs is great and all, but here’s to Wagner’s magic coming back and staying through October. The nosedive that we’ve experienced 2 of the past 4 games is eerily reminiscent of what to experience if we can make it to October. Get it back Billy.

jeffrey d

July 24th, 2010
3:18 pm

I love the Braves, but if you think our bullpen is not weak weak weak, the washed-up Wagner included, then you’re crazy.

The bullpen has the 3rd best ERA in the NL, and the 4th fewest Blown Saves…

Chief pitchanono

July 24th, 2010
3:18 pm

Great article Mark, I agree I don’t see this team letting it slip away either. They want it too bad and they believe that are a playoff team. Sure their will be a few bumps in the road, like last night, but in the end they will pull it out. Go Braves!

Bobby Dicks (eye is the manager)

July 24th, 2010
5:22 pm

8 Reasons why the Braves will falter down the stretch!

1. Billy Wagners 39 year old arm is already tiring.
2. Chippers injuries
3. Tommy Hanson (sophmore slump, especiallly the second half)
4. Bobby Dicks arrest for beating his wife
5. ?
6. ?
7. ?
8. That should do it.

JCH

July 24th, 2010
6:51 pm

Yep, Excellent Potential for Braves there Mark, Your Crystal ball is polished up well…. my only request….. Somebody Lock up Cox in a Closet come September/October !!!!!!

Ralph

July 24th, 2010
8:32 pm

MB gave us eight reason why we will not squander this lead. I’ll give you one reason they will : BOBBY COX.

Bradley Curse

July 24th, 2010
9:04 pm

Maybe writers should believe in the jinx more.

DOB calls Wagner “perfect” and he blows two straight saves, Bradley says they won’t squander the lead and they’re about to lose two games to the Phils in two days.

E Joiner

July 24th, 2010
10:32 pm

Why is McClout still on the Braves much less in the lineup. One reason BOBBY COX.

Franklin

July 25th, 2010
6:19 pm

Mark what kind of DRUGS are you on. They keep playing MCClout and you have the main reason they will loses. My daddy can hit better then nate.and he’s 91.

bravesball

July 25th, 2010
6:25 pm

Eight reasons the braves wont hold the lead..
1.Nate McLouth
2. Jesse Chavez
3. Kenshin Kawakami
4. Derek Lowe
5. Melky Cabrera
6. Nate McLouth
7. Lack of a CFer
8. Bobby Cox

those are actual reasons, yours were basically heyward, heyward, heyward, heyward, you get the idea.

Christopher Chance

July 25th, 2010
10:49 pm

Jesse Chavez should immediately be demoted to Triple A. I have absolutely no confidence in him.

Nate McLouth just quit hitting. Frank Wren needs to find a way to address his presence on the roster immediately.

I have a feeling that Kris Medlen will end up being traded as part of a package for a right handed bat soon. Sure, Medlen would be tough to give up. However, Kawakami is available to pitch as the 5th starter……..and the Minor kid, especially being left handed, will probably be our 5th starter next year.

Bradley Curse

July 27th, 2010
8:53 pm

shutout by Nats, Philly winning

3.5 game lead after tonight … shrinking daily now

Bradley's Curse

July 27th, 2010
8:53 pm

about to be 3.5 games, shrinking daily now

tipster

July 27th, 2010
8:55 pm

The Bradley Curse – now in full effect!

Don

July 27th, 2010
9:10 pm

Nice call moron

[...] recall that a certain correspondent with a penchant for being wrong last week offered eight reasons the Braves wouldn’t blow their lead. You’ll note that I didn’t say they’d win by 15 games; I just said they’d [...]

[...] No. 5 among the already-legendary “8 Reasons These Braves Will NOT Squander This Lead” post was this: They have a dependable shortstop. As reason for Reason No. 5, this correspondent [...]

Phillies, Class of the NL

September 7th, 2010
9:07 pm

9/7/10 — lead about to be squandered.

Don

September 7th, 2010
9:26 pm

Hahaha you idiot. When will you admit you really have no clue what you write about.

Don

September 7th, 2010
10:26 pm

Done! Lead is gone. And MB is a worthless slug.

[...] You know the lead? The one I insisted they wouldn’t squander? [...]

Philadelphia Phan

September 8th, 2010
9:24 am

Guess that arrogance didn’t really work out for you, huh Braves Fans? You can’t even beat the Pirates! Haha!!!

Root em' in

September 8th, 2010
10:01 am

LEAD SQUANDERED! what a nerd…

woops

September 15th, 2010
1:11 pm

numbers 1 through 8, What’d you really mean?

woops

September 15th, 2010
1:21 pm

and why is the word “NOT” capitalized? To whom was he making a statement? What else does Mark Bradley know?

wooooops

woops

September 16th, 2010
9:32 am

2 Reasons the Phillies wont squander the lead

1. They’re not the Mets
2. They’re not the Braves