Help Fredi steady the reeling Braves: Your tips welcome!

Who out there thinks either of these guys knows a thing about baseball? (AJC photo by Curtis Compton)

Who thinks either man knows a thing about baseball? (AJC photo by Curtis Compton)

The Braves, as noted, have played their way into a spot of bother. But this is baseball, where momentum is tomorrow’s — by now, that would be today’s — starting pitcher, who would be Randall Delgado. So hope remains. That said …

I know you folks. (Not personally, not even Sonny Clusters — at least not to my knowledge.) I know you’re not willing to rely on ephemeral concepts like momentum and fate. You want managerial action! And here’s where I ask: With his team reeling, what should Fredi Gonzalez do?

(I pause to note: Unlike his predecessor, who relied on his iPhone for electronic interaction, Fredi has a laptop. There’s no guarantee he’ll see the fruits of your wisdom, but there’s a chance. And if your advice is sagacious enough … well, you could be the one who saves the Braves!)

Being a famously splendid sport, I’ll go first. My advice to the skipper:

• Tell Chipper Jones, “The next time the ball is hit your way, try to find it.”

• Tell Derek Lowe, “The next time you pitch, throw left-handed.”

• Tell Jason Heyward, “That stuff you were doing last year? Do it again.”

• Tell Jair Jurrjens and Tommy Hanson, “Stop hurting.”

• Tell his hitters, “When there’s a man in scoring position, try to drive him in.”

See, I’m not really sure a turn-over-the-postgame-spread-table tantrum is in order. I don’t for a second believe the Braves aren’t trying as hard as they can. (Think about it. Why would they not be trying hard? Because they’d much rather be lumped with the ‘64 Phillies than partake of postseason play?)

I do believe the injuries to Jurrjens and Hanson have put a greater load on the bullpen, and the load on the bullpen was already immense. I do believe Brian McCann’s post-DL slump has put a strain on a lineup that didn’t have a Prince Fielder or a Ryan Braun in the first place. (Note that Milwaukee has both those guys.) I also note that, if you go by that “expected wins” stat, the Braves’ overall numbers suggest they should be 83-71, not 87-67. So maybe they’ve actually gotten good value from this roster, which could be taken as a sign of — gasp! — skilled managing.

But I know you folks, and I know that’s not what you want to hear. You want action! You want accountability! You want resignations on the postgame-spread table! You want to see this team Play With More Emotion! You want all that stuff you wanted but didn’t get to your satisfaction with Bobby Cox and charge and aren’t getting with Fredi G., either. So here’s your chance.

Tell Fredi what to do. And if your suggestion is good enough and he happens to see it, I’m reasonably certain he’ll tip his cap to you.

By Mark Bradley

406 comments Add your comment

joliet jim slowing dying of heart failure

September 20th, 2011
11:57 am

im wearing my lucky t shirt now. the 1 i had on when a bullet missed my head by a 1/4 of so…hasnt been washed since..it had better work.. i cant take any more games like last nite..and (first?)

Rufino Linares

September 20th, 2011
11:58 am

Put me in@!! I can still play in any league!

Rufino Linares

September 20th, 2011
11:59 am

Oh and I can bat “First”??

joliet jim slowing dying of heart failure

September 20th, 2011
11:59 am

please just win boys..(did this dang thing post my 1st comment?)

fla dawg

September 20th, 2011
12:00 pm

“fix” Hanson and jurggens. put in “baseball” lights at the marlins field, and erase the last two outings from kimbrell’s mind!

Benjamin

September 20th, 2011
12:00 pm

I’m assuming “There’s no hope. All hope is gone!” isn’t an option…

Nah. So long as we get to the postseason, we’re in it. Everything starts at 0-0 again.

joliet jim

September 20th, 2011
12:01 pm

maybe a chicken sacrifice like in Major League? rum for JoBoo?

Benjamin

September 20th, 2011
12:02 pm

And people remember the ‘64 Phillies more than they recall who won the World Series, Mark. Just think: maybe this team wants to become legen-wait for it-dary!

Mark Bradley

September 20th, 2011
12:02 pm

Kudos to former Brave Rufino Linares. He’s hitting leadoff today.

ChopAttack

September 20th, 2011
12:02 pm

Find a reliable Ace for 2012 who can can pitch past the 7th inning. Hanson and Jurrjens aren’t reliable. Hudson is getting old. Lowe…. Potential is no substitute for proven success. Braves have tons of potential.

The Braves have the MLB worst line drive percentage. They’re a bad offensive time. The bullpen carried this team all season and now they’re overworked.

Speed Merchant

September 20th, 2011
12:03 pm

Put some pressure on the other team, and infuse some energy into this collection of robots. Let’s see some passion! Bench Hayward and let him figure it out in spring training. Constanza, Bourne, Chipper, McCann, Uggla, Freeman, Prado, Gonzo. Against lefties, sub Diaz for Constanza and bat him seventh. Move Prado to #2.

Mark Bradley

September 20th, 2011
12:04 pm

That’s true, Benjamin. (FYI, the Cardinals won the World Series. Beat the Yankees in seven after edging the Reds and Phillies by a game. I attended the Reds-Phillies game on the final day of the regular season. Had Cincinnati won, it would have met the Cardinals in a playoff. But Jim Bunning shut them out 10-0.)

cantondawg

September 20th, 2011
12:05 pm

We need to find out “Who” put the bad voodoo on us.

Mark Bradley

September 20th, 2011
12:06 pm

Wait just a second. Speed Merchant, are you suggesting not batting Michael Bourn leadoff? Really?

Jason Heyward's Gynecologist

September 20th, 2011
12:08 pm

Fredi,

Based on the success had by Bobby Cox, I would highly recommend you begin picking your nostrils constantly in the dugout during games.

Chipper Jones has apparently responded quite well to such “gold digging” during his career.

Ron E.

September 20th, 2011
12:09 pm

- Don’t put players with crap OBP batting 2nd. This means you, Martin Prado.
- Never pitch Scott Linebrink except with a 5 run lead or 9 run deficit.
- Use a strict lefty-righty platoon with Heyward/Diaz and McCann/Ross.
- Always take out Derek Lowe before the 7th inning regardless of how he’s pitching.
- Don’t have anybody other than pitchers bunt. Outs are valuable!
- Find a time machine, go back to the trade deadline, and acquire a real impact bat like Carlos Quentin even if it means giving up Mike Minor instead of settling for Michael Bourn.

MattyB

September 20th, 2011
12:10 pm

The solution is simple:Just relax, keep on truckin’ and things will swing back in the right direction. This team has too much talent to play this poorly for too much longer. One or two hot games and we could be off to the races.

smyrnabob

September 20th, 2011
12:12 pm

Have McCann give Chipper his eye doctor’s number.

Jason Heyward's Gynecologist

September 20th, 2011
12:12 pm

Also, my medical opinion would be to start platooning more players, even minor leaguers, into the Right Field position.

Preferably, these would be COACHABLE players willing to hustle after pop-fly balls not coming directly to them and willing to listen to their hitting coach.

The Marlins' Trash...

September 20th, 2011
12:12 pm

DEPORT FREDI GONZALEZ !

Dm

September 20th, 2011
12:13 pm

Stop pitching Derek Lowe and we at least would have a chance to win every 5th game.

Steve

September 20th, 2011
12:13 pm

Start by releasing Jack Wilson. He’s a jinx, and the Braves have been terrible since he arrived.

Then, put Chipper back in the 2-hole. The lineup seemed to work a lot better with him there.

Finally, DL Lowe with “tired arm” and let Tehren take his starts. You can pencil in a loss right now when Lowe starts.

That should get the Braves into the postseason. If Hanson and JJ can’t pitch, though, it wil be another early exit.

tana

September 20th, 2011
12:14 pm

Keep Lowe away!!!

Ernest T. Bass

September 20th, 2011
12:14 pm

meh Braves still have a huge advantage.

They will make the playoffs then 3 and out against the Brewers.

Loosing Managar = Loosing Record

September 20th, 2011
12:16 pm

I have a soluotion. Hire a new managar that dont have a loosing record.

Loosing Managar = Loosing Record

September 20th, 2011
12:17 pm

They never should of have fired Bobby Cox.

Shaun

September 20th, 2011
12:17 pm

The biggest mistake managers make is throwing away the number two spot in the batting order. One of the top three all-around hitters should bat second.

Jason Heyward's Gynecologist

September 20th, 2011
12:17 pm

Unfortunately, I will not be able to adequately treat Jason Heyward until the team trainers radically decrease the dosages of estrogen treatments given to him before each game.

Herschel Talker

September 20th, 2011
12:17 pm

MB:

Here are my tips.

1. He should fire himself
2. He should fire Parrish
3. He should teach Chipper how to field groundballs
4. He should learn how to use a bullpen.

IT IS OVER. Reasons:

1. The Cards have a cakewalk the next 9 games. Meanwhile the Braves can’t beat the Nats or Phils.
2. The Braves have ONE dependable starter.
3. The Braves bullpen is shot.

STICK A FORK IN ‘EM!!!

HT

Loosing Managar = Loosing Record

September 20th, 2011
12:18 pm

Id also tell Fredi 2 not listen 2 Mark Bradely! LOLOLOL!!!!

1eyedJack

September 20th, 2011
12:20 pm

Don’t let Derek Lowe even close to a baseball.

Shaun

September 20th, 2011
12:20 pm

Prado has a lower wOBA and lower wRC+ than Heyward. wOBA is Weighted On-Base Average. It takes into account the run value of each walk and each type of hit a player gets. It’s basically OPS on steroids (no pun intended).

Eric

September 20th, 2011
12:21 pm

They just need to be loose and have fun. Someone needs to pull a prank, run nekkid through the clubhouse, light someone’s shoe laces on fire, wear a lucky thong or something. I just think people are pressing and are uptight.

Curious George

September 20th, 2011
12:22 pm

Mark, did you congratulate the wrong person for being FIRST today?

Bill

September 20th, 2011
12:23 pm

We can start with new ownership.Liberty Media does not care if the Braves win as long as they turn a profit. The list of Championship teams owned by corporations like this is a short one.
Successful franchises start at the top.The city of Atlanta should know that better than most.

Mark I believe Liberty Media can sell this team this off season.The trick is getting the right owner.I love Mark Cuban but MLB is too short sighted to let him own a team, I just hope the Braves can find an owner like Cuban or Mr. Blank or someone like them.

As for the Braves themselves it it too late to even tweak anything. They have to play the hand they have been dealt.

Tom

September 20th, 2011
12:25 pm

Braves still have 3 with the nats and phils.

Mike

September 20th, 2011
12:25 pm

Booyah

September 20th, 2011
12:25 pm

Booyah says to get Chipper to act like he cares. I want to see some emotion and passion from our supposed team leader.

Brave Hokie

September 20th, 2011
12:25 pm

Here’s my recommendation:
Fredi and the all of ‘em ~ go get x-rayed and see if you have the following major organ:
a HEART
but, I fear most / all will not find one…
losers

Curious George

September 20th, 2011
12:25 pm

Mark,

What did John Smoltz tell you he would do when you called him up to ask this question of what he would do to help Fredi Gonzalez?

Rebel Brave

September 20th, 2011
12:28 pm

Win some games!

Curious George

September 20th, 2011
12:29 pm

Since the Braves are still paying Bobby Cox for the next 5 years, should they fire Gonzalez NOW and let Bobby work his magic for the final stretch run while maybe getting some more production out of “Chip?”

VABravesFan

September 20th, 2011
12:30 pm

The Braves have a great team – the problem is that everything kind of collapsed all at once similar to the end of last season. Some players are injured, some are slumping, and the young guys are worn down. It’s especially tough when you expect so much out of so many rookies and young vets, but just imagine what this team could be for the next decade…

I know the Braves are battling and as long as they have a chance, I won’t count them out.

Kraig Brown

September 20th, 2011
12:30 pm

Freddie,

We NEED a leader, not a mouthpiece spouting off about ‘forget today, let’s go out tomorrow and try harder to do our job.’ We NEED passion and passionate leaders on this team. We NEED someone to step up and play like every inning, every pitch is the final one and it must be capitalized on….I am SICK of watching nonchalant reactions to ho-hum performance. We NEED you to LEAD. If that is not your deal, then we NEED to see it in your team. Enough with pasty glares at what we Didn’t Do, the ‘Almost Braves’ of the past few years. Let’s find people who want to and will DO IT- every inning on every pitch. I am sales leader, have been for many years, and at the end of the day- failure is not an option. The Atlanta fans, the Georgia Bulldog fans, we need to see play makers make plays. Before we end up watching those same solemn faces peering into the camera lights trying to explain throwing away an almost great season, before the team can almost get away to fishing and hunting and get past another almost year of almost doing something great.

Curious George

September 20th, 2011
12:31 pm

Will a healthy & hustling Constanza come back to help save us from ourselves before it is too late?

Roger Dorn cheated on his wife

September 20th, 2011
12:32 pm

They need more fat people at the games.

jtb

September 20th, 2011
12:33 pm

Herschel Talker, I think your plan would be better if you swapped 1 and 2. How could he fire Parrish after he fires himself? He wouldn’t have the authority.

drew

September 20th, 2011
12:33 pm

Last night was a heart breaker. But as I saw Uggla try to give Kimbrel some encouragement I realized that these guys need just a little more encouragement from the fans. The Braves need to just go out there and play with confidence again. Like they were playing Sunday when Chipper came through once again. They can win the Wild Card. I think that this loss could be a boost when it comes to getting a fire in their hearts to protect their lead and get into the Playoffs so they can beat the Phillies to a pulp!

Brave Hokie

September 20th, 2011
12:37 pm

Yea, there are a lot of rookies and young players, and I hope NONE of them EVER get a chance to play in the postseason again…

So they can always think: why did we lay down in 2011?

Man, we are losers.

southern hope

September 20th, 2011
12:38 pm

Mark, this is an hilarious column and made me feel (a little) better.