Posts Tagged ‘Braves’

Bloggers demand a Braves’ change, and Bennett obliges!

Never think for one moment the ol’ blog is lacking in power. On the live chat from Game 2 of the Yankee series, Jeff Bennett was a source of much conversation/consternation. I’m quoting here:

Varodrunner, 8:53 p.m.: You cannot put Bennett into that situation and expect anything different outcome – Bobby is INSANE.

Ross, 8:54: Why the FREAKING HELL is Bennett in the game??????? What is WRONG WITH COX???

Kris in NC, 8:56: Time to go watch something else. Why in the world do you bring in Bennett? Medlen was doing fine. Bennett was the same guy who came in and gave up the walk off HR to none other Nick Green on Sunday. Now he gave up a 2 run RBI to A-’roid.

Greg, 8:56: Seriously…why haven’t they demoted Bennett yet? there’s got to be SOMEONE else…

Norris, 9 p.m.: How can we put our worst pitcher in the game to pitch against AROD with the bases loaded. Bobby Cox is an absolute idiot for that move. Bennett has no business in the majors much less coming in the game in …

Continue reading Bloggers demand a Braves’ change, and Bennett obliges! »

Why the Yankees and not the Braves? Mariano Rivera

We forget it now, but they ran neck-and-neck for a while in the ’90s, each trying to outspend the other, each making the playoffs every year, but it wasn’t until 1998 that the Yankees became imperial and the Braves began to recede. It wasn’t until Mariano Rivera settled in as closer that the Pinstripe People lapped the field.

Watching last night at Turner Field, watching Rivera work a four-out save with all four outs being strikeouts, I was reminded of how much difference one man can make. The Yankees found their Rivera and have been winning ever since. (No, not always titles, but winning nonetheless.) The Braves never quite found theirs, and they paid the price.

Postseason baseball comes down to bullpens, and the Yankees always out-bullpenned everyone else. First Rivera was the set-up man to John Wetteland in the 1996 championship run, and the next year he became the closer. That was 12 years ago, and he’s still as great as he ever was, which means he’s still the all-time …

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Live from the ballyard: A flip-flop explained, A-Rod eyed

It was only a week ago I suggested the Braves’ season could be finished, at least as a vibrant entity, by the Fourth of July. Today I wrote there’s a way they can win the NL East. And now you’re saying, “There Bradley goes again, flip-flopping like a flounder on the dock at Fisherman’s Wharf.”

And I say, in my fishy defense: Things change.

The Braves are playing better. The Phillies lost six in a row. The Mets are hurting. Winning the division seems infinitely more do-able today than it did June 17. But — and you knew there was a “but” coming, didn’t you? — they can’t stop playing.

They’ve split their first four games against the Red Sox and Yankees. They have five to go, and then three against the Phillies. These eight games will determine the course of July and beyond.

Go 5-3 or better and the Braves will have proved something to themselves and the watching world. Go 3-5 or worse and they’ll have given their doubters — which I, on occasion, have obviously been — further …

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Face Off: How the Braves can — repeat, can — win the East

They were 9 1/2 games back at the All-Star break in 1991, not even in second place. I know, it was a different time and a better Braves team, but still …

Can it happen? Sure it can.

The Braves are four games out of first place. They’re lucky to be that close, but sometimes you get lucky. They’ve played better these past six days, and there’s a chance they’ll play better in July than they did in June. Because they can pitch, and starting pitching has an aggregate effect. Good innings prop up a team, just as bad innings drag it down. Look what’s happening to the Phillies, who have almost no pitching.

Philadelphia is 27th among 30 big-league teams in ERA, and a team cannot win a division that way no matter how hard it hits. The Braves are sixth in ERA, which means they can. They’ll have to hit a little better and hope the Mets, who remain the most gifted team in the NL East, don’t get healthy. (Carlos Beltran just joined Jose Reyes and Carlos Delgado on the disabled list.) But …

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Survey says: Bobby Cox has supporters. Who knew?

You dared me to pose the question in poll form. Being daring, I did. I asked last week, “Do the Braves need a new manager?” I was sure I knew what the majority would say, but it was a thinner majority than I expected.

Sixty percent of roughly 2,000 respondents said the Braves do in fact need a new manager. I figured it would be 70-30, maybe even 80-20. And why did I think that?

Because I read the comments on the ol’ blog.

And I’ve grown accustomed to the anti-Cox rants. How he blew all those World Series. How he’s 1-14 in the final game of the postseason. (Not, mind you, in the final game of a postseason series — let’s not give him any credit for winning the NLCS five times or an NLDS six times — or even in elimination games.) How he’s a terrible tactician. How he shouldn’t have brought in Leibrandt to face Puckett. (Even though Leibrandt had faced Puckett in that World Series twice already — and had twice struck him out.)

I’ve been called an idiot for my support of Bobby Cox …

Continue reading Survey says: Bobby Cox has supporters. Who knew? »

Chipper’s toe-tap winds up kicking Braves in the rear

Jeff Francoeur’s excursion to Dallas to work with Rudy Jaramillo, the hitting coach of the Texas Rangers, raised eyebrows and raised Terry Pendleton’s hackles. But how about this? Chipper Jones helps a former Brave with his toe-tap and the former Brave winds up — not to go all Munson on you here — kicking his old team in the gut with a steel-toed work boot.

Nick Green hit a home run off Jeff Bennett to beat the Braves in the ninth inning Sunday. You know that already. But on Saturday Daniel Barbarisi of the Providence Journal described how Green, who came up in the Braves’ farm system and played here in 2004 before being traded to Tampa Bay for Jorge Sosa in 2005, worked out over the winter with Jones and Brian McCann and Francoeur and former Brave Mark DeRosa.

Green noticed three of them — Francoeur being the exception — tapped their front toe before swinging, so as to keep their weight on the back foot. Barbarisi quoted Chipper thusly: “Just think of it as throwing a …

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Bradley’s Buzz: Glavine tells WAGA he won’t pitch in 2009

Tom Glavine informed Buck Lanford of Fox 5 Atlanta on Thursday he won’t pitch in 2009. Via text message, Glavine wrote: “I’m not going to pitch or do anything in baseball until at least next year.” Glavine stopped short, according to Fox 5, of announcing his retirement, saying he plans to be “a full-time dad.”

It was, you’ll recall, only two weeks ago that Glavine ripped the Braves for releasing him and said he believed, contrary to Frank Wren’s bleak evaluation, he could still pitch in the major leagues. But if Glavine has resigned himself to not pitching this year after spending the winter and spring rehabbing from shoulder and elbow surgery, it would seem there were no opportunities. At least none to his liking, anyway.

Glavine will be 44 when the 2010 season begins. It’s hard to imagine he’ll be on a roster then or ever again, and he doesn’t need to be. His legacy is secure. He has won 305 games and is bound for the Hall of Fame, and he’ll be inducted wearing a Braves …

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Should Braves need a manager, I’d consider these guys

Today’s discussion of Bobby Cox leads inevitably to another discussion: If not Cox, then who?

Were I running the Braves and in the market for a manager, I wouldn’t feel bound to recycle the usual names. (Jim Riggleman, Jerry Narron, et al.) Unless I could convince Terry Francona to leave the Red Sox — and I don’t think John Henry and Theo Epstein would let him — I’d look to two coaches.

Neither of them is Terry Pendleton, and here’s why: I think he’ll be a very good manager someday, but I don’t think the man coming after Cox needs to have apprenticed under Cox. (This also applies to Fredi Gonzalez and Ned Yost.) There’s a sense of sameness about the Braves — how could there not be, this manager having been in place 19 years? — that I wouldn’t be sorry to see dissipate. I’d look outside. I’d consider:

Brad Mills, bench coach, Boston Red Sox: He has worked alongside Francona, who was his college roommate, in both Philadelphia and Boston, and I consider the Sox the new model …

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The Hot Button: Do the Braves need a new manager?

He’s the best manager I’ve ever seen. He’s the best manager I’ll ever see. That said …

I’m not sure Bobby Cox is the best manager for what the Braves have become.

They’ve gone from being great over 15 seasons to being not very good the past 3 1/2. There’s still a aura of assurance around Turner Field, a feeling that, “Oh, we’re the Braves and we’ll figure out something,” but the Braves haven’t figured out much since Brian McCann and Jeff Francoeur were rookies. No, the manager hasn’t stopped managing, but this sort of team needs more managing than Cox likes to do.

He’s a player’s guy, now and forever. He loves his players and treats them like men. The Braves of the ’90s were indeed men, even those who arrived as rookies. They were serious about the game and serious about winning for this manager. I’m not sure what some of these Braves take seriously.

Who can reach Yunel Escobar? Who can instruct Jeff Francoeur in the art of plate management? Who can break the news that Kelly …

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

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

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

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

Where will the Braves be in 15 games?

  • Closing in on the Phillies.
  • Running in place.
  • Fading fast.

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They’ve scored 37 runs in the 11 games since the McLouth acquisition, and even those numbers are misleading. Seven times in those 11 games they’ve …

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