Posted: 10:01 am Thursday, June 19th, 2014

You tell me: How will the Braves fare in D.C.? 

By Mark Bradley

Here's how it looked when last they met. (David Goldman/AP)

Here’s how it looked when last they met. (David Goldman/AP)

As John Sterling, who worked here before becoming the overheated voice of the Yankees, is wont to say: You can’t predict baseball. The Atlanta Braves are headed to Washington D.C. for four games. The Braves have lost six of their past eight series (halving one) and are but a game above .500. The Nationals, who trailed by 3 1/2 games on June 1, now hold a 1 1/2-game lead over the Braves and the Marlins.

The Braves, who were just swept by the Phillies, aren’t playing well. The Nats, who swept the Astros but were themselves swept by the Cardinals before that, are playing better. The Nats are getting healthy — everyone but Bryce Harper is back — and probably had more talent than the Braves to begin with. This means something.

So, however, does this: Since Aug. 21, 2012, the Braves are 22-7 against the Nationals. If a team played at that rate against every opponent over 162 games, it would win 123 games, which would be a record. The Braves have come to own the Nats, and when the Nats left here in April, having been swept yet again, they were all but conceding the point. Which doesn’t mean things can’t change. But will they these next four days?

The Braves will see every Washington starter except Gio Gonzalez, who returned from the disabled list to start Wednesday. The Nats will see every Braves starter except Aaron Harang, last seen yielding 13 hits and eight earned runs against Philly. Washington now has a lower team ERA than does Atlanta, and that’s another function of current events: The Braves’ ERA in June is 4.79, fourth-worst in the majors; the Nats’ ERA is 2.67, third-lowest in the bigs.

On the season, the Nationals have outhit the Braves — hey, who hasn’t? — but not by a whole lot. The Nats are 19th in the majors in runs; the Braves are 29th. The Nats are 15th in on-base percentage; the Braves are 26th. Not-so-fun fact: The Braves have been outscored by 13 runs on the season, which suggests that they’re lucky to be a game above .500.

I’d be lying if I said the Braves look like a team ready to break loose. Since Memorial Day, they’ve seemed intent on falling to pieces. But this is baseball, and baseball, as Joe Garagiola always said, is a funny game. And I won’t believe the Nationals can beat the Braves until they actually do.

From myajc.com: The Braves head to D.C. on anything but a high.

From April: The Washington Nationals … or the Washington Generals?

33 comments
Wilbo
Wilbo

Awwwww, so sorry the Atlanta October Floppers aren't going to win game 3 tonight. I was really beginning to get into the humor of this moribund franchise and their dope manager teasing the Atlanta fans a couple more weeks. Maybe they'll win tomorrow afternoon and get back on top of the division! Homer Bradley would see visions of World Series Sugar Plum fairies dancing all in his head...

Wilbo
Wilbo

Sorry useless Atlanta Bravos win the 1st 2 in Washington. I think that's hilarious. Like I can the Nationals can blow opportunities right there w the best (worst) of them. Atlanta Chokers might as well go for the sweep now!

CobbCountyBraves
CobbCountyBraves

Every time I read some pork rind goober blame Liberty Media for the decisions of Wren and Gonzalez it makes me want to puke.  No doubt those that harp on this have never owned or run a business in their meager lives and live to dwell negatively on corporate America, that same corporate America (or some non-fireable government job) that keeps them from living under a bridge.  

The suits at Liberty gave the Braves a nice budget commensurate with their market and one that, if managed correctly, is sufficient to build a quality team.  If the Braves are taking best advantage of this budget by fielding--and managing--a competitive team, they can ask for a higher budget if warranted and deserved.  That's what John Schuerholz did when he added Maddux and McGriff in 1993.  That's the way business works, air head!  Just like you don't throw more alcohol at an alcoholic, you don't just keep throwing money at an irresponsible GM to fix his problem; he'll just keep wasting money!  What you do is replace him!  

This is very simple.  The Braves have a terrible GM; that same GM was fired after just one season in Baltimore for a reason...he's incompetent.  Compounding this is the worst GM in the league is partnered with the dumbest manager in the league.  This manager that blew a 10 game lead, bats starting pitchers in the 7th when behind more than one run, has batted Dan Uggla and Alex Gonzalez at leadoff (LOL) and continues to bat Heyward and BJ #2 despite below MLB average (Heyward) or horrendous (BJ) results.  This is the Braves issue; nothing more, nothing less!

alexander2
alexander2

Not much talent, possibly 2 all-stars in Gattis and Kimbrel,possibly Freeman. Johnson joins Uggla and BJ in overpaid, fair players (uggla-not even MLB quality). Heyworth and Justin are good, mostly solid. Simmons can field . Washington will win division regardless of thei weekend, neither team will compete for WS.

SouthernHope5
SouthernHope5

Everything Liberty Media has done (and the move out of Atlanta is at the top of my list) is to line their own pockets.  yes, baseball is a business.  Got it. But a corporation that doesn't understand that owning a *sports* business is different than owning, say, a concrete business or a grocery chain, really don't deserve to own a sports team.


Ficklefan
Ficklefan

The Braves do tend to play to the level of the teams they are facing - "level" meaning where they are in the standings. Boston is sucking wind and comes in and cleans their clock. Colorado, last in the West, kicks their butt. Philadelphia, last in the East, likewise. And going to DC right after eating the sh** sandwich just fed to them by the Phils, and all the bad press that has been swirling around them,  they will have a chip on their shoulder, and they know they can beat the Nats, and they will win this series 3-1. 


What will that mean in the long haul? Nothing. All of this first place talk regarding the East is meaningless. I will take a huge risk here and go out on a "long limb" and predict that despite all the happy talk about the "long baseball season" and how things can change, there will be no Eastern Division representative in the NCLS this year. And, it is more than likely that the Braves won't participate at all. Their chances of winning the East are slim to none, and they certainly will not be in a position to take the Wild Card spot. 


Why? Take a good hard look at Fredi's comments after the game yesterday. Unbelievable! Was he there? Gonzalez is one guy that you have to ask yourself a lot . . . Did he just watch the same game that I watched?  If a team ever needed someone like Vince Lombardi at the helm, it is these hapless, unmotivated Braves, and their go along, get along manager. Their "pal" their "friend" their "buddy" at the helm has a lot to do with what is going on with this club that should be a minimum of 10 games over .500.  


Gonzalez should have closed the club house door to the press yesterday and then proceeded to  breath a fire storm on this super talented bunch of losers for getting swept by the Phils.  Hitting, pitching, fielding, base running, dumb decisions . . . you name it. He should have lit them on fire, tore them all a new ones, and laid down some new rules about how you can expect a very quick exit from the game when you play, field, hit, and pitch like this, and how he doesn't give if it embarrasses them or hurts their feelings -- because he is going to find the winning combination one way or the other. They need to start earning their pay and they need to start doing it now. 

journalist jimmy smith
journalist jimmy smith

"You tell me: How will the Braves fare in D.C.?"


you tell jimmy smith, did fredi make the trip?  this journalist was thinking the braves need some help with their batting order and with some fundamentals.  who is responsible for that anyway?  if jimmy smith remembers right it was a speed lineup that got them going last year and that worked until constanza got hurt and the braves started relying on the 3 run homer again.  note to fredi. there is no 3  run homer unless 2 men are on base. 

nashvillewill
nashvillewill

The good news is that if they keep stumbling and bumbling some of the sweeping changes we've been calling for are likely to happen. And that is the only way this team becomes competitive with the better teams and rises above ,500. (Starting with management, proceeding with dumping dead weight, and finishing with promoting from within since that will be all they can afford).

58Supersports
58Supersports

Nats  3-1 over Braves with no Chief....just a DA GM.

devounknown1000
devounknown1000

Until FG get this batting order in the right place the Braves will finish last this year.


He need speed at top of the line up, Constanza or Schafer to create some type of energy at the top, Heyward needed to be batting third.


GO BRAVES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Mr. Negative
Mr. Negative

Does LIberty Media even know how much Braves fans despise them? THEY are the ones who have dumped this load of garbage on us. They hired a GM who was fired by Baltimore and a manager who was fired by the Marlins. They care NOTHING about this team being anything but semi-competitive so that they can unload $10 beer and $7 peanuts on the fans. This team needs a trip to the sewer so that they can see their profits shrink. They will NEVER win another championship with them as owners. 

Ersatz
Ersatz

gNats will sweep the barves.

seminoleking
seminoleking

they will be ok for two reasons: fredi benching all those guys will get their attention. i dont care WHY he did it, he did it. second reason: they own the nationals..........they will be ok....

UWGTrainer
UWGTrainer

I just honestly believe this team is built to be a .500 team. The only thing that is consistent is being inconsistent. Still will always root for them and hope for better things but until they can make regular adjustments and use the whole field while hitting, concentrate on defense (upton outfield play is SCARY!!), and find a way fix bullpen it will be just an average year where you win some and lose some. As always though GO BRAVES!!!

Wilbo
Wilbo

Not that this should be a secret to anybody who reads any of my posts, but just to be clear and to get this off my chest--- I really, really detest what the Atlanta Braves organization has deteriorated into. People/teams whatever whomever that don't have the oomph to take their best shot to flourish and win can kiss my #@^%! 


Placeholders like this Braves team: to HELL w you. And I wouldn't let a 10 year old girl play on a church league softball team the dimwitted fruitcake Fredi G was managing

Wilbo
Wilbo

I say 3-1 Nats, but I agree the Nationals stop, stumble and stall in the face of opportunity as well as anybody.


My oldest brother had heart trouble as was standing in the door of his refrigerator putting strawberries on ice cream for his granddaughter when a massive heart attack dropped him dead as a doorknob right there on the spot. I prefer that kind of demise over the slow painful drawn-out variety, so I'm hoping for this gutless heartless joke of a Braves organization to just go ahead and flop RIGHT NOW instead of teasing our fans for another few weeks.


I say Braves on the Express Train to the cellar where they belong!

DarianFisher
DarianFisher

Braves will be in last place by July 1st

harworkinman
harworkinman

The simple fact is that the Braves are not a very good team. I'm not even sure they are a .500 club. This series will expose them for what they are. Nats take 3 of 4.

tulsabravo
tulsabravo

Unfortunately, this team played above itself for the start of the season, but the bottom line is... they're not that good. And they don't do the little things that other ball clubs do, that help a club win close games. But I digress. The Nats are playing better while the Braves are playing worse. I say the Braves win 1 game because I don't think the Nats have the mindset to put a hurting on the Braves, but a lot of Braves really need to step up, including Fredi. They're killing me.

Mr. Negative
Mr. Negative

I will be on the Boobtrain headed for DC, grilling steaks in the dining car, passing out pieces of memorabilia  of the ATL sports legacy. My brother dug up some good ones yesterday. Maybe I'll share them later. This team is headed straight down the mountain with no brakes, Deadman's Curve straight ahead. Phillies will pass them in a week. A season long fight with the Muts for last place. Engineer Wren has NO CLUE! HAAA HAAA

AnsweredTHIS
AnsweredTHIS

And o yeah FIRST to say that this team stinks!

Birdhair
Birdhair

@CobbCountyBraves FW walked into Chipper Jones, Martin Prado, Brian McCann. Heyward, Freeman,Teheran, Hudson, and the list goes on. Thanks for your work, Scherholz.

It's not like Wren walked into a total rebuild situation and a team with no spending $. FW has been the same free-spending, reckless GM that he was in Baltimore. He was fired for good cause. Blowing millions of $ away in only 1 season. Look at what he's done in Atlanta. The same. 0 playoff series wins too. bye bye.

CobbCountyBraves
CobbCountyBraves

@Birdhair

Agreed.

The Braves are blessed to have one of if not the best talent identification, recruiting, player development and overall farm systems in baseball. Been  that way since the last 80's with Scheurholz added (Cox deserves some credit too) and this is what led to the great teams of the 90's. Schuerholz was the master at adding complementary talent and I truly can't think of many--if any--total busts like Wren has done on a routine basis.  

The man is terrible at his job and I hope someone at Liberty is questioning his blatant disregard and misuse of corporate funds.  Were he in any position other that baseball he'd be fired and rushed to clear out his desk.

That farm system is still in place but now it is sadly no longer complimented with a competent GM and Manager.


Birdhair
Birdhair

@AnsweredTHIS @58Supersports @Birdhair Nah. This team was never any good. FG has nothing to work with. Swapping out the manager wont do any good. Not with this team. FG sat BJ and Uggla as much as clown would let him get away with last season. Imagine if Cox had managed last season? 96 wins might be 85 bec he would have played Uggla and BJ every day.

Clown is the one forcing BJ into the lineup because of his ego and because of the $ he gave BJ. Clown is the one who puts the losers on the roster.