Posted: 9:14 am Thursday, July 24th, 2014

Will the Braves hold on and make the playoffs? 

By Mark Bradley

Is the Braves' run about to halt? (AP photo)

Is the Braves’ run about to halt? (AP photo)

In today’s AJC, I cast a rather cold eye on the Atlanta Braves and their playoff chances. I believe they’ll have to play better than they have — perhaps better than they’re capable — to qualify for the postseason. I say this even though they’re only a game behind Washington in the National League East and they’re leading the wild-card chase. (Actually, they’re tied with the Dodgers for the first WC, and they’re a game ahead of Pittsburgh and St. Louis for the second.)

I say this in large part because the pleasure cruise that has been the Braves’ midsummer schedule — they haven’t played a game against a team above .500 since June 22 and won’t for another six days — is about to end. From July 29 through Aug. 24, the Braves will play 22 games against teams currently holding a winning record. I’m not sure they’re up to that task.

My view is that the Braves have done pretty well to hang tough this long without three starting pitchers and without much of an offense, but I’m not sure they can keep this up for two months more. Then again, I’m often wrong. And maybe they’ll find some help at the trade deadline. At this moment, however, I remain a skeptic.

But here’s where you get to state your opinion. Are you likewise skeptical? Or are you a believer in the Zen of Wren? There’s a poll below, and there’s also a comment box. Avail yourselves, please.

From myajc.com: Can the Braves improve enough to make the playoffs?

146 comments
cleveh
cleveh

The players have loss confidence in their manager. They know the best players are not playing. The lower part of the batting order is getting on base only the have BJ come up and kill the rally with a K. Time to send Freddy packing and his very poor decision making .

Wilbo
Wilbo

5 back in the loss column, baby! Go, Braves, I know you got the Mets n Marlins within reach!


Rory_Bellows
Rory_Bellows

Kind of disappointed Bradley has not written about the death of Pete Van Wieren. 

Wilbo
Wilbo

Lose, Braves, lose!!! Washington blew out the Phillies, Braves tied in the 11th. Come on, Bravos, lose! Here's a great chance to go down 4 in the loss column. Please, please sink out of sight now!!! We are dead sick and tired of watching you choke like dogs in October, so please fade away now!


Wilbo
Wilbo

Nats miss still ANOTHER chance to kick the feckless Braves down toward the bottom of the NL East.

sea8491
sea8491

Mark, time for you to call a spade a spade, Braves do not have enough money to compete and win a world championship

Wilbo
Wilbo

The Nats missed another good chance last night. Another indifferent effort by the impotent Bravos = loss to Dodgers, but the Nats get whomped by the Phillies of all people. Do the Nats just not want to bury this sorry group? They don't have a whole lot more oomph than the Braves and that's a sad indictment of a team, it really is.....

MichaelHannigan
MichaelHannigan

Before going to bed a few minutes ago, I turned on the Braves/Dodgers game. The Dodgers were in the bottom of the 8th. One out (I guess it was Kershaw), Braves behind (surprise!) 0-2.. Pig was coming to the plate. He hits a high. long straight-away fly ball that BJ Upton had not a clue what to do with it. When he finally saw the ball and guessed he should chase it back, the ball sailed over his head, hit the fence and caromed off. This is what Wren has brought this team: 50 mil+ salary, a 2.14 (+/-) BA, leads the NL in strike outs and cannot play CF as good as most high school base ballers.
OH, and I forgot...he hits LEAD-OFF! Good God in Heaven, what a farce!

MichaelHannigan
MichaelHannigan

Perhaps three (actually two) of the the glaring weaknesses of the Braves can be noted in the URL below:

http://sports.yahoo.com/mlb/stats/bycategory?cat=Batting&conference=NL&year=season_2014&qualified=1&sort=16

If it doesn't show, click on the "K" and see the NL STRIKEOUT statistics. Three of t he top ten "whiffers" just happen to be Braves: BJ (1st.) Justin (7th.) and Chris Johnson (9th.) BJ strikes out (statistically) one of three AB's. Wren should be cowering in the corner. $150 mil for those two alone for 5 years. Justin is the better of the two but BJ Upton is just not worth the $$. Watch him in the outfield: misplays, failure to charge the ball, etc. and, what's worse, he gets away with it. For those two giant mistakes, the Braves cannot - at least for another year or so -- do any significant trading. Playoff this year? Only in their in your wildest, marijuana-laced dreams.

MichaelHannigan
MichaelHannigan

Before going to bed a few minutes ago, I turned on the Braves/Dodgers game. The Dodgers were in the bottom of the 8th. One out (I guess it was Kershaw), Braves behind (surprise!) 0-2.. Pig was coming to the plate. He hits a high. long straight-away fly ball that BJ Upton had not a clue what to do with it. When he finally saw the ball and guessed he should chase it back, the ball sailed over his head, hit the fence and caromed off. This is what Wren has brought this team: 50 mil+ salary, a 2.14 (+/-) BA, leads the NL in strike outs and cannot play CF as good as most high school base ballers.
OH, and I forgot...he hits LEAD-OFF! Good God in Heaven, what a farce!

cleveh
cleveh

How can anyone continue to play and more importantly use him as a lead off batter when he has Ks in 11of his last 12 at bats and call yourself a manager. We also have the best closer in all of baseball but yet we stick with these average wannabes to try to win games. Fredi needs to grow a pair and make some moves in this trade deadline.

SeaDog46
SeaDog46

No way........Too many strikeouts in that lineup.

antidepressed_dawg
antidepressed_dawg

The more appropriate question is - does it really matter? How many times has the leadoff hitter gone 0-4 with 4 k's in MLB games this season - I'm honestly curious. A monkey could manage the team through the 90's and won as many divisions. You basically had a staff full of hall of fame pitchers. But it takes a manager to win series. Thank goodness for Cleveland or there wouldn't have been the one.  

WhopperDawg
WhopperDawg

Nope, miss. Miami and DC are rising and we are fading.

9awebb
9awebb

Sure they will. Thanks to Bud "The Lawyer" Selig's obsessive compulsive insistence on "parity" there are no great teams anymore. Just a bunch of fair ones. Add a couple more wild card rounds and baseball will be basketball. But hey, one dollar form everyone is better than two dollars from a few and to heck with real competition. Sorry. Some time a fellow just has to vent.

Wilbo
Wilbo

Braves win 3 in a row. Nats lose today to bring the useless Bravos within 2 in the loss column. The Braves are like polyester underwear-- just keep showing up and stinking. I was so hoping they would drop out of sight in the NL East, and they just won't go away. I mean seriously-- wouldn't you rather they just quietly fade away now instead of embarrassing you AGAIN in October?

JaySly
JaySly

The braves are in the weakest division in mlb - they will win the division and hopefully pull an upset in round 1 of the playoffs

adarian652
adarian652

No playoffs for the Braves and everyone will be putting the Blame on B.J and Uggla. The hitting has been up and down but the pitching giving up crucial runs has been the main problem!

ThomasBrownUGA
ThomasBrownUGA

I watched the Cooperstown Hall of Fame and saw 6 elected, 4 of whom I watched play baseball here in Atlanta.  2 were inducted in Braves' caps.


2 of the 4.


Why's that ?


UGA fans insist on censorship to keep intact their notion that Mark Richt is one of the top 5 best college coaches in the history of college football.


Ah B.S. at 54-26 to Alabama 72-9 the most recent half a dozen seasons.  What Mark Richt did in 2005 was a long time ago.  He's 1-9 as Visitor vs teams ranked for the season Top 25 teams 2007-2013.


So, why is it then that a vocal clique want to censor any facts such as now 11 have been arrests/suspensions for 2014 alone, including a recruit charged with felony when he came here.  Why is it that THIS happens here, and at none of the other schools he was being recruited at, that he came here and is arrested for felony charges ?


http://ugathomasbrown.wordpress.com/

Wilbo
Wilbo

Here's a question for you: http://espn.go.com/blog/sweetspot/post/_/id/49988/why-didnt-the-braves-win-more-titles


Answer, because they choked like sick dogs.


With all this hullaballoo about Maddux and Glavine going into the HOF, please remember they are the 2 losingest pitchers in MLB postseason history, w Tom Glavine being especially putrid in October. Read the article and tell me that Glavine being the postseason bumbling klutz that he was -- he stunk in baseball's most important month -- belongs in the Hall of Fame. Bull doodie!

drew48
drew48

They won't go far in the playoffs if they make it, so does it really matter that much?  Just don't make any moves that will hurt the team for next year. 

Personally, I think they should move J. Upton and make Gattis a LF full time for this year and the future. Bethancourt at C, they would have above avg defense at 1B and RF and possibly the best in baseball at SS and C. I'll take a questionable defense at LF, but would improve with Gattis full time there.

The BJ signing - Nobody really talks about this but the Braves were pressured to use the salary from Chipper on somewhat of a replacement after his retirement. That went to BJ. There wasn't a whole lot available and they wanted to go more towards speed. Same thing happened when they were in need of starting pitching several years back - Lowe and Kawakami. Looking back, I'm not sure they would have signed BJ had they known that the J. Upton trade was going to happen.

TNScott
TNScott

Too many K's from this strikeout prone team. The only team in the bottom 5 of strikeout prone teams with a winning record. Chicks and other fans may dig long ball, Frank, but not the K's. When you don't value OBP especially at the top of the lineup, you will eventually pay a price for it. 

Mr. Negative
Mr. Negative

HAHA....just to honor our past heroes being inducted into the HOF tomorrow, the Boobs are gonna lay a massive egg this weekend against the Padres. Last night was a good start. 

RoswellDickie
RoswellDickie

Check out this blog i got attached to regarding the Braves. Better analysis than above and hits the nail on the head. This person also told me a week b4 it hit the wire that the Braves should try and get the pitcher from Boston to shore up the bullpen.


http://wideopenbaseball.wordpress.com/

SaveAmericaFromItself
SaveAmericaFromItself

No true leadoff hitter. No speed. The "power" is illusory. Batters swing for the fences. Nobody takes pitches or works the opposing pitcher. Swing at the first pitch. No fundamentals employed by the manager.

tim1955
tim1955

Simply not a well constructed team. Poor upper and field management Wren and Gonzalez. Liberty needs to blow up staff and GM office.

JAS0N
JAS0N

"I'm not sold on this Braves team doing anything positive" -EricEllis


Who is trying to sell that to you in the first place

Ficklefan
Ficklefan

Sadly, one of the most talented teams in the NL will only reach the play offs via a wild card berth. After that, Braves fans know very well  what happens next.  More than demonizing talented individual players, it is an on field and off field leadership issue, and as such, will not be addressed.  In the print version this morning, Bobby Cox talked about his key to success and how his constantly "intense" management style rubbed off on the players. 


When you watch the Braves play these days, how often does the word "intense" (or "intensity") come to mind? Like tonight, for example. The last at bat could have been just any old at bat in any old inning played during the entire season. Bases loaded in the 8th. One out. One run???!!!!  Play offs?  Really? 

Wilbo
Wilbo

4 back in the loss column as of tonight and hopefully fading fast..


Thanks, Bravos, wilt now instead of October and don't tease your fans for once. 


Losers

GTPhenom
GTPhenom

I can't see the Bravos making it this year. And if recent play is any indication, they may play themselves out of a playoff spot pretty quickly. Just nothing too impressive about the roster. We're a team that tries to swing for the fences every at bat, except most of the players don't have the pop in the bat to do that. Pitching has been lackluster, and injuries have, IMO, killed any chance this team has at making a playoff run.

Poledawg83
Poledawg83

They will only make the playoffs if they back into them.  Most years I wouldn't give this team a chance but it doesn't look like anyone in the NL wants to go to the playoffs this year.

ToeMeetsLeather
ToeMeetsLeather

Not with BJ in the lineup.

Terrible lead off hitter, average outfielder, horrible base runner.

Worst decision Wren has made as the GM.

Should have put Heyward in center and went after a big bat for LF. Oh well, candy & nuts....

58Supersports
58Supersports

6 days till trade deadline...where they make it or not depends on where Wren  pulls off a great trade.  I don't trust Wren's judgment so good luck. 

Delbert_D
Delbert_D

Things could actually be worse. My Braves glass is about 1/3 full right now.  Need 2 hitters and 2 pitchers, and they are not going to show up this year.

PappaBunny
PappaBunny

I picked the Braves to be a 75-80 win team at the start of the season.


I still believe that.

Wilbo
Wilbo

Atta way, Bravos, you useless buncho slaggers. 4 back in the loss column, now. let's see you drop outta sight. And way to go Fredricko. Have your 'indominatable' closer throw 38 pitches.


Kimbrel 3 walks. Nuff said?

Wilbo
Wilbo

@sea8491 $ is one thing, but what they really lack is a championship attitude.

Wilbo
Wilbo

@antidepressed_dawg And if Ryan Klesko didn't hit the franchise's most important home run ever, there wouldn't even be the one...

Wilbo
Wilbo

@Wilbo And if you wanna know who the Atlanta Braves really are, this is them: 


From the junior high quality paper known as the AJC, "the Braves fell to 9-15 in their past 24 games including 0-8 in games decided by one run.

The Braves failed to score after loading the bases with none out in the 12th inning when Evan Gattis grounded to third baseman Yangervis Solarte, who threw home to start a 5-2-3 double play. Chris Johnson grounded out to to end the inning.

Braves newcomer Emilio Bonifacio strayed too far off second base on Tommy La Stella’s one-out fly to shallow center in the 11th and was thrown out for an inning-ending double play."

Wilbo
Wilbo

@antidepressed_dawg @Wilbo Justice didn't get the credit he deserved for the contributions he made to the Braves. Maybe because he took over for the hallowed Dale Murphy, but one of the Indians' most feared weapons was the supposedly invincible lock down closer, José Mesa, and the early Klesko home-run off Mesa showed he was vulnerable. Made an incredible shift in attitude...