- 9:23 am Tuesday, July 8th, 2014 by Mark Bradley
Today’s AJC contains 800 words in defense of Frank Wren, the general manager seen by some folks as the reason the Atlanta Braves aren’t better than they are. The crux of my defense — and it’s a considerable crux, you’ll have to admit — is one basic fact: Over the past 4 1/2 seasons, the Braves have won more regular-season games than any team in baseball.
That can’t, I submit, have happened by accident. Somebody in charge has to be doing something right. If the four massive contractual errors — Derek Lowe, Kenshin Kawakami, Dan Uggla and B.J. Upton — can’t [More]
- 6:45 am Monday, July 7th, 2014 by Mark Bradley
Three Atlanta Braves made the National League All-Star squad. Two were all but certainties: Craig Kimbrel is an annual lock; Freddie Freeman is becoming one. I’m usually not one to get worked up over All-Star selections — despite MLB’s attempts to confer True Meaning, it remains an exhibition game — but I have to confess:
I’d have been ticked if Julio Teheran hadn’t made it.
As it was, he made the NL roster as a replacement for Jeff Samardzija, who was traded from Chicago to Oakland — “Moneyball” is going for it all! — over the weekend. That’s a bit of a [More]
- 6:29 am Monday, June 30th, 2014 by Mark Bradley
The Atlanta Braves are again alone in first place, holding a half-game lead over Washington. They were two games back six days ago, but they won two of three in Houston and four of four in Philadelphia. Such are the undulations of a six-month season.
The Braves have benefited, if slightly, from having B.J. Upton bat leadoff. He’s not exactly knocking the cover off the ball — he’s 6-for-22 since moving to the No. 1 spot, which has enabled him to lift his average from .202 to .205 — but he has managed a hit in all six games and has [More]
- 9:55 am Wednesday, June 25th, 2014 by Mark Bradley
To recap: B.J. Upton batted leadoff for the Atlanta Braves in Houston on Tuesday and didn’t go 0-for-4 but got an actual hit, and not just any hit but the go-ahead home run. (Although the homer wasn’t struck when Upton led off an inning, just for the record.) The Braves won 3-2. For one night, everybody was happy. Does this mean B.J. Upton should remain in the No. 1 slot?
No. No. No. And, just for effect, I say again: No.
The primary job of a leadoff man is to get on base. Upton’s on-base percentage is .272. The average OBP for [More]
- 6:34 am Monday, June 23rd, 2014 by Mark Bradley
Over four games in D.C., we saw the essence of the 2014 Atlanta Braves, the team that doesn’t score many runs but doesn’t yield many, the team that has come to own the Washington Nationals. We saw, in sum, what we’ve been seeing all along.
As of Friday night, the Braves had run their season record against the Nats to 7-1 and had reclaimed the lead in the National League East. With Jordan Zimmermann already beaten and Stephen Strasburg lucky not to have been stuck with a loss, the Braves were positioned to leave D.C. with a 3-1 series win if [More]
- 10:01 am Thursday, June 19th, 2014 by Mark Bradley
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 [More]
- 9:42 am Wednesday, June 18th, 2014 by Mark Bradley
They’re no longer in first place. They’re not even alone in second. After Tuesday night’s loss, the Atlanta Braves are 36-34, having gone 19-27 since April 27. With the series to just-out-of-last-place Philadelphia already lost, the Braves have won one of their past eight series. (Counting the two-game home-and-home sets with Boston as separate entities.)
This is not — long story short — going well. After scoring 17 runs in three games against a good band of Angels, the Braves have managed three in 22 innings against the Phillies. One of those runs came on a clean single. Another was on [More]
- 9:08 am Tuesday, June 17th, 2014 by Mark Bradley
In a way, it wasn’t that bad a loss: Cole Hamels started for Philadelphia and was superb, which Cole Hamels often is. But Hamels exited after seven innings, meaning that the Atlanta Braves had nearly that long — six innings — to work against five Philly relievers. The Braves managed one run, that on a rally comprised of two bloop hits and a wrong-way ground single. They lost 6-1 to a last-place team, which wound up making it …
A bad loss.
This made twice in three days that the Braves fashioned a tying rally in the ninth only to lose by [More]
- 9:15 am Monday, June 16th, 2014 by Mark Bradley
We stipulate that a weekend does not an uprising — not a sustained one, anyway — make. But the Atlanta Braves did rally from four runs down to force extra innings Saturday night, and they did override a three-run deficit to win Sunday. They scored 17 runs on 35 hits over three games. They were 10-for-33 (.333) with runners in scoring position. For one of the few times in 2014, they looked as if they can really hit.
In a conversation before Friday’s game, hitting coach Greg Walker noted that, even as most of the team’s offensive statistics were depressing, there [More]
- 8:51 am Friday, June 13th, 2014 by Mark Bradley
Coors Field is where bad-hitting teams go to start hitting, and the Atlanta Braves did — for one night. Then they stopped again. This was not an encouraging sign. For these punchless Braves, there may be no encouraging signs.
The Braves scored 13 runs on 16 hits on Tuesday. They scored five runs on 11 hits on Wednesday and Thursday. They were outscored over the four-game series 29-21. The Rockies had 42 hits to the Braves’ 35, and this was a Colorado team playing without starters Carlos Gonzalez, Michael Cuddyer and Nolan Arenado — and in the series finale without Troy [More]