Posts Tagged ‘Freddie Freeman’

What the #!@*! are the Braves doing ?

I was about to reply to a relative’s email asking if I could make any sense of the Atlanta Braves off-season moves. I have been asked that a lot lately so I thought it was time to revive my baseball blog.

Concerning the Braves…

I have been understanding, confused, excited, and angry at some of the moves the Braves have made this off-season. What we Braves fans have to keep telling ourselves that it is all for the greater good and it will all make sense in 2017, just in time for the new stadium. Now that they are on the verge of trading Evan Gattis the “building for the future” scenario is even more plausible. The trades of Jason Heyward and Justin Upton netted a lot of young talent, both position players and pitching but pitching seems to be the focus of the Braves front office right now. Who knows what they will get in return for Gattis but I am sure it will be more top prospects who are primed to see action within the next few seasons.

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Now here is a die-hard fan’s over optimistic outlook for 2015. With no big bat in the lineup other than Freddie Freeman, the Braves are not seen as a threat. So what? They had what should have been a potent offense last season but look where it got them, a losing record and tied for second place with the lousy New York Mets in the National League East. The Braves have added a reliable on-base guy with RBI potential in Nick Markakis and a good utility infielder and pinch hitter in Alberto Callaspo. Now if they can add another contact hitter to play left field it might be these small additions that give them the magic that could never capture in 2014.

The pitching staff departures of Aaron Harang, Ervin Santana, David Carpenter, Anthony Varvaro, Kris Medlen, and Brandon Beachy were made easier with the addition of Shelby Miller, Manny Banuelos, and the too many to name young arms replenishing the Braves farm system. The veteran presence of newly acquired Jim Johnson, James Russell, and Jason Grilli in the bullpen should also help  a solid pitching rotation.

They aren’t getting as much attention for their additions as they are their subtractions but all in all I think the Braves look pretty good. The Nationals are still favored, the Marlins have gotten much better, and even if the Phillies and Mets suck they still put up a good fight so the Braves should enjoy their position as an underdog in their division for now. Once they have warmed up and worked out the kinks during Spring Training the Atlanta Braves might prove to be more than just a team building for the future but a real contender for 2015.

What else can I say when I really don’t know what the #!@*! the Braves are doing.

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You gotta hit to run, you gotta to run to score….hit, run, score!

I’m back!  I’ve been watching every inning when possible but blogging has been low on the priority list. With less than two month to go I’m ready to update…let’s start with Atlanta.

The Braves finally got the speed that has been lacking from their offense with the acquisition of Michael Bourn from the Houston Astros. As an added bonus, just before the arrival of Bourn the Braves called up Minor Leaguer  Jose Constanza who is a burner on the base paths. Constanza or”Georgie” as his teammates call him (after George Costanza from Seinfeld) has been taking advantage of his opportunity by getting a hit almost every time he goes to bat.

"Who's legs you want me to break boss?" Joey thinks Uggla looks like a Dick Tracy thug...haha!

Dan Uggla and Freddie Freeman have been the hottest hitters on the planet and have been carrying the team on their backs for the past 3 weeks. The absence of Brian McCann (injury/ on DL) and Chipper Jones (nagging injuries/ not playing regularly) have hurt because even with the addition of speed and the great work of Uggla and Freeman, the Braves are struggling to score runs.

I posted several times last season about the horrible numbers the Braves had with runners in scoring position and they are doing the same thing this season. I have chose not to post about it this season so far because it is so damn frustrating and I have been hoping they can break out of the pattern. They haven’t !?!

The Philadelphia Phillies are not losing so the Braves are not able to make up any ground on them for the NL East lead. Unless the Phils go on a prolonged slump or catch the injury bug like the Braves, then Atlanta is going to have to set their sights on the Wild Card if they want to get into the post season.

First things first, get those runners in from second and third !!!

2 Freddies 2 Gonzalezs

The Atlanta Braves new manager Fredi Gonzalez has the distinction of sharing his name with two of his players. Rookie first baseman Freddie Freeman and veteran shortstop Alex Gonzalez. This means absolutely nothing and the spelling isn’t exact but it is a good way for me to segue into the performance of a man that took over for legendary manager Bobby Cox.

Thus far, Fredi Gonzalez has been sight unseen. Other than pitching changes I have only seen Fredi come out of the dugout to have a “discussion” with an umpire two or three times this season. His predecessor, Bobby Cox, would have been ejected once or twice already but Fredi has a different style. While I miss the chatter from the top of the dugout steps that Bobby provided all season long, Fredi’s strong but silent approach of coaching is growing on me. However, if the Braves continue to play mediocre baseball I hope to see a little more fire from the skipper to help motivate his players.

I have two criticisms of Fredi in 2011.

Thursday April 17th…bases loaded, one out,  the Braves down one run and Fredi chose to attempt a suicide squeeze play against the struggling Mets and that high risk play did not work. Of course had it worked, Fredi would have looked like a genius. Part of the problem was that Tommy Hanson could not lay down the bunt and he struck out while leaving the runner at third base hung out to dry…inning over. The safer and smarter move in my opinion would have been to let Tommy take his pitches and walk or strikeout while leaving the runner at third base. This would have allowed one of the Braves hottest hitters, Martin Prado,  to come to the plate with a chance to drive in one or more runners. As it turned out the Braves lost that game by one run.

Thursday April 21st… the Braves young closer Craig Kimbrel was one out away from finishing the game and giving the Braves a win over the Los Angeles Dodgers but a play at the plate went the Dodgers way to tie the game and the game went into extra innings. During the 12th inning of a tie ballgame the Dodgers had a runner at second base and the hottest hitter in all of baseball at the plate. Instead of pitching around Matt Kemp, Fredi choose to pitch to him and Kemp promptly deposited a pitch from reliever Christian Martinez into the center field seats…game over. All losses suck but this was the most bitter loss the Braves have suffered all season because of the blown save. However, I am glad Kimbrel got the first blown save of his career out of the way. Kimbrel learned from the mistakes he made that inning (walk, wild pitch hurt the most) and moved on by striking out 3 batters in the 10th.

After a tough 4 game series in L.A. the Braves moved on to San Francisco to face the World Series Champion Giants. The Braves handily swept the Giants in the three game series. The first two games were solid wins (Kimbrel notched 2 saves) while the last game on Sunday was a bit more of a challenge. The Braves did prevail in 10 innings and it brought up questions about how the Divisional Series would have turned out last season had the Braves been completely healthy. Can’t dwell on that too much.

The Braves have three more games on the west coast before they head home to face the surging St.Louis Cardinals. The month of April has been a bit tumultuous for the Bravos but hopefully they can finish the month strong and begin a monster May.