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Blog Entry

2008.......Not Really Going as Planned

Posted on: May 13, 2008 3:45 pm
 
Coming into the 2008 season the Atlanta Braves were the sexy pick for a lot of the so-called experts to win the NL East. So, nearly 1/4 of the way into the season and sitting at 19-18, what's gone wrong?

Well, first let's start with what's gone right.


Chipper Jones has been absolutely unbelievable to start the season. The biggest thing is that he has only missed 2 games thus far this season. Hitting .406 with 10 homers 30 RBIs is certainly not too shabby. Much of the Braves success this season will hinge on Chipper staying healthy. Braves fans everywhere are certainly hoping for that.

Yunel Escobar is proving that the success he had last season, which allowed the Braves to trade Edgar Renteria, was no fluke. Thus far he is hitting .315 with 15 RBIs and 25 runs scored. He has also played a near flawless SS with only 3 errors and a .983 fielding percentage.

Mark Kotsay has exceeded Braves fans expectations thus far hitting .310 with 3 homers and 18 RBIs. He has also made some brilliant plays in CF. His production this year far out does the production of the player he replaced this season, Andruw Jones (now of the Dodgers).

Tim Hudson has once again proven that he can be an ACE in this league. In 9 starts he is 6-2 with a 2.54 ERA 0.988 WHIP and a 7:2 K:BB ratio.

Perhaps the biggest and most pleasant surprise this season has been the pitching of Jair Jurrjens. The Braves acquired him in the previously mentioned Renteria traded with the Tigers. In 8 starts he is 4-3 with a 3.10 ERA and 41 Ks. He has emerged as the #2 starter on this team.


Now to what has gone wrong on this team and possible solutions I believe should be considered.


It all started in the first week as the Braves prepared to welcome back Mike Hampton. Well, he made it to the field safely that night, but that was where the good news ended. After looking good all spring and declaring himself ready to go, the oft injured southpaw strained his pectoral muscle warming up in the pen before the game. After a stint on the 15 day DL he came back and did a rehab start in the minors where he was pulled in the 4th inning for the same injury. He now has stated that he has no idea how long he will be out.

In the case of Hampton I have given up on him. I was a huge promoter of him coming into this season, but his comments after his last set back just left me to believe he is just not too concerned about when he gets back. I wish the Braves would just put him on the 60 day DL and get the insurance money for his contract.


I really wonder if maybe Bobby Cox is beginning to lose his edge. It seems to me that he is being out-managed in almost every series and that is something that we as Braves fans are certainly not used to. The Braves are having a horrible time doing the little things to win games. Stealing bases, making productive outs, even getting bunts down have all been seemingly outside of the players' abilities for much of this season. Keeping Kelly Johnson in the lead off spot has been a decision that Bobby has stuck with and it has hurt the Braves. Chipper can't keep up this pace forever and by keeping the slumping Johnson in front of him, the Braves are seeing Chipper get most of his hits with no one on or just a runner at first at best. The lack of being able to play "small ball" has really hurt this team thus far.

As far as this goes, Bobby needs to realize that his pitchers now aren't John Smoltz, Tom Glavine, and Greg Maddux in their prime. He can't depend on 2 or 3 runs holding up every night. I would love to see him start putting more runners in motion with both some steal attempts and hit and run plays. Kelly Johnson I believe is a 7 hole hitter. Move Kotsay or Gregor Blanco into the leadoff spot.

Also, the Braves are 1-10 in one run games which is absolutely laughable and speaks a lot about their manager. They say that things in baseball all even out in the end, so I guess the Braves must have a lot of one run victories coming to them. We can only hope.

This team absolutely must begin to play better on the road!!! While they have the best home record in the league at 14-4, they are also the majors worst road team at 5-14.

Corky Miller.........This guy absolutely SUCKS!!! I can't believe he was better than Javy Lopez this spring. The fact that the Braves kept this guy is ridiculous. He is an automatic out for the opposing pitcher. He is hitting .067 this season. Yep. That's 1 hit all season thus far! Embarrassing!!! Find somebody else and cut his dead weight loose!

Mark Teixeira has started off a bit slowly this year, which is normal for him. He is only hitting .261 with 5 homers and 21 RBIs thus far. But the Braves should expect better things from him in the not so distant future.

The biggest need for the Braves is pitching.

First, with the loss of John Smoltz to the pen and Hampton to his 2nd home that is the DL, they need at least one more starter. Hudson, Jurrjens, Glavine, and Jo-Jo Reyes have the top 4 spots in the rotation sewn up but after that it is frightening. Chuck James is horrible, but for some reason, he keeps getting starts. If he started every 5th day, he'd lead the league in homers surrendered.

I think the Braves will go get an arm by the trading deadline. I don't know who, but pitchers like Maddux, Aaron Harang, or Derek Lowe would certainly be an upgrade over James or anything else they have.

The biggest disappointment has been the bullpen. Manny Acosta is just not getting it done as closer. The losses of Peter Moylan and Rafael Soriano have really hurt this team. Many of those one run losses can be directly attributed to the bullpen.

The good news is that the bullpen will be getting markedly better soon. Rafael Soriano will return from his injury. Mike Gonzalez should come back from his arm surgery some time in June. And of course John Smoltz should take over the closer role where he dominated from 2002-2004. This is where the one run victories could begin to become more prevalent.


3/4 of the season still to go and many more great moments and heartbreaks undoubtedly still on the horizon. I believe there is more than enough talent on this team to contend for and win the NL East title. A few additions here and there between now and the trading deadline will help to solidify this. As Braves fans we just need to have faith in our boys and help carry them with our cheers all the way to October baseball!!

GO BRAVES!!
Comments

Since: Mar 19, 2008
Posted on: June 2, 2008 11:52 pm
 

2008.......Not Really Going as Planned

While I certainly agree that there have been some bullpen issues this season, it is hard for me to now put the one-run loss onus strictly on the pen.  When you are losing games 1-0 or  2-1 or 3-2,  the finger has got to point at the offense.

Hopefully, the recent awakening of Tex and Frenchy will start to pick up Chip and things will get turned around in the right direction




Since: Apr 9, 2008
Posted on: June 1, 2008 1:41 am
 

2008.......Not Really Going as Planned

I don't think we need to add a veteran arm this season with the emergence of Campillo as a solid starter and Bennett as a spot starter. While we are losing a lot of one run games I believe that can be attributed to the lack of a solid bullpen. Now that Soriano is back and Smoltz is on the mend we should be able to get some of those games back. Once Gonzalez is back pitching the team will have plenty of late inning options to go to.

Hopeufully our offense gets going as Frenchy and Tex get started to their normal forms.




Since: Dec 18, 2006
Posted on: May 15, 2008 11:00 am
 

2008.......Not Really Going as Planned

You're absolutely right, we can not continue to go win 1 out of every 5 road games.... but i don't expect that to be a season long trend

I'm just not in "worry mode" yet .... we're right there in the mix with A LOT of baseball left to play...

I know you're optimistic as well... I'm just ranting, giving my $0.02 --- from one Braves fan to another

I apologize if I seemed a bit combative.... not my intention.

 

I agree that NBA arenas may be more hostile than major league ballparks... BUT

a basketball court is the same size in every arena.... the rim is the same height... 3-point line is the same distance....  the paint is the same size.... etc etc....

being that baseball grounds differ from stadium to stadium... I think that has alot to do with run production and fielding....

Turner Field has been good to us thus far....

 




Since: Mar 19, 2008
Posted on: May 15, 2008 9:45 am
 

2008.......Not Really Going as Planned

Being 15-5 on the road doesn't matter when you're dominating at home to keep pace with the rest of the league; their overall record is their overall record, no matter how you go about getting there

Obviously you meant 5-15......But you have to remember that while they can't possibly contincue to lose 3/4 of their road games, they also will not continue to win at home at the pace they are. 

Comparing basketball with baseball is a bit offbase.  The difference in playing basketball in a hostile arena is much different than playing baseball in a road stadium. 

Yes, their record in one run games is a huge concern for me as well as i noted, but once their bullpen strengthens up I feel that their fortunes will begin to change in that matter.

The blog was premature, very premature.

Again, you are entitled to your opinion, but these concerns are pretty widely shared amongst Braves fans.  Please remember that these games in April and May count just as much as those in August and September!!!!



Since: Dec 18, 2006
Posted on: May 15, 2008 8:58 am
 

2008.......Not Really Going as Planned

EDIT - Being 5-15* ^



Since: Dec 18, 2006
Posted on: May 15, 2008 8:56 am
 

2008.......Not Really Going as Planned

Being 15-5 on the road doesn't matter when you're dominating at home to keep pace with the rest of the league; their overall record is their overall record, no matter how you go about getting there.

It's like the UTAH JAZZ in the NBA -- they were horrible at home, but had the best home record in the league and are in contention for an NBA title.

Their record in 1 run games is more of a point for my arguement -- they're always in games.

The blog was premature, very premature.  




Since: Mar 19, 2008
Posted on: May 14, 2008 1:51 pm
 

2008.......Not Really Going as Planned

This article is nonsense
Well you are entitled to your opinion, but the fact that neither the Mets, Phillies, or Marlins have pulled away yet has nothing to do with the Braves.

If you don't think a 5-15 road record
and
1-11 in one run games are problems..............

Then you are in some serious denial!



Since: Dec 18, 2006
Posted on: May 14, 2008 11:44 am
 

2008.......Not Really Going as Planned

This article is nonsense. All I had to do was read the intro and I was done with it.

The Braves are 19-19 ... the best team in all of baseball are 24-15  --- meaning the Braves are 4.5 games out of 1st place overall.

Can we get to the All-Star break before we start talking about let downs.

Things are right on track.

We're one winning streak away from being tops in the NL --- as are alot of teams...

There's really been no seperation in any division -- we're fine.

 



kmgonz0826
Since: Mar 15, 2007
Posted on: May 14, 2008 11:14 am
This comment has been removed.

Post Deleted by Administrator




Since: May 12, 2008
Posted on: May 14, 2008 4:24 am
 

2008.......Not Really Going as Planned

Once they get the bullpen going they'll be alright ,I'm not worried,they;ll be fine.Just wait until tex gets his bat going and gets some room for Chipper.Its still early  and nobody is really taking off in the division.Go Braves!


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