No worries -- we're not going to make your re-live it. But if you watched Friday's game, you know what I'm taling about.
Shoddy starting pitching. Check. If Jo-Jo is in our rotation next year, forget it. Bobby's post-game comments indicate he won't be.
Bad defense. Check. Why was Prado, a gifted second basemen, playing left (a position he's rarely played) instead of KJ? The experiment is over. KJ can't play second. Merely catching the ball is a challenge; his drop on the throw from Tavarez pretty much cost us the game.
Chipper gets hurt. Check. Not to open that can of worms again, but there are few players more fragile than our third baseman. An inflamed shoulder is the latest injury to befall Mr. Day-to-Day.
Missed opportunities. Check. The Braves had a couple of chances to break the game open. That's just something this team doesn't do. How many comfortable wins can you recall in 2008?
Crappy relief pitching. Well, actually ... Tavarez can blame KJ for opening the floodgates. Jorge Julio, meanwhile, has earned himself a spring training invite. Yes, I'm reduced to praising Jorge Julio.
So will the Braves reach 70 wins? I doubt it, and I don't care. I just want this season to be over.
They start on the road in Philly, and their first two road trips take them to six cities.
The first trip is manageable, with stops in Pittsburgh, Washington and Cincy. The next leg -- two in Florida, then three each in Philly and New York -- should reveal plenty about the '09 squad.
And check out this 12-game stretch right before the All-Star break:
June 19 at Boston June 20 at Boston June 21 at Boston June 23 N.Y. Yankees June 24 N.Y. Yankees June 25 N.Y. Yankees June 26 Boston June 27 Boston June 28 Boston June 30 Philadelphia July 1 Philadelphia July 2 Philadelphia
The interleague schedule includes three games in Camden Yards and a home series with the Blue Jays, who could emerge as the best team in the AL East. At least we don't have to play the Rays.
Unfortunately, we have to play the Nats, which should be a good thing. Seven of the Braves' final 10 come against Washington, who will open and close the home schedule.
... a team in a race does not need. And I hope his demeanor is not the sort of atmosphere that surrounded the 90s-00s Braves during the playoffs. Their play sure looked it, though. From Ken Rosenthal:
Under Yost, a veritable Captain Queeg in the dugout, the tension was unbearable — and toxic for a team featuring so many prominent young players.
This goes back to last season, when the Brewers pulled a similar collapse at a similar point in September. At one point, Yost told the players that jobs — his and his coaches' — were at stake. Not the right message.
The Brewers thought they were getting the next Bobby Cox when they hired Yost, the Braves' former third-base coach, on Oct. 29, 2002. But many terrific baseball men respond poorly to the pressure of being a major-league manager. Add Yost to the list.
A year ago, Yost led the Brewers to their first winning record since 1992. This year's team needs one more victory to beat that mark. But the Brewers' play of late reflected the tone set by their manager. In a word, tight.
Bobby's defense of Yost -- he said he was "flabbergasted" -- reads like a guy defending one of his own. I, for another, hope Yost is not back here next year. I don't want him anywhere near the Braves' managing job.
About last night's game, I have to say I get no pleasure out of losing, even if it hurts the Mets. I was really hoping to see the ballclub win and have a nice run going to the end. Maybe they can get back on the beam tonight. Defense let them down again last night, as it has so often this season.
If you must lose, lose to the team that is chasing the Mets -- the now-second place Mets (defeated tonight by ex-Brave Odalis Perez).
That aside, Gonzo's struggles at The Ted are a bit disconcerting. Coming into tonight, his ERA at home was 6.60, a good five runs higher than his road ERA. Still, I expect good things from the antsy southpaw in '09.
It'll be interesting to see how the rest of the bullpen shakes out. Maybe Soriano rediscovers the BMF within. Maybe Acosta fulfills his potential.
That's about as certain as it gets.
Will Smoltzie be relieving, starting or broadcasting? Will Moylan be able to pick up where he left off when he returns in May (as expected)? And should Frank Wren re-sign Will Ohman, who's been shaky for much of the second half?
As much as I like Ohman, the Braves might be better served using that money -- and then some -- for a more dependable middle reliever. Brian Fuentes, Scott Downs and Dan Wheeler are among the free agents available.
Let Jeff Bennett and Campillo handle long relief; Gonzo and Sori, the late innings. Factor in Acosta, and you've got the makings of a mediocre 'pen, one that could be a strength if Smoltz and Moylan return.
Counting on "ifs" did the Braves in this year. Signing a reliever like those mentioned above would give the team a bridge to the late innings it's so sorely lacked. Ohman is more of a situational type. The Braves need someone a little more versatile, lest we endure another season of blown leads by the likes of Blaine Boyer and Buddy Carlyle.
I first started paying attention to the Braves in 1977, the year Pat Rockett became the team's starting SS. I didn't know who was good or bad back then, but I liked his name. Rockett, sounds cool. I had to review his stats to appreciate just how truly godawful the former first round draft pick was.
In 93 games in '77, Rockett committed 23 errors with a .940 fielding percentage, .23 points below the league average. That adds up to roughly 40 errors in a full season. Not even Andres Thomas accomplished that. With the bat he was just as woeful, hitting .254 with a .633 OPS. In 142 AB's the next season, Rockett hit a lowly .141 with only TWO extra base hits. He was sent to Toronto following the '79 season, along with Barry Bonnell and Joey McLaughlin, in exchange for Chris Chambliss and another crappy SS, Luis Gomez.
Rockett succeeded Darrel Chaney as the everyday SS. Hard to believe, but Chaney was every bit as terrible as Rockett, committing 37 errors in 153 games. He was equally punchless with the bat, hitting .252 (a career high) with a .655 OPS.
Chaney, acquired from the Reds for Mike Lum, retired in 1979 with a career .217 BA and an OPS of .584. Hard to believe he lasted 11 seasons in the majors. Longtime Braves fans will remember his stint in the broadcasting booth after his playing days -- he wasn't much of an announcer, either.
The class of this trio had to be Pepe Frias, faint praise indeed. I remember watching a Spring Training game and hearing the news that the Braves had traded Dave "Chopper" Campbell to the Expos for Frias. Back in those days you got excited about any deal the home team made, figuring that if someone was good enough to play for another franchise they had to be good enough to make it in Atlanta.
Never mind that Pepe was a 30-year-old, career utilityman -- certainly he was an improvement over Rockett and Chaney. Barely. Frias hit a weak .259 in 140 game. He finished beneath the league average in fielding percentage, committing 32 errors. The Braves traded him after one year, sending him to Texas with Adrian Devine for Doyle Alexander and Sugar Bear Blanks. His replacement, Gomez, was one of our Worst 10 of the 1980s.
It's doubtful any franchise had a more lackluster run at a position then the Bravos had at SS from 1976 until the beginning of the Rafael Ramirez era. Raffy was Maury Fucking Wills compared to his predecessors.
**Lest we forget Craig Robinson, a little before our time but every bit as lacking as the previous three. He's the fourth addition to on our list, based on his heinous performance as the team's starting SS in 1974. In 452 plate appearances, Robinson managed but TEN extra base hits. He had more triples (six) than doubles (four). He finished with a .230 BA and an OPS of .545. And for good measure, he committed 29 errors, finishing below the league average in fielding percentage.
DOB speculates that Ned Yost could return to the Braves next season.
Even if Ned gets another managerial offer this winter, you gotta wonder if he might turn it down if he he believes he’s got a good chance to get the Braves job in a year or two, to follow in his mentor Cox’s footsteps in Atlanta.
I have no problem with Ned waving runners around third, but if he's the next Braves manager we're in big trouble. While their timing is odd, I can see why Brewers management fired Yosty, a disappointment both as a strategist and amateur psychologist.
TP or Fredi Gonzalez would be much better choices. What do you think?
(Mike Scioscia would be my dream pick, but that ain't going to happen.)
Frank Wren recently spent a week overseas evaluating Japanese talent. We already told you about the team's interest in Junichi Tazawa.
Wren reportedly wanted to take a closer look at free agents Koji Uehara and Kenshin Kawakami.
Uehara "is Greg Maddux to Matsuzaka's Pedro Martinez. Uehara is not the otherworldly talent that is Matsuzaka, but he is a top caliber starter," says ArmchairGM.
On the downside, injuries prompted Uehara's move to the 'pen in 2007, though he's likely to be a starter in America.
Kawakami has had success as a starter and reliever. He, like Uehara, is 33-years-old.