Posts by atlmalcontent


Open thread, 4/20, #Braves vs. Al Sharptons

When you win the first two games of any series, especially on the road, the third is just gravy. At worst, the Braves will come home 12-6, and who would’ve predicted that?

David Hale may be making his last start for awhile, but he could end up playing a pivotal role on the club if the bullpen problems persist. I’m hopeful Carpenter will straighten things out, but he’s been pretty awful so far.

And did you hear about Bryce Borasbot? Seems the conservative hero has become a liberal after Matt Williams pulled him from yesterday’s  game for not hustling. Good for Williams, though his decision came under fire from the usual suspects.


Open thread, 4/16, #Braves vs. the Lawrence Bros.

The Braves’ 4th best starter, thus far, takes on a pitcher who has seemingly dominated the Braves like few before him. But despite a ridiculous ratio of 113 strikeouts and seven walks in 99-2/3 IP. Cliff Lee is just 7-6 lifetime against the good guys. He’s struggled in 2014, giving up a league-high 29 hits in 18 IP, so don’t be surprised if Braves batters reach double figures in strikeouts and hits. I suspect we’ll see Andrelton’s first K, but Gattis’ first walk will probably have to wait.  

All eyes will be on Kimbrel, if he’s needed. The season hangs on the health of his shoulder.

The line-up:

Heyward 9 BUpton 8 Freeman 3 JUpton 7 Gattis 2 Uggla 4 Johnson 5 Simmons 6 Teheran 1

Open thread, 4/15 (even the weather is on the #Braves side)


Little chance we’ll see baseball tonight in Philly, where there’s a 90 percent chance of rain at game time. That’s good news for the Braves, who will now have the luxury of skipping David Hale in the rotation while resting Kimbrel another day.

Game still scheduled, however. Here’s the line-up:

Heyward 9, BUpton 8, Freeman 3, JUpton 7, Gattis 2, Uggla 4, Johnson 5, Simmons 6, Hale 1



The case against the Used Car Salesman

More proof Bud Selig is the Worst Commissioner in the History of Sports:

Almost eight years ago, Bud Selig vowed to do something about the local-television-blackout rules keeping tens of millions of fans from watching his sport. He said he did not understand the reason pockets of America who wanted to see ballgames on TV couldn’t. Then he made a vow: “We have to do something about it.”

Here’s what he and Major League Baseball have done: Fight like crazy to keep the blackouts in place, arguing the affected fans constitute a “very, very limited area” and that a world in which everyone in America can watch whatever baseball game they please is “completely implausible.”

In truth, the issue revolves around the exorbitant local-television dollars that regional sports networks have lavished on teams in the past five years and the concern that in a true free market with a-la-carte pricing for games, the local TV networks would not pay anywhere close to the tens of billions of dollars they have promised teams around the sport. The threat to the cash cow that has pushed league-wide revenue toward the $9 billion-a-year mark has left the league willing to punish fans in Iowa, Las Vegas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Buffalo and other locations with multiple-team blackouts.


Open thread, 4/13, Braves vs. Louie Gohmerts

Gohmert is almost always wrong, as in my post yesterday excoriating Fredi for playing Uggla and batting B.J. second,

Uggla’s on the pine today, along with the struggling Chris Johnson as Fredi deploys a Bobby-esque Sunday line-up:

1. Heyward rf 2. BUpton cf 3 Freeman 1b 4 JUpton lf 5 Simmons ss 6. Laird C 7 Pena 3b 8.Pastornicky 2b 9 Harang P

Gohmert, who once claimed that caribou enjoy the warmth of an oil pipeline, is a U.S. congressman from Texas.


Open thread, 4/12, Braves vs. Fredi

Andrelton’s back in the line-up, batting 8th, because you gotta have the K machine hitting second. Apparently loafing to 1B last night carried no censure for B.J.. And guess who’s batting 6th, playing 2B?

Just when I’m ready to give Fredi the benefit of the doubt he reminds me why I’m not a fan. How many chances does Uggla get, especially when there’s a better alternative sitting on the bench?

I fear before the season’s done The Lummox will barrel over Andrelton, causing our star SS to miss considerable time. When that happens you can bet the yes men in the Braves broadcast booth will tell us how we should appreciate Uggla’s hustle.

How bad is Uggla? It would be an injustice to Keith Lockhart to compare the two. Watch out, Damaso Garcia, Uggla’s coming for you.

No room for error tonight for Alex Wood, especially when his 2B is likely to make a big one costing the Braves a win.


An early test for Fredi

There is absolutely no excuse for Fredi not to start Ramiro Pena at 2B tomorrow. Andrelton’s expected back at SS, a RH pitcher is starting for the Nats and Ramiro Pena is one of the few Braves hitting the ball. And he’s not going to make a boneheaded play like Uggla did on Friday, letting in three unearned runs.

I’m sick of hearing positives about Uggla. He’s the worst everyday player in baseball, with his loafing teammate a close second.

I hope Uggla’s off the team by season’s end. Tomorrow would be fine.


Coach Chipper

I hope the Braves have asked Chipper to be their hitting instructor. If not, what are they waiting for?

No offense to Greg Walker, but Braves batters are obviously not buying what he’s selling. Meanwhile, after just one tutoring session with Number 10, B.J. looks noticeably more relaxed at the plate.

Make it happen, FW.



Open thread, 4/10, #Braves vs. Tawana Brawleys

Tonight’s line-up: 1 Heyward RF 2. BUpton CF 3. Freeman 1B 4. Johnson 3B 5. JUpton LF 6. Uggla 2B 7. Doumit C 8.Simmons SS 9. Hale P

So it didn’t take long for Fredi to make his first confounding move of 2014. Andrelton had 2 hits last night in the 2-hole, upping his BA to .321. He’s yet to strike out this year and is the only Brave non-pitcher, besides Freddie, with an OBP above .300. B.J., meanwhile, has 13 K’s and is one of three Braves regulars yet to draw a walk, along with Gattis and Uggla.

Besides the offense, I’m a bit concerned about the lack of depth in the bullpen. Jordan Walden can be dominant but is too fragile and inconsistent to depend on, while Gus Schlosser and Ian Thomas have yet to inspire much confidence. Hale and Harang might end up playing bigger roles than expected as relievers after Minor and Floyd return.

Hank tribute falls as flat as Braves bats

Remember the 20th anniversary of the ’91 season? Probably not, because the Braves barely made mention of it. Tonight’s ceremony marking the 40th anniversary of Number 715 was equally lacking.

Of course it was great to hear from Bad Henry, but it would’ve been cool if teammates like Dusty Baker and Ralph Garr had been invited to speak. Instead we got prepared blandishments from Terry McGuirk and the Used Car Salesman.

That was the extent of the ceremony, for those who missed it. No highlights of No. 44′s career in between innings — wouldn’t want to cut into Mark Owens’ time, or the 7th inning hoedown. There wasn’t even a video presentation accompanying the pre-game tribute. If you weren’t in your seats before it began you missed the only, fleeting replay of the biggest home run in baseball history.

But you did see a tool race, and a trivia challenge in which participants were quizzed on their knowledge of U.S. airports. Seriously.

Henry Louis Aaron deserved better. So do Braves fans who actually appreciate the team and its history. The team’s marketing/promotions/bullshit departments obviously doesn’t.


Open thread, 4/8, #Braves vs. David Berkowitzes

Your Office landlords will be there tonight, in Section 417. I’d tell you to stop by and say hello but you have no idea what we look like.

No line-ups posted yet. For what it’s worth, Bartolo Colon has won all three of his lifetime starts against the Braves, with a 1.57 ERA and 1.000 WHIP. But that was 40 pounds ago.


Hank Aaron Hugging His Mother

Night of the Hammer

Tonight’s all about Bad Henry. Not much left to say, but here are some essential facts about Number 44, excerpted from a terrific 2007 SI profile by Tom Verducci.

While he was born in a section of town referred to as “Down the Bay,” he spent most of his youth in Toulminville. Aaron grew up poor and his family couldn’t afford baseball equipment so he had to hit bottle caps with sticks.

Hank made do.

In 1953, at age 19, only one year removed from hitting cross-handed for the Indianapolis Clowns of the Negro leagues, he was one of five players thrust into the integration of the Class A South Atlantic League, in the heart of Dixie. Aaron could not eat in the same restaurants, sleep in the same hotels or drink from the same fountains as his white teammates. Fans heaped racially charged insults at the teenager. A white teammate, Joe Andrews, bat in hand, would escort him out of the ballpark after games. And lo, Aaron hit .362 and was named the league’s MVP.

Those kind of seasons would become routine.

Aaron was such a masterly hitter that he would have passed 3,000 hits even if he had never hit a home run. Pick any star who ever played the game and give him 180 additional homers, and Aaron still would have more total bases

So get there early tonight and show the great man the respect he deserves.


The Braves’ worst trade ever is no longer up for debate

Twice we’ve counted down the 10 worst trades in Atlanta Braves history, and each time we settled on a different Number 1. We were wrong both times.

Sure, Justice and Grissom for Lofton was bad and it appeared for a time Andrus, Feliz, Salty and Harrison for Borasbot might even be worse.But the first deal made it possible to retain Mad Dog and Glavine while the players sent to Texas haven’t fulfilled their potential due mainly to injuries.

The passing of time only makes the trade that sent Adam Wainwright to the Cards look worse. Wainwright just won his 100th game with the Cards against 58 losses. His lifetime 3.10 ERA and 1.182 WHIP are well above the league average and he’s been even better in the postseason, with a 2.53 ERA, 0.990 WHIP and 10.1 K/9 IP in 67-2/3 innings. Wainwright has twice been the runner-up in Cy Young Award voting and finished third another season while throwing 230 or more innings three times.

In return for a true ace the Braves got one season of J.D. Drew, and they knew at the time of the deal they wouldn’t be able to re-sign Just Disabled. So why trade your best pitching prospect for a rental?

Imagine if FW shipped Lucas Sims to Toronto for Colby Rasmus, who’ll be a free agent after this season. Sims may not be the prospect Wainwright was, and Rasmus isn’t as talented as Drew, but you get the point.


Open thread, 4/6, Braves vs. Linda Tripps

Today’s game is a gravy. A sweep would be wonderful, of course, but coming home 4-2 is plenty good.

No line-ups yet, but Nats beat writer Adam Kilgore says Harper and Zimmerman are on the bench today, with Kevin Frandsen and Nate McLouth starting in the OF.

For the Bravos: J-Hey, BJ, Freeman, CJ, JU, Uggla, Laird, Andrelton, Wood.

Meanwhile, Matt Williams runs out a Bobbyish Sunday lineup: Rendon 3B, Frandsen LF, Werth RF, LaRoche 1B, Desmond SS, Espinosa 2B, McLouth CF, Leon C, Jordan P.


Open thread, 4/4, Braves vs. Fanne Foxxes

Braves starting pitchers have allowed only three earned runs so far – the fifth time in the team’s 48-year history in Atlanta that starters held the opposition to three earned runs or less in the season’s first three games.

No surprise that it happened twice in the 1990s. In ’94, Maddux, Glavine and Smoltz gave up no earned runs to the Padres; a year earlier, the Cubs managed just three earned off Mad Dog, Smoltzie and Avery.

It may surprise you that Rick Mahler, Bob Walk and Tommy Boggs yielded just one ER in the first three games of 1982. Four years later, the vaunted trio of Mahler, Zane Smith and “President” David Palmer held the Astros and Expos to three earned.

David Hale will be the fifth starter by next week, and by the end of the month he’ll be battling the likes of newly signed Pedro Beato for a spot in the ‘pen. (Mike Minor and Gavin Floyd made it through rehab starts last night with no problems, though neither was particularly sharp.) Hale struggled in the spring and wasn’t anything special for Gwinnett last year, so those two impressive September starts for Atlanta were probably an outlier.

He’ll face Jordan Zimmerman this afternoon, a bad break for the Braves. Zimmerman was supposed to pitch yesterday but got pushed back due to the flu.

The Nats come into this series with something to prove, having gone 7-24 last year against the Braves, Cardinals and Dodgers. They have the talent, boasting a deeper rotation and better line-up — the bullpen is the only area where the Braves have a discernible edge.

We’ll know soon enough what the Nats are made of, as the two teams face each other in six of their next nine games. I’d be thrilled if the Braves managed a split.

Today’s line-up: Heyward 9 BUpton 8 Freeman 3 Johnson 5 JUpton 7 Uggla 4 Gattis 2 Simmons 6 Hale 1

*Foxe, aka the Tidal Basin Bombshell, was a D.C. stripper whose affair with powerful Arkansas congressman Wilbur Mills was one of the most heavily reported sex scandals of the last century.

Smoltzie returns to Braves broadcasts

Smoltzie, probably the best baseball analyst working today, will join Chip and Joe for “select Atlanta Braves games during the season on FOX Sports South and SportSouth,” according to a press release that just landed in my inbox.

Tom Glavine will also be returning for “select games,” though it’s unclear how many each will work. Tommy G. doesn’t offer much, but Smoltzie will markedly improve the quality of the telecasts.


Steroid apologists don’t like it when you boo cheaters

Seems the Craig Calcaterras of the world would oppose even a slap, nay, tap, on the wrist for Bonds, Clemens and their ilk.

Calcaterra is pissed at members of the media who criticized Milwaukee fans for cheering cheater and all-around horrible person Ryan “I’m just trying to move forward” Braun.

Of course the one thing all of those people have in common is that they are members of the media. And they’ll tell Brewers fans what they should or should not feel about Ryan Braun, I’ll tell you what.

But how about these possibilities: (1) Fans will cheer for guys wearing their laundry no matter what they do; and/or (2) fans may be fully aware of Ryan Braun’s track record but really don’t give a crap because all they want out of him and their team is a couple hours of entertainment five or six times a week.

But you’re right, media. It’s possible that they’re just stupid.

Stupid isn’t the right word. I’d go with uninformed starfuckers.

Players have been booed for much less. Remember the reception given Tom Glavine following the ’94 strike? And he was just doing his job.