Open thread, 8/26, #Braves vs. Billy Crystals

Much has happened since we last spoke. 

1. After a brief respite, the Braves’ impotent offense has returned. In the past five games, the Bravos have hit just .212 with 16 runs. That’s how you lose three out of five despite a 1.77 ERA from your pitchers. Tonight the local nine faces arch-nemesis Dillon Gee, who has a 1.23 ERA vs. the Bravos in his past four starts. But he’s struggled lately against everyone else, with a 5.71 ERA since the All-Star break. 

2. Bad news on the Jonny Venters front: DOB reports he’s scheduled to see Dr. Andrews after complaining of soreness. Every pitcher is different, but JV’s struggles give you an idea of the long odds facing Kris Medlen and Brandon Beachy.  

3. Looks like the phasing out of B.J. Upton has begun. Bonifacio, batting .255 with a .296 OBP as a Brave, is in the line-up again tonight. According to DOB: 

The Braves will try to trade Upton this offseason – personally, I think it’s just about a fait accompli that he’s gone before spring training – and that they might do it by including Minor in a package. In other words, they’d tell a team, you can have three years of contractual control of Minor before free agency, but you’re going to have to take B.J. Upton in the deal.

I’d hate to see Minor dealt — perhaps packaging B.J. with Evan Gattis would do the trick. DOB says there’s a “pretty good chance” Gattis will be dealt in the offseason, which would be smart. Gattis tries hard but he’s a liability behind the plate, but his low salary would be attractive to AL teams in need of a power-hitting DH.  

4. So the offseason promises to be an active one. But who will be in charge? According to Bob Nightengale:  

Whispers are getting louder in baseball circles that if the Atlanta Braves miss the playoffs, it could result in a front-office shakeup involving GM Frank Wren and perhaps even manager Fredi Gonzalez.

Braves CEO Terry McGuirk, in a lengthy interview with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, did not offer any votes of confidence, saying only that they are accountable for the team’s performance.

5. Washington’s lead is now 8 games, so it’s the Wild Card or bust for the Bravos. With Michael Wacha and Yadier Molina reportedly close to returning, I’d bet on the Cards winning the Central. That leaves Milwaukee, the Braves, San Fran, Pittsburgh and Miami fighting for two spots. I’d feel a lot better about our chances if FW could acquire another lefty reliever and a pinch hitter who can hit. I think we’ve all had our fill of Ryan “Norton” Doumit. 

The line-up: 

Heyward 9, Bonifacio 8, Freeman 3, JUpton 7, Johnson 5, Gattis 2, La Stella 4, Simmons 6, Wood 1

One of my favorite Simpsons lines — Marge, thinking she just said something funny: “I’m a regular Billy Crystal.” Bart: “You got that right”. 

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6 comments

  1. The sad thing is that we traded for that sorry sack of shit Doumit. TRADED FOR HIM!?!? There are probably a dozen better bench guys we could have had for less money and not given up a high draft pick pitcher. He may not have turned into anything but we could have traded him for something worth a crap.

  2. That sounds like a lot to keep us busy speculating on in the next few months: Where will we unload BJ; what AL team will we trade Gattis (and for what) to and who will be the new Manager/GM combo (the McGuirk interview convinced me we will see changes – barring a really strong finish).

  3. The only thing I really hate about Bob’s quote (and I’ve been thinking this for a few days now) is the implied tone of that “…and perhaps even manager Fredi Gonzalez.”

    I’m not wedded to keeping Wren but if we can him and keep that fool on, I am not going to be happy.

  4. Ditto Pepe. Not all of Wren’s moves have been bad, but at this point I have lost all confidence in him being able to construct a solid team. His inexplicable extension of Chris Johnson was the capper for me. As far as Fredi goes, you can find better managers than him. You can find replacement level managers just like him. Fredi is the John McNamara of managers in the 2000s. I gave him a long benefit of a doubt after he had to put up with that fool Loria in Miami. No more.

  5. Agreed. It’s hard to believe, however, that Fredi would be able to hold on. A new GM would likely get to hire the manager of his choice.

  6. I am not as expert as you guys, but I was solidly behind the BJ and Uggla deals when they were made. I don’t blame Wren that both have been historic flops. And he did cobble together a rotation in March when things were very dark.
    If Greg Walker had been fired in May we might be in first place. And there is no way to tell if that fastball to the face has lingering effects on Heyward. It would definitely make me gun shy.

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