It’s all but certain we’ll see a second team clinch a playoff berth at Turner Field, and it could come tonight.
The Braves do have something to play for: Fredi’s job. I’m not convinced he’s coming back next year, and his players sure aren’t making a convincing case to keep him. I just fear his defenders, Bobby and JS, are as delusional about Fredi as they sound. But I wouldn’t put too much stock in the “remarkable job” quote. Fredi is Bobby’s guy, and Bobby is as loyal as they come. He won’t have the final word — I suspect, and hope, John Hart’s opinion will matter more as the Braves pick a new GM and (hopefully) new manager.
There’s been talk that Wren was canned because he wanted to fire Fredi, but I don’t buy that for a minute. Of course he wanted to replace Fredi, just as I’m sure he’d love to trade B.J. Both were his mistakes, and they were unpardonable ones. (The fact that the Braves have virtually no homegrown reinforcements on the horizon is another.)
Speaking of B.J., he is now the face of the Braves offense, which is batting .199 for the month. They’ve scored 40 runs in more than three weeks.
Only two Atlanta teams have averaged fewer runs per game than the 2014 version: 1968, a year in which the average pitcher in baseball had an ERA under 3.00, and 1988, when the Braves won 54 games.
Doesn’t the man who acquired the players and hired the hitting coach bear some responsibility for that?
Not all the news on the Braves front is depressing: An MRI revealed no structural damage to Mike Minor’s shoulder and the pitcher who succeeded him as the team’s best southpaw is on the mound tonight. Alex Wood has a 2.16 ERA in 12 second half starts, averaging more than a strikeout per inning with a WHIP just above 1.00. There’s little certainty going into 2015 but we do know few teams will boast a better duo atop the rotation than Wood and Teheran.
The line-up, if you can call it that:
Bonifacio,Gosselin, Freeman, J Upton, Heyward, Bcourt, Johnson, Simmons, Wood