Dodgers 4, Braves 2

The fourth run scored on an error by Bonifacio and a wild pitch by Gattis. The third run scored on a tough bloop that La Stella dropped. That was the margin, and that was the game.

The Braves aren’t getting lucky, but they also aren’t hitting, and they also aren’t fielding the ball, and the bullpen has been rickety since Shae Simmons went down. This is not a good ballclub, and while the luck will eventually turn, the horrendous approach at the plate will continue to do them in.

Unless a lot of our hitters get religion, we’re going to keep losing.

78 thoughts on “Dodgers 4, Braves 2”

  1. Fredi’s gotta be in trouble already. This is the second collapse he’s presided over in 4 seasons on the job, with 4 clubs that, in my opinion, can be clearly viewed as playoff caliber teams.

    Bobby took them to the playoffs in 10, and in 11, they were clearly in line to go again before the collapse. In 12 and 13 they made the post-season, and here again in 14 they were in line to win SOMETHING until the havoc the last two weeks have wreaked.

    The thing we praise Fredi for, being a Bobby clone in the clubhouse (for which we never had any evidence, we only ever assumed) is if not clearly untrue, definitely not clearly true.

  2. Yeah, I’ve never been convinced Fredi brings anything to the table. At the best of times I’ve been willing to be convinced he doesn’t take anything off it, but I’ve never seen any facet of the game in which he’s a clear asset to the team.

    My offseason shopping list will include a new manager from outside the Bobby Cox coaching tree. (If they replace him with, say, Ned Yost or TP or Snitker, it’s just more of the same by a different name.)

  3. @5 Nah, TP’s got that fire. I’m convinced of it. I want him in the manager’s seat. Not that I don’t want to take a look at other candidates, too.

  4. I have no idea who the Braves would hire. I will say TP and Snitker would not be on the short list.

  5. I’m to the point where I really want to try Chipper as hitting coach. He may not want any part of it, but we ought to make our best attempt to get him.

  6. Personally, I think they need a new voice in the room. TP is free to talk to guys, free to bust heads, like he did with Chris Johnson. Granted, giving him the top spot he wouldn’t have any politics in the way of saying what he feels needs to be said. But I think the team needs to hear it from someone who was brought in with the understanding “The only reason I’m here is because its too difficult to fire YOU.”

    That said, knowing the Braves and their habits, it’ll probably be TP.

  7. A manager is only as good as his players. ‘TP’s got that fire.’ I’m sure that fire is going to make BJ Upton a better player.

  8. What Johnny said. I don’t know that screaming about heart and hustle and doing the little things is going to make BJ Upton or Chris Johnson or Andrelton Simmons better hitters. Kirk Gibson has a lot of “that fire,” and his team is both horrendous on the field and horrible people. I don’t want to feel vaguely obligated to cheer for a bunch of redasses.

    The post-game Weezer show was not half bad last night.

  9. My primary concerns about the offense is “what happened to Freddie Freeman’s power” and “when the hell can we expect Jason Heyward to hit like a star?” I think Justin Upton is what he is, and this year is a pretty decent claim to “what he is,” and I think BJ is just broken in an Uggla-esque manner at this point. (I held out hope prior to the season, and I still don’t see anyone better than him against RHP to take his roster spot, but his swing is just…gone.) My secondary concern is “how do you teach Andrelton to be a semi-useful hitter at the big league level.

  10. Weezer and the Braves go together. Peaked in ’95, and then a losing combination of longevity and futility.

  11. I pretty much agree with what was said at 10 and 11. I don’t think Fredi’s a great manager, but I also don’t think he’s the reason that our hitting stinks. I don’t think the best manager in baseball would have great success with this group. Fredi’s game management skills aren’t great, but that’s not our number one problem. If we address our 3rd or 4th biggest problem (Fredi) and ignore 1 and 2 (hitting and current payroll), I think we just set up the next manager (whoever it may be) for failure.

  12. Oddly enough, most of the crowd noise was for the newer songs, from the Green Album forward. The hits – Come Undone, My Name Is Jonas, and of course Buddy Holly – got a lot of response from the crowd, but the songs most of the people there seemed to know by heart were “Pork and Beans” and “Hashpipe” era singles.

    I learned that I had really not kept up with Weezer after Pinkerton (of which, none was played.)

  13. TP was demoted from hitting coach a few years ago. I don’t think that translates well to becoming the manager.

    I would like to hire Bud Black.

  14. To me, Chipper becoming hitting coach is “BJ and Chris Johnson for Mike Trout”-level fantasy. Until the current twenty-something Playboy model wife cleans him out in his next divorce, has anything about the man’s lifestyle suggested he’d give it up to follow a baseball team around for eight months out of the year for 5% of his former salary?
    Unless he desperately needs to keep up mortgage payments on the ranch out in Texas, I don’t see him taking the job, even though I’ve been very impressed with the few public comments I’ve heard him make on the art of hitting and believe that he’s got a lot to teach.

  15. @10 and particularly @11

    Feel free to define my words however you like. Sam, I’m sure you’re definitely right that what I meant was I want Kirk Gibson managing the team, and not someone who will actually treat the areas of poor play seriously.

    For the rest of you, who seem to be more interested in the spirit of conversation than in absurd leaps of ventriloquism, here’s a gloss on what I meant “TP’s got that fire”: Terry Pendleton will treat the job of winning baseball games seriously, and particularly teasing out better performances from players like Jason Heyward and Freddie Freeman.


    Is demoted the right word there? Well, it’s the right word, but it carries with it a punitive sense that I don’t think applies in Pendleton’s case. Someone correct me if I’m wrong, but I thought that Pendleton took the base coach job because it was Fredi’s prerogative to basically install whomever he liked wherever he liked, and he insisted on Parrish. More of a by-product of the Gonzalez coattails, no?

  16. Wherein “treat seriously” means throw tantrums in the dugout, apparently. There is nothing to suggest that Fredi Gonzalez doesn’t treat winning as a serious goal.

  17. Does Pendleton throw tantrums in the dugout?

    And I’m suggesting Fredi doesn’t treat winning as a serious goal. I’m inferring it, but I think I’m right.

  18. When it comes to winning, there’s something Braves Journalers should know: I have gone from being ranked 14th to 3rd in the Braves Journal fantasy league. If I can have a strong week against the #2 team this week, I could be knocking on first place in a few weeks. I’m sure, in your minds, you’re hearing Skip say “from worst to first!”

    I’m sure you’re all asking the same question: Rob, how are you doing this? How are you catapulting to the top of the leaderboard in such a competitive league? Well, the answer’s simple: I’m a real estate agent, and I have way too much time on my hands.


  19. You’re inferring it from the fact that he doesn’t throw tantrums in the dugout, apparently. I mean, if you have some other evidenced based reasoning, please share it. But to date all you’ve provided is that you want someone who doesn’t have “that fire,” as if what’s missing from this Braves team is a steady rotation of rock anthems and motivational videos. What, precisely, do you posit to be the evidence from which you “infer” that Fredi Gonzalez doesn’t care about winning?

  20. @22, when at the keyboard do you make roster moves with fire and gritty determination, or is it more of an even-keeled-its-a-long-season approach?

  21. To suggest that any manager doesn’t treat winning as a serious goal is deeply stupid, in my opinion. There is nothing to judge a manager on other than wins and losses (and things that are entirely based on wins and losses such as Manager of the Year awards and pennants and World Series titles and stuff like that). Players have individual stats, so it’s possible (I guess) to have a player for whom winning isn’t a serious goal. But not managers. Whether or not a team wins is the one tangible thing they can be judged on, so to suggest that Fredi Gonzalez doesn’t treat winning as a serious goal is to suggest that he doesn’t care about the one thing that will define him as a success or failure. If that’s the case, why even be a manager?

    I agree with Sam that what you’re trying to infer, perhaps without realizing it, is that you don’t see him as pissed off as you are about what’s happening on the field. You want to see him yell and scream and throw his scorecard and knock over a water cooler (or at least hear that he’s doing that). That stuff doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with winning.

    If you’re of the opinion that Fredi Gonzalez should be fired, that’s a perfectly valid opinion. I don’t agree (at least not yet…he’d get another year to right it if it were up to me), but it’s a valid opinion. To suggest that he doesn’t care about winning, though, is just not something that’s a valid criticism.

  22. Well, if success in real estate is the key to victory, then John Malone should pull a Ted Turner and install himself as manager.

  23. Do you really care about winning if you are batting BJ leadoff? Maybe “care” is too strong, but I have to question whether we’re putting ourselves in the best position to get wins each night.

    I think that’s the main beef with Fredi. High priced / entitled egos are more important than putting the best players on the field. But that beef is really with Wren. The fanbase overall doesn’t differentiate the two, and in the end it really doesn’t matter. If “management” isn’t putting the best players on the field then they don’t care about winning. That’s a fair statement.

  24. @25 “You want to see him yell and scream and throw his scorecard and knock over a water cooler”

    Seeing this would make me feel better. I get the impression that he’s more of a friendly manager. I’d rather him be an asshole if it provided some sort of motivation. Sometimes different personality types will respond more strongly to this than others.

    Mostly I just want him to yell at players when they throw fits and argue strike calls when they were clearly strikes, or other related tantrums.

  25. Let’s be real here, folks. This team has suffered a bunch of pitching injuries, and the two highest-paid players on the team have combined to hit .200. (And only one is still actually on the team….) Fredi’s fine. The hitting coaches might get the boot, but Fredi’s not going anywhere, and it’s not clear to me that he should be canned. Who do you really think they’d hire?

    This is a .500 club playing like a .500 club. This is a rough patch, (a very demoralizing one at that) but the team has also had some good hot streaks. I’m not going to sit here and say, “Be happy with your .500 baseball team.” But I think I’m okay saying, “Stop acting like a Yankees fan and treating your .500 baseball team like it’s the Astros.”

  26. 19 -‘ “TP’s got that fire”: Terry Pendleton will treat the job of winning baseball games seriously, and particularly teasing out better performances from players like Jason Heyward and Freddie Freeman.’

    What evidence do you have that Fredi doesn’t treat the job of winning baseball games seriously? How does a manager ‘tease’ out better performance?

    @28 – Sure we, sitting here at our keyboards don’t understand why BJ hits lead off but there for a while there was strong evidence that it did make a difference. For a nanosecond or two BJ was actually contributing as a lead off hitter. Hell he almost validated Salty’s theories of why batting order matters. Being a manager is part psychology. Guessing here but he put BJ up top, to get him to take more pitches, draw some walks and see if his speed can be a positive factor. Again just guessing.

    ‘I think that’s the main beef with Fredi. High priced / entitled egos are more important than putting the best players on the field.’ This is what is so sad. Fredi IS putting the best 8 position players on the field.

  27. @28

    So if Fredi doesn’t put the players that in your opinion are the best players on the field, then he doesn’t care about winning. Never mind that he also has an opinion on that.

    Taking this a step further, is he required to go to Fangraphs, research his roster, and come up with a starting nine and batting order based on those numbers? And if he doesn’t, he can’t possibly care about winning because he’s “not putting his best lineup on the field”?

  28. @32, I’m not saying he doesn’t care…I’m saying he’s not going about it right, and I don’t want him as the manager.

  29. @33

    If that’s your opinion, that’s fine. My only point is that it doesn’t have anything to do with “caring about winning” or “having winning be a serious goal” or whatever else. Granted it wasn’t you who was banging that drum.

  30. I don’t think there’s anyone involved in the organization that doesn’t “care”, but they are all paid an awful lot of money win or lose. I definitely don’t think we’d have the same lineup construction if Fredi was feeling job pressure. He just got a contract extension…there’s no reason to think that the 2015 team will look much different. Same manager. Same position players. Probably a few new pitchers and an entirely new bench. But overall, business as usual.

  31. So, here’s a question: does Fredi get fired because the team is playing extremely tight and kicking the ball all over the field at a critical time in the season?

  32. Totally agreed with @30 while simultaneously wanting to see the end of Fredi purely out of personal preference. Pitching injuries, four black holes in the lineup (CJ, BJ, Uggla, and Simmons), and a really really bad bench have sunk the team. Fredi didn’t sign any of the first three guys to long term contracts. He batted several of them at very non-optimal spots in the lineup, but all evidence suggests that batting orders don’t make enough of a difference to take the Braves from mediocre to good. Things like moving BJ from lead off only to replace him with the light-hitting Bonifacio are frustrating but ultimately pretty meaningless.

  33. @36 – the Braves are kicking the ball all over the field because their all-world defensive SS is hurt and they’re playing a utility guy with no business at all at SS in his place, and because Tommy LaStella has always been a mediocre defender at best. Last nights game featured prominently those two guys not being very good a defense up the middle.

  34. @38, I’m with you — you forgot Gattis’ defensive inadequacy too. I’m not trying to ask should Fredi get fired, but will he? It wouldn’t surprise me at this point, is all I’m saying. I don’t think we have a way of knowing how good a job Fredi is doing, and I no longer think he’s worse than the average manager.

  35. @31

    I’m not going to say it really validated my argument because B.J.’s stats at the top of the lineup are flat out bad. Now, Simmons batting 2-hole between June 27th and July 20th is a different story. We got more production from him out of that spot that any other spot he has been in, but it still doesn’t hide the fact that he still had an OPS below .700 in the 2-hole. The oddity in batting B.J. and Simmons 1 and 2 is as follows:

    From June 27th to July 20th, B.J. and Simmons batted 1 and 2 in the lineup 17 out of 20 games. Our record during those 17 games was 12 and 5. We scored 89 runs in those games for an average of 5.2 runs per game.

    From July 21st to August 12th, the B.J. and Simmons 1 and 2 order has not been done. Our record during those 21 games played is 6 and 15. We have scored 64 runs in those games for an average of 3.0 runs per game.

    With B.J. and Simmons at the top of the lineup, our offense performed at a higher production level than at any point during the season. To be honest, I think this is just a random thing brought on by the fact that we had several players hot at the time, but it is interesting.

    It should be noted that toward the tail end of that July 21st to August 12th run that the offense had somewhat returned to the norm and the team was just playing .500 ball in those last 10 games of that stretch.

    At current time, I have no suggestions on what would fix our lineup because there are no easy fixes. People can say all the want about Fredi not putting the best lineup out there, but to be honest, he is pretty much playing our best 8 available players every night. The sad part is that are best available 8 just are not that good.

  36. Is La Stella hurting? I know the guys defense has been questionable lately, but taking his bat out of the lineup is just punishment to the team.

  37. @12
    ..the way to get Andrelton Simmons hitting again is to reinsert him in the 2 spot…by his widely variable performances up and down the order he’s clearly shown he’s the type of person who needs the DISCIPLINE that position imposes on him and reacts to it positively, aware of who follows him…

    …back at 8 he loses that identity and with the pitcher following, seems to think there’s little to lose by flailing away…

    put him back at 2, leave BJ, or someone, at 8…i believe the numbers in those positions bear me out.

  38. Good thinking by Andrelton. You can’t touch it on the way down though. You have to let it fall cleanly, then they can’t call intentional drop.

  39. So, they are talking about what to do when La Stella is back in the order because you wouldn’t want 3 lefties in a row if Heyward is leading off.

    I’d say move La Stella back to 7th. He straight up raked from there. Move Simmons back to 2-hole because he did good there this year. That would put it as follows:

    J. Upton
    La Stella
    B.J. Upton

  40. You could see this coming after the first 2 pitches Kimbrel threw. I hate the “rust” excuse every time he can’t command his fastball. Doesn’t he throw in the pen at all between starts?

  41. And it’s hard to see a circumstance other than total collapse – possible, I grant, that gets Fredi fired.

  42. Bowman believes Avilan is being recalled. But he’s actually been worse in Gwinnett than he was in Atlanta. 4.85 ERA and a 1.652 WHIP in Atlanta, 5.40 ERA and 2.057 WHIP in Gwinnett.

  43. Weird that Jaime’s going down. We don’t need another lefty reliever that badly, do we?


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