Braves Take Two, Sweep Cards on Three Consecutive Shutouts (by coop)

Braves played two to end the season. In the first game of the doubleheader, Shelby Miller pitched eight shutout innings; and the Braves hit three home runs to beat the Cardinals 6-0. Adonis Garcia had two solo homers, and Andrelton Simmons added a two run shot. Best of all, Shelby WON! As ‘Rissa said, 25th time’s the charm.

Matt Wisler took the mound in game two. Adonis Garcia singled in a run in the first to give Matt the early lead. In typical Braves fashion, we got a double and two singles in the fourth and failed to score. Wisler was outstanding, and he kept the score at 1-0 through seven solid innings. The Braves picked up an insurance run in the bottom of the seventh on singles by Todd Cunningham, Ryan Lavarnway and Michael Bourn.

Matt protected the increased lead in the eighth and took the hill in the ninth looking for a complete game shutout of the Cards. He went 8.2 but yielded a double and his only walk before giving way to Edwin Jackson. Wisler gave up three hits and the single walk while striking out three. Jackson got the final out of our 2015 season to save the game for Matt. For the first time in their 2000-plus meetings since 1900, the Braves shut out the Cards three times in a row.

Despite our bad team, it was a good year. Needed changes were made as we swapped a mediocre today for a better tomorrow. It wasn’t always enjoyable, but Braves Journal made the losing palatable.

Therefore, here’s a tip of Fredi’s cap to godfather AAR and the Journal’s wonderful collection of recappers and posters. Names are omitted for fear I’d leave someone off the list, but please know each of you added joy to this old man’s life. Even Georgia’s loss to Bama was easier, though still not enjoyable, because Mac loved the Tide so much. I certainly love this site he gave us.

So let’s fire up the stove and watch the Johns keep their promise that we won’t suffer through a season like this again. Thank you for the humor, poetry and fellowship. God bless us everyone.

Go Braves.

67 thoughts on “Braves Take Two, Sweep Cards on Three Consecutive Shutouts (by coop)”

  1. ‘Rissa, thanks for coaching me up about Nick Green. I liked him.

    Glad to end the year with some optimism. We ended up 11-7 in the last three weeks of the season. We might not be completely terrible next year. Do you know who else isn’t completely terrible? Why the…..

    FLORIDA GATORS!! After 4 years of being Muschamp’ed, the Mac era is here, and it is beautiful! I don’t know if we are “back” yet, but that was a big win against Ole Miss. If we beat LSU, I’ll say we’re back.

  2. Haven’t posted for a few weeks. I apologize. But I’ve been reading regularly and you guys have kept the ship afloat. Nice work, and the stove is heating up.

  3. coop…above and beyond, thank you.

    @9 Jonathan, welcome back, want to learn more from you sometime it suits about the famous DD.

  4. Out of town for the weekend, I set the DVR to record the Saturday and Sunday games. Due to the rain out on Saturday, apparently there was a change of gametimes, for the re-scheduled double header format. My DVR only had the last inning or so of game one, and didn’t get any of game two.

    Question: Who was the “Nick” doing the broadcast with Chip? Where was Joe? What’s up?

  5. Thanks, Edward and Blazon. Hopefully we’ll have more voices next year. I don’t know how first Mac and then AAR did it by themselves.

    Rob Cope, I too liked Nick Green. He said a couple of things I needed to hear. Can we skip the game in Jacksonville this year?

  6. Yes, I for one am glad that 2015 showed that all these TINSTAPPs they traded for had a string of breakout minor league seasons and promising major league deb-


    I appreciate your optimism, Coop, but “what goes up, must come down” doesn’t necessarily have a true converse. The only people I trust are here, and thank you. The clown show front office in charge of the actual team, not so much.

  7. @8 – If I’ve learned anything about college football in the last several years, it’s that you can’t put too much stock into a coaches first season. See Terry Bowden, Gene Chizik and possibly Gus Malzahn from Auburn. See Nick Saban’s first year at Bama (7-6 and losing to Louisiana Monroe) , see Ty Willingham at Notre Dame, …

    I’m not saying that Florida won’t be good under McElwain, just don’t automatically reserve SEC Championship Game tickets in year two if they exceed expectations in year 1.

  8. I didn’t realize until yesterday that Doug Nussmeier was serving as McElwain’s OC. Get Kevin Steele in as DC and you’ve got the ultimate Bama-in-exile SEC staff.

  9. @16-

    They’ve already exceeded expectations in Year 1 even if they lose the rest of their SEC slate minus Vandy.

    I’m with you on caution, though. The defense was recruited and coached up by the previous guy. If the offense can keep chugging like they did yesterday, the team has a legit shot, but Grier’s shown inconsistency in the past. At this point, cautious optimism is more than justified as a Gator fan, but there’s still a bunch of tough games coming up, and Florida has yet to beat anyone on the road. I think something like 8-3 with UGA winning the SEC East is more likely than Florida running the table in McElwain’s first year, but these last two games have been thrilling to watch.

  10. Clemson tried as hard as they could to flush 3 quarters of dominating football down the toilet, the entire game ultimately hinging on a 2-pt conversion attempt by the Irish. But they still won, which is all that matters for rankings.

  11. I picked Florida to win the East and everything I’ve seen so far makes me think that’s the right call. Reasoning is that they have the best defense outside of Alabama, all they need is moderately competent offense. Don’t turn it over and they’ll win most of their games.

    Plus the rest of the East is a trainwreck. UGA is bad. They have talent, but not enough, and are lacking at the most important positions. You can’t run a pro-style offense without a QB.

  12. I expect the beancounters at Liberty Media (and we need a shorthand for those guys – hmm, LM? Lima? Lima Beans? Lima Beans it is – so let it be written, let it be done.) will just let Fredi dangle in the wind for the entire next season rather than pay him not to manage.

  13. I think the comparisons to Chizik, Terry Bowden, and Willingham are a bit unfair. Chizik and Willingham did not have near the success at their previous programs that McElwain has had. You could also say the same thing about Jimbo Fisher’s early success, and he didn’t have any head coaching experience. You could also relate McElwain’s career track to Urban Meyer’s career track and say Bama was Urban’s Bowling Green, Colorado State was Urban’s Utah, and Florida is Florida. I’m certainly not saying that McElwain will have nearly as much success as Meyer has had. My concern is that McElwain could end up being a Mark Richt, someone who consistently wins but never puts his team over the top.

    I do feel the caution on the defensive side of the ball, and while we’re scoring points, our defense has won it for us twice now. It’s the personnel decisions that have me confident in McElwain. He’s benched the incumbent starting quarterback, 3 SR WRs, converted a struggling running back to WR (Powell, who’s been great at WR), and is now giving significant playing to a FR QB, two FR RBs, a FR WR, and is setting his team up for the next few years. His hiring of the staff as well has been leaps-and-bounds ahead of Muschamp (I mean, seriously, when your receiving corp is terrible, you don’t hire Chris Leak, with no coaching experience, to coach your receivers).

    Like I said, I don’t think Florida is “back” (three really tough games at LSU, Georgia, and FSU), but McElwain definitely looks the part, has made all the right decisions, and is restoring confidence in Florida that’s being shown in recruiting, in the stands, and on the field.

  14. C.C. Sabathia going to rehab, apparently for alcohol. Won’t be on Yankees post-season roster.

    UGA bad? C’mon… They have a big issue at QB, but they’re still more talented than the vast majority of teams they’ll see the rest of the season.

  15. CC Sabathia
    is he forbidden to play by the mafia?
    perceptive mafiosos
    claim his slider and change are both sosos.

  16. McElwain struck me as a solid B hire for a program that you’d think could snare an A easily.

    Both times after Meyer bolted and Muschamp was given the heave-ho, Gator message board insider types have bemoaned the sorry state of things internally, and I’m like, “dude, you’re FLORIDA, this shouldn’t be that hard.” (I feel the same about the post-Billy Donovan basketball hire. “Michael White.” Did y’all just make that name up?)

    But he’s off to a fast start, and given Gator strengths (the defense) and Georgia weaknesses (QB play), I think it’s reasonable to say Florida can get to Atlanta.

    “(I mean, seriously, when your receiving corp is terrible, you don’t hire Chris Leak, with no coaching experience, to coach your receivers).”

    I swear, college football shouting heads for years after Meyer left still deferred, Pravda-style, to whatever the hell Muschamp and Florida were doing at any given moment. I heard Charlie Weis was a good idea. Brent Pease was gonna bring that Boise magic! Kurt Roper, well, Duke was good and it wasn’t *all* Cutcliffe’s doing, right? Every ham-fisted schmuck the Gators put under center post-Tebow was going to win the Heisman. And on and on. Of course Chris Leak was a dumb idea, but all Muschamp ever heard from the peanut gallery was that THIS was the decision that was going to get Florida back on track.

  17. Listening to sports talk radio has been quite revelatory today. Apparently, Williams was fired because he tolerated Harper’s loafing.

    IMO GA still has to be considered the favorite to win the SEC East. I have to say though, bad as the game was, the worst part for GA was the players taunting and impeding Bama as they tried to enter. Serious discipline breakdown and rather shocking that Richt could allow such a thing to occur. This has to have come up before.

  18. @29

    yes, and Scherzer was hired to sell they really think anyone will believe that?

  19. @25, I think a losing season is very possible. We shall see. It doesn’t matter how good your running backs are when opposing D’s stack the box. And Georgia’s D is young and mistake prone, not good enough to carry things just yet…

    Expectations for this team were way too high, imho. This is a transition year.

  20. @28

    Great points all around.

    But give some examples of “A” hires. I would define an “A” as a coach who can immediately help the program to compete for a national championship, regardless of the program’s current condition, within 1-2 seasons. That’d be an “A” hire to me. Right now, I think there are 2 coaches who fit that bill: Nick Saban and Urban Meyer. That’s it.

    Then I think it’s better to divide coaches into other, non-grammatically based distinctions. You have coaches who are always going to have their programs competitive, but aren’t a lock yearly to win a national championship. Les Miles, Mark Richt, James Franklin, Art Briles, Gary Patterson, Jimbo Fisher, and even guys like Dan Mullen, Hugh Freeze, Dabo Sweeney and Jim Harbough in there. The next rung down are guys that have shown at some point that they can win consistently but haven’t taken a program to elite status. I think of guys like David Shaw, Mike Gundy, Steve Sarkisian, Bob Stoops (over the last 10 years), and Brian Kelly (one year notwithstanding).

    Then I think it’s really hard to evaluate the up-and-coming tier, guys like Jim McElwain who have had success at small programs, but haven’t demonstrated it at a major school in a Power-5 conference. When Florida has hired guys like that, who have had strong head coaching experience at small programs, they have success. Steve Spurrier, Billy Donovan, Urban Meyer, Mike White and McElwain fit that bill. They’ve struck out with Zook and Muschamp, and I’d relate it to the lack of head coaching experience. Florida can’t get the A candidates; never have, never will. Most programs don’t hire “A” candidates. They take chances on the Dan Mullen’s, Jimbo Fisher’s, James Franklin’s who have had success, but haven’t won an NC. The closest thing to an “A” candidate that I think Florida could have hired would have been a guy like Art Briles, who was having tremendous success at a smaller program, but I’m not sure a guy like Briles would have been available.

  21. @25- Georgia has 4 wins right now. To assure themselves of a winning record, they have to win 7 if we’re including the bowl.

    @ Tennessee
    @ Florida
    @ Auburn
    Georgia Southern
    @ Georgia Tech
    Bowl game

    A losing record would require a pretty terrible collapse. Nick Chubb has gone for triple digits in 13 straight games, stacked boxes or no.

  22. #31
    Very possible? C’mon…

    By losing record, you realize that you’re saying UGA would go 1-6 the rest of the way, essentially losing the rest of their SEC games (beating Ga. Southern, I’ll assume).

    Say what you want about the rest of the SEC schedule, no school left on it looks to be as good as Alabama.

  23. @32- I’d argue that Urban was an A candidate in the ’04 offseason. His Utah team had just gone undefeated and won a BCS bowl, and Notre Dame was definitely hot for him. Lot of hype for that hire.

  24. From what I hear, Notre Dame offered Meyer the gig (his dream job) & he turned it down.

    Why? Because Notre Dame wouldn’t agree to soften their admission standards for football players.

  25. @29- Georgia has become an awfully mouthy bunch over the past 10 years or so. I’m not necessarily opposed to it, but you have to lay down parameters. Todd Gurley could be a red ass on the field all he wanted to because he could back it up. Damian Swann would taunt guys who were blowing by him on the field, which was a different animal entirely.

    Florida in the Urban Meyer era would always be chippy at the Cocktail Party. But they won. Muschamp’s guys would get suckered into post-play shenanigans too, but they’d get flagged for it and didn’t have the margin of error that a 2009 Florida had.

  26. On Georgia football,

    We do have a quarterback deficiency. Everybody now knows if you can keep the pressure on Lambert, you can stop the pass. Everybody knows that Ramsey makes bad decisions. But, not everybody can get pressure with 4 guys. I would say nobody else on the schedule can.

    Ububba had a great statement, maybe in the last thread. Makes you miss Hutson Mason.

    The base talent level is above everybody except maybe Auburn. And Auburn has a worse version of the problem Georgia has. Its quarterback play has been putrid.

    But, if this team DOES finish with a losing season, then that will be the end of the Richt era.

  27. I was pushing like hell for us to give Ramsey more relevant game reps last season. Hutson was a dead end. We knew what he was, and he was gone after the season anyway.

    Don’t know how much of a difference it would’ve made, but it couldn’t have hurt.

  28. @37, I don’t even mind a bit of chippiness or mouthiness per se. But a coaching staff simply cannot allow itself as the home team to potentially instigate a brawl with the visitor as they exit the tunnel. If that had gone into a full-blown fight I think Georgia would’ve deservedly suffered the larger share of the consequence. That’s more than just a discipline issue, it’s a safety one.

  29. Dating back at least to the early 1970’s the Gators have failed to meet pre-season expectations more often than not. Spurrier’s tenure marks the main exception.

    Now for a few comments about Fredi this season.

    I doubt anyone would have produced a winning season with the season opening roster, which rapidly got less experienced (and talented?) as the season progressed. Producing a winning finish has about as much relevance to next season as having a winning Grapefruit League record. Casey Stengel only managed a 43% winning record in 5+ seasons with the B-Braves and a even worse 30% winning mark with the expansion Mets, but captured 10 AL pennants and 7 World Series with the Yankees.

    With the season over, Fredi is number 2 on the Atlanta Braves manager list for seasons 5.0, games 810, wins 425, losses 385, trailing Bobby Cox in every category. In winning percentage, he trails Cox, and now trails Joe Torre’s .5288 also.

    For the Braves franchise in it’s entirety Fredi stands as follows:
    Games 6th with 810. (Stengel is next having managed 870 games)
    Wins 5th with 425. (Sweeping the Cards moved Fredi past Billy Southworth’s 424. Bill McKechnie is next, having won 560 games).
    Losses 7th with 385. (Fred Tenney is next at 402)
    Win Pct. 11th at .5247 (this season dropped him from 7th where he now trails Joe Torre .5288 and John Morrill (from the 19th century) .5309 are above. Birdie Tebbets .5241 and Billy Hitchcock .5238 are just below).
    Seasons 9th with 5 complete seasons (Billy Southworth, Casey Stengel and John Morrill managed part of a 6th season while Harry Wright is the only manager at 6 complete seasons 1876-1881)

    During the Braves history they have had more seasons like this one than the kind we want.

  30. #39
    Well, last year was weird because of all the Gurley stuff. I had no problem letting Mason win as many games as he could.

    Ramsey had ample opportunity to win the job and, from what I heard this summer, Faton Bauta (a real gym-rat type) was actually in the running for it.

    Yeah, it’s stupid. I’m guessing Richt & staff were looking at it as some kind of cheap motivational ploy like the ’07 Florida game.

  31. From our man on campus…or close by.

    Urban Meyer
    a somewhat expensive hire
    is going to go nuts
    it is no longer a question of ifs and buts.

    winter is acumen in
    loude sing cuckoo.

    Urban Meyer
    the fates do conspire
    Suburban his son
    will soon be the one.

  32. We shall see this weekend. Getting curb-stomped by UT might cause a spiral. UT is a cornered rabid animal this week. I think we’ll see their best game.

    Lambert in front of 100,000 hostiles wearing orange…it might not be pretty.

    If they can win then the season is salvageable. That will mean that the offense is capable of doing things against teams with relatively similar talent.

  33. @35

    I would definitely agree, and was going to include that, but I didn’t want to sound like too much of a homer. I don’t think there’s been a candidate who turned around two programs in a four year span since Urban, let alone in the ’14 offseason. If Urban Meyer is going to be the benchmark for home run hires, then there’s going to be a lot of fly outs and bloop singles, even at Florida.

    People have also said that “A” hires are guys who have had sustained success at top programs, like Les Miles, Mark Richt, and Bob Stoops. To be honest, I don’t know if Florida is served well by having one of those coaches. And even if Florida was hot for one of those coaches, would they want to leave their own programs, or would it just be a “Saban-to-Texas” flirting thing.

    I felt pretty good about McElwain when he was hired, I started to feel really good after he took our recruiting class from 0-60 in 5.2, and now that we’re already seeing the new product on the field in week 5, I think he has the makings of a top coach. And once again, I can’t underestimate the job that he’s done in hiring the staff. Kerry Dixon, Randy Shannon, Nussmeier/Collins, and choosing to only retain Mike Summers have proved to be some good hires. Admittedly, I was also excited about Brent Peace, but I never saw the draw to Charlie Weis (why would a first-year head coach hire a coach with more head coaching experience and a roster full of talent that doesn’t fit your style of offense?). I was kinda “meh” about Kurt Roper.

  34. Arkansas ran all over UT even though Brandon Allen was lousy and won in Neyland. Arkansas, who lost to Toledo.

    “UT is a cornered rabid animal this week.”

    They were a cornered, rabid animal after the Oklahoma loss. They were a cornered, rabid animal after the Florida loss. They were a cornered, rabid animal after every year where they’ve been bad, which is quite a few now. It is quite possible that they just suck. If Georgia gets beat and beat bad in Knoxville, then yeah, they’re in a spiral and Richt should start legitimately fearing the knives. But I think we’ll win. Haven’t lost to UT since ’09, you know.

    Additionally, just as a matter of pride I’m not going to fear a defense coached by two guys that Georgia fired.

  35. UTK’s main problem is that Josh Dobbs simply cannot throw. I wondered before the season why no one knew or talked about this as he was getting hyped as a Heisman (!) contender around these parts. Everyone knows it now, and defenses are shutting that offense down pretty easily. None of those 4- and 5-star receivers can get the ball in their hands.

    I am, of course, loving every minute of it.

  36. Georgia should’ve/could’ve lost to UT twice in the last 3 years. I’m not saying that UT is “back” or anything. I’m saying Georgia is seriously overrated.

  37. Yes, yes, good for Tennessee’s terrible turf that it tore half of UGA’s ACLs in 2013 and the Vols barely lost. Orange slices for all.

    UGA is still a bad matchup for Tennessee, Butch Jones making his team run to the other side of the field for the 4th quarter and THIRD DOWN FOR WHAT! or not.

  38. I still think Georgia is a good team, they just had a bad game and Alabama had a really good game. UT looks headed for a Texas type of downfall. They have lost several close games and they may just get hammered against an angry Georgia team. From what I hear, Tennessee’s coaching staff is in some disarray.

    As an Alabama fan, I don’t want a rematch with Georgia in the SECCG. I think their demise is being greatly exaggerated – similar but worse than what happened to Alabama a few weeks ago after losing to Ole Miss.

  39. #50
    Yes, the game snowballed quickly — a special-teams TD & a defensive TD can do that — but if they ever played again, UGA would still need some kind of output from whomever is taking snaps. And what’s crazy to consider is that Bama may still have a tougher road to Atlanta than UGA.

    What Tennessee has managed to do this season (and last) has gotten to the point where everyone in that stadium expects disaster in the end. This is becoming Cleveland Browns territory.

    UGA overrated? Not after Saturday. If anything, they’ll be generally ignored until & unless they’re still kicking by the Jacksonville game. And all that means is that they beat Tennessee & Missouri.

  40. Apparently Marcell Ozuna may be on the trade block. Wouldn’t mind taking a shot at a possibly undervalued 26 year old.

  41. I hate agreeing with Stu on this, but Tennessee can’t throw. Dobbs has a slow release and isn’t confident at all. He has like one INT, he needs to let’s this talented group of WR make a playlist.

    While Butch is getting a lot of the blame, Dobbs’ inability or fear of throwing down the field has been more costly than Butch.

  42. Not sure if this has been posted:

    A lot of the same info that was provided in the call with Hart.

    If you have a rotation of Miller/Teheran/Wisler, Minor and Banuelos end up healthy, and you have Folty/Weber/Perez/Jenkins out there somewhere, do you spend money on a FA SP?

    Along the same lines, if you have a healthy bullpen of Grilli/Vizcaino/Withrow/Winkler/McKirahan/Folty-Weber-Perez-Jenkins/Moylan/Simmons by May, do you spend money to shore up the bullpen?

    I would love a scenario where those 16 pitchers can produce a strong pitching staff, reducing the need to sign pitching. Through trading our position players and prospects and free agency, I’d love to see the Braves really go after the offense. Can we take Markakis/Maybin/Swisher/Bourn/Toscano/Garcia?/$$$/Prospects and make that into a legit outfield? I’m betting there are enough resources there to have a solid OF next season, and I’m not particular concerned who’s in it.

    But I know we have allllll offseason to debate what the Braves should do, so after several months of being an irrelevant franchise and a talent pipeline for playoff contenders, I’m glad we have something to look forward to over the next few months.

    I’d also like to express my gratitude for everyone who recapped this year. Mac would be incredibly proud of how his house still has plenty of folks in it.

  43. What can get lost in the zeal for undervalued assets such as pitchers who aren’t physically imposing is that it really helps to have a couple of what I’ll call country-strong rotation anchors. Glavine and Smoltz were very fit, and Maddux was a genius, but they were all average-sized human beings and we’ve been trying to replace them with rough facsimiles ever since. You can pat yourself on the back for discovering, say, Kris Medlen. But look at who, for the most part, thrives (and seemingly gets hurt less) today. Hard-throwing giants — usually among the biggest and strongest guys on the team. The Braves don’t traffic in that type, and so usually end up with a bunch of guys with upsides of #2 or #3 starters. If they get there, we compete. If they don’t, we don’t. I’m not a draftnik or minor league follower, so I don’t know if we ever even get these guys into the system, but it seems like bringing aboard some 6’5″, 240 lb. fellows who arrive with stuff that just needs harnessing might be a way to go.

  44. I think a starting 3 of Teheran, Miller, and Wisler has potential to be above average. A solid 2/3 starter could put us in the upper 40 percent in starting pitching. A solid number 1 starter could put us in the upper 20 percent assuming no injuries to our top 3. That leaves us a lot of work to do in the bullpen and still needing a catcher, Olivera to exceed expectations, and another power hitter to be average offensively. It won’t be easy with a small budget, but a playoff contender next year is not out of the realm of possibility.

  45. Everything I’ve read so far makes me think we’ll be getting a FA bat – corner OF one would guess. That’s not nearly enough, but it’s a start.

  46. Erica Jong
    to our board should belong
    Fear of Throwing
    south eastern sales exponentially growing.

  47. the Gripless Tuck
    he will then attempt to run amok
    but they all know it
    sooner or later he will have to throw it.

  48. @58,59

    It’s no sure thing by any means, but I think we’ve got a real power pitcher who can put it together in Foltynewicz.

  49. the Quasi Prediction.

    from these pages mid April…

    ‘if we can finish above the Mets we will win the National League East’

    brilliant, spot on…not quite the real thing but…

    who’s got one for the post season?

  50. 58—Lots of hoss types available at the top of the draft this year. Puk, Pint, Groome, Hansen, and Tyler, off the top of my head.

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