To put some perspective on where the Braves are, for the layman if you will down here in our part of the country that might get, oh, a little too excited about a bad spell: They've played 31 of 162 games. Less than one-fifth. Kind of like an NFL team having a 2-1 record and having played horrible in that third game following a 2-0 start.
Absolutely, it's a seven-game skid, not a September collapse. Almost every good team in the majors is going to lose 5-8 in a row at some point. But the RISP and the RISP/2 out thing is becoming ridiculous, to the point where you fully expect them to fail in that situation. Shouldn't be like that. And you have to hope it's not in their heads. Of course, even if it is, that can all change with a couple of games where they get 4-5 hits in those situations. Things change, sometimes quickly.
I think they don't rush and give somebody else 16 the year after McCann leaves, don't know that it has anything to do with the bigger picture and whether his number gets retired some day. but sure, I think that's in the realm of possibility.
You know, I've never even asked Terry if he's interested in coaching third base. I'll have to do that some time. He's a guy who never complains about the job he has, is always upbeat and is a respected voice in the Braves clubhouse and in the dugout. I hope somebody does offer him a managerial position at some point, but it would be a big loss here, in my opinion.
My interpretation is he still sees Simmons as a younger player, developing his offensive game and finding his consistency at the plate. But i think you're touching on something Fredi has toyed with, the idea of moving Simmons up to second in the order. And it he drops B.J. lower, Simmons could be a viable piece there.
Rick Z i'll answer that one the same way David O'Brien did the other day. Kind of makes you figure if the Braves could have gotten good return for Mejia, they would have already.
DRL you ought to come by the ballpark in the afternoons some time if you live close by, and watch them. They do. Hard to simulate game situations in batting practice, though, balls are coming off the bat as hard, pitches are as hard.
You want to answer that one Calvin? tough call considering how great both Wood and Harang are pitching...I guess the answer is you've got to keep seeing how this plays out.
I was thinking more along the lines of by trade, when it came to bullpen help. But of the three you mentioned, Graham would be the most likely interior candidate i would think. Hursh is someone i think they want to keep as a starter, and keep him developing throughout the bulk of the season.
If it's anything like recent years, the Braves will take the pulse in early June. I think that's when you usually start to see some changes with the roster.
Sure, Jon M. Looks that way to me based on what they're getting from their starting pitching - wow - and that's without all their bullets firing. They continue to play Upton because they're paying him $75 million and they're seeing some signs of him making progress at the plate.
Glenn, guess it depends on your philosophy there. If as a manager you sit a guy to tell him hey, you're rattled, i don't have confidence in you out there, and see what that does for him. I get the idea of letting a veteran player play through some yips at times.
SF, asked him last night how he felt multiple times and Kimbrel said great, and that the shoulder was not a factor. He said sometimes he throws 95, 96 and some days he throws 98,99, that he can't control it. He did have a layoff which can affect command and a tick or two on velocity. but it's not like he was throwing 90 or something. But i think it's something we'll have to keep an eye on his next couple outings. That's be Carroll, by the way (smile)
Rafe, I tended to agree with you on that one, but Fredi said after the game he left the decision up to Heyward, whatever he felt comfortable doing, he had the green light to do. He was showing bunt throughout the at-bat so obviously had his mind made up. But didn't look too comfortable. Great play by Marmol, though, I have to say. Didn't know the guy could move like that.
Fredi hasn't mentioned moving them down, no, (not like he gives us a heads up) but he also hasn't declared he'll be hitting them there the rest of the year. We saw last year his willingness to move batters in the lineup - moving Heyward into the leadoff spot late in the season a prime example. So if they continue to struggle, he'll do something.
Bert, you're giving me the choice?!! ha. good question. I think it depends on how the bullpen is pitching at the time. Really i don't think there's a glaring weakness down there right now. Schlosser has had his struggles but with a clean inning he's been good. And his ability to get groundballs makes him a good double play guy. So if everything is as is, and I had the choice? I'd probably want to keep Hale stretched out in Gwinnett and ready to go if you need a spot start or have an injury.
You mean Uggla then? He's made some real costly mistakes the past few games. Think he's definitely in one of those slumps where his confidence is shaken a bit at second base, just not comfortable. ...But Simmons is the best there is. Freeman really really good. Johnson been playing solid - for me, as Bobby Cox used to say.
I'm sure there's concern. You always want your team performing at a high level. But i know the way the Braves built this team, they have a lot of hitters geared toward hitting for power, so they had to expect some struggles like this from time to time. But the team is 13-6 and the starting pitching has been dominant, so I don't know that people are up all night with worry.
It's hard to say what the timing might be for LaStella, but the longer he produces the better position he puts himself in. A lot can happen over the course of the season, with injuries and whatnot, but i know he has the attention of the brass and the coaches.
You're welcome, Kyle. It's going to be a weekly feature throughout the Braves season with David O'Brien, me, and columnists Mark Bradley and Jeff Schultz. I think the bullpen is still taking shape, guys figuring out roles. Jaime had a pretty good shot in spring training and fell short, so i don't think that's an answer here in the short term, but i do think the bullpen is an area the Braves could look at adding a piece when they make their evaluations in early June or at the trade deadline
Not sure it's something you can point a finger to one specific person or coach or whatever. but it's been a lack of execution for sure. Failing to get a bunt down got Alex Wood in Philly, then last night when Heyward decided to bunt and popped it up. I know they work on bunting regularly and in Heyward's case he didn't look that comfortable doing it to begin with, might have been bettter off just swinging away and trying to move the runner over with something on the ground.
Hey, it's Carroll Rogers here, in the newsroom at the AJC this Thursday morning, ready to answer Braves questions for ya. David O'Brien is with the team in Philadelphia, probably in the clubhouse about now. But I'm here and ready for your questions. Bring 'em on.