Atlanta Braves 25-Man: Clubhouse Snitker vs. Analytical Anthopoulos

Atlanta Braves 25-Man: Clubhouse Snitker vs. Analytical Anthopoulos

As I type this up, our beloved Atlanta Braves are in 1st place…

…and in the debate upcoming, that cannot be watered down.  Yes, they’re in first place despite the fact that Peter Moylan and Sam Freeman have logged nearly 70 innings of poorly-pitched baseball.

Or, that Ryan Flaherty has carried a .372 OPS in 98 plate appearances since April 23rd.

Or, that Lucas Sims (10.1 IP, 7.84 ERA), Brandon McCarthy (78.2 IP, 4.92 ERA), and Matt Wisler (28.2 IP, 5.40 ERA) have combined for nearly 12 full games of pitching.

Or, Miguel Socolovich, Chase Whitley, Wes Parsons, Evan Phillips, Rex Brothers, Danny Santana, Jose Bautista, Peter Bourjos, Carlos Perez, Chris Stewart, and even newcomer Adam Duvall…the Braves are in 1st place despite the fact that nearly 1/2 the players employed by the team have put up numbers that would make even the most loyal Braves homer red in the face.

This cannot be watered down. I complain, gripe, get angry, put up numbers, sample sizes, speak my dispraise on Brian Snitker’s decision making, Alex Anthopoulos’s lack of fixing the obvious problems, yet the Braves are in first place.

Snitker’s 25-Man Roster

Let it sink in, crew. This isn’t to temper your opinions, belittle the masses that have spoken their minds about players or thoughts above, rather it’s to drive home a point that even with a team that’s been partially complete with players that obviously didn’t belong, they’re still winning. How? Why are some players still here? I think the answer is quite simple.

Brian Snitker.  Most that don’t like Snitker see him in one dimension…his in-game strategy. And it is quite awful sometimes: the double-switches, his need to use poor relievers when the game is still winnable, his loyalty to guys whose play doesn’t warrant loyalty, and the after-game reflections that sometimes make no strategic sense.  Yes…even the Snitker homers have to scratch their collective heads when he says, referring to Sam Freeman: “If I had the chance to do it all over again, I wouldn’t have changed anything”. That’s hard to swallow.

But the guy runs a good clubhouse. From top to bottom, the front-office praises him, past players praise him, current players praise him, and there’s not one person that has watched this team that will argue this point: Brian Snitker’s players like playing for him.  He provides clubhouse value and in a 162-game season where tempers flare, players tire, players get hurt, kids come up, vets go down, it’s always great to know that no matter how any player is playing at that time, the manager always believes in “his guys”.

That’s Clubhouse value. And with the combination of good players and a manager that believes in his players, that can propel a team to a winning season. If you were around for the years of Bobby Cox, you’ll agree that there were some of those teams that had no business winning the division, yet it happened 14 straight times.

Clubhouse value.

Bittersweet Braves

1 World Series win. I watched. Religiously I watched every postseason game during the division streak. I nearly cried in 1995 when, as a senior in high school, the Braves brought home the World Series trophy. Every year the Braves were one of the top 3-4 teams in the MLB and many years they were the absolute best. They were built for postseason success with 3 ace starters in Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, and John Smoltz, so the question that all of us have to ask is “Why only 1 World Series?”

In my heart, tatooed with a tomahawk, one of my favorite things about the team was also what drove me crazy in the postseason. Bobby Cox. His in-game moves were never…never his strength. He, like Snitker, loved the game of baseball with his whole heart, managed like his life depended on it, was the biggest cheerleader in the clubhouse, and was beloved by all. He loved his players fiercely and the admiration they still show for him, shows the belief that all of us knew during those 15 years of beauty and pain: Bobby was a father-figure to his players.

The Braves are entering into, what should be, a long stretch of really good baseball. It could be 5 years, could be 10, could be 15, but what we know is that it’s here to stay for a while. Team is young, revenue is up, money will be spent, excess will be traded to strengthen the 25, and we as fans will have something to cheer about for a good long while.

But are we looking at a repeat of the predecessor? With Snitker at the helm, we will see what we’ve seen in the past? A team built to win during 162 but not in 7?  I don’t think so….and time will tell and that time is coming soon. The difference isn’t Snitker vs. Cox, rather Anthopoulos vs. Schuerholz.

Anthopoulos’s 25-Man Roster

The time is coming (and I think that time will be August 30th and 31st) whether this opinion is right or wrong, but I feel that during the season, we have seen a 25-man product that supports what Snitker is about, and that his clubhouse value.  He believes in keeping the players healthy, and not just in the physical variety but mentally as well.  Guys like Ryan Flaherty, Danny Santana, Peter Moylan, Sam Freeman, these guys have 2 things in common:

  1. Their on-field play has been awful.
  2. They provide an immeasurable amount of value in the clubhouse

Flaherty rides to games with Markakis every day, is his brother in-law, and Markakis is performing at elite levels. No matter how many players are better suited for this team, Flaherty is going to be here for the rest of this regular season year.

Alex Anthopoulos | Courtesy of MLB.com

Moylan is the loose-goose. As we see in interviews, Moylan doesn’t take himself too seriously and is always light-hearted and upbeat. There are guys that provide relief in-game, but Moylan provides it prior to them, and likely after a tough loss.

While I don’t know a lot about Sam Freeman’s personality, reading between the lines, the dude is very well-liked and seems to be a calming presence.

And Danny Santana…geez, I don’t like his game at all, but do you ever watch him with his teammates? He’s constantly chumming it up with the Latin American guys, providing smiles and, more than likely, insight on what it’s like to be a big leaguer from another country.

However, come September, when rosters can expand, I think we are going to see the world of Snitker collide with the world of Anthopoulos.  As most of you know, any trades that happen after September 1st, the acquired player cannot be on the playoff roster.  However, I think AA’s got a plan up his sleeve. He’s going to continue to allow Snitker his 25-man team throughout most of the month of August, however a few days before 9/1, he’s going to get his men to build a team that can win in the playoffs.

Who are those guys? I don’t know. I think it will start with Donaldson, a few back-end relievers, and a LH bench that will upgrade Flaherty. However, come the end of September, the Braves will have a team that’s built to win in the postseason and Anthopoulos will finally have his 25.

Go Braves!

 

 

31 Comments

Very well stated. Both Brian Snitker and Freddy Gonzalez were mentored by Bobby Cox and managed in the Bobby tradition. In a season in which we watch underperformance and alleged dysfunction in the Nationals clubhouse and dugout, it is well to remember the importance of the qualities that Cox and his successors have brought to the Braves, even if their game management has often driven me nuts. I’m not so confident that AA will make significant changes before September 1.

The Braves got off to a hot start in April…due to Ryan Flaherty led MLB in hitting on April 23rd with a .362 average) and Preston Tucker (tied for The NL in RBIs with 18 on April 20th) playing out of their minds (which contributed to The Braves having a record of 19-11 on May 3rd after 30 games).

Then from May 4th until July 28th (a span of 71 games), The Braves record was 35-36. However, since July 29th til today, August 13th, The Braves record, in 15 games, has been 11-4.

What makes those 15 games SO MUCH MORE productive, record wise, for The Braves…than the 71 game stretch (where The Braves record was 35-36) that encompasses over 60% of the season so far? Ronald Acuna CATCHING FIRE/PLAYING OUT OF HIS MIND after being inserted into the leadoff spot of the batting order!

Brian Snitker’s insistence on keeping Inciarte as the leadoff man for most of the season…while ‘experimenting’ with Swanson and Culberson (at times) in the #2 spot of the order…are CLEAR EXAMPLES of Snitker ‘holding The Braves back’!

Acuna and Albies WRECKING HAVOC at the top of the order…is why The Braves, in the past 15 games, have improved their position in the standings. Variance plays a role when it comes to a team struggling during a stretch of 20-25 games (even great teams have 20-25 game stretches during a season where they play like a 10-15 record team..which is a .400 winning %). However 71 games is almost HALF the season! A 35-36 record IS NOT acceptable…NOT with the talent that we have!

As long as Acuna, Albies, Freeman and Markakis remain the top 4 hitters in our lineup….there isnt ‘much’ that Snitker can do to ‘screw things up’ (sure, he could insert Inciarte and Swanson as the #5/#6 hitters…however I dont think that even Snitker would do that, at this point of the season).

However, the big question is how does Snitker use the bullpen the rest of the way? If used properly, there are enough ‘decent arms (behind Minter) that can get the job done (with our offense now, I dont really see a HUGE number of ‘close games’ the rest of the way..UNLESS our starting pitching just TANKS).

I hope that our guys play with A SENSE OF URGENCY from here on out! Sweeping this DH today is only ‘a beginning’. We need to SWEEP this series (this Marlins lineup, except for Realmuto, SUCKS, lol). Philly swept them in a 4 game series last week….we need to DUPLICATE that effort now!).

Our starting pitching regularly going 6-7 innings the rest of the way..would REALLY HELP! Quit wasting pitches!

BIG PROPS to The Braves for STEPPING UP with NOT ONLY sweeping The Marlins in today’s doubleheader…BUT ALSO in a number of KEY PERFORMANCES by several players today!

1. Ronald Acuna DOMINATING today’s DH! If he hits like this the rest of the way…The Braves are going to be one TOUGH team to beat! Freddie Freeman not having to carry this team..is HELLA REFRESHING! Having either Acuna or Albies hot, will guarantee Freeman/Markakis RBI opportunities…..if BOTH Acuna and Albies get hot…Freeman/Markakis should BOTH end the year with 100+ RBIs!

2. While at first I was a little ‘pissed’ that Snitker pinch hit for Tooki in the bottom of the 6th…after thinking about it, I came to agree with Snitker’s decision to pinch hit for him. With runners on 2nd and 3rd with only 1 out and the score 4-1…a hit by either Duval or Acuna would make the score 6-1. Sure, it would have been nice for Tooki to go one more inning (with it being a DH, saving the bullpen is important)…however increasing the lead would allow Snitker to try and go with ‘the less important’ bullpen pitchers..saving our best relievers for the nightcap if need be. The move worked…allowing Snitker to Biddle and Sobotka the last 3 innings.

3. Folty did PRECISELY what I was hoping that Newcomb would do on Sunday: Pitch 8 innings of 1 run ball! Folty pitched like an ACE tonight…not only putting The Braves in position to win the game..BUT ALSO saving our bullpen! Winkler pitching 1 inning basically saved Minter, Brach and Venters from being used today!

With Colorado coming into town for a 4 game series starting on Thursday….ideally, I would like for 1. Annibal Sanchez going 6 innings tomorrow (would like for 7, but would settle for 6)…2. our offense to put some crooked numbers up so Snitker can get away with using Kolby Allard and Luke Jackson to finish the game…3. Kevn Gausmann to pitch another 8 inning gem on Wednesday…4. a similar request as #2, lol!

If those 4 things play out (I know, wishful thinking)…the best pieces of our bullpen would be totally rested to face Colorado’s always potent offense.

Hopefully Boston will help The Braves out the next few days! Time to build upon our 1 game lead! The Nationals are almost virtually out of it…they are still seven games BEHIND The Braves in the loss column/6 games behind The Phillies in the loss column. They need to get hot AND for BOTH The Braves and Phillies to get cold! I just dont see it happening!

While a trade by AA to shore up the bench/bullpen would be nice….I really feel that this team (ESPECIALLY if AA decides to use INHOUSE upgrades such as Tooki Tousiant and Kyle Wright to shore up our bullpen at the end of August…AS WELL as calling up Austin Riley to provide some bench power in place of Ryan Flaherty) can win The Division as is!

Great, great article, Ryan. As someone who really likes Snitker, and hopes he stays long-term- I felt like you did a tremendous job highlighting some of Snitker’s strengths. Excellent insight into some of the bench guys, too.

I know Snit’s in-game decisions aren’t always perfect. In this day and age of analytics, some of these other valuable skills are being overlooked though.

I heard the same BS ‘accolades’ when it came to Bobby Cox. However, when you have THE KIND OF TALENT that Bobby Cox had during those 14 straight division titles…winning only 1 World Series was DISAPPOINTING! I watched EVERY ONE of those playoff games during those 14 years! Time and time again, I felt FRUSTRATED with in-game decisions that Cox made…in addition to how he ‘went with’ some of ‘his guys’ (despite them struggling OR not being a good matchup).

How many games did Snitker cost The Braves this year…by having Inciarte hit leadoff…as opposed to Acuna? Acuna hit leadoff for most of 2017 in The Minors..as well as at the beginning of 2018 in AAA. Inciarte’s NOODLE BAT is a classic ‘bottom of the order’ type bat (good defense/NOODLE BAT….basically what you have with Dansby Swanson).

While it worked the other night against Washington…I was BAFFLED as to why Snitker would bring in Luke Jackson (a righty), with the bases loaded and 2 outs in the bottom of the 6th inning, to face Adam Eaton (a lefty). The Braves were up 7-3, however The Nationals had scored 1 run and the crowd was rocking! I simply didnt understand why Venters/Biddle werent brought in to face Eaton in what was CLEARLY a high leverage situation? I could ‘halfway understand’ the move IF Jackson was brought in to pitch the 7th inning. However Snitker pinch hit for him in the top of the 7th. Sure, Luke Jackson struck Eaton out….but in THE LONG RUN, that’s A TERRIBLE MOVE to make! Managing to ‘get lucky’…isnt exacly the best way to manage a team that has shown signs of being playoff worthy.

I feel that AA has basically had to PROD Snitker to do THE OBVIOUS! Nick Markakis may ‘enjoy’ having his brother in law Flaherty to ride to and from the ballpark with each day…..however this Braves team CANNOT AFFORD to have AN EASY OUT hitter on the bench as our #1 left handed pinch hitting option coming off the bench! Flaherty NEEDS TO FREAKING GO! He SUCKS!!!!!!!!!!

As long as Acuna stays hot..this team is going to score runs. However if Acuna slows down…then it will be important for Albies to HEAT UP! Freeman and Markakis need runners on base when they come to the plate.

I will say that I was right ALL ALONG with saying that The Braves should KEEP Carmago at 3rd….and REFRAIN from trading for Mike Moustakis. While I do believe that Carmago’s future should be a Ben Zobrist-like role (he’s very versatile..and for The 2019 Braves, he should be used to give all our infield starters a day off, at least early in the season, periodically, to keep them fresh for later in the season)….he’s our best option for 2018. He hits, takes advantage of RBI opportunities..plus he has some surprising pop in his bat!

If The Braves are dead set on keeping Austin Riley in AAA for the whole 2018 Season…then AA is going to have to make a move to shore up The Bench before August 31st. Every time I see Flaherty come to the plate..I automatically think ‘strikeout/weak roller to 2nd’….and BAM, it happens! I have ZERO FAITH in Flaherty’s ability to deliver a pinch hit (or even a PINCH WALK)! I’ll never forget how in 2008…Bobby Cox kept trotting out Greg “the best I can do is deliver a PINCH WALK” Norton TIME AND TIME again has his #1 pinch hitting option! Dude struggled to reach .150…until he finally got cut in late August (turns out that Cox was doing ‘his boy’ a favor by keeping him on the roster so long…Norton needed to accumulate just enough time to earn his full MLB pension, which happens when a player hits 10 full years of MLB Service. I was HELLA PISSED when I heard that….because here I was PAYING $100 for The MLB Package to HOPEFULLY watch The Braves WIN GAMES…and it turns out that our team had NO CHANCE to win by Cox TROTTING OUT a BUM to pinch hit. Dude took up a MLB Roster Spot….NOT because he deserved it with his play…BUT BECAUSE Bobby Cox was doiling out WELFARE Pension Credits to one of ‘his boys’! I want my $100 BACK! I feel CHEATED as a Braves fan! I hear Conservatives talk about ‘pulling yourselves up by the bootstraps/not accepting any WELFARE PAYMENTS…well what do you call Cox keeping Greg ‘HELP ME WITH SOME WELFARE PENSION Playing Service Time Credits EVEN THOUGH I SUCK AS A PINCH HITTER” Norton on The Braves Roster that year?

I understood/accepted that The Braves were going to struggle from 2015-2017! I was even ready to accept that 2018 was going to be a similar year! However, this team has shown that they are CAPABLE of being a playoff worthy team! ALL I ASK..is that Snitker PUT OUT THE BEST LINEUP POSSIBLE….AND…..that Snitker make THE BEST BULLPEN MOVES POSSIBLE!

Enough of the ‘playing your favorites/placating them (whether it is where they hit in the lineup…OR…..whether you keep ‘their brother in law’ on the roster)! Seriously, LOYAL BRAVES FANS (yes, even those of us who ‘only’ pay for The MLB Package each year, as opposed to those who are Season Tickets holders….LOOK, if I have to see one more “Buster Posey Toyota COMMERCIAL”, lol) DESERVE/EXPECT Snitker to play the hand he’s dealt TO THE BEST of his ability…NOT to ‘play his favorites’!

That’s why I hope that AA lets Snitker go at the end of The Season! AA is going to make some SERIOUS MOVES during this upcoming offseason! NO WAY should Snitker be given the keys to whatever LUXURY CAR that AA turns this team into going into Spring Training 2019! The new manager will HAVE to keep Inciarte at the bottom of the order (7th..NOT 6th or higher. He should be 8th..however as long as Swanson is on this team, Inciarte wont have to worry about hitting 8th, lol). Also, Inciarte SHOULD NOT be starting with ANY Lefty Starting Pitcher on the mound! WTF was Snitker thinking last week..by having Inciarte face Gio Gonzalez? Culberson should have ALSO started against Gonzalez instead of Swanson (who for whatever reason CANNOT hit lefties either). If I had known that Snitker was going to, with a 1-0 lead going into the bottom of the 3rd inning (after Sanchez got pulled when that liner hit him) Wes Parsons for 5 innings and Adam McCreevy for 1 (when the score was 4-2 against A SHAKY Nationals Bullpen….which showed itself against Chicago on Sunday when Madsen blew a 3-0 lead)…I would have REFRAINED from watching that game and instead taken my dog to the park on what was a REALLY NICE/SUNNY San Francisco August day! Snitker just GAVE AWAY a game against a division rival!

I’m done….we are in 1st place DESPITE Snitker being the manager NOT because of him! Remember..The Nationals keep shooting themselves in the foot (they should have RUN AWAY with this division)….AND The Phillies have issues themselves (they have holes in their lineup that are EASILY pitched to..AS WELL as their own bullpen issues). If Washington had been willing to give up Robles/Kieboom (the shortstop, not the catcher) for JT Realmuto in late May…as well as ponied up for a starting pitcher like JA Happ/Nathan Evoldi….they would probably be well in 1st place right now! But they didnt. As a result, they are NOT ONLY going to fall shot of the playoffs in 2018..BUT they are going to lose A NUMBER of Free Agents during The 2018 Free Agent Offseason!

Here is why I’m BAFFLED as to why they didnt trade Robles: If they are going to re-sign Harper…where would they end up playing Robles? Soto in left, Eaton in center, Harper in right. Why not trade him for someone like Realmuto…who is A BEAST as a catcher? He kills The Braves, lol. I’m just glad that he has NO HELP in this 4 game series that we’re playing against him!

Bottom of the 5th, tied 5-5…runners on 1st and 2nd with 2 outs for The Braves..and Snitker decides to use Adam Duval to pinch hit for Annibal Sanchez against The Marlins right hander reliever.

Now why even have Ryan Flaherty (whose left handed) on the roster..IF he isnt going to be used in this situation (Duval RAKES against lefties..not so much against righties)? NOT ONLY is Duval BURNED in a situation where he isnt as likely to succeed….but Flaherty will likely be used later in the game (when he’ll SUCK ONCE AGAIN)!

How can Snitker justify using Duval in that situation….and not Flaherty UNLESS he has ZERO FAITH in Flaherty…which means that one cant help but ask WHY IS FLAHERTY EVEN ON THE TEAM?

Frustrating….not seeing 1. A BUM like Flaherty taking up a roster spot…2. Snitker not making SOUND managerial decisions!

Great win by The Braves tonight (on a night where Sanchez looked HITTABLE). The Bullpen only gave up 1 run in 4 innings! Meanwhile that offense took it up a notch when it needed it! Acuna is simply ON FIRE!

Sanchez will probably get one more start against The Rockies on Sunday. If he struggles, I’d like to see Tooki Tousiant given his spot in the rotation (Sanchez looses it after going through the order twice. I’d rather see Sanchez used, along with Biddle, to form a lefty-righty multi-inning option out of the bullpen).

1. Folty
2. Newcomb
3. Gaussman
4. Teheran
5. Tousiant

If Tousiant can show that he can consistently go 6-7 innings a start, then when Max Fried come back (I hear he’s getting ready to do a brief rehab appearance in The Minors), then Fried should be waiting in the wings IF Teheran keeps doing his ‘Jeckel and Hyde’ routine! Or..if Kyle Wright keeps DOMINATING in AAA…I’d like to see Wright given a chance to take Teheran’s spot (if Fried’s inability to go deep in the game makes him better suited to be slotted as an “Andrew Miller-like reliever”).

Regardless, it’s nice to have depth/options available when injuries/ineffectiveness pops up! That’s why other than potentially trading Teheran this upcoming offseason (paying $11 mil to Teheran, when The Braves have A WEALTH of younger/cheaper/potentially more effective options available to choose from)…it makes LITTLE SENSE to start trading our surplus of young pitching talent!

Regardless of whether The Braves make The Playoffs in 2018 or not…our GM, AA, is going to be THE ENVY of all of MLB come this upcoming offseason! He’s going to have PLENTY OF MONEY and PLENTY OF ROSTER FLEXIBILITY to choose from when deciding which direction he wants to go in long term!

Meanwhile, AA’s decision to trade for Gaussman INSTEAD of Chris Archer looks like a wise one. The Pirates gave up three really high upside talents to get Archer. Sure, he’s under control for the next 4 seasons at a very reasonable price (when compared to what THE GARBAGE like Tyler Chatwood gets on The Free Agent Market, lol)…however giving up Glasgow, Meadows and Baz to get him…wow! That would be like The Braves giving up Riley, Pache and Wright to get Archer! No thanks!

Braves up 2 games on The Phillies…8 up on The Nationals! The Phillies are really struggling offensively now! Cabrera (who KILLED The Braves when he was with The Mets) is struggling since his trade to The Phillies! That’s why it is HELLA IMPORTANT that The Braves win these WINNABLE GAMES! I was reading on The Phillies fan website where they were complaining about The Marlins not ‘helping them’. Well, they werent ‘complaining’ when The Marlins LAID DOWN the prior weekend when The Phillies swept them in a 4 game series!

Now if Kevin Gaussman can go 7-8 innings tomorrow and get the win for The Braves….we’ll be set up nicely going into a tough 4 game series against The Rockies starting on Thursday!

Really, REALLY, lol, would like to see The Braves get THE SWEEP tonight against The Marlins! Every game counts! While it’s FANTASTIC to see Acuna play like he’s ON FIRE….eventually he’s going to cool off. That’s why it’s HELLA IMPORTANT that The Braves take advantage of playing what is basically JT Realmuto/Starlin Castro….and other than promising rookie Brian Anderson…a bunch of AAA players in The Marlins lineup!

The Marlins bullpen is crap! While it was nice to see Boston pitch Nathan Evoldi instead of Brian Johnson tonight….I wouldnt be surprised to see Philly win tonight! With The Rockies coming into town for a 4 game series starting tomorrow….The Braves can give away these winnable games like tonight is! The Rockies have won the 1st 2 games in Houston this week (going for the sweep tonight)…..The Braves are going to have their hands full with them these upcoming 4 games!

However before I comment on what’s coming up with Colorado…let’s root for The Braves to take care of business TONIGHT….and ensure that we either have a 2 or 3 game lead going into tomorrow’s series with The Rockies (depending on how The Phillies fare against Boston tonight)!

By the way…how close to the strike zone will tonight’s first pitch to Ronald Acuna be? Does Acuna end up hitting another homer to extend his consecutive game homer streak to 6 games! Acuna’s next homer will be his 20th….an incredible feat in his age 20 season! Assuming that he hits 2 more homers the rest of the season…I’m curious as to what is The MLB record for most seasons to start a career..where a player hit more homers than his age!

He’ll need to hit 22 next year in his age 21 season to extend the streak…and so on! Unless he suffers an injury that takes A HUGE CHUNK of time (even longer the month he was out earlier this season)…Acuna should have no problem hitting homers past his age…until he gets into his 30’s.

Acuna and Albies hitting #1/#2…for the next 5 seasons after this year (at least….hopefully AA will be able to extend BOTH to long term deals)….Freddie Freeman will have plenty of RBI opportunities for what should be a FULL SEASON of having both hitting in front of him starting in 2019!

One more thing….instead of going out and signing Bryce Harper (which I would not be opposed to doing)….perhaps AA may try and sign Markakis to a 2 year type deal….while eyeing going after Mike Trout when he’s a Free Agent after the 2020 season! While Harper and Machado will be 25 when they’re Free Agents going into this offseason……Trout will be 28 when he’s a Free Agent. Interesting scenarios to ponder!

Wow, what a game tonight! Wait all day to see what Acuna would do in his 1st at-bat tonight..and The CHICKENSH1T Marlins pitcher PLUNKS HIM right in his elbow!

It wasnt like The Marlins are competing for a playoff spot! Pitch to him..try and get him out! Acuna hasnt been hotdogging it! He’s just been raking at the plate!

Regardless, The Marlins losing their starting pitcher early should have favored The Braves. However our offense made their 1st reliever look like Cy Freaking Young! Yet (sound familiar), our offense woke up and pulled away from a pesky Marlins offense!

Got 4 tough ones coming up against The Rockies (The Phillies play a day-night DH against The Mets tomorrow, the start of a 5 game series with them). Still up 2 games because The Phillies came back against Boston tonight. Swanson with 10 homers this season looks like he’s making a little progress with the bat.

One of the reasons his players love
Brian Snitker was his demand that the spineless umpires toss Urena after he targeted Acuna with a first pitch heater. The umps weren’t going to do anything but “warn the benches” until Snitker stuck up for his players hard enough to be ejected himself, leading to Urena’s ejection. Had Urena been allowed to continue pitching, a beanball war would have followed. I have gradually become a convert to trusting Snitker to lead the Braves to the World Series.

Well said, Ben.

The entire baseball world notices that type of thing, too- and it’d be crazy not to think that type of thing doesn’t register with some of these big name impending free agents, as well. I’m not saying they’re going to sign exclusively because Snitker showed how much he cares about his young player. If it’s a toss up between two teams though, you’ve got to believe that can’t hurt.

TERRIBLE decision by Brian Snitker to NOT ONLY not pinch hit for Newcomb in the bottom of the 5th inning…BUT ALSO to leave him in there to pitch in the top of the 6th inning. Newcomb LABORED through 5 innings, throwing 86 pitches. I get it, Snitker was trying to ‘squeeze’ one more inning out of Newcomb, which would leave one less inning for the bullpen to pitch (assuming the game didnt go into extra innings). However, watching Newcomb pitch tonight (and on Sunday when he didnt even make it out of the 3rd inning)….he’s struggling.

3-1 MANAGEABLE game…is now 7-1 Rockies after freaking Newcomb gives up 4 runs while only getting 1 out in the top of the 6th.

Snitker’s inability to manage the bullpen properly (4 lefties in the bullpen last night..however NOT ONE of them gets up to face ANY of the tough Rockies lefties in the top of the 9th inning last night?). Snitker used AJ Minter to end a 4 run lead..and a 3 run lead on back to back nights against The Marlins…leaving him unable to come in and save a one run lead last night!

The players may ‘love’ playing for Snitker…however he IS NOT doing his job (which is to MANAGE this team ON THE FIELD as well! That means making THE BEST DECISIONS/putting your players in the best position possible to SUCCEED)!

I’m almost to the point where I dont want to waste my time watching these games..because I know that Snitker is going to do something STUPID to mismanage the game! I simply cannot fathom AA keeping Snitker past this season! I just dont see AA taking this job…being forced to carry a manage who IS NOT going to manage this team with the vision he has! After The 2018 Offseason is over…..The Braves are going to be ONE STRONG TEAM! No way does he give Snitker an opportunity to mismanage The 2019 team!

I am CONTINUALLY BAFFLED as to why Ryan Flaherty is still on The Braves roster! 7-2 Rockies in the bottom of the 7th, 0 outs, runner on 2nd…3-1 count..and FREAKING FLAHERTY swings at a pitch that ALMOST HIT HIM! Next pitch, he rolls over weakly to 2nd!

I’m not saying that we would have rallied to score 5 runs. However, if Flaherty could even draw a walk…you have runners on 1st and 2nd with no outs..and Acuna coming up…against a pitcher with an ERA of over 6! Puts more pressure on The Rockies bullpen.

Kolby Allard simply IS NOT ready to be a MLB pitcher. He throws A HELLA HITTABLE PITCH when he has to throw a strike.

Why isnt AA putting THE BEST PLAYERS on The 25 man roster? Just watch The Phillies play….Gabe Kapler is making moves to put his players in the best position to succeed matchup wise! Freaking Snitker SUCKS! However, at the same time, there is some serious DEAD WEIGHT on The 25 man roster night now!

Two weeks before The August 31st Trade Deadline. AA needs to do something (or promote Danny Santana to take Flaherty’s spot on the roster….dude SUCKS). The Phillies trade for Justin Boor and Wilson Ramos….The Braves got Adam Duval, lol. “Wow”!

AA has to do something about The Braves bullpen. Kolby Allard simply IS NOT ready to pitch in The Majors! Luke Jackson throws one hanging breaking ball after another/throws several wild pitches a game!

Just lost the 1st three games of the Rockies series (bullpen blows the 2 of these games in the top of the 9th inning)…..not to mention how FRUSTRATING it is to see Ryan Flaherty TROT out there to pinch hit NIGHT AFTER NIGHT (either to strike out or roll a grounder to 2nd).

Disappointing/HELLA frustrating to watch this mess! Ronald Acuna is basically CARRYING The Braves. Dansby Swanson’s error in the 1st game of the series basically cost us that game…then in the bottom of the 9th inning tonight, on a 3-2 pitch, he swings at a sweeping pitch that was 2 feet off the plate for what would have been ball 4. I’m sick of watching Swanson’s TERRIBLE at-bats! If he doesnt turn it around by the end of 2019…NO WAY should The Braves offer him arbitration!

How is Philly able to trade for Justin Bour (giving up NOTHING) in August….while AA just sits there and DOES NOTHING?

I’m sure that Brian Snitker will come up with some BS “Bobby Cox” rationalization excuse as to why losing this game isnt the end of the world (after all, The Braves are still 1/2 in 1st place over Philly).

At some point….Braves Management is going to have to DO SOMETHING! If not, they’re going to PISS AWAY a chance to win this Division. This is a FLAWED team!

This series proved why Snitker needs TO GO! True, our players didnt exactly play great…however Snitker made some TERRIBLE MOVES!

Why even trade for Adam Duval…if he isnt going to be used properly (in high leverage situations against lefty relief pitchers)? Why is Ryan Flaherty still even on the team?

Snitker’s bullpen usage…YUCK! I can only guess that AA is letting this play out…..so he can ‘sell’ to a VERY STUPID BRAVES FAN BASE the logic of firing Snitker (after what should be a VERY LOSING RECORD in September to fall out of the race).

Despite how bad the rest of the season plays out…this upcoming offseason should be HELLA exciting for The Braves…UNLESS Snitker is kept on for 2019!

I think we should frame our criticism of Snitker with the understanding that he is likely a leading contender for Manager of the Year and Managers of the Year do not get fired. This team has played so much better under Snitker since the middle of last year. We can have small, legitimate gripes about how he does things sometimes but we still have the second best record in the league (by percentage points) and are in a prime position to break away from the other contenders.

Further, AA has made the perfect moves for this team so far and filled exactly the holes that need to be filled. With the exception of Duvall, all of the additions have performed excellently. Even Duvall is still a great addition considering his potential and the fact that he becomes Plan B or C for next year in the outfield. He has proven he is the HR hitter we need but just doesn’t have a regular position right now.

Do not expect to see either Wright or Wilson this year. Not gonna happen as there is no logical space to put them on the 40-man roster and it would be detrimental to start their clocks right now and they are not eligible for Rule 5. We will see Touki and Fried take the 6th position in the rotation and swap out long man roles. We are also likely to see Jackson as the third catcher. We may see Parsons and McCreery too. Beyond that it’s hard to say as each addition, whether by call up or trade, will cost a 40-man slot.

Roger…nice ‘call’ on not expecting to see Bryce Wilson this year on The Braves Roster! You really know how to ‘call them’!

Roger…do you have any idea of what role having ‘swing and miss’ stuff has when it comes to building a bullpen? McCreery and Parsons are both GARBAGE! I want NO PART of seeing EITHER in a Braves Bullpen! Snitker already gave away one game (The last game of The 4 game Washington series when he used those two BUMS to RUIN any chance of The Braves taking 3 of 4 in that series).

Dude, if Washington had played up to its capabilities (I just cant fathom why they are still 1 game under .500…with that talent)…NO WAY would The Braves be in 1st place.

Snitker played NO ROLE in The Braves success in 2018 (an argument can be made that he’s COST The Braves a number of games). Acuna and Albies EMERGENCE as 20/21 year old talents hitting at the top of the order (along with Markakis getting plenty of RBI opportunities hitting behind those two and Freddie)..along with our starting pitching….are the reasons why The Braves are contending.

I would rather see the likes of Tooki, Wilson and Wright added to the bullpen at the end of August (making them playoff eligible)…than see the likes of Parsons, McCreevy, Moylan, Sam Freeman…even Shane Carle (whose turned into a BP reliever the last month he pitched before he went on The DL) blowing leads/extending small deficits!

Regardless of how Bryce Wilson does tonight, i expect him to be sent back down to AAA, and someone like Danny Santana brought back up (I hope to NEVER see Flaherty wear a Braves uniform again)..unless AA has a trade in the works to add a bench bat. While I like Michael Reed’s potential….The Braves need a left handed bat for the bench (Duval’s presence on The Braves Roster makes Reed redundant).

Paul, you’re a jerk and an idiot and it makes me want to leave this blog to keep reading you rant on and on. I am very surprised at the Wilson callup and it makes no sense for the future of the club unless they think Fried will take longer to come back. I am happy to see Flaherty DFA’d but he is certainly a better option than Santana. The Wilson call-up does negate any possibility of seeing Wright. We are very close to the point that it also eliminates Riley (especially if Jackson is used as the third catcher, or really anyone as the third catcher as we have only two on the 40-man). There is only one more logical DFA to fit McCarthy back on the 40-man and that is Bell. After that, the DFA’s will be costly (unless they get rid of Moylan which I would have done before Flaherty).

Tommy et al, I will leave the blog if Lentz keeps this up again. He is obviously unstable.

Ah, I missed that Bell was just outrighted, too. That leaves one 40-man spot open for a trade pickup. Without that (or the trade including others on the 40-man), there is only one space to add another prospect (or third catcher). If they don’t expect to bring Viz back until mid-Sept, they could put him on the 60 day DL but then they’d have the same problem again of a crowded 40-man roster. The next cuts are likely to be Moylan or Ricardo Sanchez. If Freeman is a disaster on his next couple of outings, he may go. So expect to see Freeman soon and often.

Roger…..dude, you are hella quick to point out when you think I’m wrong about something…HOWEVER you make a post earlier today basically saying that there is NO WAY that either Wilson or Wright get called up in 2018..and literally 15 minutes later, Bryce Wilson gets called up!

If you’re man enough to make ‘Stone Cold Lock Proclamations’…then you should be man enough to be chided for it when it backfires on you…ESPECIALLY when your ‘prediction’ goes down in flames 15 minutes after you post it, lol!

Sure, AA made his ‘I’m going to promote these guys slower’ announcement early in the season…HOWEVER if you’ve paid attention to his actions SINCE that…he’s literally been promoting these prospects WITH A QUICKNESS.

Also, you’re more than likely WRONG about Wright not getting called up this year. He may well get called up right around August 30-31st…especially if several of our back-end bullpen pieces continue to struggle!

Oh, and Bryse is now the youngest player on the team – 2 days younger than Acuna. That is another reason it’s so surprising. It’s 180deg opposite of what AA said he’d be doing at the beginning of the season.

Andy…I appreciate the good laugh from Roger, ESPECIALLY when he said ‘earlier in the day’ the following: “There is NO WAY that EITHER Bryce Wilson or Kyle Wright will be called up to the 25 man roster OR even The 40 man Roster in 2018. Too early for both of them to be protected on The 40 man (instead, waiting until The 2019 Season to add the two of them).”

Andy….I shit you not….15 minutes after Roger posted that INSANELY ILLOGICAL, “uh, here’s how to TELL IT LIKE IT AINT/STONE COLD Limp-pick, lol”!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!……..The Braves announce via Twitter that Bryce Wilson has been added to The Braves 40 man/25 man Roster…AND that he’s going to START tonight in Pittsburgh, making his MLB debut!

Then he got mad at me for pointing it out to him (when he’s HELLA QUICK to point out things that ‘he thinks’ I’m going to be wrong about, YET more times than not, he’s the one who is wrong about what he thinks I’m going to be wrong about, lol)!

I recognize long ago that not all of my opinions/takes are going to be correct/right on! If I make a mistake..I OWN UP TO IT…simple as that. Learn from it and move on!

I wish we could stop the personal attacks on this site. We should be supporting the site while Tommy is apparently busy on his new job, and intelligent discussion of the Braves is what this site was intended for.

That would great, Ben, but it seems too much to ask for. With what little time we have, it’s difficult to even want to update when we come back to this. I just don’t see the point in keeping commenting active. It doesn’t bring new readers and it seems to drive them away instead.

Tommy…the problem is, when someone posts an opinion/take on something, they get upset when someone challenges it/calls on them to defend the position.

I NEVER get upset when someone challenges my position…because 1. it gives me an opportunity to defend it (if I’m in the right, I should have NO PROBLEM with defending it). 2. if I’m in the wrong, I have an opportunity to LEARN something new (unlike most people, I dont think I know everything..in other words, if I learn something I didnt know before, I’m flexible enough to change my position).

I’ve been a DIEHARD Braves fan since 1982. However that does not mean that I drink The “Jim Jones Koolaid’ (meaning that I AM NOT FORBIDDEN to be critical of those who run The Braves and/or play for The Braves. I want to see The Braves win…and I enjoy engaging in debate about the best way to go about it).

It seems that EVERYONE wants the right to post their opinion…HOWEVER NO ONE wants ANYONE to be critical of their position! I’m sorry…but I simply DO NOT have it in me to come across a post where someone says “uh, there is NO WAY that Bryce Wilson is going to get called up this year to either The 40 man or 25 man roster”…..then LITERALLY 15 minutes later, The Braves announce on Twitter, ‘Bryce Wilson has been called up and is going to make his MLB debut tonight starting against The Pirates”……then basically ‘act like’ that dude (Roger) didnt say it, lol! That’s almost comedic, lol! I basically said ‘dude, you sure know how NOT to call it, lol. Talk about NOT getting it right’! Also, he’s been critical of me…yet I dont get upset when he criticizes me!

I thought that debate was supposed to be healthy…not taken to be an assault on someone! If you’re man enough to post your opinion/position..then why not be man enough to DEFEND it when/if challenged to defend it?

One can love America…YET be critical of its leaders (apparently EXCEPT when it’s a Republican in charge, when it become “Traitorous’ to question them. HOWEVER, when it’s a Democrat in charge, then it’s called ‘being an American whose exercising their 1st Amendment Rights’ when being critical of our leaders).

Why not encourage debate on what The Braves need to do to win? This team not only has a chance to win The NL East in 2018..but also be SERIOUS contenders for the next 8-10 years!

Ben…in reality, most people want to post their opinions/takes for all to see (while ONLY wanting those who 100% agree with them to comment on their posts. However, anyone who is critical of them….they take it to be an assault on them personally).

Paul,

I appreciate what you give–and you give alot. Really, you do. I like reading your thoughts and they are really alot of good ones.

I try and think of my thoughts as like “blue widgets”–I love my blue widgets and others may not believe in my ‘Blue widgets.’

I may love unicorns…alot of things.

If someone hates my little pony–okay–my daughters would be pissed–but okay.

Not one of my thoughts or “blue widgets’ equates me being right, or that I know more than others. You know alot about the Braves. I have zero doubt about that–Tommy knows alot more than all of us put together.

But my “blue widgets’ weigh the same as Tommy’s.

Tommy has helped guide me when I have a question, and he does with grace.

He knows so much more than me he doesnt have to beat his chest about it.

You know more than alot of Braves fans. Try grace, and letting some “blue widgets” you dont believe in go. I believe there is a wide range of ages here…..think of me and others as younger fans in need of guidance or just space and time to grow. Please.

I am just speaking for myself and I dont run anything here–I like this blog. I like reading your stuff here.

I hope we can all stay.

STAY PAUL.

Lets all have fun.

Go Braves.

Andy….I must say dude, you really made a very ‘graceful’ post! I appreciate the props….and I absolutely agree that I am not exactly the most ‘tactful/graceful’ person out there.

I’ve invested a lot of my life following The Braves….I’ll never forget the starting lineup from that 1982 NL West Division winning team..never forget how I felt during that 1991 ‘Worst to First’ World Series team that lost to The Twins….never forget how I felt when we finally won that 1st World Series in 1995.

However, I also will never forget how painful it was for The Braves to give up that 6-0 Game 4 lead to The Yankees in The 96 World Series….never forget how in The 2010 NLDS against The Giants in Game 3, Bobby Cox took Craig Kimbrel out and brought in Mike Dunn to face Aubrey Huff. Normally, I get the lefty-lefty high leverage situation. However Kimbrel was throwing NASTY STUFF…The Giants only got a weak, seeing eye single from Freddy Sanchez while Kimbrel got the 1st two outs of the 9th inning. Instead of leaving Kimbrel in..Dunn came in and got a single off him…then Brooks Freaking Conrad made his 3rd error of the game on a grounder by Buster Posey to score Sanchez and give The Giants a 3-2 win. I’ll also never forget Fredi Gonzalez not bring in Kimbrel in the 8th inning of Game 4 of The NLCS against The Dodgers to get the 2 out save (instead he brought in David Carpenter, who blew the lead…giving The Dodgers the series win).

It’s been frustrating as a DIE HARD Braves fan…to see the amount of talent that we’ve had over the years…and only the one World Series win. Cox/Braves Management (even Fredi Gonzalez…and currently with Brian Snitker) have some insatiable need to give roster spots/playing time to certain players who SUCK. I’ll never forgive Cox for giving Greg Norton (just like how Snitker did with Flaherty during this summer) prime pinch hitting appearances (even though it was apparent that BOTH SUCKED/HAD LOST any ability to get a hit).

This Braves team has done wonders with how they’ve basically shocked MLB with their ‘let’s compete for The Division Title one year early’ play! However, I just dont want to see Brian Snitker kept as manager. I’m afraid that if The Braves end up winning the division, AA will be forced to keep him. Then, as AA remolds the team even more during the upcoming 2018 Free Agent Offseason (basically handing Snitker the keys to A WELL RUN MACHINE for 2019 and beyond), no doubt with the young talent and upcoming Free Agents that AA will sign to fill the couple of holes in our lineup long term…..The Braves will be locks to make The Playoffs on talent alone.

However, I’m afraid that Snitker will end up getting OUTMANAGED during a short series (just like what happened with Bobby Cox and Fredi Gonzalez). Cox relied on superior starting pitching (like how Smoltz and Avery shutout The Pirates the last 2 games of the 1991 NLCS) winning series in The Playoffs. I dont remember any ‘great moves’ that Cox made (unlike Joe Torre and other managers) to outmanage the opposing manager.

Andy…this Braves team is LOADED with Starting Pitching Talent! In the history of MLB (when all is said and done years from now) books will be written about this collection of young pitching talent (thank you, John Coppolella)! I just want to see a manager manage our Braves….who WONT screw things up (like bring in Sam Freeman to face 3 right handed hitters in a row..just because he thinks Freeman is more effective coming into a ‘clean inning’).

I can love The Braves…YET be critical of those in charge…because I want to see GREATNESS (which is what we had during those 14 Division Title Seasons…which is what I feel we CAN HAVE/EVEN EXCEED with this current bunch) from them!

I’ll try to be more ‘diplomatic’ when I engage in banter with those on here who wish to post their opinions/takes….just as long as those who are critical of me are civil as well (after all, it would be unfair to accept criticism when I post something, however not ‘allowed’ to be critical right back, when warranted). I understand that not everyone is going to be as passionate/knowledge as I am (and I know that there are those who are more ‘knowledge’ than I am…however I try to learn from them NOT shun them/NOT tell them that they dont know what they are talking about).

Still, Roger basically set himself up earlier yesterday with his post about Bryce Wilson (basically a STONE COLD LOCK, along with Kyle Wright) not being put onto the 40 man roster NOR put on the 25 man roster AT ALL in 2018…..then literally 15 minutes later, The Braves announce on Twitter “Bryce Wilson will be making his MLB debut tonight against The Pirates”. You have to admit….the ‘timing’ of that…was TOO RIPE to be ignored! He’s been critical of me…so I had a little fun with my ‘talk about now getting it right’ comment to him! It wasnt ‘that bad’! However he took it as an assault (“lighten up Francis”, lol). Google that if you dont know what it means!

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