Red Sox Series Proves Whether or Not the Braves are Postseason Ready

Red Sox Series Proves Whether or Not the Braves are Postseason Ready

Somehow, by God’s good graces, after being swept by the Red Sox the Braves obtained a 3 game lead over the Phillies in the NL East. The question on everyone’s mind right now is, are the Braves ready to take on the postseason? I think there is a high chance they do make it, but they do not make it far. Why? Well, the Red Sox series said everything about the type of team the Braves are. Yes, the Red Sox are the best team in baseball, and with their record, they are undeniably going to the playoffs. There were a lot of pros and cons in each of these games against the Red Sox that the Braves need to work on and try to replicate in upcoming games. The Red Sox series taught the team a lot. It taught them that this is the type of team they would be playing in the postseason, maybe even this team, and so this is what they need to be prepared for. My hope is that this Red Sox series was a good kick in the pants for the Braves to kick it into high gear and strap in for some tough teams ahead.

What was good about the Red Sox series:

The Good…

  1. Battling at the plate – Everybody had great at-bats. The Braves made each of the pitchers throw more pitches, which in turn wore down the pitchers and got their pitch counts higher.
  2. Coming from behind – I loved seeing the enthusiasm and determination in the team to come back to tie the game or take the lead.
  3. Contribution and having fun – In every game, the whole team was contributing and they were having fun doing it, especially Ronald Acuna Jr.

via GIPHY

But all those aspects don’t mean anything if you can’t perform in other places:

The Bad…

  1. Left too many men on base – If the Braves had been able to deliver on all the men that they left on base in this series, things would have turned out a lot different. Over the course of the three games with the Red Sox, the Braves left a total 30 men on base, which is an average of 10 men left on per game. If you total up and average the number of men left on base for all the games that they have played so far, its an average of 7 men left on base per game.
  2. Coming from behind…and not keeping the lead – This is a huge problem and a truly crushing disappointment. And it’s all because of the bullpen. Even AJ Minter was giving up runs, which is not something that is common with him. The Braves need the support of the bullpen if they want to get to the playoffs and win a championship. If you don’t have a bullpen that can keep your earned runs count, then it’s all for not.
  3. Errors – There were too many errors in the Red Sox series and that should not be happening at this stage of the season. The Braves had three errors across the series. It’s September, other teams are watching, they are looking for your weaknesses and they are going to take advantage of that.

via GIPHY

The Braves have got a good team, but they keep making small mistakes that produce big problems. The talent is there for this team to be a World Series team, but I believe their stamina is the overarching theme that all the other problems stem from.  They don’t have the endurance to keep going after they have been doing well. Maybe it’s a lack of experience or maybe they are just too young to keep up, I don’t know. All I know is that something is holding the Braves back and I think it’s their stamina and consistency and being able to reproduce what they have done well in the past. The bullpen will come out one series and be dominate and the next they get swept and allow seven runs. Sometimes every man on base scores a run, other times the bases get loaded 3 times and no one scores. It’s things like this that will be the Braves demise when it comes to the postseason if they don’t fix these problems soon.

I do believe that the trades and pick-ups that Alex Anthopoulos have executed this season have, for the most part, been beneficial to the team. The missing pieces the Brave had at the beginning of the season have been filled in slowly over the course of this season and is great, BUT what about all these little things that keep happening? These are things that cannot be fixed by just going out and getting another player. These are things that need to be fixed with a little more discipline and practice and that is something that I think will come with time as these young players grow.

The Braves have the team and the talent and even the fan support, but the formula is not right yet. Tonight, the Braves will be facing yet another team that is in the running for the playoffs, the Arizona Diamondbacks. The Diamondbacks have a very similar record to the Braves this season with a 75-64 record this season. The next three series are going to be difficult and I hope that tonight that the Braves can start off this series with a win. They need that boost of confidence and they need to tighten up the loose screws they had against the Red Sox if they want to get to the end of September successfully.

What do you think the Braves need to work on in order to make it to the postseason?

 

33 Comments

This was an amazing loss. Super super tough and soul crushing. I don’t know if I am in a dream sequence or what— I don’t feel at all shaken by the this sweep—Colorado really hurt and scared me—but this (Boston) feels like a good wake up. We know touki can pitch against them—wright can. Others got a great wake up—and ‘don’t be so cocky’ kind of vibe. I believe we can make it to the post season and I think this series will help us when we get there.

Brittni,

Fun read. I have one critique regarding the title of the post. As it is, it seems a bit wordy. I understand perhaps the reasoning was not to give away the opinion of the piece, but the title would be less of an eye sore, at least to me, if it were simply “Red Sox Series Proves Braves Not Post-Season Ready”. To abbreviate even further, I would’ve probably called this post “Boston Series Proves Braves Not Elite”. That’s just a little nit-picky, though.

Otherwise, regarding the topic of the article itself and as I alluded to, this is a question more so if the Braves are an elite team or not. They are more than ready to compete for the division and thus in the postseason. Any team with half a bucket’s worth of talent can make a run as long as it all comes together at the right time (I’d say 50% of the recent San Francisco Giants World Series teams qualify in this category).

Elite would mean they’re superior to the rest of the playoff teams. Are they elite? No. They’re good, but not elite. However, that doesn’t mean they can’t win a world series. We’ve seen “elite” squads on paper not even contend for their divisions *AHEM* Washington Nationals *AHEM* Sorry. Nasty cough there. We’ve also seen “elite” teams fall flat on their faces in the playoffs….or run into a buzzsaw of a red-hot pitching staff or offense. So yeah…the Braves certainly aren’t in the same category as the Red Sox on paper or on the field when all is going well for the BoSox. However, it does not mean the Braves can’t topple them when the games are the most important.

As Andy noted in the reply before me, this was a good slap in the face for a very young Braves team. Every young team needs to go through this and blow a game or two or three or four…it’s how they respond that’s important. Especially having to travel across the country to play another contending team the next day. If they come out tonight and lay a beating on Arizona and Greinke, or even just simply play them tough put up a great game, I’ll take it as a positive win or lose.

Brian Snitker’s TERRIBLE bullpen usage AND lineup construction…will not allow The Braves to be threats to advance in The Playoffs! Alex Cora OUTMANAGED Snitker in each of those 3 games (I touched on that in a previous post)….imagine what will happen come playoff time.

The Braves have 4 road games with Arizona, followed by 3 games in San Francisco (who have basically waved in the red flag)..before we get an off day on Thursday before heading back home to start 10 game homestand (Washington and St. Louis for 3 games each) BEFORE hosting The Phillies for a CRUCIAL 4 game series to wrap up the final homestand of the year.

Philly plays 3 games at The Mets starting tomorrow (Sunday’s game is against deGroom)…then go home for a 9 game homestand that has them facing Washington, The Marlins and The Mets for 3 games each..before coming to Atlanta to begin that crucial 4 game series I touched upon!

The Braves have 13 games (Philly 12 games) upcoming before that 4 game series with The Phillies! The Phillies have A CLEAR ADVANTAGE when it comes to the level of competition both teams are facing the next 2 weeks BEFORE that 4 game series between our two clubs in Atlanta.

If The Braves can have the lead going into that 4 game series…then if we were to split that 4 game series with The Phillies, The Braves hold the advantage going into the final week of the season.

While The Braves will enjoy their final off day of the season on the last Monday of the season..before heading to The Mets for 3 games before heading to Philly for the last 3 games of the season…Philly (whose last off day is September 13th..meaning that they will have to play the last 17 days of the season WITHOUT an off day!), after the 4 game series in Atlanta….has to go to Colorado and play 4 games (where bullpens ROUTINELY go to die, lol) before heading back home to play The Braves for the final 3 games of the season (without an off day, lol). The Braves have a quick flight from New York to Philly on that last Thursday..while The Phillies have to fly from Denver to Philly on that same day.

If The Braves can get through the next 13 games (playing 7-6 or so ball), then as long as Philly doesnt go 10-2 or better during that stretch, we’ll be in 1st place by the time Philly comes to town for that crucial 4 game series. While I’d love to see The Braves win 3 or 4 of those 4 games…a split would not be ‘the end of the world’. Why? Because I dont see Philly (who struggles on the road) having a lot of success in Colorado in those 4 games to begin the last week of the season..while The Braves will be playing a Mets team playing out the string during that time! There’s a chance that the last 3 games of the season in Philly MAY NOT MATTER…IF The Braves can stretch their lead to 4 games before heading to Philly.

However, if The Braves can win 3 or 4 of those games in Philly….it would basically put the nail in the coffin (basically making the last week of the season meaningless…unless Philly were to win 7 straight while The Braves lost 6 straight to end the year, lol).

The Braves are HELLA LUCKY to have a 3 game lead right now (given how we’ve simply GIVEN AWAY a number of games in the past month). Somehow, if Snitker can miraculously refrain from misusing the bullpen (better yet, construct a better lineup), The Braves have the talent to beat the teams ahead of us on the schedule (putting some distance between us and The Phillies). Despite having an easier schedule the next 2 weeks…The Phillies have bullpen issues AND a lineup that has holes in it. However, they play EXTREMELY WELL at home (43-26 at home..while The Braves have a MEASLY 37-34 record at home)….after the next 3 games at The Mets…they play 9 straight games at home against INFERIOR competition (our other three division rivals) before that 4 game series in Atlanta! If Philly is going to make a move..it will have to be during those 9 games (they HAVE to go AT LEAST 7-2..perhaps 8-1 or even win all 9 games)..and HOPE that The Braves go 5-4/4-5 (or worse) during that same stretch.

If The Braves can steal the 1st game of The Arizona Series with Greinke pitching for them (we’re up 2-0 in the top of the 4th)….OOPS, let me change that to Braves lead 4-0 in the top of the 4th inning after Kurt Suzuki just CRUSHED a slider from Greinke for a 2 run homer, lol…..then we’ll be better positioned to navigate these next 13 games before The Phillies come to Atlanta in 2 weeks.

We have the talent! Freddie and Markakis need to start hitting with a little more power…however I feel that these defensive errors that we’ve been making lately ARE NOT indicative of how we’re going to play the rest of the season. NOR is the bullpen meltdown that we displayed against Boston something that will be repeated. The question is….will Freddie and Markakis RISE UP and give The Braves team a little breathing room when it comes to our offense scoring some runs? That..would go a long ways to help The Braves outlast The Phillies and make The Playoffs as Division Champs!

The frustrating part ISN’T the fact that Sanchez just gave up 3 runs to Arizona (on A TERRIBLE/Batting Practice pitch to Nick Ahmed that resulted in a bases loaded clearing double)……it’s the fact that Snitker had Luke Jackson warming up in the bullpen (DESPITE The Braves leading 4-3)!

What in the world..is Snitker’s OBSESSION with Luke FREAKING Jackson (ERA of over 4…WHIP of 1.42, which is basically a base runner and a half every time he pitches an inning!)? AA calls up a number of pitchers who have MUCH BETTER STUFF than Jackson…YET Snitker ‘loves him some Luke Jackson, lol’!

Then..he decides to let Sanchez hit in the top of the 5th (DESPITE Sanchez getting ready to face Arizona’s lineup the 3rd time through, after Greinke hits to lead off the bottom of the 5th inning).

I just dont get what is going through Snitker’s mind! I can only ‘guess’ that after THE MELTDOWN with yesterday’s bullpen…Snitker decided pregame that he was going to REST our best bullpen pitchers (basically GIVING AWAY another game)…while going with BUMS like Jackson after he has to pull Sanchez.

However, we are up 4-3 in the 5th inning….it’s A WINNABLE GAME! It seems like Snitker is incapable of changing his mind when circumstances warrant it. Luke Jackson SHOULD NOT be pitching any MEANINGFUL innings! His ONLY WORTH…is MOPE UP DUTY! This game reminds me of that game in Washington where he went with Parsons and McCreevy after Sanchez had to leave with a 1-0 lead after getting hit with a line drive in the bottom of the 2nd inning (Parsons came on to pitch the 3rd inning). That was the game that Bryce Harper had the day off as well!

Also, I pointed out my FRUSTRATION with Snitker keeping Kyle Wright in to pitch 2 innings on Tuesday (throwing 31 pitches)..basically making him unavailable to pitch yesterday (wouldnt have been nice to have Wright available to pitch in that MELTDOWN 8th inning?)! Why not pull him after that impressive 1st inning he pitched in the top of the 7th (when he struck out 2 batters….throwing only 12 pitches that inning)? Wright would have been available to pitch yesterday.

Also of note, Snitker went with Luke Jackson in the top of the 6th inning on Tuesday..who promptly gave up 2 runs to extend Boston’s lead to 5-1. Yet…Snitker wants to have Jackson warm up with The Braves leading 4-3 tonight? I just dont get it!

Here’s A CONTRAST of how 1. a manager gives his team a chance to come back and win a game…vs…2. a manager who ROUTINELY mismanages his bullpen!

1. Arizona down 5-3 in the top of the 6th inning tonight against The Braves….bases loaded with 1 out…Zack Greinke tiring/struggling with his command (thrown 90 pitches). Braves bring on Preston Tucker to pinch hit, which prompts Arizona’s manager to bring in Jake Diekman (a lefty) to pitch..which Snitker correctly brings Charlie Culberson to pinch hit…who grounds into a fielder’s choice (runner out at home). Arizona then brings in Brad Ziegler to face Ronald Acuna..who then hits into a weak grounder to end the inning.

If Sintker was managing The Braves in that situation (being down 5-3)..I have NO DOUBT that he would have kept Diekman in to face Acuna (all year long…Snitker has REFUSED to use ANY of his key bullpen pieces when we are down 2 runs or more in a situation like that…A PERFECT EXAMPLE of that…was that Parsons/McCreevy game against Washington..where The Braves were down 5-3 going into the bottom of the 8th inning…and Snitker brought in McCreevy to make his MLB debut…who gave up 2 runs to kill any chances of a Braves rally). That was back when The Braves were scoring late inning runs AND Washington’s bullpen was having meltdowns!

2. Braves down 3-2 in the top of the 8th inning on Monday against Boston. With 2 outs and the bases loaded, Snitker leaves Jesse Biddle in to face Ian Kinsler (who RAKES left handed pitching)…who rips a 2 run single to give Boston a 5-2 lead going into the bottom of the 8th inning.

With A BULLPEN full of righties with ‘SWING AND MISS STUFF’….Snitker just leaves in Biddle to face Kinsler!

ALL YEAR LONG…Snitker has been MISMANAGING the bullpen like that! Sure, there have been a few times where Snitker GOT HELLA LUCKY (like when Luke Jackson struck out Adam Eaton with the bases loaded in the bottom of the 6th inning to end a threat during the last series we faced them in Washington). However, countless times…Snitker’s refusal/inability to properly manage what should be high leverage situations…has resulted in winnable games turning into losses.

Just because Philly and Washington have been unable to take advantage of The Braves losing winnable games…should not make Snitker’s blunders any less worrisome…ESPECIALLY if 1. The Braves make the playoffs (we’ll no doubt be outmanaged in key situations)…2. If AA decides to give Snitker an extension (giving Snitker the keys to this franchise…during the next few years when The Braves will be HELLA LOADED with talent, especially after AA is done re-tooling the offense/bullpen closer during the upcoming 2018 Free Agent Offseason….is A FRIGHTENING PROSPECT)….I fear it’ll be ‘Bobby Cox-like’ (Braves making The Playoffs every year, because of shear talent….only to get bounced because our manager gets outmanaged).

Sam Freeman SHOULD NOT be left in to face right handed hitters in high leverage situations! With a bullpen full of relievers….Sam Freeman is left in to face a right handed hitter in the bottom of the 7th inning with a runner on 1st and NO OUTS! Now it’s runners on 1st and 3rd with no outs..and FINALLY Dan Winkler is brought in.

Let’s hope that Winkler’s MELTDOWN yesterday against Boston was a one time fluke.

I guess that it’s too much to expect Walt Weiss to manage any differently than the ejected Brian Snitker, lol!

He leaves Johnny Venters to face TWO right handed hitters (got a lucky strike three call on Souza…..then gives up A ROPE single that drives in run #4 for Arizona to Marte (who hits better from the right side).

Now he brings in Luke Jackson (I guess that Kyle Wright is ONLY slated to pitch in MOP UP DUTY?) to get the last out of the 8th inning…..and proceeds to give up a line drive hit to right field to Nick Ahmed, lol.

Luke FUCKING Jackson, lol!

Why dont other teams construct their lineups like Snitker does (you know, like having Inciarte/Freeman/Markakis bat #2-#4….which allows the opposing manager to bring in a lefty to face three lefty hitters in a row)? Is it too much…for Snitker to ponder the possibility of having a right handed hitter HIT BETWEEN Freddie and Markakis?

WTF!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Leaving Biddle in to pitch to righties…..just gives up a game tying homer to Goldschmidt!

Why even bring up Kyle Wright….if he isnt around to pitch in a situation like this? Are we the ONLY TEAM in MLB..that is UNABLE/UNWILLING to take advantage of pitching matchups?

Braves management is not exactly putting our relievers in the best position to succeed! Unreal how STUPID Snitker (and apparently Walt Weiss) are!

Hopefully we can come back in extra innings! I’m literally AFRAID of who Weiss is going to call on to pitch the bottom of the 10th inning! If we get the lead….I’d bring in Wright. If we dont score…I’d bring in Bryce Wilson (who may need to pitch a few scoreless innings IF our offense cant get anything going in extra innings).

I’m SICK AND TIRED of hearing how ‘great’ a manager Snitker is/how much The Braves ‘love’ playing for Snitker…..HELL, I’d ‘love’ playing for Snitker too…IF when I SCREWED UP, my manager basically LET ME GET AWAY WITH IT with nary a punishment!

WTF was Dansby thinking LOOKING BACK to the outfield on that ground ball single hit by Flowers INSTEAD of running and looking at Ron Washington to see what he should do (stay at 3rd or run home)? Alibes, Acuna and Inciarte all make BAD base running mistakes! WTF is Snitker doing to TEACH these guys? How hard is to to EITHER fine/punish players for making STUPID mental mistakes?

We should be up 7-6 right now!

I guess that it’s better to be lucky…than good, lol! Wild pitch gives The Braves a 7-6 lead in the top of the 10th inning!!!!!!!!!!

However……the game is FAR from over!

WOW! That ball sounded like A HOMER that was CRUSHED to left field. I was surprised that Acuna caught that ball 10 feet in front of the warning track!

Regardless, I’ll take THE LUCKY win! Phillies fans have to be HELLA PISSED/DISCOURAGED with us winning tonight!

Given that The Braves re-signed Tyler Flowers to a contract that will pay him $4 mil in 2019 (that’s basically backup money for a catcher)…and either a $2 mil buyout OR a $6 mil 2020 salary if The Braves decide to pick up the option year.

There are several ways to look at this contract:

1. Flowers’ offensive numbers in 2018 arent as good as his 2017 numbers..primarily because he was injured to start the year (at least I hope so, lol). However he provides immense value with his Framing abilities…as well as how he handles our pitching staff.

2. If Flowers struggles in again in 2019, then they’ll simply buy out his contract (basically taking the position that they paid him $6 mil in 2019 instead of $4 mil). However if Flowers rebounds/maintains his Framing prowess…then picking up his $6 mil 2020 option becomes a no brainer because (1. he’ll be a bargain, in relation to the cost of WAR that’s attributed to a player. 2. he’ll be a possible trade asset, DEPENDING on how Braves management proceeds to go about getting a long term solution at the catcher position).

3. How does Braves management feel about William Contraras’ MLB projection…as well as how soon they feel he’ll play his way into a MLB uniform? I bring this up, because how they feel about Contraras…will determine 1. if they go after a STUD catcher (whether via Free Agency or via trade route) OR if they go for a catcher who will platoon with Flowers during the 2019-2020 seasons (like re-signing Suzuki…or going after Brian McCann in Free Agency or making a trade for a platoon-like catcher).

4. Does Braves management feel that Kurt Suzuki can continue to hit like he has the past two seasons…given that he’ll turn 35 in October?

If it was up to me, I’d take the safe route and re-sign Suzuki. I feel that both catchers sharing the catching duties..will prolong BOTH players careers AND give them a chance to be productive (due to less wear and tear that comes with catching 5-6 games a week).

I feel that 1. spending a lot of money to sign a stud catcher via Free Agency…2. using precious prospect capital to trade for a Realmuto-like catcher…..are HELLA risky avenues to take! 1. Allocating a lot of money/prospect capital to a catcher who will be expected to play THE BULK of a 162 game season (meaning 120+ games) will put them at risk of injury/wear and tear. What I like about the Flowers/Suzuki platoon of the past couple years…is that if one gets nicked up..the other can play for 5-10 games in a row, while the other one heals. Then when the one returns from being nicked up, he can play some games while the other one rests up…then they can go back to the platoon system.

If possible, I’d love to see William Contraras develop and make The Majors by the 2021 Season…so The Braves will be positioned to have him contribute as a minimum wage salary player (assuming that he can be a 2+ WAR-type player) by the time that a number of players like Acuna, Albies and our PLETHORA of young MLB pitching prospects become eligible for salary arbitration.

By re-signing Suzuki….The Braves can focus on signing a power hitting outfielder to replace Markakis (Acuna will be moving to right field…so a left fielder will be on the menu)…..as well as a closer (I’ve been pushing for Craig Kimbrel to be offered a 4 year contract that averages out to $17-$18 mil a year). I’d be comfortable with The Braves going with Austin Riley 3rd going into The 2019 Season (with Carmago being a Ben Zobrist SUPER-SUB type player who can give a lot of our regulars days off throughout The 2019 Season).

I know that Darren O’Day (and his $9 mil 2019 salary) is expected to be ready for Spring Training 2019 (the good news is that he’s recovering from a hamstring injury NOT anything arm/elbow/shoulder related). However he’ll be 36 in October (while Kimbrel wont turn 31 until May of 2019). I feel that with what The Braves are building with our young/talented Starting Rotation…..it makes sense to have a closer who literally is a SHUT DOWN Closer! O’Day…simply is not that kind of pitcher at this point of his career! Paying an 8th inning specialist $9 mil…is a bit ‘pricey’. I feel that O’Day will be a trade candidate once he shows in Spring Training that he’s healthy/can get hitters out.

I like AJ Minter..however I do not feel that he’s A SHUT DOWN Closer. I feel that he’d benefit from setting up Kimbrel for a few years (giving The Braves A LETHAL 8th inning option in Minter…as well as someone who can close on days where Kimbrel isnt available).

Once The World Series ends, I’ll make a detailed post about what I exactly would like to see The Braves do when it comes to The 2018 Free Agent Offseason…as well as how it can work payroll-wise!

What a tense game huh Paul?

As far as catcher goes—it seems like the Braves are going to dip their toes in free agent market with Suzuki as a back up plan–the idea of a great pitch framer like Grandal would be amazing–but what team doesn’t want a good hitting catcher who can pitch frame with the best of them? Could the Braves outbid everyone else? I think they will have Jackson in by the middle of the year–Maybe at the start of 19.

Riley might start the season in AAA and then after, I don’t know, 13 games he might get the call.
At short I think Dans will be the franchise player we hoped, yes.
Albies will be better. wow.
Freeman will be Freddie.
At Catcher Flowers and…..
I know Harper has been a personal cause for some (1) but what if we don’t sign Harper (very small chance) and we trade Ender?
The outfield could be very different.
If the Braves keep Ender–could we pick up a decent Left fielder who could play defense with some pop (Duvall/Reed…sorry D.Pete)?

Starting Pitching will be super interesting:

Could the Braves trade Julio and Newk?
A starting 5 or 6: Folty, Gausman, Soroka, Touki, Wilson, or Wright
What if Gohara comes back hitting 99?
Fried works out the blisters.

AA will probably get another starter under valued like Gaussman.

So what relievers are we gonna pick up and trade for?

I personally would rather extend Acuna/Albies/Dans than sign an expensive outfielder.
Sign a big starter like Corbin? Sure.
Kimbrel? at 20 per…..nah.
What a great problem to have.
A lot of money and a lot of bargain bin players who could be awesome.

Ender Inciarte SHOULD NOT be starting against left handed pitching…..

Adam Duval SHOULD NOT be hitting against right handed pitching in high leverage situations (like with the bases loaded and one out in the top of the 8th inning with the score 4-3 Arizona in tonight’s game)……

How hard…is that to understand…..BRIAN SNITKER?

Opposing managers MUST LOVE managing against Brian Snitker! In crucial situations…they EASILY get the matchups they want!

With rosters expanded….ONLY Brian Snitker can CONTINUALLY REFUSE to take advantage of pitching/hitting matchups in high leverage situations!

Is it going to take The Braves BLOWING a 4 1/2 game September lead…..in order for AA to HAVE THE FREAKING STONES to replace Snitker at the end of the season?

As much as I’d like to see The Braves have a shot to advance deep in The Playoffs/possibly win a World Series in 2018…..if it meant that AA would FOR SURE hire a new manager for 2019….I’d be MORE THAN OK with The Braves BLOWING the division lead AND not making The Playoffs in 2018!

AA is positioned to REMAKE some important parts of The Braves roster during The 2018 Free Agent Offseason..IN ADDITION to even more high upside prospects making their way onto The MLB Roster in 2019, 2020 and 2021! Brian Snitker SHOULD NOT be the manager that is leading those sure to be talented teams!

Even though some people would fault Kyle Wright for allowing the first 3 batters he faced in the bottom of the 8th inning (with Arizona up 4-3) to reach base to load up the bases….ONCE AGAIN I blame Snitker for this MESS!

Just like on Tuesday, when Snitker used Kyle Wright for 2 innings (when Boston was up 5-1)….Wright threw 31 pitches in those two innings (he threw 12 pitches in an impressive 1st inning of work, while he labored some in that 2nd inning of work). As a result of throwing those 31 pitches…Wright was basically unavailable to pitch..until tonight.

You’d think that Snitker would ‘maybe’ learn something from Tuesday…however ONCE AGAIN Snitker manages to REPEAT past mistakes!

Wright was impressive in the bottom of the 7th inning (needing 18 pitches to get throw a clean inning). Instead of bringing another reliever in to pitch the bottom of the 8th (making Wright possibly available to appear tomorrow in a possible high leverage situation)….Wright starts the 8th inning (ends up throwing 40 pitches total tonight).

Kyle Wright has GREAT STUFF! Why not put Wright in positions where he is more likely to succeed? At this point in his YOUNG career….he should be LIMITED to one inning appearances…where he can basically throw his best stuff (not worrying about ‘holding back’) in one inning of work at a time? Making him throw 2 innings at a time….mindboggling!

I just cant comprehend what goes throw Snitker’s mind! He’s simply unable/unwilling to create/take advantage of matchups!

What a bad loss by The Braves tonight! If Synderguard and deGroom dont help The Braves by beating The Phillies this weekend….we could very well get knocked out of 1st place during The San Francisco series next week (because Philly hosts Washington next week without having to face Scherzer….however Scherzer will pitch against The Braves next weekend when The Braves host Washington).

I am not feeling confident about Teheran and Tooki this weekend….Teheran is going to need 100 pitches to make it through 5 innings…giving Snitker 4 innings to mismanage our bullpen ONCE AGAIN tomorrow. Then on Sunday, Tooki will probably get pulled after 5 innings of work (after only throwing around 65-70 pitches) because Snitker’s “reasoning” will be that he doesnt want to ‘overwork’ Tooki (however he has NO PROBLEM with having Kyle Wright throw 40 pitches in 2 innings of work…making him unavailable to pitch on back-to-back nights in potentially high leverage situations)….which will ALSO give Snitker 4 more innings on Sunday to mismange The Bullpen, lol!

How can people see the same thing (Snitker managing this team THROUGHOUT The 2018 Season) and come to two ENTIRELY DIFFERENT conclusions (Masses of people saying ‘Snitker’s done a great job’….while people like me, who seem to be in the minority, feel that Snitker has done A TERRIBLE JOB)!

The Braves are in 1st place DESPITE having Snitker as manager! A combination of…1. playing in A WEAK DIVISION (The Phillies are flawed….Washington just fell on its face…The Mets and Marlins are TERRIBLE)…2. The Braves had two players (Ryan Flaherty and Preston Tucker) have OUT OF THEIR MIND performances during most of the month of April (The Braves were 19-11 on May 3rd)….3. Ronald Acuna and Johan Carmago have basically CARRIED The Braves since The All Star Break offensively! 4. Nick Markakis played like an MVP candidate during the 1st half of the season (since The ASB, he’s basically reverted back to being The Nick Markakis of 2015-2017….little power, who gets RBIs because he has lots of opportunities hitting cleanup). 5. The Starting Pitching has generally been healthy/consistently pitching 5-6 innings a start (VERY FEW complete games…however VERY FEW 1-2 inning starts).

We should have put Philly away when we had the chance. Instead, the next two weeks, Philly will have a chance to overtake The Braves for 1st place. I DO NOT want to hear about how ‘easy’ The Phillies next 2 weeks of the schedule are….WHEN The Braves had their chances to BEAT UP on the creampuffs on our schedule…and we ROUTINELY had series where we lost 2 of 3 to the likes of The Padres, Reds and Orioles…..in addition to getting swept by The Giants IN ATLANTA despite not having to face the likes of Bumgarder, Cueto and Samardzija (in a span of a week…The Braves were swept 3 games by The Giants….and in the very next series, The Phillies SWEPT The Giants in 4 games! Talk about how that affected The NL East Standings!).

Snitker sounds just like Bobby Cox….rationalizing losses! Then again, I guess that it’s kind of hard to be critical of the players…when you SUCK as a manager! Players get off easy for making critical mistakes….because they know that the manager doesnt want them to be critical of his MANY mistakes!

I get why Bobby Valentine had his issues as manager. However there are times where I would LOVE to see how he would react to some of the DUMB MISTAKES our players have made throughout the year! Also, I dont think that Valentine would keep allowing other managers to outmanage him!

Good piece, Brittni. I feel like the Braves will make the playoffs. That said, I’m not sure that they can really work on the things that they’ll need to make a deep playoff run during this stretch. The errors might’ve been nerves, with it being such a huge series. The lack of a true four-hole type of hitter really shows when the team leaves that many men on base, and that will need to be addressed through FA or trade. And as for the blown leads, getting Viz back healthy might be one thing that (hopefully) helps that. I like Minter, and I think he’s a quality RP- but I’m not so sure now that he’s a closer. This is a team that probably shouldn’t be as good as it is this soon though, so they’re playing with house money, through my eyes. I’m just going to enjoy the ride.

King…a week ago, I agreed with your accessment that The Braves would make The Playoffs.

However, if Freddie Freeman CANNOT start hitting like The Freddie Freeman we’ve known for years….I dont think that The Braves will be able to hold off The Phillies (especially given Snitker’s HORRIBE decision making, whether 1. how he manages the bullpen…2. his inability to properly use pinch hitters. Adam Duval SHOULD NOT have been left in to hit with the bases loaded and 1 out in the top of the 8th inning against the righty Brad Ziegler!).

It is HELLA FRUSTRATING seeing every opposing manager take advantage of Snitker’s BLUNDERS! Alex Cora (a rookie manager) FLAT OUT BITCH SLAPPED Snitker earlier this week when we played Boston. Last night, Tory Lovello basically did the same thing for Arizona!

Dude, I’m rooting for our guys to get into The Playoffs. I feel that we have a more talented team than The Phillies! However there is no getting around THE PLETHORA of mistakes that Snitker keeps making!

If Philly can find a way to win (or even split) the next two games against The Mets (Synderguard and deGroom start for The Mets today and tomorrow)..then Philly has an upcoming 9 game home stand against Washington, Florida and The Mets) that will give them an opportunity to go on a 7-2, 8-1 or even a 9-0 run (The Phillies play MUCH BETTER at home..and they know that they have no choice but to treat each of those games like a playoff game..even when it’s against inferior competition like those 3 teams).

The Braves….have to play at The Giants (where we historically SUCK playing at), then host Washington (where we have to face Scherzer, while Philly gets lucky and misses Scherzer early next week in Philly) and St. Louis BEFORE Philly comes to town!

With the way that 1. we’re struggling AND 2. Snitker is managing…I have serious doubts as to whether we’ll be in 1st place when The Phillies come to town for 4 games!

I’d love to be proven wrong!

Paul, Winkler has pitched more games than anyone else on the roster. Plus he’s basically still a rookie. And he has had TJS and a broken elbow. He is being run into the ground. What do you expect?

The Braves SOMEHOW win 3 of 4 games IN Arizona….DESPITE Brian Snitker’s INEPTITUDE!

Look, I was half expecting today to be a day where Snitker possibly would go with ‘the bullpen bums’, given how overworked most of the bullpen pieces that regularly get called on are….IF Arizona put some runs early on the scoreboard against Touki Tousiant. With Philly losing earlier today, The Braves could afford to give Minter, Venters, Winkler, Brach, Biddle and (in my opinion) Kyle Wright a day off…and go with the likes of Sam Freeman, Carle, Allard (at this point in his early MLB career, Allard should only be used in Mop-up duty), Sobotka, Luke Jackson, etc.

However, Touki pitched WELL for 5 innings….giving The Braves an opportunity to stake a 2-0 lead going into the bottom of the 6th inning. While Tooki ended up faltering (he only threw 56 strikes among his 105 pitches), he did get the 1st 2 outs of the 6th inning without giving up any runs..before Snitker correctly decided to pull him with runners on 2nd and 3rd.

As I stated earlier, I would have had NO PROBLEM if Snitker decided to basically ‘rest’ his best bullpen pieces today…IF Tousiant had pitched poorly early in the game. HOWEVER, things DID NOT play out that way. When that happens, a manager has NO CHOICE but to switch gears/change his initial plans…and bring out his best weapons in the bullpen to SECURE a winnable game!

Instead…Snitker calls on Luke Jackson (he’s basically SUCKED in the 2nd half….giving up runs in most of his appearances. Getting LUCKY to strike out Adam Eaton in a critical 6th inning appearance in late July after The ASB to get out of a bases loaded jam…DOES NOT qualify as ‘a smart move’ by Snitker)…who promptly gives up a game-tying single…..then fails to get an out while facing 4 batters (2 of whom are lefty hitters)…before giving way to Chad Sobotka, lol.

While Sobotka got the last out without giving up a run….Snitker proceeds to push his luck and leave Sobotka out there to pitch the 7th inning (Arizona was still up 4-2). Sobotka gets himself into a 1st and 3rd with 1 out jam..before getting out of the jam without giving up a run. Again, getting lucky DOES NOT qualify as ‘being a smart move to make’!

After scoring a run to make it 4-3 in the top of the 8th inning…who does Snitker bring in to pitch? Sam Freeman, who proceeds to give up a 1 out walk. The runner steals 2nd…then STUPIDLY gets thrown out at 3rd on a strikeout….basically SAVING The Braves that inning from being faced with a 5-3 deficit going into the top of the 9th inning.

For the life of me, I simply cannot understand why Snitker CONTINUES to stick to the old ‘uh, you cant use ANY of your best relievers to end rallies ANYTIME before the 8th inning’ line of thinking NOR ‘can you use them UNLESS you have a lead’, lol! I’ve seen Terry Francona go to Andrew Miller IN THE 5th inning to end scoring threats! A game can be lost in the middle innings!

However Snitker gets off the hook….as a result of The Braves offense EXPLODING in the top of the 9th inning. Yet that does not ‘make right’ his TERRIBLE decision making! He simply DOES NOT put our relievers in positions that they can best succeed in!

His MIS-USAGE of Kyle Wright so far since he’s was called up….is a prime example! Kyle Wright…if he’s going to be a potential effective weapon…should only (i’m talking about JUST for the rest of 2018) be used for ONE INNING at a time appearances! He’s got GREAT STUFF…the type of stuff that can be ‘aired out’ to have a SHUT DOWN INNING! Or…if you need a reliever to get out of a runners on 2nd and 3rd and no outs/1 out situation (you know, a situation where a strikeout or two is needed to potentially get out of an inning without giving up a run)..then Wright can be that guy.

HOWEVER, when Snitker basically runs him out there for 2 innings at at time (when you throw 40 pitches, either Wright becomes unavailable for a couple of days..OR..if you use him the next day, he WILL NOT have ‘lights out stuff’).

The Braves have A BULLPEN full of pitchers…YET Snitker manages like he only has a 25 man roster! Leaving Luke Jackson in to face two left handed hitters (after he gave up the 2 run single to tie the game), lol….I just dont get it.

I want SO MUCH to root for The Braves to somehow make it to The World Series in 2018….HOWEVER I DO NOT want to see Snitker manage this team in 2019…ESPECIALLY after our GM, AA, ‘does his thing’ during the upcoming 2018 Free Agent Offseason! The 2019 Braves are going to be EVEN BETTER than this year’s version…..and let’s not forget that we have EVEN MORE high upside prospects working their way up The System! Brian Snitker CANNOT be given the keys to whatever ‘finished product’ that AA ends up assembling this winter!

Is it wrong for me to be ‘conflicted’ when it comes to how far we end up advancing this Post Season? I predict that assuming The Braves win The NL East (which we should, especially since Philly appears addicted to losing)…that Snitker will end up getting OUTMANAGED against whoever we play in a 5 game NLDS. Under that type of microscope….perhaps Snitker’s decision making will get more scrutinized by The Media.

Yet, what if Freddie Freeman FINALLY catches fire and starts hitting homers again? Our offense, has some balance to it. Acuna and Camago have been carrying The Braves offense in the 2nd half! If Freddie joins the home run barrage….The Braves will be HELLA TOUGH to beat come playoff time. If these guys can start scoring runs EARLIER in a game….IF our starting pitchers can go a little deeper in games….this Braves team could end up making a World Series run (where I have a hard time imagine us beating either Boston, Houston, The Yankees or Cleveland…in a 7 game series)! Despite how The Cubs have played the last month…there are NO dominant teams in The National League. Still, with scheduled off days on travel days (along with early in the playoffs teams getting off days between Game 1 and 2)….our bullpen shouldnt be faced with being ‘overworked’. However, Snitker getting OUTMANAGED is a realistic possibility. That’s why our offense needs to make Snitker managing A MOOT POINT (I know, wishful thinking, lol).

Things for the Braves are really great. Almost everyone except
Albies is hitting. All the starters are doing well except newk—the bull pen will work itself out. Defense is great. Young starters are starting to show up and do really well. Man. So much more fun.

Andy…things would be MUCH BETTER (meaning, that we’d have a BIGGER LEAD in the division)…IF Snitker actually knew how to manage a bullpen!

Also, he has to know that Ender Inciarte is USELESS against lefty starting pitching (look at his appearances against Corbin on Sunday…in addition to his overall stats against lefties). While Duval has sucked OVERALL since joining The Braves…Snitker HAS to start him when a lefty is on the mound. With that said….Snitker has NO EXCUSE for leaving Duval in to hit against a righty with the bases loaded and one out over the weekend (an inning where we DID NOT score)!

We should have swept that series….without all that stress that resulted in Snitker mismanaging The Bullpen, which gave Arizona chances to come back (like he did yesterday when he called on Luke FREAKING Jackson to try and preserve a 2-0 lead…which, of course, he DID NOT)!

Luke Jackson SHOULD NOT be called on to pitch in ANY SCENARIO…other than Mop-Up duty!

By the way, I’ll be at the game on Wednesday (I live in San Francisco). Hopefully Sanchez will pitch a gem!

While The Braves ‘somehow’ took 3 of 4 from Arizona to begin this road trip (which lessened the sting of losing 3 straight against Boston at home earlier last week)….The Braves have an opportunity to win at least 2 of 3 games against The Giants (maybe even sweep all 3 games), a team that is challenged offensively. By the way, I’ll be at The Wednesday afternoon game in San Francisco, when Annibal Sanchez is slated to start.

It is ESSENTIAL that The Braves play with a sense of urgency these three games! The Giants are an OFFENSIVELY CHALLENGED team….hopefully our starting pitchers wont FREAKING NIBBLE (go after these guys…AT&T is a pitcher’s ballpark….it isnt like this is a lineup full of Babe Ruth-types, lol).

Also, we miss Bumgarner, Cueto, Samardzija…..no Buster Posey (as well as other decent role players/bullpen pieces who are injured). Brandon Crawford is not having a “Crawford-type” year. They have lost 8 in a row! We HAVE to take these games!

Also, The Braves enjoy an offday on Thursday (much needed for them)…while they GOT LUCKY in that Washington has to play a makeup game on Thursday against The Cubs. With another rainout today…they have to play a DH tomorrow against The Phillies (giving Washington’s bullpen 2 days of rest to face Philly)…however having a DH and playing a makeup game on Thursday…will HOPEFULLY be beneficial to The Braves when Washington comes to Atlanta on Friday for a 3 game series.

If The Braves can take care of business and win AT LEAST 2 of these 3 games in San Francisco (I see NO REASON why we cant take all three)…then depending on how Philly does against Washington..we’ll be positioned to put the final nail in Washington’s season this coming weekend! However we need to take care of business these next 3 days FIRST!

A VERY NICE ‘comeback’ win (hey, a ‘1-0 early deficit, ‘counts’ as ‘a comeback’, lol).

Seriously though, The Offense laid it on thick with the manufactured run in the top of the 8th….then some well placed POWER in the top of the 9th.

Newcomb went 6 innings with ZERO WALKS tonight! NO ERRORS by the defense tonight.

Better late than NEVER, but The offense put the game out of reach in the top of the 9th inning (given our opponent, the hapless Giants Offense, lol)!

The bullpen….lights out! Not one base running in 3 innings of work!

By the way, NEWS FLASH: It ‘appears’ that Brian Snitker actually OUT-MANAGED a 3-time World Series Champion Manager in Bruce Bochy in the bottom of the 8th inning….when he ‘appeared’ to let Shane (who only threw 8 pitches in the bottom of the 7th inning to get 3 outs) Carle in to ‘open’ The Bottom of the 8th inning….when Bochy comes out and uses Joe Panik as a pinch hitter (he’s a lefty hitter…a good one at that, when facing righties. However he struggles against lefties!). Immediately, Snikter comes to the mound and removes Carle and brings Johnny Venters to the mound! Bochy proceeds to pinch hit Panik…for Chase d’Arnaud (who generally SUCKED during his time with The Braves, lol. What…..The Giants ‘ran out’ of quality MLB players to field a 40 man roster with, lol? Venters calmly retires d’Arnaud And eventually gets out of the inning unscathed.

Which set up the stage for The Braves to bring AJ Minter to save what would be more than likely a ONE RUN LEAD going into the bottom of the 9th inning. However, our offense decided to continue scoring runs VERY LATE…which we did tonight with 2 more runs in the top of the 9th (while giving Minter ‘some breathing room’ with the 2 extra runs…it still ‘qualifies’ as a save opportunity)!

Those 2 extra runs…gave Minter some MUCH NEEDED Breathing room! He came out and was ON FIRE (a couple of days off may have helped…being pissed that he basically SUCKED the last few times out, ‘may’ have played ‘a part’ in how he came out tonight….REGARDLESS, he shut down The Giants IN ORDER to preserve a 4-1 Braves win!

As much as I’ve been HELLA CRITICAL of Brian Snitker THROUGHOUT The 2018 Season….I have no choice but to give the man SOME DESERVING CREDIT for how he managed today (for the most part, lol).

1. I did disagree with Snitker pulling Newcomb (who was rolling, making The Giants hitters LOOK BAD the last few innings) after throwing 93 pitches through 6 innings. I felt that Newcomb had another inning in him of throwing one more SHUT DOWN INNING! I’d rather The Braves Bullpen ONLY have to get 6 outs…INSTEAD of 9 total! However, Shane Carle made that A MOOT POINT, but only needing 8 pitches to get 3 outs in the bottom of the 7th.

I had just advocated on ‘reddit’ that Carle should be pulled for either Venters/Brach and have those two basically ‘split up the 8th inning’ (depending on who was batting from the right/left side of the plate. I’d rather save Carle for a possible appearance tomorrow, given how short his outing was pitchwise tonight.

However, Sntiker left Carle in…which prompted Giants Manager Bruce Bochy to call on Joe Panik (a very good lefty hitter who rakes against righties) to pinch hit. Then IMMEDIATELY (to my SHOCK, lol) Snitker comes out and brings in Johnny Venters to reliever Carle, lol. Then of course Bochy pinch hits, for the pinch hitter, lol, by going with Chase d’Arnaud (who TOTALLY SUCKED when he was with The Braves, lol). Venters ended up setting down The Giants 1-2-3 in order to send the game to the 9th.

He pulled the right moves by having Lane Adams to pinch run for Suzuki after he lead off the 9th with a double….then ended up using Lucas Duda, who drew a walk (could be important down the line, because we dont want Duda to ONLY BE HACKING AWAY up there ONLY trying to hit homers. On occasion, drawing a walk is ok…ESPECIALLY when Ronald Acuna is scheduled to hit right behind you, lol. In other words, not all the pressure will be on a pinch hitter to hit a home run. If he can….GREAT/FANTASTIC…..however sometimes a “HERO” can be one who draws the walk, which would allow a hitter of Acuna’s ability to hit the homer that wins the game. Remember, without Duda’s walk/getting on base in this ‘hypothetical situation’….Acuna does not come up with an opportunity to play hero! Baseball..is A TRUE TEAM EFFORT! Night in, night out…for 162 games a season (and that not counting The Playoffs, lol).

While I had issue with Sniter pulling Newcomb, it’s not the worse move I’ve ever seen made. In fact, I can ‘understand’ the ‘logic’ of Snitker going with that decision. I just would have let him in to pitch that 7th inning. However the bottom line is that it worked out PERFECTLY for Snitker and The Braves..while my scenario would be FAR from guaranteed to work.

Other than that…it was a WELL MANAGED GAME by Brian Snitker…and The Braves played, what I think, is one of their BEST games of The 2018 Season! No walks, no errors, good pitching all the way around, no base running blunders. A clean, well-played game…against The Rodriguez kid for The Giants who has A HELLA BRIGHT FUTURE! I had never seen/heard of this kid prior to tonight. He’s a keeper for The Giants. I’m glad that we DO NOT have to face him anymore.

I feel that The Braves offense will be MUCH BETTER/CRISPER tomorrow and Wednesday…when Suarez and Holland pitch for The Giants. I have a feeling that The Braves are going to put some CROOKED NUMBERS up on the scoreboard the next few days!

In the meantime, lets’ hope that Washington can AT LEAST SPLIT that 2 game DH against The Phillies tomorrow!

Hopefully Albies and Newk heat up like everyone else.

And I do mean everyone else:
Freeman heating up
Neck heating up
Carmago (so glad the Braves let him gets some at bats and see what they have) doing great
Dans been heating up
Ender has been doing alot better (dans)
Zuk and flowers heating up
Albies starts getting on base!!!!

Folty/Gausman been real good
Tehran/Sanchez super solid/good

If newk can keep this last start……

world series here we come

Andy….

1. Freeman and Markakis HAVE NOT been supplying any power the past 4 months hitting #3-#4 in our lineup. Sure, their RBI totals are ‘creeping upwards’…because both of them are getting A LOT of RBI opportunities (getting an RBI via a sac fly/ground out/fielder’s choice….sure, it adds to their RBI totals, however it doesnt mean that they did anything special, like get A HIT, to drive him in. It means that they produced an out, which often kills rallies that could result in an even bigger inning IF the hitter got a hit instead of what is commonly known as ‘a productive out’, lol).

Acuna and Camargo have basically been CARRYING The Braves offensively since mid-May. Since May 13th….Freeman (409 at-bats) and Markakis (405 at-bats)….in a COMBINED 814 at-bats, have hit A COMBINED 20 homers (13 for Freddie, 7 for Markakis). The numbers are WORSE if you take into account what their numbers are since June 16th (in a combined 576 at-bats for Freeman/Markakis…only 12 homers COMBINED for them, 6 for each of them)! Simply UNACCEPTABLE numbers for the #3-#4 hitters on a 1st place team!

Meanwhile, Acuna (294 at-bats, he missed 28 games in late May-late June when he got hurt running to 1st in Boston) and Camargo (368 at-bats)….in a COMBINED 662 at-bats, have hit A COMBINED 38 homers (22 for Acuna, 16 for Camargo). That’s 18 MORE homers for the Acuna/Camargo combo…in 152 LESS COMBINED at-bats….than the Freddie/Markakis combo since May 13th!

Oh….Freddie is making $21 mil in 2018 AND Markakis is making $10.5 mil…while Acuna/Camargo are making around $520k (pro-rated potion for Acuna, since he wasnt added to The 25 man roster until early May) each…..with 2 more years before they are eligible for salary arbitration after The 2020 Season.

I’m not necessarily trying to bash Freddie and Markakis….just saying that your assertion that both are ‘heating up’…is a little absurd! Their jobs as #3-#4 hitters in our lineup (any lineup) is to hit for some power (or at least be a threat to hit for some power).

For the life of me, I’m not sure what is wrong with Freddie! He has LEGIT power that’s been on display for the past 5-6 years! However, when it comes to Markakis, he’s simply shown that his power ‘surge’ in the 1st half of the season…was pretty much A FLUKE (in 1804 at-bats from 2015-2017, Markakis hit A COMBINED 24 homers, which averages out to be 8 a year…from the cleanup spot! Yet people get on me for QUESTIONING the sanity of Brian Snitker as Braves Manager, lol!).

On May 9th, Markakis hit his 7th homer of the young season (139 at-bats). The fans were excited, all kinds of prediction of ‘after 3 seasons of struggling with his neck issues that preceded Markakis signing with The Braves in The Fall of 2014, Makakis had ‘finally’ healed..and that he was going to show that he was ‘finally’ The Nick Markakis of his 2007-2009 years where he averaged 20 homers/100 RBIs a season.

Now compare 7 homers in 139 at-bats….VS…..since May 10th, in 422 at-bats (all these are official at-bats, I’m not including walks/HBP’s/SacFly’s), Markakis has ONLY hit 7 additional homers. Since August 1st, in 153 at-bats, Markakis has only hit 2 homers! Bottom line…Makakis is who we always thought he was….a grinder who simply has little power. The past 4 years (minus 139 at-bats to begin The 2018 Season where he hit 7 homers DOES NOT change that) have shown that.

I feel that with his decent OBP (.371 OBP, .307 batting average)….Markakis should be batting LEADOFF in this lineup! Sure, long term, I feel that Ronald Acuna should be our leadoff hitter (especially after AA does his thing this upcoming offseason to address the LACK of power we have in the middle of our lineup). However, we seriously lack some MIDDLE OF THE ORDER POWER…and by inserting Acuna to hit behind Freddie….’perhaps’ Freddie would be the one getting some better pitches to hit! Acuna, the rookie (I know, lol) would be the one PROTECTING Freddie.

Here’s how I would adjust our lineup:

1. Markakis….RF (OBP..that’s his true value to our lineup in 2018)
2. Swanson…SS (I know, long term, Albies has better value hitting #2. Until Albies can work out his 2nd half struggles….Camargo has done a nice job hitting #2 lately. However Dansby has speed, has shown in the 2nd half that he can handle the bat better/can draw some walks).
3. Freddie…1st (no explanation needed)
4. Acuna….LF (IMMENSE power injected in the cleanup spot)
5. Camargo…3rd (he’s a switch hitter who has some power and has a knack for driving in runs in clutch situations. The Braves needed his power potential hitting #5).
6. Albies…..2nd (this is a good spot of the order for Albies to work on his batting issues. He’s started to show glimpses of driving the ball/as well as taking more pitches in his at-bats).
7. Flowers/Suzuki…C (no explanation needed)
8. Inciarte…CF (Gold Glove defender whose basically a singles hitter. Sure, he hits the concessional big homer…however is basically a singles hitter who should be hitting 8th pretty much every day. In addtion, Inciarte has LITTLE VALUE offensively when a TOUGH left hander in starting. Just look at his numbers hitting lefty pitching).

My above lineup, while not a ‘perfect’ lineup….has lefty-right balance (in other words, the opposing manager CANNOT bring in a lefty to face three Braves lefty hitters in a row! Nor can he bring in a righty reliever to face 2 or more righty Braves hitters in a row. With 2 switch hitters hitting #5-#6….The Braves have opportunities to have 4 right handed hitters in a row to face a lefty (whether a starter or a reliever)! That’s…a balanced lineup!

How can you argue with that lineup?

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