Braves Continue Lackluster Play

Has Gonzalez conceded the best record in the NL?

Has Gonzalez conceded the best record in the NL?

Evidently home field advantage in the playoffs doesn’t mean anything, ’cause the Atlanta Braves keep rolling out line-ups littered with substitutes.

Monday night, in the 5-0 loss to the Brewers, the Braves had Brian McCann and Freddie Freeman sitting on the bench resting.  In a few weeks the season will be over, can’t they rest then?

If the best record in the NL is meaningless, I wish the Braves would just tell us.  That way Braves fans will be able to understand why subs are getting so many at bats.

The problem with the preoccupation with giving players rest, is that there has been no evidence over the years that well-rested teams are any better in the playoffs, than teams that aren’t well-rested.  If there was evidence that showed teams are better in the playoffs that are well-rested, then it would be understandable why Gonzalez is resting his players.  But there isn’t.

The main concern with this Braves team, is that it seems they have become comfortably complacent the past few weeks, and there is no guarantee that they will get a wake-up call anytime soon.

I finish this article by posing this question to you.  If Gonzalez thinks he is helping his team by resting players, then why are they playing their worst baseball all season in September, when they are the most rested?

  • Lee

    Jim, your final question is spot on! I cannot understand resting players at this critical juncture. The Braves are apparently unconcerned about having home field advantage. When the dust settles, the Braves will unlikely have the best record in the NL. They might be well rested, but will have no momentum going into the playoffs. If they continue to play uninspired baseball, and lose the majority of their final games at home, home field advantage will be a moot point. Perhaps this is why the national media, and many teams don’t see the Braves as a potential threat.

    • Lee, sounds like we both agree that the Braves will go into the playoffs as decided underdogs. But I’m really perplexed by the Braves approach at this point in the season.

  • gmckill

    I think Fredi is a bit concerned that his team is not motivated and/or will not peak at the right time. It is possible that’s what was behind his tirade last night against Angel Hernandez. He should see some fire regardless of who is in the lineup.

    • BravesBeliever

      100% agreement, GMC! I just hope his motivational gestures and the good sense to know that this team needs a HUGE pump-up right now is not too late. I don’t think it is; however, Fredi is, quite frankly, not known for fire and brimstone style encouragement and flare. However, I do feel there are more than a couple of players who are fully capable of providing the motivation necessary to pump this team up. I just wish I could see a little more evidence of it on the field and in the dug out. We’ll see, I suppose.

    • Good point about last night’s tirade, gmc.

  • Bronkelliott

    Agree totally with you Jim. Braves are a soft team and haven’t proven anything to anyone. Do you think any of the playoff teams are fearing this lineup or pitching staff? Freddi tried all year to cover up for Uggla and B J. Now the whole team is playing hide and seek. Without Freeman in the lineup, there is almost no threat. Ask yourself this question, “who would you rather have managing your team at this time, Freddie G or Tony Larussa? Unless Freddi manages correctly this playoff series, neither he nor the Braves will be taken seriously!

    • Bronk, the Braves have a wonderful opportunity to prove a lot of people wrong in this year’s playoffs. Lets hope they do!!

  • rogerheld

    C’mon guys. Watch the games. You can see who is burning out and needs a break. Andrelton has booted a couple of easy ground balls. Avilan is not sharp. C. Johnson is up and down. McCann is slumping. Minor has been inconsistent. Teheran and Wood are very young. Even Kimbrel blew a save. These guys have played a lot of innings and need to take it easy. I think this does work better with hitters than pitchers. From what I’ve observed, once a pitcher starts losing it, he doesn’t get it back very quickly. Others need more work – especially if they’ve been injured. Heyward, Walden, Uggla, Maholm, Gattis, Downs. I think it makes no sense to rest guys that do not appear to need it – JUpt, Freeman, Medlen. I think there are no “one size fits all” solutions. That’s why managers have to manage.
    I think it’s better to start a homestand with a gimme game than end it that way – that’s what got me about the last time Freddie rested his folks. They are still a half game ahead and there is every reason to believe they will win a few more. If Heyward really gets going…….watch out!

    • roger, as I mentioned in the article, there is no evidence that wrapping up a division early and resting players give any advantage in the playoffs. None. So why give away something valuable for nothing?

      The other teams in the NL are all playing their guys every day and battling. So are the Braves supposed to have a big advantage in the playoffs ’cause their guys are more rested?

      • rogerheld

        Jim, I don’t buy your contention that rest does not help ballplayers at the end of a season to be ready for the postseason. What statistics could you have that prove this? When comparing teams, there is no way to do an apples-apples comparison. Some managers rest lots of guys, some rest a few – how do you compare that and draw a conclusion. What I’m saying is that common sense dictates who should rest and who should play more than normal. That is a manager’s job. If he does it well, the rest will help the team. It’s a biological fact that bruises and nicks and sprains take time and rest to fully heal. Is Gattis’ oblique fully healed? Schaefer’s foot? Maholm’s wrist? I’m willing to bet Uggla’s vision is continuing to improve on a daily basis. What minor maladies are any of these guys hiding? You can quote statistics all you want but if you ask the wrong question or use the wrong context and the statistics fly in the face of common sense then they are meaningless.

        • Roger, so the Braves are now a lot more well-rested than the team they will face in the first round. How huge an advantage will that be? What stats can you quote that teams that rest their players in September, perform better in October?

          I ask again.. if resting players is such a tonic for their performance, why are the Braves playing their lousiest baseball of the season in September? Why are these guys who have gotten rest, now stinking up the joint?

  • BravesBeliever

    I’ve come to the conclusion- and I know this is no revelation- that the Braves are what I would call a “Perfect Storm” team. If the Bats are hot, the starting pitching at least decent and the bull pen at the level they have been all year- pre-September, that is- there is not a team on the planet who can stop them. However, with the exception of a few short glimpses of their glory, one has to look to the three strong streaks they had during the year to find the baseball equivalent of the meteorological Perfect Storm necessary to go deep in the post season. Just like natures Perfect Storm, if the conditions above are all in place, look out, EVERYONE because there is not a team on the planet who can compete successfully with this team. If they go on a streak with the “perfect storm of baseball” like they broke out in those 8, 10, 12, 14 straight wins during 2013, it will be the equivalent of Katrina- “look out, boys, here it comes and there’s NOTHING we can do to stop it!” Nevertheless, the current forecast with the present state of predictable conditions for such a storm looks pretty gloomy at this point due to the relative calm of September when the Braves have mustered nary a small squall. On a positive note, however, one can also look back and say when the three or four Perfect Storms streaks of 2013 hit the communities of the unsuspecting teams who were the victims in their wake during those streaks one could just as easily say there were no discernible, predictable dark skies warning of the impending doom for all of those teams nor providing any indication that the storm was imminent. The Braves Perfect Storm just hit like with an unstoppable hurricane force and when it did, the Braves were unstoppable. On the other hand, if the conditions for this Baseball Perfect Storm never develop and the team keeps playing the way this team has played during September-and, most particularly, right now- all that will be witnessed is the gentle but unkind breezes that will quite quickly blow the Braves off the post-season charts with little fanfare.

    SO…..Ladies and Gentlemen of Braves Nation, PRAY FOR THE BRAVES’ PERFECT STORM of baseball; for if it comes, the only thing left in it’s wake will be a wonderful collection of World Series Rings and Banners. And, when it is all said and done, THAT is why we truly Chop!

  • Al

    Fredi is stupid. This team is full of underachievers. Minor is starting to pitch like Maholm and if he doesn’t improve by the end of May next year, trade him cause he is giving up the game in the early innings. Trade the Uptons and Uggli when they early exit the playoffs and FW with them.

  • johnnyjunior

    I call it a loss of momentum. These guys are young studs in their prime … tired my ass! They could play everyday and be ready to go the next. Braves … play hard … find yer mojo ..and hang on.

  • Mike Crowe

    Spot on Jim. You’ve been on a roll of late.