Posted: 4:59 pm Monday, March 31st, 2014

Short takes on Braves’ loss to Milwaukee 

By Jeff Schultz

The Braves' Julio Teheran was not dominant but he allowed only two runs in six innings. (AP photo)

The Braves’ Julio Teheran was not dominant but he allowed only two runs in six innings. (AP photo)

I’m not sure what the odds were in Las Vegas of the Braves going 162-0. But that bet just died.

The offense: also in need of resuscitating.

With most of the concern about this team centered on starting pitcher, it figured that the biggest problem in Monday’s season opener was the lack of offense. The Braves were held to five hits, struck out seven times and lost to the Milwaukee Brewers 2-0.

My full column off the game will be posted on MyAJC.com. Until then, here are my three “short takes.”

UPDATE: Here’s a link to the full column (subscription).

1. JULIO TEHERAN DOES HIS JOB: Against the backdrop of losing starting pitchers Kris Medlen and Brandon Beachy to “Tommy John” surgery in spring training, the Braves needed a sign from Teheran that things would be OK for, well, at least one day. They were. Sort of. The 23-year-old wasn’t dominant but he showed poise by working out of jams and held the Brewers to two runs in his six innings. In other words, he gave his team a chance to win, assuming his team wasn’t going to be shut out … which they were.

2. UPTON-UGGLA WATCH: (Part 1 of 162) OK. So maybe this is a little bit unfair since it’s one game into the season and it’s not like anybody in the Braves’ lineup went on an offensive tear Monday. But two of the guys who get paid to drive in runs, are coming off miserable seasons and get paid the most got off to bad starts. Upton went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts and stranded three runners, fanning with two on in the fifth. Uggla went 0-for-4 (reached on a fielder’s choice) and also stranded three. (He did seem to have better quality at-bats than Upton.) Not a good start.

3. ON FURTHER REVIEW: MLB 1, NFL 0: Baseball’s expansion of the replay rule was long overdue. Before this season, the only thing that could be reviewed was whether a home run was fair or foul, and even then it was at the umpire’s discretion. But it has been widely expanded this season, with each manager getting one challenge in the first six innings (a second one if they win the challenge). After the sixth, replays are at the discretion of the crew chief. But give baseball this: It blows away the NFL in how long a ruling takes. Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez challenged when Milwaukee’s Ryan Braun was ruled safe on an infield play in the sixth. Replays showed he was out; the call was reversed. But the most impressive aspect of the decision: It took only 58 seconds.

A few recent ramblings, on replay . . .
– Blog: LIVE: 5 questions going into Braves’ season
– MyAJC ($): Strong opener by Teheran would ease some Braves’ concerns
– MyAJC ($): Injuries means Braves have little margin for error
– MyAJC ($): NCAA needs to take the hint, start paying players
– Blog: Mike Mills’ song pushes Dale Murphy for Hall of Fame
– MyAJC ($): Did Dimitroff lose benefit of doubt after bad season?
– Blog: Dimitroff on Falcons, failure, his draft board and Umenyiora
– Blog: Mercer (Georgia’s shining light) stuns Duke
– MyAJC ($): SEC needs to go to nine-game schedule, eliminate cupcakes
– Blog: SEC needs to expand conference schedule (column preview)
– MyAJC ($): Richt has been tough, even if some haven’t noticed
– Blog: More arrests at UGA, and Herbstreit jumps Richt
– Blog: NFL must deal with Irsay (and Roddy White has his say)
– MyAJC ($):Georgia loses but Fox goes down swinging at NCAA
– MyAJC ($): Florida proving football school can win at hoops
– Blog: Bad sign? Florida struggles in win over Tennessee
– MyAJC ($): Georgia is given its chance to shine
– MyAJC ($): Page 2 special: College playoff arguments don’t make it wrong
– MyAJC ($): Falcons’ makeover has nice start but there’s more to do
– Blog: Braves make move for Santana, credit to Wren
– Blog: Falcons’ moves should improve both lines
– Blog: Braves now being bit by offseason decisions
74 comments
Veritas_9
Veritas_9

Here's a short take:  BJ and Dan aren't going to turn things around.


Bench them.  Often.

Birdhair
Birdhair

Has the AJC ever asked FW a tough question? The answer is obviously no. Our sports writers perpetuate sports losersville. They are big factor in the reason why we dont win championships in this city. They arent consistent with analysis (often shifting blame and criticism when they do critcize, which isn't often), or they wrongly place the criticism.

Summary:

Bradley: He thinks the Braves will win the world series every year because we'll make the playoffs and he says that the playoffs are a crapshoot.

Schultz: never consistent with analsyis. One second he blames Wren, then he totally backs off and shifts all blame to Liberty.He's off base.

DOB: Good for game times, analsyis on bulging biceps, when gates open, beards, pictures of sunsets from rental car in orlando, song lyrics.

DirtyDawg
DirtyDawg

Yeah, it's just one game, but for me, watching BJ attempt to make contact with the ball, was simply a continuation of last season. I suppose that if a hitting coach (or coaches) could make every swinging so-in-so an actual hitter, they'd all be all-stars, but this guy simply can't adjust anything. At this point, I'd swallow it...send him down with the only goal to mimic a combination of Chris Johnson and Freddie Freeman - keep your feet on the ground, swing like your playing pepper, and choke up a half inch or so - your bat just ain't quick enough man. And as for Freddie, if you'da hustled on that last at bat, you'd have been safe...way, way too early in the season to dog it. Whatsamatter? That hundred-zillion dollars weighin you down? Don't get me wrong son, I love ya, but you know better than I do that you should have run harder...damn man, it's the first game of the season. Don't do that.

ShovelPlease
ShovelPlease

It gladdens me highly that though he went hitless and stranded numerous runners, Uggla had "quality at bats." 

TampGator1
TampGator1

The Reds lost yesterday.....1-0......so I guess their fans should give up all hope on Cincy winning a game this year as well.   

58Supersports
58Supersports

It doesn't matter who the pitcher is if you can't score runs... Braves are the strike out kings.

SaveAmericaFromItself
SaveAmericaFromItself

We'll be 12-15 games out of first before it dawns on Fredi to give Pena, Schafer & Pastornicky a shot to start, instead of Uggly and BJ.

Thank you, Frank Wren. If the Braves were operated like a results-driven Fortune 500 company, your a** would have been fired a long time ago.

gtcaryd
gtcaryd

They'll play better when they get to Cobb Co. Good Grief, guess some folks were hoping for 162-0. Try to keep in mind, they will still be playing when toe meets leather again. Relax.

armchairob
armchairob

Encouraged by the way Uggla swung the bat. He should have had a hit in the 9th but for the pitcher getting leather on the ball hit up the middle and earlier in the game, he went to right field. It is a long way to September so we will see. BJ looked like more of the same, and I have to agree with the posters who have little confidence with Fredi. All in all it should be a good season with Heyward, Freeman, J Up  and Johnson providing enough offense to stay competitive.


Princess_Leia
Princess_Leia

At least it's only five months till toe meets leather.

legionaire
legionaire

Just be glad you are not the Braves beat writer and have to watch this bunch all year. I can see 100 losses .

ThomasBrown
ThomasBrown

Jeff Schultz, cease with the short-take headlines, no one is paying AJ-C to read about baseball in Atlanta.

Ficklefan
Ficklefan

Couldn't watch the game today, but already had my line ready for when after the Braves lost. "It's early."  Actually, it couldn't be any earlier. Not being able to watch, I don't know if BJ was still doing the left foot samba today and busting more moves than MC Hammer could manage to bust while the ball was between the pitcher's hand and home plate. I've read all the optimistic good ST reviews, but I also recall that the batting coach said last year that he does great in practice, but forgets it all during the game. 


The key this year is to give him a chance, and if he does not produce, sit him down, even if it is early. Wren, of course, wants him to play thinking that some day . . . yes, some day, and far, far away in a better place . . . he will justify the dumb deal he made. But he as to ask himself -  Is keeping BJ in the line up all summer until the writing is not only on the wall again, but jack hammered into the wall, in the best interest of the Braves at least getting a Wild Card spot this year. 


Didn't see Uggla play, but the reports are that he hit the ball, and there is hope. So, we'll see. You keep hitting the ball every time you are up (instead of letting every National League pitcher  in the league set you up for a third swinging strike with the the ball bouncing in front of the plate), and you will ultimately start getting some breaks. That's baseball. 

Colonel-Flagg
Colonel-Flagg

Wow! The vast majority in this thread are ready to slit their wrists 12 hours into the season. Great fans we have here. Pan the crowd during a home game and you could fire a bazooka into the seats and cause not a single flesh wound. Now, go to Wrigley Field on any one of their 81 home games and it is sold out, and they haven't won a World Series since before WWI. Atlanta fans are notorious for being never satisfied even when their teams win. For all of you armchair managers that probably never even played Little League, turn off the TV or change the channel back to Nascar or Jerry Springer. I for one will not let you ruin this season for me, regardless if the Braves win or lose.

SaveAmericaFromItself
SaveAmericaFromItself

This time last year it was said the Braves hasd the "best outfield in baseball".


With due respect to golden glover Jason Heyward, the other two are a joke !


BJ Upton should be referred to as "loaf" and Justin should be "half-loaf".


These two brothers are a modern-day Frank & Jesse James. Another brilliant

Frank Wren acquisition. Look for Chris Johnson And Ervin Santana to leave

for free agency because Wren has tied up the payroll in Uggly & the Upton brothers.

Brilliant ! 

TomGaff
TomGaff

Ok, Uggla hit the ball hard several times, that gives you hope? BJ was BJ, couldn't get ball out of infield with 2 SO's. Fredi is crazy hitting him 2nd? He needs to bat 9th, behind the pitcher, maybe that will shake him up or piss him off? That is,if you continue to play him? He will be hitting under .200 after first month of season, mark it down friends! Worst deal in history of Braves or MLB for that matter!!

MichaelHannigan
MichaelHannigan

I guess it's just me, but I still believe the Braves started their downhill slide (mind you, I said
"STARTED"...it ain't even slownd down yet) when Frank Wren took over as General Manager.  Is this just coincidence?  As on who vehemently does not believe in "coincidence," I will rest my case.

toddm22
toddm22

Why do we compound the financial mistakes of BJ Upton and Dan Uggla by continuing to put them on the field where they destroy the lineup? Just eat the loss and move on. They are killing the team. Two number 8 hitters that can't even put the ball in play.

FrediStupid
FrediStupid

The batting order I would want Fredi to field out there if I were an opposing team manager:


1) Heyward 

2) B Upton

3) Freeman

4) C. Johnson 

5) J. Upton

6) Uggla

7) Gattis

8) Simmons

9) Pitcher

FrediStupid
FrediStupid

The batting order the opposing pitcher would fear the most right now:


1) Heyward 

2) Simmons 

3) Freeman

4) J. Upton

5) C. Johnson 

6) Gattis 

7) Pastornicky/ LaStella

8) Schafer

9) Pitcher

FrediStupid
FrediStupid

It is time to bench BJ and Uggla, or at least platoon them. If not, we could be 10 games out by Memorial day. We can't afford a slow start this year because of thin starting pitching. The Nats seem determined to start fast. They are on a mission. The time to field the best players out there is now, beginning with game 2.

HIVPositive
HIVPositive

Pitching wasn't bad, so that's something positive to take from the game. I'm not one bit surprised about BlowJ and Struggla's performance. If you have high hopes for BlowJ and Struggla then you're going to be in for a long season. 

drew48
drew48

The Braves lost an away game against somebody's #1 starter.

End the season. They might as well cancell the rest of the games.

Barves_Loss_Agian
Barves_Loss_Agian

Way 2 go Barves.  Nuttin has cahnged form last year. Struggla still suxes and Upton is even worst. 


Timwe 2 fire the loosing managar

RangeRover
RangeRover

My comment earlier on Bradley's column before the game:

"Braves have an Achilles Heel by the name of Fredi Jesus González.  He is saddled with a low cognitive ceiling and zero instincts for the game.  Watch his interview after today's game when, as usual, he'll have to ask those interviewing him about the facts and occurrences of the game he just managed moments earlier.  Poor short term memory is a classic indicator of low intelligence.

In baseball, you can occasionally be short on marbles and get lucky (Ozzie Guillen), but you must have baseball instincts and sufficient in-game situational and circumstantial aptitude to win three straight series against postseason caliber teams and managers.  Fredi can't even comprehend effective lineup strategy.

Maybe he'll get lucky!  LOL!"

This dimwitted dolt putting BJ Upton batting 2nd just perfectly exemplifies everything above...

miked91
miked91

I know its 1 game but god,I'm not impressed at all with this offense.

BooBooBear
BooBooBear

Last season the pundits kept saying, "If it wasn't for 4 winning streaks of 8-12 games, the Braves are just a .500 team."  It is hard to see this team winning 3 in a row.  


RangeRover
RangeRover

@Birdhair  

LOL!

DOB is the worst!  I'll never forget him taking a day trip motorcycle ride with Fredi Gonzalez before he ever managed a game.  How can you be objective being bike buddies with the manager of the team you're charged with being objective?  Think Fredi would allow him to join him at packing his gut at the Braves clubhouse buffet if he said something impolite?  And I agree, those song lyrics are almost as bad as hearing Ludlow Porch again on WSB radio...corny!  And DOB will pull your comment in a second if he so chooses, even if it violates nothing on here.

Bradley is just a nice, simple man truly out of his element here...should be a bean counter.

Schultz is a misguided liberal but at least I have heard and read him needle and challenge a few.

But, all and all, I agree with you; the girly man journalism here perpetuates mediocrity and thus we have to hear things like "hell-of-a," "crooked number," and "the back of his baseball card" from a "manager" that probably couldn't pass a third world country GED exam, and a GM in Wren that would be fired from most any other organization for his gross negligence of wasting company assets.

SaveAmericaFromItself
SaveAmericaFromItself

If Phil Niekro had pitched for the Dodgers or the Big Red Machine of the 1970s instead of the horribly pathetic Braves he would have won 400 games. 

Baghead
Baghead

@DirtyDawg  The poor play of the other members on the team will weigh on him heavily.  As the season progresses, it becomes tiresome and frustrating to have most the other guys whiffing and stranding thousands on base.  I'm surprised he's doing that this early.  Maybe he realized while down in Orlando that his team is a pile of garbage just like the manchild Franky Wren.  

SaveAmericaFromItself
SaveAmericaFromItself

Jim Powell said Uggla has really been hitting the ball far   -    in batting practice.

Go Braves !

Birdhair
Birdhair

@SaveAmericaFromItself You're spot on. If the Braves were owned by a private or single owner who was vested and interested in winning then FW would have been canned years ago. All the guy does is spend egregiously and poorly. He can't sit still and avoid throwing away millions on the likes of terrible mistakes namely Dan Uggla, B.J. Upton, Derek Lowe, and KK.

John Schuerholz needs to be called to the table too. Why did he handpick this clown as his successor? Why is he allowing this organization to go down the drain?

We havent won a playoff series in 12 years going on 13. FW has failed to win a playoff series in 6 years going on 7. How much longer should we fans tolerate failure? 4 more years and we're at don waddell level! And waddel had to build a team from scratch. FW walked into Chipper Jones, Tim Hudson, Brian McCann, Julio Teheran, Kris Medlen, Rafael Soriano, Martin Prado, and he's done nothing but fail.

Sadly, the atlanta sports writers only perpetuate sports losersville. Thanks, AJC.

gtcaryd
gtcaryd

@ThomasBrown Right ThomAss, everybody wants to read about how smart you are. You dont want to read about Alex Wood? Game 2 starter, and a Dawg to boot.

DawgNole
DawgNole

Colonel-Flagg:  "Atlanta fans are notorious for being never satisfied even when their teams win."

______________________

So you're satisfied with ONE championship in 158 seasons of ATL pro sports competition covering 48 years?

Doesn't say much for your standards.


TampGator1
TampGator1

@Colonel-Flagg


Well said.   If these people want to learn how to be a real, loyal baseball fan......they should make one trip to Wrigley Field during the season.  Not only will they see how real baseball fans act (they do not do the wave), they could listen to them between innings and learn a little something about baseball.  The Cubbies are sometimes hard to watch, but the Cubs' fans enjoy every minute of watching baseball, win or lose.  Great city.  Better sports fans.   Better leave now.  It is the bottom of nth with the bases loaded and two out......and Turner Field is rocking.....that is.....they are doing the wave.

Baghead
Baghead

@TomGaff  I agree.  You gotta wonder what the thought process is behind his spot in the order.  Unfortunately we can't depend on worthy hometown journalists to ask the tough questions.  

DawgNole
DawgNole

@toddm22  

Why? To save face for Wren, which makes the whole deal even more disgusting.

dynesh
dynesh

@FrediStupid  You call Fredi stupid, then you put that lineup there.  Ok then.   First, if you are starting Shafer, then he leads off.  Heyward goes 5th or 2nd, Johnson 4th to protect Freeman(Justin doesn't scare pitchers right now, but a .300 hitter coming up keeps you from pitching around Freeman)  Justin is 6th, then Gattis(Gattis is done, I'm sorry. He has looked terrible all spring, and he looked like he didn't have a clue out there today, swinging at balls in the dirt. I like him as much as the next guy, but pitchers aren't going to throw fastballs down the middle any more to him.)

Doktor13
Doktor13

@RangeRover  100% agreed... Fat Boy could pour Piss out of his Boots with the Instructions Written on the Heel...


Groundhog Day... Atlanta Braves Style... {SMFH}


SaveAmericaFromItself
SaveAmericaFromItself

Look for Ervin Santana and Chris Johnson to leave via free agency because Wren has tied up the payroll in the likes of Uggly and the Uptown brothers.

Is Billy Beane available, or the guy in Tampa? I'd like to see what they could do with the money Wren is allocated every season. 

Birdhair
Birdhair

@SaveAmericaFromItself With all of this $ that we are suddenly throwing out there why don't we pay for Beane to take over in Atlanta haha. The guy in Tampa, Andrew Friedman, is very good, but his farm system isn't well stocked anymore, but he's done extremely well with half the budget that clown is given in Atlanta.

And you're right. We backloaded an insanely large contract to Freddie Freeman which wil really hurt us in a few years. The contracts of B.J. and Uggly are already killing us. Your currently seeing the implications of large, poor spending by Clown.