Jeff Schultz blog 

This AJC sports blogger takes things seriously when he has to, but he really would rather not

Is it time to drop Freeman in batting order?

  • 1:09 am Sunday, June 15th, 2014 by Jeff Schultz
Freddie Freeman is hitting only .182 over his last 24 games. (Curtis Compton/AJC)

That a Braves’ hitter is in a tailspin is not unusual.

That it’s Freddie Freeman is like some nonsensical alternate universe.

Freeman has been one of the team’s best and certainly most consistent hitters since 2011. He was the team’s best player a year ago, hitting .319 with 23 homers, 109 RBIs and a team-leading OPS (on-base plus slugging percentage) of .897. When he hit .397 in the first 18 games this season, all seemed well. Then came weirdness with a .227 average in 48 games and .188 in the last 23 before Saturday night’s game against the Los Angeles Angels.

Maybe Saturday [More]

Braves are golden…or doomed (you decide)

  • 9:13 am Monday, June 9th, 2014 by Jeff Schultz
After losing a weekend series to last-place Arizona, the Braves have dropped into a three-way tie for first place.

Good morning.

The Braves have lost three of their last four series (eight of 12 games) to drop into a three-way tie for first place in the National League East with Washington and Miami, neither of which have been very good, either.

This usually is when everybody picks a side in the world of sports’ debate extremes. It’s either: “The Braves are doomed because they stink, and I said so!” Or, “The Braves are golden because they’ve managed to hang in there with slumping players and … well, you just wait!”

I’ve never made it a secret that the Braves’ roster construction and [More]

Braves: 3 issues, my votes (starting with Uggla)

  • 11:58 pm Wednesday, May 7th, 2014 by Jeff Schultz
Is it time for Braves to give prospect Tommy La Stella (now in Gwinnett) or Ramiro Pena a shot at second base job? (Karl Moore)

Despite ending a seven-game losing streak Tuesday night, the Braves affirmed their 2-1 win over St. Louis actually didn’t change much in the big picture. They lost the  following to the Cardinals 7-1, dropping their third straight series (and falling to 1-5 on this homestand).

As I wrote in a column Tuesday night, the Braves’ biggest concern isn’t that they’re running out of time. It’s only May. The problem is that their major issues now are pretty much the same as they were a year ago: an unproductive offense (they rank 29th in runs scored), punctuated by a lack of [More]

Braves enjoying view, despite some issues

  • 3:37 pm Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014 by Jeff Schultz

The Braves are 21 games into the season. It’s a large enough sample size to form initial impressions but too small to assume anything over the next … well, 141 games.

They defeated Miami Wednesday 3-1. They received another strong start from Aaron Harang (who is this guy?), a pinch hit, two-run double by Evan Gattis (been there) and a three-batter/two-strikeout save by Craig Kimbrel (not dead).

At 14-7, and having won six out of seven series, the good has far outweighed the bad.

But here’s an early progress/regress report.

Three things that haven’t been a problem:

1. Starting pitching. To anybody who says something [More]

UPDATE: Will Braves-Heyward battle over $300,000?

  • 6:51 pm Friday, January 17th, 2014 by Jeff Schultz

(This blog has been updated.)

The last time the Braves were forced to go to salary arbitration was 2001, when they won their hearing over John Rocker. An arbitrator ruled Rocker would be paid $1.9 million, not the $2.98 million he was seeking. If all of those stupid things the pitcher said and did cost him more than $1 million, well, bless that arbitrator.

Teams do not like going to arbitration. They’re forced to accentuate negatives to win their case. That can be problematic considering they spend most of their time trying to build up their players and tell them how important [More]