Jeff Schultz blog 

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

Braves see Nats celebrate (Pirates may do same)

  • 11:04 pm Tuesday, September 16th, 2014 by Jeff Schultz

The Braves celebrated the signing of a title sponsor for their next stadium Tuesday.

Washington celebrated something that moves the meter a little more with fans — the National League East Division title.

There’s your balance-of-power update, Braves fans.

The Braves lost to the Nationals 3-0 at Turner Field. They watched the Nationals stream out of the dugout for a brief on-field celebration, which was followed by a dizzying champagne-and-beer soaked party in the visiting clubhouse.

This kind of thing isn’t new in Atlanta. The Braves have lost elimination games in 10 postseason series at home since 1992, and this might as well [More]

Braves’ opponents often celebrate here

  • 9:51 am Tuesday, September 16th, 2014 by Jeff Schultz
Freddie Freeman and Braves have had reason to be angry, and another may be coming tonight. (Curtis Compton/AJC)

UPDATE: Here’s a link to tonight’s MyAJC column, addressing how much responsibility manager Fredi Gonzalez shares for this season.

The Braves have been dead in the National League East for a while. But adding an element of humiliation to the recent free fall is that Washington, which is on the verge of clinching the division title, can celebrate at Turner Field with a win tonight or Wednesday.

It wouldn’t be the first time the Braves have seen another team celebrate on its home field (either Turner or Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium). Since 1992, the Braves have lost postseason elimination games at [More]

On Braves, McGuirk and repairing baseball

  • 9:19 pm Thursday, August 21st, 2014 by Jeff Schultz
Three members of the Braves' hierarchy (from left): Terry McGuirk, John Schuerholz, Frank Wren. (AJC photo)

Should Pete Rose be allowed back into baseball, and therefore become eligible for the Hall of Fame? (Yes.)

Does baseball, which is losing a generation of fans and is suffering from long games in the regular season and late starts in its signature event, the World Series, need to make significant changes to improve the product? (Yes.)

Should the 162-game season be preserved? (No.)

Those are some of the issues (and my answers) I’ve addressed in a MyAJC column that you can read here. Commissioner Bud Selig is retiring and Rob Manfred will replace him, so this is a prime opportunity for [More]

Braves find a groove — but so do Nationals

  • 9:21 am Wednesday, August 20th, 2014 by Jeff Schultz
Braves have won five straight but remain six games behind Washington. (AP photo)

Six days ago, on the eve of the Braves’ “Zombie Night” promotion at Turner Field, I wrote a column on the Braves’ seeming march into the regular season afterlife and the reasons manager Fredi Gonzalez needed to bench the struggling B.J Upton. At that point, they had lost 12 of 15 games and 17 of 26 since the All-Star break.

A follow-up blog and cartoon posed the question to you, “Is the fat lady singing” on their season?” Most readers believed yes. I certainly believed yes. When it comes to the division race, I still think yes. But it [More]

With Braves six back, is ‘fat lady’ singing?

  • 8:39 am Friday, August 15th, 2014 by Jeff Schultz
BravesfatLadyJeff

So is it over?

The Braves lost to the Los Angeles Dodgers 6-4 Thursday. If you missed the almost-too-perfect inglorious ending, here’s a free link to my column on the game.

In brief, Justin Upton had to leave the game with a strained hamstring. His lesser brother B.J., who had been benched from the starting lineup because he’s hitting .209, was sent in as a pinch runner. He stayed in the game, and, of course, wound up being the key at-bat in the ninth inning. With runners on second and third base, B.J., batting in Justin’s spot, struck out.

The strikeout numbers [More]

Braves’ crowds reflect lack of confidence

  • 9:00 am Tuesday, August 12th, 2014 by Jeff Schultz
Dodgers at Braves

As the Braves begin to slide out of the playoff race — or at least show no sign of having interest in it — they also are sliding off the radar in Atlanta.

Crowds for the first two games of the weekend series against Washington last week drew over 30,000 but the Sunday night game saw only 18,191 in the stadium. I realize it was the night before the first day of school for many kids, but for a late-summer weekend series against the Nationals with first place on the line, the numbers were disappointing. It also was stunning that the [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]

Short takes: Braves lose but trip a success

  • 4:20 pm Sunday, April 6th, 2014 by Jeff Schultz
Braves pitcher Alex Wood faced 19 straight batters without allowing a hit until Ian Desmond's homer in the seventh.

I’ll post a column soon on the Braves-Nationals series finale on MyAJC.com (all blogs and columns linked here). Until then, here are my three “short takes” on the game.

1. Disaster? Not quite: The Braves lost to Washington 2-1 Sunday. But they went into this season-opening six-game road trip amid concerns about the youth and inexperience of the pitching rotation and emerged with a 4-2 record, winning series over Milwaukee and Washington. Braves pitchers — led by starters Julio Teheran, Alex Wood, Aaron Harang and David Hale — have allowed only nine runs in 53 innings for a cumulative staff [More]

LIVE: Braves vs. Nats, Teheran vs Strasburg

  • 6:54 pm Saturday, April 5th, 2014 by Jeff Schultz
Julio Teheran will pitch in Washington for first time since hit beaning of Bryce Harper led to both teams' benches emptying.

WASHINGTON — The Braves won again, defeating the Washington Nationals 6-2 behind starter Julio Teheran and four-run fifth inning that chased Nationals starter Stephen Strasburg.

Here’s a link to the updated column on MyAJC.com.

WASHINGTON — It’s not going to garner the national attention of the Final Four, but Julio Teheran vs. Stephen Strasburg qualifies as pretty good theater.

The two starters face each other tonight when the Braves and Washington Nationals meet for the second game of the series. It also will be Teheran’s first start in Nationals Park since Aug. 6 last season when he plunked Bryce Harper on the [More]

LIVE: Braves vs. Nationals (showdown, part I)

  • 12:07 pm Friday, April 4th, 2014 by Jeff Schultz
The Braves will play their second home opener of the season, this time in Washington. Pictured: Nationals pitchers Gio Gonzalez (left) and Rafael Soriano. (AP photo)

WASHINGTON — Welcome to the first in a series of 19 measuring sticks between the Braves and Washington Nationals.

We shouldn’t overstate the importance of an early April series between the two favorites in the National League East. The season just started and the Braves and Nationals will face each other a bunch of times. But can anything be learned from this series in terms of how the match up?

When asked whether he viewed this series as an opportunity for the Braves to gauge themselves against the Nationals, manager Fredi Gonzalez said, “We’re looking to try to win the series. It [More]