Archive for June, 2022

201: Okay, Now What?

By Gil ‘N Mechanicsville

6/3/22

The Braves are hovering just below .500 after a little over 1/4 of the season has been played. To say it has been a classic case of under achievement is obvious. The trio of players who meant so much to the World Champion Braves are no longer a factor. Eddie Rosario in on the injure list following eye surgery, (we knew something was wrong by the way he swung at phantom strikes and played in the outfield). Jorge Soler signed a 3 year deal with the Marlins and Joc “Pearls” Peterson has gone home to San Francisco. The other huge hole has been the absence of Freddie Freeman who would be a favorite for NL MVP if not being over shadowed a bit by teammate Mookie Betts.

To replace those players, Marcel Ozuna has returned to act as DH and place holder in left field. I doubt Marcel’s defense will ever again be considered for a Gold Glove. While his offense has improved somewhat, it is not what anyone would consider to be elite. Acuna Jr. has returned but he is not yet the 5 tool player he was before his ACL injury. He still misjudges balls hit to the outfield and his timing is still a bit off at the plate. He also sometimes lets his brain write a check his legs can’t cash. Too many base running blunders are still occurring for my taste.

The recent call up of Mike Harris II at least gives Atlanta a true centerfielder but I don’t expect his bat to play quite yet. As talented as he is, there is a reason rookies don’t win batting titles. He does have potential and his defense is worth at least one RBI a game in my opinion. The rea elephant in the room for me is the absence of Freddie Freeman both on the field and in the locker room. While we are not privy to what goes on behind closed doors, the sloppy play of the Braves indicates to me that has been a lack of accountability for mental errors committed this year in the field and on the base paths. His replacement, Matt Olson, began the season like a house afire but he has since cooled off. the most concerning thing to me has been his suspect fielding at first base. Too many unforce errors remind me of Adam LaRoche and his ADHD moments. Olson does remind me a lot of former Cubs and Diamondback first baseman Mark Grace, similar line drive double hitter.

There have been some bright spots. The emergence of William Contreras as a hitter and fireballer Spencer Strider on the mound. Dansby Swanson has been solid in the field and looks to have solved his hitting woes that have plagued him the first two months of the season. Ozzie Albies also has been better in the box of late by not trying to hit every ball 500 feet. The “new” ball has had a lot to do with it methinks. Balls that were not hit so well last season were still going out but this season they have died on the warning track.

Austin Riley has gone through a bit of a slump also but hopefully he has regained his timing at the plate. His last ten games have shown a return to his his 2021 prowess at the plate. He defense continues to impress at the hot corner. While I doubt he will be able to usurp Noland Arenado as the league’s premier third baseman, he is certainly top five in that category. Now, if we can just get Adam Duval back on track. He has been a huge disappointment at the plate this season. We can all appreciate him having to play out of position in centerfield this season but way too many o-fers have shown up in the box score for him so far.

I guess the real head scratcher has been so few complete ball games put together by the Bravos to date. They have wat too much talent to lose as many games as they have. To be honest, they have played like a bunch of prima donnas. They think because they have won the World Series, other teams should be intermediated and roll over for them. It is not happening. The other day Jeff Francour opined the team needed an “A**hole”. Well, they do. A Freddie or a Chipper to get on someone who needs to get their act together and always give their best effort even when they don’t feel like it.

So what next? Play like you care… Yes, there will always be games you should have won but lost and game you should have lost but won but you need to win the game you are suppose to win. Get your mind in the game, pay attention. Don’t lose track of the number of outs. Don’t rely on the umpire to get the calls right. Understand you don’t always have to hit a three run homer when a single will do.



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