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Don’t blame Fredi Gonzalez for last night’s loss. Blame the Braves culture.

Oct 8, 2013, 8:11 AM EDT

Atlanta Braves v Los Angeles Dodgers - Game Four Getty Images

I got a lot of emails asking me if I had a heart attack and died after last night’s game. Folks: I’ve been watching the Braves woof themselves out of the playoffs early for many-a-year now. So, yes, it sucked, but any Braves fan claiming their heart was unexpectedly ripped out last night is either very young or hasn’t been paying a lot of attention. You steel yourself for that at this point.

More specifically, people are asking about the decision to let David Carpenter pitch to Juan Uribe with a man on in the eighth last night rather than go to Craig Kimbrel. About that, my thoughts are a bit mixed.

Yes, in an ideal world you use your best relievers in the highest leverage situations. Craig Kimbrel is your best reliever. A man on in the eighth with the go-ahead run at the plate in an elimination game is as close to as high-leverage as it gets. You put Craig Kimbrel in there. I put Craig Kimbrel in there. Earl Weaver and Joe Torre put Craig Kimbrel in there. It’s the smart move. You don’t save him for the ninth inning when everything can be lost in the eighth.

But Fredi Gonzalez didn’t. And, more to the point, Fredi Gonzalez doesn’t put Craig Kimbrel in there. Ever. It’s not in his history, not in his makeup and there is zero reason to ever have expected Fredi Gonzalez to go to his closer for the six-out save in that situation. As such, to act as if he screwed up massively in not doing so — to claim that this was some uniquely profound brain fart — takes no small amount of hindsight and wishcasting and a great deal of ignorance about who the man at the controls actually is, as opposed to what we wish would have happened.

Don’t construe this as a defense of Fredi Gonzalez. It’s not. Not exactly, anyway. He has by-the-book-itis and by-the-book-itis is what allowed Uribe to hit that home run. But it’s a chronic, even congenital condition on his part, not something which attacked him out of nowhere between innings last night. Indeed, by-the-book-itis afflicts the Braves organization like hemophilia afflicted the Hanoverian monarchs. It’s always there. It didn’t just attack suddenly on October 7, 2013.

Fredi Gonzalez learned this way of thinking from Bobby Cox and had it reinforced in a thousand ways by an organization which always has and, until there is new leadership, always will value and reward people who do things in painfully conventional ways. Doing things the right way, as Brian McCann might say. Indeed, if you don’t see a thread connecting all of that unwritten rules stuff from September and what led Fredi Gonzalez to use his setup man in the eighth and save Kimbrel for a bit, you haven’t been paying attention to the Atlanta Braves very long. It extends to their offseason moves and payroll decisions and everything else.

Sometimes it’s a good thing. There are a lot of conventions that have become that way because they make sense, in baseball and in life. The Braves have never mortgaged their farm system and, as such, have spent relatively little time as an uncompetitive team over the past 22 years. Most of their trades work out OK because they don’t take huge risks. When they have “gone for it” in mildly aggressive ways it has burned them, such as trading Adam Wainwright for a year of J.D. Drew or multiple prospects for Mark Teixeira, and I believe they’ve made note of that. On the whole, the organization’s success, such as it is, is due to a certain small-c conservatism. And, on the whole, there has been a good amount of organizational success.

As we saw last night, however, that small-c conservatism can and often is the difference between being merely good and being great. And it’s hard to see a situation in which the Braves can transcend the merely good given the organization’s overall culture. No one got fired when the Braves woofed away a playoff spot in 2011. No one, most likely, is going to get fired for the Braves’ latest early playoff exit. The organization just doesn’t roll that way. It seems content to be merely good. And it has never really rewarded bold, outside-the-box (or outside-the-book) thinking.

Did Fredi Gonzalez cost the Braves that game last night? In a way. But it wasn’t because he committed some massive screwup. It’s because he was doing things he has always done them and in the way his organization wants him to, either directly or indirectly.

  1. bfunk1978 - Oct 8, 2013 at 8:14 AM

    As a Cardinals fan, thank you, Braves, for the gift of Adam Wainwright.

    On the bright side: no more tomahawk chop until spring.

    • proudlycanadian - Oct 8, 2013 at 9:08 AM

      Goodbye to the Braves and Indians after their early exits. I note that the Redskins are off to a miserable start to their season.

      • Old Gator - Oct 8, 2013 at 9:28 AM

        That tallies pretty well with their overall experience with Europeans, though, doesn’t it?

      • janessa31888 - Oct 8, 2013 at 9:43 AM

        What made it worse was having our entire fanbase branded as racists because of the actions of a few idiots. People were making me feel like a horrible person because I root for a team named Indians.

      • proudlycanadian - Oct 8, 2013 at 11:09 AM

        I have no problem with your team. I do have a problem with the names Indians and Redskins because their origins are totally inaccurate and are the product of ignorance. The native North Americans are not from India, nor do they have red skin. Braves is less troublesome; however, I hate the tomahawk chop and the chant. I have no trouble with names such as Seminoles and Fighting Sioux as I see those names as tributes.

      • eightyraw - Oct 8, 2013 at 12:05 PM

        @ProudlyCanadian

        Assuming you are referring to UND’s old nickname, a majority of ND residents found Fighting Sioux to be offensive and stripped the name from the school.

      • proudlycanadian - Oct 8, 2013 at 1:35 PM

        I realized that. I was just stating my personal opinion.

      • jakeshuman2 - Oct 8, 2013 at 2:04 PM

        Well, calling them Indians was a mistake in the first place. They thought they had landed in India instead of North America. It’s just a continual false perception of a race of people brought about by the ignorant who always think they are right because it is what they’ve always been told.

      • Kevin Gillman - Oct 8, 2013 at 4:33 PM

        At least the Braves played 4 games. My Indians couldn’t even play two games. I am still disappointed, and to see Alex Cobb give up 2 early runs last night made me even more sad. That could have been the Indians down 2-1 to Red Sox, dammit.

    • rockr44 - Oct 8, 2013 at 1:53 PM

      It’s so annoying. Gives me a headache. Might as well be at a Florida State game.

  2. philsphilsphils - Oct 8, 2013 at 8:20 AM

    The tomahawk chop is now the universal sign foe 1-and-done. Happy offseason Craig!

    • bfunk1978 - Oct 8, 2013 at 8:49 AM

      So the Philly Phanatic is the universal sign for what? none and done?

      • sgtr0c - Oct 8, 2013 at 9:28 AM

        You know, winning the World Series is the objective, right?

      • bfunk1978 - Oct 8, 2013 at 9:48 AM

        Yeah, I know, how’d that go for the Phils this year? It’s always about the past for the teams not in it still.

      • skids003 - Oct 8, 2013 at 12:48 PM

        bfunk, you the man!!

      • bfunk1978 - Oct 8, 2013 at 12:58 PM

        I know. /takes a bow

    • Old Gator - Oct 8, 2013 at 9:29 AM

      I always took the chop as an ardenthearted version of Roman thumbs down.

      • Stiller43 - Oct 8, 2013 at 10:11 AM

        …so the braves fans are telling the braves to let their opponents live?

      • Old Gator - Oct 8, 2013 at 10:34 AM

        No. Thrive.

    • jakeshuman2 - Oct 8, 2013 at 2:06 PM

      It’s also reminiscent of another gesture which signifies the futility of never being the real thing.

  3. heyblueyoustink - Oct 8, 2013 at 8:26 AM

    But they had Uggla’s forearms?!?

    • bfunk1978 - Oct 8, 2013 at 8:49 AM

      And Gerald Laird’s abs.

  4. heyblueyoustink - Oct 8, 2013 at 8:44 AM

    And also, lest I forget….. Barves.

  5. stoutfiles - Oct 8, 2013 at 8:49 AM

    Hindsight is 20/20. If Kimbrel goes in there for 6 outs and blows it in the 9th, the media never lets it go. The only one to blame for that home run is David Carpenter (and perhaps the catcher if he called for a certain pitch).

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Oct 8, 2013 at 9:12 AM

      If Kimbrel goes in there for 6 outs and blows it in the 9th, the media never lets it go.

      If he goes for 6 outs and blows it in the 9th, you can say to your team that you lost with the best reliever on the mound (non-Rivera division). As it stands, Kimbrel faced 4 hitters in the entire NLDS. Guess Freddy was saving him for Game 5.

    • mogogo1 - Oct 8, 2013 at 10:09 AM

      But that’s pretty much the whole point of this column, that you can’t always stick to the normal routine. Sometimes you have to take risks. They may work out spectacularly, or they may fail miserably, but fear over the media shouldn’t ever be the deciding factor.

    • Walk - Oct 8, 2013 at 10:22 AM

      If kimbrel goes in for six outs is he available for game 5? If he is available what happens if he gets hurt? As much as i dislike braves coaching, this was a no win scenario. What they do need is base running and outfield coaches badly. Too many times braves players were thrown out at third in the past couple seasons, worse were the times when they were in favorable situations to force another team to make a play and stayed in place. Conventional wisdom is that you do not make the first or third out at third. They also need to be taught when to steal and the counts to go on. Everyone is ready first pitch so cut it out. They do not even get proper leads and they make baserunning mistakes and get fooled by infielders decoying them. Perhaps they can get a little league coach from taiwan to help them. They also need to learn which cut off man to hit in which situation. Often i see them stop and look at the runners, much like an infielder they need to know where to throw it before the play happens instead of looking at the baserunners and then making a decision. These problems should be corrected before a player even makes it to the show. Correct them and perhaps the one and done playoff series will end.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Oct 8, 2013 at 10:28 AM

        If kimbrel goes in for six outs is he available for game 5? If he is available what happens if he gets hurt? As much as i dislike braves coaching, this was a no win scenario.

        There’s an off day between G4 and G5. And he could get hurt warming up in the 9th, he could get hurt getting out of his car, and he could get hurt falling out of the bullpen car. That’s not an excuse unless he throws 40 pitches in the 8th and you send him back out there.

      • bsbiz - Oct 8, 2013 at 10:54 AM

        If you don’t win an elimination game, you don’t have any need for anyone in Game 5.

      • skids003 - Oct 8, 2013 at 12:51 PM

        Jeez, why not just let Kimbrel pitch the whole game, by your logic.

      • jakeshuman2 - Oct 8, 2013 at 2:10 PM

        Not going with Kimbrel at that point was like having Dan Uggla pinch hit for Allen Craig with the bases loaded.

    • sportfandc - Oct 8, 2013 at 11:15 AM

      Let’s find someone to blame. It’s better than actually giving credit to Senor Octubre, Juan Uribe. Can’t do that!

  6. greymares - Oct 8, 2013 at 8:49 AM

    Stop it Craig, the Braves went as far as they were expected to go by most non-braves fans. They were able to get a lucky jump out of the box and held off mediocre division opponents the rest of the way. I’m expecting this team to fall to 3rd or 4th in the division next year, excluding the PEN,they’re not that good.

    • Old Gator - Oct 8, 2013 at 9:30 AM

      I would suggest, sir, that the Braves went exactly as far as they were expected to by most Braves fans.

      • bravojawja - Oct 8, 2013 at 10:23 AM

        Um. This.

        *sigh*

  7. tfbuckfutter - Oct 8, 2013 at 8:54 AM

    This really goes to show just how luckless the Indians are…. they are the only franchise bad enough to somehow overcome the Braves playoff badness and hand them a championship.

    • janessa31888 - Oct 8, 2013 at 9:36 AM

      Groan. Don’t remind me. But the Braves pitchers were really, really good that WS.

      • jarathen - Oct 8, 2013 at 12:06 PM

        In other words, they only way for the Braves to win out is to have a staff of stud starters who go the full nine because it can be supported by managers as “the way it’s done.”

    • Kevin Gillman - Oct 8, 2013 at 4:43 PM

      The home plate umpire in Game 6 of that World Series didn’t help either, when they faced Glavine.

  8. bravojawja - Oct 8, 2013 at 9:08 AM

    Maybe this is just semantics, but I think the Braves, since 1991 anyway, have been more than “merely good.” Maybe not “great,” but “on the verge of great.” The question then becomes, “When does ‘on the verge’ become a permanent, congenital condition?”

    The early 90’s Braves went for it and finally got it with the signing/trading for Maddux and McGriff. The mid-00’s Braves went for it and flopped with the trades for Drew and Teixeira, both of which are still biting us in the ass. As you noted, those seem to have made the team gun-shy about those kinds of deals.

    The Upton deals were a sign that maybe they’ve broken out of it, but now that those have flopped also (so far), it’s possible the organization will fold in on itself again. I hope not.

    This is a very young team, with very young, very talented pitchers. I don’t think we’re looking at Glavine/Smoltz just yet, but it’s possible. This is a team that can contend for the next five years if the front office is willing to go for it again. Not sure the money is there, but when a Juan Uribe (or Francisco Cabrera!) can win a series, the money isn’t everything.

    • Cris E - Oct 8, 2013 at 9:51 AM

      The question then becomes, “When does ‘on the verge’ become a permanent, congenital condition?”

      Organizations that are, at their core, very conservative share this affliction. It’s not a measure of character or luck, but a result of sticking with the plan down the line, all the way, to the end. The Twins are very similar, and shared the same fate in their 2002-10 stretch of success. I think even keel and role-based baseball really helps over the six month season, but in the playoffs you need to mix things up to meet the challenges that do arise. There’s no tomorrow to make things average out or to save anything for, so this game tonight is the only one that matters and that’s not the same as the rest of the year. Torre, for example, understood this and won a lot. Cox and Gardenhire (and a bunch of other guys) didn’t make many changes and didn’t win as much as you’d expect.

      • mogogo1 - Oct 8, 2013 at 10:14 AM

        But it’s a very fine line. Many organizations share the huge fault of never, ever sticking with the plan down the line. The first bump in the road causes them to give up and develop a brand new plan, which in turn is thrown out in short order. They lurch their way around and maybe get lucky when some plan works out totally seamlessly, but usually flame out because hardly ever do plans go off without needing to overcome some adversity.

    • mckludge - Oct 8, 2013 at 10:47 AM

      I would not say that the Justin Upton deal flopped. He had a good season (27 HR, 70 RBI). And we got Chris Johnson out of that deal.

      But yeah, BJ had a horrible season. He looked helpless at the plate.

      • bravojawja - Oct 8, 2013 at 11:28 AM

        By “flopped” I mean we didn’t win with him (yet?). Teixeira had two very good half-years with the Braves, but the team didn’t win with him, so they were flops, too. Drew had a good, healthy season, but again with the not winning the World Series.

        But you’re right that, so far at least, the J Upton deal isn’t an utter failure on the level of the Drew/Teixeira deals. Those were horrible.

  9. reh12321 - Oct 8, 2013 at 9:10 AM

    You’re spot on in your analysis. Bobby Cox was a great manager, but had no sense of urgency in the post-season, and it killed the Braves year after year. Fredi Gonzales seems cut from the same cloth. The best post season manager I ever saw was Lasorda. Every game was life or death to him, and he instilled that in his teams.

  10. amhendrick - Oct 8, 2013 at 9:19 AM

    “Indeed, if you don’t see a thread connecting all of that unwritten rules stuff from September and what led Fredi Gonzalez to use his setup man in the eighth and save Kimbrel for a bit, you haven’t been paying attention to the Atlanta Braves very long.”

    No, I don’t agree with this. They’ve generally been professional, by the book, and conservative, and Fredi holding Kimbrel back fits in that tradition. They’ve usually been a fairly dispassionate team. The passion over unwritten rules is a new thing for the Braves, and I wish they would have had that passion about winning games. I think it’s a break from the Braves more business-like tradition. I don’t remember that kind of behavior under Bobby Cox. He took all the arguing for himself.

    • hasbeen5 - Oct 8, 2013 at 11:08 AM

      I agree with this. Maybe I was just too young, but I don’t remember players being the unwritten rule police under Cox.

      Separate issue, I also don’t think all of the incidents lately can be lumped together. I think the Braves overreacted to the Jose Fernandez homer and blew it way out of proportion. I think that’s different than the Carlos Gomez deal. Gomez was yelling from the moment the ball left the bat. I think sometimes in an uber competitive environment people can just get pissed off. I don’t think (and all the beanballs that folks here complain about might back this up) that the Braves are the only team that would have reacted that way to Gomez. I think that was more about pure anger than some organizational creed.

  11. cabrera24 - Oct 8, 2013 at 9:24 AM

    I been a phillies fan since I move to philly back in 1999 and fans here hate the braves lol . So do I , with a passion. Goodbye to the team that cries and and always wants to fight after giving up BOMBS !

    • skids003 - Oct 8, 2013 at 12:54 PM

      How’d the playoffs work for you this year?

      • biasedhomer - Oct 8, 2013 at 2:49 PM

        None and done, but its not too different from 1 and done.

  12. flyinhighwithvick - Oct 8, 2013 at 9:27 AM

    I called this 90’s-like choke job a month ago.

    • Old Gator - Oct 8, 2013 at 9:39 AM

      All teams have (1) a universal invisible book of unwritten rules and (2) a team invisible book of unwritten rules – think of it as an Akashic crib sheet. Sloka thid, Parsec twerk of the Braves’ team invisible book of unwritten rules notes that in order to conform to the karmic inflow consequent of behaving like a bunch of basiji about enforcing the unwritten rules, they have to crap out of the playoffs every year no later than the second round – and they have to learn to like it. Obviously, you found those special glasses that one of them left on MARTA and are able to read the team invisible book of unwritten rules. That’s good.

      For the record, you can also use them to make sure that your girlfriend isn’t an alien.

      • Old Gator - Oct 8, 2013 at 9:40 AM

        PS – how hard do you think El Keed was laughing last night? He might even have gotten some popcorn shrapnel up the back of his sinuses.

  13. cabrera24 - Oct 8, 2013 at 9:27 AM

    Oh btw . Brian McCann last hit of the year was recorded on September 22nd . BUMB.

  14. rmdiv - Oct 8, 2013 at 9:30 AM

    Small c conservatism?? This team was known for a certifiable crazy owner lavishly spending on the team and making five world series trips in eight chances. Until said certifiable crazy owner invested in AOL, their free spending ways would have continued. They’re now owned by a media conglomerate and are essentially used a tax shelter. They have the WORST tv deal which should, in this day and age, be a team’s biggest cash cow. Despite their disadvantages, the team clearly went for a high-risk, high-reward last off season, signing the biggest free agent deal in team history, trading a guy with a >.300 BA in four out of five years for someone with notorious unpredictable seasons. They also opened the season with a rookie with no AAA experience and he won rookie of the month in April and May. (They also opened with Heyward and Freeman in April in their rookie years instead of June. Many teams will intentionally delay their service time to save big money six years down the road). To say there’s a culture change needed is small minded.

    This team has averaged 92.5 wins over the last four years, which is the best in the NL. Also, they have the youngest team in the NL. All of that is apparently moot because Craig Kimbrel should have been brought to face a guy who literally was trying to make an out the first two pitches of the at bat.

    I’d like to see them use their available funds once McCann walks to put an ace at the top of the rotation, but if they don’t… let’s just say I trust Frank Wren’s judgement more than mine. This is a great team with great general management. Fredi has clearly adjusted to become a better manager. His two highest paid players were healthy, but never started a playoff game. Last year, they started a pitcher with 30 career starts over the veteran in a must win game. They’ve lowered their bunts and caught stealing about 30% since Fredi’s first year. They don’t need a sacrificial lamb to fire, like when they fired their hitting coach in 2011. They need perfecting. Not a culture change. I’d rather root for a steady contender than a boom-bust team like the Angels or Marlins.

    • Old Gator - Oct 8, 2013 at 9:45 AM

      I don’t think you can call the Feesh a boom-bust team. They’re a bust team with an occasional swamp fart of sensational proportions rising from the talent pool – like, you know, lake overturn. When it’s all over, the stands are empty and the Feesh are cloacas-up – again, like lake overturn.

      The Angels, now there’s a different story. That’s a boom team with its bust already insinuated into the center of its boom, like a giant Yin-Yang sign.

    • skids003 - Oct 8, 2013 at 12:56 PM

      rmdiv, well said. I agree.

  15. chrisheadrick435290766 - Oct 8, 2013 at 9:31 AM

    Zero evidence of ever having made a move like bringing in Kimbrel early? I believe Kimbrel came in to relieve Carpenter in the 8th inning of game 2. Zero evidence? Not really.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Oct 8, 2013 at 10:34 AM

      He came in with 2 outs, as he only pitched 1.1 IP to get the save. Craig refers to Freddy never having brought Kimbrel in for a 6 out save. Your scenario is not the same thing Craig is referring to.

      • chrisheadrick435290766 - Oct 8, 2013 at 10:52 AM

        This is true, but it’s semantics I guess. The author said, “…never have expected Fredi Gonzalez to go to his closer for the six-out save in that situation.” The operative word is “the”. It would have been more accurate to say he “…never have expected Fredi G. to go to his closer for A six-out save”. He implies Fredi doesn’t ever use Kimbrel except in closer situations, and I take issue with that implication. Again, semantics, but I’ll concede the truth of that if that was in intention, however unclear it was to me.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Oct 8, 2013 at 1:57 PM

        Except he’s never done either. Here’s a listing of every appearance Kimbrel has in the regular season. Only twice in 231 appearances has he gone longer than 1.1 IP. One was a non-save situation in 6/15/10, the other was when Kimbrel blew the save in the 9th and pitched the 10th on 4/21/11. After that, he’s twice thrown 1.1 IP, but 227/231 appearances have been 1IP or shorter.

        https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0ApZZhwNFk6sYdEFNNHY2MFdMSi1jZFdUb196bzhqZXc&usp=sharing

  16. paperlions - Oct 8, 2013 at 9:34 AM

    Sorry Craig, that is poor justification. The entire argument boils down to “they’ve always made this mistake so continuing to make it isn’t a mistake”, which, of course, is stupid. Essentially, you are saying that it is okay that they never re-consider their ways or try to find better ways to do things or make decisions….or evaluate if they are giving their players the best chance at succeeding. Excusing Freddy making bad decisions because he was taught to make bad decisions and has always made bad decisions is like excusing misogyny because your father taught you to be a misogynist and you’ve always been a misogynist. Yes, I realize that misogyny is far more horrible than the failure to use your best reliever in the highest leverage situations in general or in an elimination game, just making the point that mental laziness should be excused.

    Freddy isn’t the only one, of course, just the most recent to contribute to his teams failures.

    • Old Gator - Oct 8, 2013 at 9:52 AM

      I don’t think Craig is arguing that it wasn’t a mistake because it was a tradition – if I read your criticism aright. I think his point is that it’s a mistake they make over and over again so no one should have been surprised by it, or even expected otherwise. Craig does say that he would have done it differently and used Kimbrel in that “leveraged” situation. The Braves didn’t run away with the division because they either had only one relief pitcher they could depend on, nor just because they played in an awful division. They had a good, solid relief staff but Freddy is brainlocked – which is really Craig’s point – to save his best for one situation and one only, and that situation comes with a 9 emblazoned on it.

      Feesh fans, such as we are, accustomed ourselves to Freddi’s anality while he stabilized the bench here in Macondo. None of this is any surprise. He kinda reminds me of a society matron whose investment banker husband buys her the Hope Diamond, and then she only goes out to Governor’s Balls wearing the paste replica while she keeps the real thing in a vault.

      • paperlions - Oct 8, 2013 at 9:54 AM

        I agree that no one should have been surprised (although, most managers do make different decisions and make many more moves in playoff games than regular season games because every game matters a lot….they pull starters earlier, they use more defensive replacements and pinch runners, they use their high leverage relievers earlier and longer especially to snuff out rallies)….but, the title of the piece does start “Don’t blame Fredi Gonzalez…”, not “You shouldn’t be surprised that Fredi keep making the same mistake…”

      • paperlions - Oct 8, 2013 at 9:54 AM

        I agree that no one should have been surprised (although, most managers do make different decisions and make many more moves in playoff games than regular season games because every game matters a lot….they pull starters earlier, they use more defensive replacements and pinch runners, they use their high leverage relievers earlier and longer especially to snuff out rallies)….but, the title of the piece does start “Don’t blame Fredi Gonzalez…”, not “You shouldn’t be surprised that Fredi keep making the same mistake…”

      • Old Gator - Oct 8, 2013 at 10:38 AM

        Paper – yes, that is the title, but I detect a certain facetiousness in it.

  17. philswfc08 - Oct 8, 2013 at 9:41 AM

    Hey Craig, keep your head up bro…the Braves are getting better…they actually won a game in the playoffs this year! Plus, you and your bretheren didn’t trash your own field during the game this time. Maybe next year, they’ll force a game 5 before bowing out…Happy offseason troll!

  18. cranbery - Oct 8, 2013 at 10:18 AM

    Just the Braves being the Braves………….they always find a way to lose in the end. That is one of the reasons I am no longer a fan…………

    • bravojawja - Oct 8, 2013 at 10:30 AM

      Well, that’s just sad. You know what they call a “fan” who jumps from one bandwagon to the next? A jackwagon.

  19. pftusedtobemorefun - Oct 8, 2013 at 10:38 AM

    Kate Upton curse? First Verlander now the Braves???

    • skids003 - Oct 8, 2013 at 12:58 PM

      I’m not so sure that’s not one curse I wouldn’t mind being put on me.

  20. hbegley6672 - Oct 8, 2013 at 10:41 AM

    Tee Times! Tee Times! Tee Times! Get your Tee Times here!

  21. notsofast10 - Oct 8, 2013 at 11:26 AM

    I don’t get it? The Braves won 5 of 7 in the regular season, this shouldn’t have happen!

  22. givemeglenn - Oct 8, 2013 at 11:28 AM

    I call BS on this article.

    Anyone watching the Braves knows that Freddie Gonzales has made boneheaded mistakes ALL SEASON and the team has won IN SPITE of him, NOT because of him. Just look at his initial roster decision for the playoff against the Dodgers (leaving Uggla off the roster for a player who managed a single hit his last at bat, struck out consistently, and was barely able to play the field, to who he played (while Gattis may have looked like an offensive “opportunity” for the Braves, his defensive “”liability” easily outweighed that risk, which is the bigger issue in the playoffs, as everyone knows.

    The timing of his pitching changes has always been suspect, as have his selection of pitchers he’s brought in; players he’s called up, and when. In other words, Freddie Gonzales is the worst Manager in Major League Baseball, and has been since the Braves hired him.

  23. new0818 - Oct 8, 2013 at 11:31 AM

    It’s all frank wren’s fault! one bad off session and mid session decisions after another.

    • new0818 - Oct 8, 2013 at 11:33 AM

      season**

  24. gkzeigler - Oct 8, 2013 at 12:00 PM

    Perhaps the best summarization of Braves Baseball I have ever seen

  25. wheels579 - Oct 8, 2013 at 12:28 PM

    Carpenter has done very well this season protecting leads in the 8th inning. His role is to pitch the 8th inning. JUAN URIBE was up. Yet Carpenter was somehow unqualified to do his job last night. Kimbrel was obviously the better option based solely on hindsight. Because he didn’t give up the home run. Because he was in the bullpen where he always is in the 8th inning when the Braves have the lead.

    • hasbeen5 - Oct 9, 2013 at 9:22 AM

      This is exactly his point. The “rule” is that Kimbrel pitches the 9th, and it’s a stupid rule. LA had better hitters up in the 8th than were scheduled in the 9th. With a 1 run lead, why wouldn’t you want your better pitcher facing the better hitters?If Kimbrel gets through the 9th, the Braves could extend their lead and let the lesser pitcher go in the 9th. Even if they don’t score anymore, I really doubt Kimbrel’s arm falls off if he throws 15-20 extra pitches.

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