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  1. #1
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    Second Half of the Season

    I'm feeling really good about the second half we have, only 19 games left against winning teams and no west coast games left!

  2. #2
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    Me too! We will get some folks back from injuries and get some well needed rest. Heyward,Freddie,Justin,Gattis, Beachy, Schafer,Bj, will all be back by August, some sooner than others of course. Schafer a little longer. You'd have to think Wren is exploring trades for bullpen and utility help. Beachy should be back after the ChiSox series.
    <span style=font-family: Georgia>[II][/I]</span>

  3. #3
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    I feel really confident that we'll make the playoffs as division leaders, but going deep into the playoffs i don't know, at least not until BJ gets better and Justin and Heyward show they can keep improving. My biggest concern are the Cardinals, i believe we can beat every team in the NL but the Cards are scary. Right now Braves, Pirates, Cards, Cincinati and Arizona (I think LA will win that division) we can play higher or at least the same level of all of them but the Cards.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by beldugo View Post
    I feel really confident that we'll make the playoffs as division leaders, but going deep into the playoffs i don't know, at least not until BJ gets better and Justin and Heyward show they can keep improving. My biggest concern are the Cardinals, i believe we can beat every team in the NL but the Cards are scary. Right now Braves, Pirates, Cards, Cincinati and Arizona (I think LA will win that division) we can play higher or at least the same level of all of them but the Cards.
    My biggest hope is that we can get a second half out of BJ anywhere near what he did last year when he popped 21 homers after the break.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by beldugo View Post
    I feel really confident that we'll make the playoffs as division leaders, but going deep into the playoffs i don't know, at least not until BJ gets better and Justin and Heyward show they can keep improving. My biggest concern are the Cardinals, i believe we can beat every team in the NL but the Cards are scary. Right now Braves, Pirates, Cards, Cincinati and Arizona (I think LA will win that division) we can play higher or at least the same level of all of them but the Cards.
    I also think STL will be our toughest competition. I'm looking forward to their series next week against probably our biggest competitor.
    ]

  6. #6
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    We should feel very, very lucky to be where we are. That said I agree, we will be good when healthy, better if Wren can make a splash before the deadline for a bat or two. I'm pretty happy with the pitching, getting back a healthy Beachy would be gold. Maybe get a pen arm to help out Feliz Navidad and fireball throwing Kimbrel.
    1991 Lost WS to Twins 4-3
    1992 Lost WS to Blue Jays 4-2
    1993 Lost NLCS to Phillies 4-2
    1996 Lost WS to Yankees 4-2 (led 2-0)
    1997 Lost NLCS to Marlins 4-2
    1998 Lost NLCS to Padres 4-2
    1999 Lost WS 4-0 to Yankees
    2000 Lost NLDS 3-0 to Cardinals
    2001 Lost NLCS to Diamondbacks 4-1
    2002 Lost NLDS 3-2 to Giants
    2003 Lost NLDS 3-2 to Cubs
    2004 Lost NLDS 3-2 to Astros
    2005 Lost NLDS 3-1 to Astros
    2010 Lost NLDS 3-1 to Giants
    2012 Lost NLWC 1-0 to Cardinals
    2013 Lost NLDS 3-1 to Dodgers

  7. #7
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    Focus with RISP. Objective #1. We can not and will not win in the play-offs with that type of performance with RISP. We just won't make it...even with good pitching.

    Comparison sake.

    Cardinals- .337/.408/.467 .876 OPS with RISP (1st)

    Bravos- .243/.340/.361 .701 OPS with RISP (22nd)

    The good news is though we've proven that we can win without a good lead-off hitter...whereas you could of made the case that last year if Bourn wasn't going...the offense wouldn't be either.


  8. #8
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    I feel Great, I just wanted the Gnats to be under .500 at the break.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by BRAVE KID View Post
    Focus with RISP. Objective #1. We can not and will not win in the play-offs with that type of performance with RISP. We just won't make it...even with good pitching.

    Comparison sake.

    Cardinals- .337/.408/.467 .876 OPS with RISP (1st)

    Bravos- .243/.340/.361 .701 OPS with RISP (22nd)

    The good news is though we've proven that we can win without a good lead-off hitter...whereas you could of made the case that last year if Bourn wasn't going...the offense wouldn't be either.
    I not always agreed with you. but you put the hammer over the nail here, 100% this is the point with the braves have to get better , all another things are secondaries.

  10. #10
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    The All-Star break is too long.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by brave/cuban View Post
    I not always agreed with you. but you put the hammer over the nail here, 100% this is the point with the braves have to get better , all another things are secondaries.
    Pitching and "clutch" hitting..those two things have proven to be the key to post-season dominance time and time again. We may not have shut down pitching..but I believe it's good enough to get the job done...and we have too much of a talented lineup to not cash in with RISP.


  12. #12
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    ATLANTA -- The journey has been much more turbulent than expected. But after spending the past few months dealing with the staggering offensive struggles of several trusted veterans, the Braves still stand in a better position than most expected when the season began.

    Despite going 41-39 over the last 80 games, the Braves entered the All-Star break with a six-game lead over the second-place Nationals and a 6 1/2-game advantage over the third-place Phillies in the National League East.

    "Once you get comfortable, that lead's going to be gone or you're going to be shipped somewhere else," Braves second baseman Dan Uggla said. "We're definitely not satisfied. But right now, looking back, we're happy with where we are."

    While the Braves might be satisfied with their position, they certainly are not comfortable with the fact that B.J. Upton, Justin Upton, Jason Heyward and Freddie Freeman suffered injuries in the four days leading up to the All-Star break.

    Heyward (strained right hamstring), J-Up (strained left calf) and Freeman (bruised left thumb) are hoping to avoid stints on the disabled list, which B.J. (strained adductor muscle) began on Sunday.

    If Jordan Schafer were available, the Braves would feel more comfortable about spending the next couple of weeks without B.J., who has hit .177 with a .565 OPS since signing his franchise-record five-year, $75.25 million contract in November.

    But Schafer, who has proven to be the club's best leadoff hitter, will be likely be sidelined for another month with a stress fracture in his right foot.

    "It was unfortunate that we had the guys go down that we did," Uggla said. "All in all, it was a good first half. We came together when we needed to. We learned a lot and made some good adjustments throughout the half."

    If J-Up, Heyward and Freeman are able to make quick recoveries over the break, the Braves could enter the second half with a chance to realize the potential of an offense that hasn't yet clicked on all cylinders, let alone most of its cylinders.

    Had the Braves began the season knowing that four of their regulars -- Andrelton Simmons (.243), Heyward (.227), Uggla (.200) and B.J. (.177) -- would enter the break hitting below .250, they wouldn't have expected to be sitting in first place in their division. Their current position is largely a result of the pitching staff, which owns the second-best ERA in the Majors (3.29).

    When the Braves lost Eric O'Flaherty and Jonny Venters to season-ending elbow injuries within a five-day span in the middle of May, there was little reason to believe that the pitching staff would continue its success. But the contributions of Luis Avilan and Jordan Walden have strengthened a bullpen that was destined for the disaster that looms over the offense if Heyward, J-Up and Freeman are forced to miss more than just a couple of days.

    "You feel good any time your back's up against it like we were, and the other guys respond. You feel good about your club," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said.

    Gonzalez felt great about his club when it won 13 of its first 15 games, a stretch that was significant considering the three months of mediocre results that followed. While the pitching has been consistent, the offense is a different story.

    The offense has lived up to expectations, leading the NL in both home runs (114) and strikeouts (826). This was projected even before B.J., Uggla and Heyward hit below .200 through the end of May.

    Heyward's early struggles were influenced by the fact that he missed a month recovering from an appendectomy. But he has hit .290 with an .825 OPS in his past 36 games. Likewise, Uggla has experienced more success since he began wearing contact lenses nearly a month ago. He has hit five of his team-high 18 homers in his past 19 games.

    J-Up has experienced the highs and lows this game can bring through his first 3 1/2 months with Atlanta. After hitting .298 with 12 homers in April, he went through a 46-game stretch in which he hit .208 with three homers and a .619 OPS. In the final 16 games of the first half, he hit .313 with one homer and an .857 OPS.

    "I think the best is still ahead of us, offensively," Gonzalez said. "We've recently seen spurts where some guys are starting to swing the bats and drive the ball. That's always a good sign."

    Of course, if Heyward, Freeman and J-Up are all forced to miss extended time with their injuries, their recent upswings may be stunted.

    Either way, the Braves will spend the next couple of months hoping to benefit from the tremendous power of Evan Gattis, who has collected 14 home runs and compiled an .873 OPS through the first 187 plate appearances of his big league career.

    The only encouraging injury-related news that the Braves received over the past week came courtesy of Gattis, who missed three weeks with a strained right oblique muscle before being activated in time to play first base against the Reds on Sunday.

    While Freeman, who won the All-Star Final Vote before his injury, is widely considered the club's most valuable player thus far, the Braves know they might be staring at a disastrous season without the contributions of Gattis, who helped Atlanta overcome the absence of All-Star Brian McCann in the season's first five weeks.

    While posting numbers reminiscent of his performance before he started suffering from right shoulder soreness in 2012, McCann has strengthened his much-maligned offense and proven that he is still one of the game's top offensive catchers.

    Despite being ridiculed as a club that strikes out too often and has been far too inconsistent, the Braves entered the break ranked third (415) in runs scored. The teams ahead of them -- the Cardinals and Rockies -- play in two of the game's most offense-friendly stadiums.

    "In terms of the general perception of our team ... we are a lot better than what people realize -- a lot," Braves hitting coach Greg Walker said. "It's not even close. I've told my friends for years, 'If you put blinders on and watch one team for an entire year, it will drive you crazy, because there is so much failure in this game.'"
    http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?...s_atl&c_id=atl

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