October 7, 2013; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Atlanta Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez (33) comes out to argue a called strike in the second inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers in game four of the National League divisional series playoff baseball game at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

Morning Chop: Braves' Season Ends

October 7, 2013; Los Angeles, CA, USA; The Los Angeles Dodgers celebrate their 4-3 victory against the Atlanta Braves following game four of the National League divisional series playoff baseball game at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez TODAY Sports

Morning Chop:  Tomahawk Take’s Summary of Atlanta Braves News


Editorial Note:  I’m reporting various news stories about last night’s disappointing loss by the Braves in game 4 of the NLDS, but my heart’s not in it!  We shouldn’t, and I repeat SHOULDN’T have lost that game!  That said, the season is over for the Atlanta Braves, and while we need to look forward, we’ll have MANY thoughts here at Tomahawk Take about what went wrong, what could have been, and what the future holds.  The HOT STOVE season is upon us earlier than we’d hoped.  Without further ado, read on young man (or woman) and weep as I do.  Tomorrow is another day!

~ Chris Headrick
   Co-Editor, Tomahawk Take


Uribe’s homer powers Dodgers over Braves, to NLCS

Miami Herald

LOS ANGELES – This was supposed to be Clayton Kershaw‘s night. It turned into Juan Uribe‘s.

Uribe launched an eighth-inning offering by David Carpenter high into the October sky, sending the Los Angeles Dodgers to a 4-3 victory over the Atlanta Braves and to the National League Championship Series.

Dodger Stadium literally shook when Uribe’s two-run home run landed on the other side of the left-field wall and instantly reversed what was a 3-2 deficit.

On a day that started with manager Don Mattingly defending his decision to start Kershaw on three days’ rest, the Dodgers won the best-of-five series, three games to one.

The chants of the home crowd drowned out Uribe’s voice when the third baseman was interviewed over the public-address system after the game. When the champagne celebration started in the clubhouse, Uribe was in the middle of a circle of players, who sprayed him. Uribe was embraced by General Manager Ned Colletti, who was widely criticized for signing him to a $21 million contract three years ago.

“This moment, I’ll never forget,” Uribe said.

Who would have imagined?



Where’s Craig Kimbrel? Not in the game

Sweetspot Blog

… As the Braves hit in the ninth inning, the camera panned to Kimbrel in the bullpen, warming up. At one point he turned to the bullpen coach and said, “I’m mad because …” I’m not exactly sure what he said after that, although one person on Twitter surmised it was “I’m mad because I told him if we have the lead in the eighth, I want the ball.” We’ll see if Kimbrel confirms that, but even if he didn’t say that, his look of disgust, standing there with his hands on his hips, will haunt Braves fans all winter.

This should be covered in Managing 101. You can’t lose a game without getting your best reliever in there, especially one with Kimbrel’s credentials, at some point. Who cares if it’s the seventh inning or the eighth inning or the ninth. Just use him. Isn’t that the most important thing? I’d rather lose with Carpenter in the ninth inning or the 10th inning or whenever, at least knowing I had used Kimbrel at some juncture.

Look, managing your bullpen in a structured manner in the regular season is one thing.

October is not the regular season.

Fredi Gonzalez didn’t think the best reliever in the game can get six outs.

He ended up getting none.



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

Hardball Talk

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.



Free agency probably splits Brian McCann and Braves

Yahoo Sports

If Game 4 of the NLDS was the last for Brian McCann as a member of the Atlanta Braves, it was a rough way to go out. McCann struck out four times Monday night, finishing 0 for 13 in the series, and the Los Angeles Dodgers eliminated the Braves 4-3 after Juan Uribe hit a two-run home run in the eighth inning.

McCann did catch Yasiel Puig stealing second base in the fourth inning after Elliot Johnson pickedMcCann’s throw out of the dirt. So there’s that. Even though it long has been established that McCann would file for free agency this offseason, he and the Braves haven’t had to face the likelihood of separation until now. McCann, who turns 30 in February, went to high school in Duluth, Ga., and was drafted by the Braves in 2002. As a professional, they’re all he knows.

Carroll Rogers of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution was with McCann after what might have been his last game as a Braves player:

“Man, I’m not sure,” McCann said. “It’s kind of hard to think about that right now. I’m just going to try to put it in the back of my mind and whatever happens is going to happen.”


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  • http://www.tomahawktake.com/ Chris Headrick

    The author of the “Culture” piece above has some facts wrong. He says there is zero evidence of the Braves EVER making a move like bringing in Kimbrel a touch early. The fact is they have done it, and did it in game 2. Kimbrel came in early in the 8th in game 2. So no one need ever saw it’s not in the Braves DNA or they’ve never done it. They brought in Kimbrel earlier than usual in game 2, and should have in game 4. I get sick of people saying the Braves always do this or do that. Don’t blame Fredi. Blame the Braves’ culture? To a great degree, that’s laughable.

    • http://www.tomahawktake.com/ Chris Headrick

      By the way, yes, I do realize that much of the Braves’ “culture” does lead to bad decisions. I’m simply pointing out that to say the Braves have never, would never use Kimbrel in the 8th, is bull.

      • fireboss

        He made some points worth considering and the idea that it really is hard fro Fredi to do something out of the ordinary is valid to a point. His organizational conservatism position is valid too and we do need new blood but that wasn’t the reason the Braves stumbled mid year, stumbled in September and lost last night. I’ll write about it later but the post I put up after we got our tails handed to us fits here too.

        • http://www.tomahawktake.com/ Chris Headrick

          Yes, I didn’t intend to rake him over every thing he said, because I agree the Braves’ have a culture that from the top down has, in my opinion, hurt the Braves on many occasions. I’ve felt for a long time now that unless there is a house clearing managerially, the Braves will continue to operate with decisions that are not good for the club, at least in terms of the long term.

    • Matthew Jones

      Extraordinarily laughable. But that’s what I expect from Yahoo sports, or really pretty much any national sports outlet when dealing with Atlanta sports. They don’t have feet on the ground here (which many national sports departments used to do, have at least one person who was in each city to report on the topics there. Grizzard did it for USA Today for a while, and I know that others did it before they stopped the practice), so their coverage is just based off of what they ‘think’ might have happened.

      This loss stunk. I agree that you can’t leave your best person in the pen hoping that you’ll have the lead in the 9th. Also, with us only hitting one homer (thank you Jason Heyward), it makes you question the wisdom of leaving Uggla off the roster. I still would have started Johnson without a doubt (Uggla’s still a butcher in the field), but he may have sparked a rally with a homer. Alas, we’ll never know if that would have been the case, and I think we won’t see him in a Braves uniform after this season.

      Finally, Garcia was great last night, and I think that we should resign him to at least be the long man in the pen. What struck me, though, is the absence of Hudson in this postseason. I think that Medlen, Minor, and Teheran will end up holding their own for years to come, we needed that crafty power pitcher veteran who could come in and be the stopper. Imagine if it had been Hudson in game 3 instead of Teheran. You move Teheran to game 4 instead, which might or might not have been a good thing, considering he gave up 6 runs. But pitching with a 2-1 series lead I feel makes you pitch the game differently.

      Anyway, I’m done with baseball for this season. I’ll be around to check the boards, but I’ll only be able to comment on Braves stuff because I just don’t care who wins the World Series once the Braves are out. I guess that makes me a bad fan, but I just can’t stand to see it after we’re out.

      • http://www.tomahawktake.com/ Chris Headrick

        I agree on Garcia. He performed well above expectations, but he is trade fodder if the Braves can get other pitchers, no matter how well he performed. He was brought in for a specific reason, had that role change a touch, but the Braves “culture” won’t change their minds that easily.

        Matthew, been great reading your comments this season. As we enter the Hot Stove season, check back often. We don’t shut down just because we’re not in the regular season or playoffs.

        • Matthew Jones

          Oh, I’ll be around, I just have to go through my 5 stages first. :D I love Hot Stove, especially “playing GM”. It should be an interesting offseason.

          Also, are y’all going to do a retrospective on each position? I know it’s an older idea that other sites have done, but I like seeing the perspectives on the previous season.

          • http://www.tomahawktake.com/ Chris Headrick

            Yeah, we’ll be doing a number of pieces “looking back”, and how they relate to our look ahead.

  • Are Dee

    I don’t get it. I watched games around the league when the season started so I could get a feel for how this was going to go. I knew from the start that the Braves were NOT World Series material. It wasn’t about the number of games won. I was looking at PLAYERS… Our guys are great, and nice and talented but… But for a few, not stellar. It became clearer and clearer thru the season that it takes money, smart management and a wise, visionary upper management to build a GREAT Team. Liberty Media does not care about any of that…So I ask you… WHY BOTHER? WHY DO WE WATCH? WHY DO THEY EVEN WANT THE BRAVES if they DON’T WANT TO WIN??? Mediocre seems to be their goal… What they settle for… What they want us to be happy with. I enjoy a game… A good game. I do NOT enjoy spending 6 to 7 months of my time on mediocre. As far as I’m concerned, you can keep Freeman, Heyward, Simmons, Kimbrell, Medley, and a few in the bullpen… And build a WINNING TEAM around that.

    • fireboss

      I think most of us knew the team wasn’t the best team; too many strikeouts too much dead weight an inexperience starting rotation and a manager who makes too many mistakes. But the best team doesn’t always win; Astros in 05 for example. Now to Liberty Media and what they don;t do.

      I understand your pain over ownership but the sale agreement that allowed them to take ownership of the Braves specifically forbids their taking any part in day to day baseball operations. The structure is set up with Terry McGuirk as the defacto decision maker. The Braves have to operate within their income and they had the money to win they just misspent it. All of that is to say it’s up to McGuirk to do an owners job. If I were owner I’d let JS retire and fire Wren for throwing money down the drain and getting nothing done and bring in newish blood. He won’t because the Braves haven’t worked that way since before Ted Turner took over and they really don’t know how. That said owners are over rated. Artie Moreno has ruined the Angels in the past three off seasons, The Steinbrenners had longer periods of so-so and poor baseball than successful ones. Cuban would be in that mold at least initially. Having said that something has to change or this wash, rinse repeat cycle could go on forever.

    • http://www.tomahawktake.com/ Chris Headrick

      Yes, I get frustrated with the Braves for most if not all the reasons you mention. As Fred said below though, the Braves’ ownership is not like other owners. Most say that’s bad, but there are many ways in which I prefer not having owners that are “too hands on”. The problem with that now is, those who DO have hands on don’t, in my opinion, know what they’re doing. I have been a Braves fan since I was kid and my dad took me to games. Because of that long kinship to this team, I will always support and root for them, mediocrity or not. I don’t think it’s mediocrity – I think the game is changing, how we analyze and make decisions and moves is changing, and the data we now have to help us make good decisions has changed, but the Braves seem mired in some sort of old school mentality (part of which is GREAT) that they refuse to move out of. That’s not likely to change until, as Fred said, JS retires and Wren is gone! In the past, the current leadership philosophy has served the Braves well enough with all their division titles, but the game has changed. Other teams are changing and using better data to make decisions, and the Braves are not. Simple. I’m just like you ~ some people on Twitter raked me over the coals because I too predicted this team was not a World Series kind of team. My close friends that know how much I love the Braves supported me, but I took flack from many. Do I stand corrected? No, but I really wish I had been wrong!