The 2016 Atlanta Braves have racked up yet another nasty streak this season -- a ten-game losing streak at home. The Braves have won seven games this season, but six of them have come away from The Ted, and naturally the hometown fans are beginning to grow restless. The good news from Sunday is that Mike Foltynewicz looked much better against the Diamondbacks than he did against the Mets, so there's hope that he can build on that performance and start putting together a solid string of starts now.
After spending most of 2015 struggling, Julio Teheran is back to normal, as evidenced by his two starts against the Red Sox and Cubs, which were both gems. That's good news for the Braves and it also could be good news for a team who approaches the Braves with the right trade package. While this is mostly speculation from the Boston Globe's Nick Cafardo, it does make sense that one of the Braves' best pitchers could become one of their major trade assets.
Cafardo wasn't done talking about the Braves in that particular piece -- he also decided to talk about our favorite topic of discussion around here: Fredi Gonzalez's job security. Cafardo suggested that former Red Sox interim manager and current bench coach Torey Lovullo would be a solid choice for a replacement should the Braves decided to part ways with Fredi.
The next full-time manager would likely inherit a team on the rise.
Which is why the Braves should consider Lovullo.
Lovullo has shown the ability to manage young players, and the Braves have plenty of them. Lovullo is the guy on the Sox’ staff who sifts through the analytical stuff and picks out what he feels will be relevant for John Farrell to use each day, such as information on shifting.
Lovullo’s biggest strength might be communication; he’s the guy who settles clubhouse issues and disputes, and talks to players who need direction or scolding.
The Braves are currently on track to have a historically bad season in franchise history, and naturally that's got a lot of people frustrated -- the fans, the front office (who are still publicly insisting that they expected this team to be better than the 2015 squad), and people around baseball who think that this is a laughingstock of a team. However, the Braves still have their eyes focused squarely on the prize of a brighter future, and GM John Coppolella is looking towards his friends in Chicago for encouragement.
Sure, the moves can be awfully painful for the fan base and chastised in the media, but Coppolella pulled out his cellphone for a subtle reminder to keep believing. He pulled up Twitter messages dated January and April 2014. They were calling for Chicago Cubs President Theo Epstein’s firing, saying he ruined the franchise.
The Cubs are 24-6, off to their greatest start since 1907.
"We feel for our fans, but the reason we’ve been so aggressive doing this is for our fans," Coppolella said. "We didn’t want this to be a seven- or-eight year rebuild. Had we done nothing, it would have been a long time before we could ever be competitive.
"We want to get this right, and quickly."
The Chicago Cubs continued to prove that they're going to be the team to beat in the National League this season by completing a four-game sweep of the Washington Nationals on Sunday. The Cubs won the game in an exciting extra-inning affair, and they were able to make their way to victory by employing a pretty interesting strategy: Just give Bryce Harper first base. Harper made it on base seven times on Sunday, but six of those came via walk (tying an MLB record) and one came via HBP.
Meanwhile in Baltimore, the Oakland Athletics showed everybody what could happen if you pitch to an elite baseball player. That elite baseball player happened to be Manny Machado, and Machado made the A's pay big time on two separate occasions during the Baltimore Orioles' 11-3 victory on Sunday.