Braves (0-5) are a minor league product in a major league season

If you're looking for one picture to sum up the Braves' 0-5 start, well, this is a good start. (AP photo)

If you’re looking for one picture to sum up the Braves’ 0-5 start, well, this is a good start. (AP photo)

Welcome to the dog days of August. Problem: It’s only April.

The Braves lost to the St. Louis Cardinals 12-7 Sunday. This allowed them to complete a perfect homestand to open the season — at least considered perfect in the infernal regions way, way south of here. They went 0-5, so they remain on a pace to go 0-162. That somehow seems appropriate in the same season the franchise created the deformed offspring of a hamburger and a pizza.

At the risk of irritating the Braves’ marketing suits, who would prefer you focus on their new mutant food creations, magnetic schedule giveaways and fond reminders (corporate euphemism) of this being their final season at Turner Field, here’s your five-game reality check.

This team stinks. No, I mean it really stinks — way worse than most even expected it to stink, which means sportsbooks’ dire projections of 66 to 67 wins is starting to look optimistic. The Braves hadn’t started 0-5 since the 1988 season, when they opened 0-10 on the way to going 54-106.

If you live in a world of rainbows and unicorns and you believe things will get better, at least in the near future, close your eyes.

Centerfielder and leadoff hitter Ender Inciarte, whose entire game depends on his speed, went on the disabled list Sunday with a wonky hamstring. Reliever Dan Winkler, another of the Braves’ post-Tommy John reclamation projects, dropped to his knees in pain in the seventh inning after suffering a right elbow fracture while delivering a pitch.

In another move, the Braves shipped the remains of reliever John Gant (four runs, six hits, two homers, several dreams crushed, in three innings) to Triple A Gwinnett before the game. So before opening a seven-game trip at Washington Monday night, the Braves’ roster will include three new players who weren’t considered good enough to make them out of spring training.

They return home April 19. There are tickets available. Also roster spots.

While you consider whether to spend money on this team in a season when management has made it clear that it doesn’t care about winning, here are some ugly details about the Braves’ 0-5 start.

• The offense produced seven runs Sunday. After 10 runs in the first four games, this is akin to angels singing. But the loss of Inciarte will hurt a lineup that still ranks 26th in runs (17), 29th in batting average (.198) and 28th in OPS (.595). For all of their other weaknesses, the Braves were expected to be better offensively this season so this is a significant concern, especially with Inciarte being shelved for at least two weeks.

• The Braves did not commit an error in the series finale against St. Louis but they had three in Saturday’s 12-2 loss, giving them six already this season (27th in the majors). Their fielding percentage of .968 ranks 29th entering Monday. You know what you can’t have when you have poor starting pitching and an even worse bullpen? Lousy defense.

Shortstop Erick Aybar has two errors. Andrelton Simmons, who now plays for the Los Angeles Angels because of a trade that still doesn’t make sense, didn’t make an error in the first five games. Don’t all jump up at once.

• Pitching was expected to be a problem for the Braves. So in that sense, they haven’t let anybody down. Six Braves combined for nine walks, three hits batters and two wild pitches Sunday. Imagine if they didn’t have two months in Florida to get ready.  Braves’ pitchers rank among the majors’ worst in walks (27, 27th), wild pitches (seven, 30th), batters plunked (four, 24th), opponents batting average (.276, 26th) and the good ol’ earned run average (6.65, 28th).

The Cardinals scored 31 runs in three games. The Braves have been outscored 38-17 in five games. Five home games.

Next, they go to Washington four games, where they’ll face Max Scherzer, Gio Gonzalez, Stephen Strasburg and Tanner Roark.

It’s only April. But it’s already feeling like a long season.

Recent ramblings from the Digital Jukebox

Reader Comments 0

258 comments
Jesus Chinchay
Jesus Chinchay

The bosses don't want to win........they sell the best players on;y to make money and they don't care about the fans because they know people still going to the stadium and spend 'a lot of money'. they don't want to COMPETE......... just they want the money.......bad very bad.......

TideDawg
TideDawg

When the Braves management decided to rebuild and traded away the few good players they had, I didn't expect them to have a great season. The Braves are loaded with talent in the minor leagues. That's good! When they sign players out of high school or college those players have natural talent that management/coaches think they can develop into major league players. That's good too! Basically they can catch, throw, pitch, and hit a baseball at that level. It appears that Aybar made it through the minors to the starting lineup of the Braves without knowing how to catch or throw a baseball. I guess we know why he was a throw in player in one of the trades.....they just wanted to get rid of him. The Braves will get better....in time, but not by 2017. I'll make a prediction about the 2017 Braves. They will not lose 100 games and in 2018 they will be back in the game. So Braves fans, endure, watch the talent develop and try not to be too critical.....it ain't gonna help. Don't expect them to win, they don't have the talent on this roster to win at the major league level.

tennisbrave
tennisbrave

Hey Hart - thanks for bringing this winning team to Atlanta.  Maybe you need to thank all the fans for paying major league prices to see this AAA team play against major league players.  Keep up the good work.

atlgreen
atlgreen

@tennisbrave judging by attendance thus far and projections for the year not many will actually pay for this product. They are going to lose a lot of revenue but the Braves have already calculated this into the equation. 

Matthew Sayers
Matthew Sayers

The Braves are just a farm league, they need to invest money into players and fire everyone responsible for hiring players. They have been rebuilding for the last 5 years, whats is wrong with this picture?!?!

Bill Stockstill
Bill Stockstill

The back room stadium deal makes me want to puke every time I see or am reminded of The Braves. \U0001f4a9\U0001f44e

James Silvis III
James Silvis III

What do you expect when they let the best players they had leave?

Brian Barnett
Brian Barnett

Only thing missing is the Bleacher Creature and the childhood time warp would be complete

Ben Gunby
Ben Gunby

By the end of April, Chase Elliott is going to have more top ten finishes than the Braves are going to have wins. Hell, he might have more top 5s.

Jay Barton
Jay Barton

The only thing rebuilding is Liberty Media's wallet. Come on , dont fall for this, demand action from them

C Javier Hernandez
C Javier Hernandez

Did anybody had any doubts, this organization needs serious new direction starting at the top, enough is enough.

Brandon J Keeler
Brandon J Keeler

Yup. And that's why you don't trade away all these good players for wash ups. Just before Suntrust opens. Is Suntrust not being sold out opening day??? Why would someone want to pay an arm and a leg to see minor league talent?

dtanner311
dtanner311

one positive to be taken from this is got to get that bumbling idiot freddi g fired, no way that can sell tix next year if that fool is still at the helm

jarvis1975
jarvis1975

Why did they only play 160 games in 1988?
Hardly seems fair. There were a couple of additional W's left out.

Nyck Henderson
Nyck Henderson

Government welfare at its Best. Take from the poor give to the rich

Tommy Daniels
Tommy Daniels

not one slugger on this team...just a roller out to short...for out number 3..havent had power in years..

ZanesMule
ZanesMule

cobb county taxpayers are paying over 100 million for this terrible team, with bad owners, bad GM and manager??? the commissioners will get some suite luxury boxes in the new palace, with 5 star liquor and food---taxpayers need to pay up!!

Ben Lane
Ben Lane

Reminds me of the movie Major League...maybe the owners want them to fail.

Carlton Parks
Carlton Parks

Here's to this rebuild being more Houston Astros than Philadelphia 76ers. Two teams made efforts to lose in order to win. Worked well in one city, horrifically in another. Given the sports history of this city, we're about to be the baseball Sixers.

Ryan Lawrence
Ryan Lawrence

Reminds me of the team in "Bull Durham"... Bunch of lally gaggers!!

Donald Finley
Donald Finley

No they need a new stadium along with the Buzzards AKA Falcons, what a joke!

David Tanner
David Tanner

would'nt pay a nickel to watch this bunch, and would'nt watch for free on tv

Can'o'corn
Can'o'corn

the braves will become relevant again when they get new ownership, until then, they will just keep shoveling that manure that they're building for the future, when they are really just keeping the payroll down.  here's to hoping LM will be ready to sell after the team moves into that abomination up 75

dawgfacedboy
dawgfacedboy

Have fun paying exorbitant prices to go see the best AA/AAA team in baseball. They won't be any better next year.

RickinWarnerRobins
RickinWarnerRobins

@dawgfacedboy What makes you think they're even the best AA/AAA team in baseball?  I think there are AA/AAA teams that could easily beat the Braves;

ZanesMule
ZanesMule

because the team is so bad, can the braves cut prices for tickets, parking and concessions??? i'm tired of paying these obscene prices to see a low rent, minor league level product!

Johnny Harris
Johnny Harris

It is what it is - pitiful! They have destroyed a once great team, but now the doormat of the National League!

Scott Lang
Scott Lang

They will be better when they change the name to, "The Cobb Braves."

Bill Clements
Bill Clements

And play a single A schedule - might win some but not many

bke161
bke161

@JeffSchultzAJC they actually said his better offense made up for the difference in defense (right or wrong); Newcomb is key piece of trade

larry30
larry30

The valley was the 60's, 70's, and 80's. The braves stunk, period. I realized sitting in the stands at Atlanta Fulton County stadium in '95 watching them celebrate on the field after winning the WS that it might be the only time in my lifetime I would see that. I'm sure Cubs fans in 1908 and Boston fans in 1918 didn't think it would be close to or over 100 years before they won another championship. 

Bill Clements
Bill Clements

Thank goodness for metro high school baseball - free for oldtimers and far better and higher quality play and hustle!

Chopchic
Chopchic

You can't have any peaks if you don't have any valleys...I remember the Braves last "valley" in the 80's...so just grin and bear it

DawgNole
DawgNole

@Chopchic 

Unless you don't care about championships, loser, they've been in a valley for 49 of their 50 years in ATL.

Brian Kliemt
Brian Kliemt

I refuse to support the Braves until they get owners who care about the team.

AtlantaSportsVictory
AtlantaSportsVictory

This would be easier to swallow if we had some of our actual prospects on the team taking their lumps. Instead we have a bunch of guys starting who don't have a future with this club. 

Chris G Brown
Chris G Brown

As a die hard Mets fan I have no sympathy for the Braves. But living in Cobb County all that tax dollars spent on a new stadium if they start like this next year, it's going to get ugly fast

DaltonbywayofBickley
DaltonbywayofBickley

I thought the Braves were gutting the roster to load up on pitching, yet the pitching stinks. World Tiger Foundation?

Cheyenne Breen
Cheyenne Breen

Well one good thing bout it ,we know who to bet on ,gauranteed to win bet at least

larry30
larry30

This has been so predictable and apparent to anyone who could look at the situation objectively. I continue to be amazed and disgusted at the accolades constantly thrown toward John Schuerholz. In an article written in the AJC last week the writer says the KC Royals sagged after Schuerholz left. Sagged, really? The truth is when they made the playoffs year before last it was the first time in 35 years. The only thing Mr. Schuerholz should be credited with is an incredible sense of timing. Bobby Cox and Paul Snyder built the Braves he won with in the 90's. But don't expect to hear this from any of the sportswriters and sports talk hosts in this town. It is mandatory they genuflect before Mr. Schuerholz if they want to continue to have access. And no one should continue to blame Frank Wren entirely for where we are today. You would be foolish to think that he made any deal that didn't have the full approval of the front office. I told my friends two years ago when they announced the new stadium they might as well break out the old powder blue uniforms for the team to wear. I have no interest in joining their "A List." I was a season ticket holder through 2011 and could see exactly where this franchise was headed. I'm confident I will be able to get a good and cheap seat at the new ballpark by mid-summer of 2017, if I have any interest in watching their product, which is all the team represents. MLB convinced me in 1994 that baseball is just a business and we are simply consumers.