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Atlanta Braves news and links: Shaking things up

When you're on a 3-24 run, you may as well try to shake things up, right? That's what the Braves are doing and are probably going to keep on doing as the season comes to a close.

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Is the seat getting warmer for Fredi?

The Braves are currently on a 3-24 stretch. I am now in physical pain after having to type that, by the way. Anyways, we've all heard the rumors about Fredi Gonzalez having lost the clubhouse, and that's got people (a.k.a. us) wondering whether or not Fredi is legiitmately on the hot seat. beat writer Mark Bowman shared his thoughts on the matter:

When a team loses in the manner that the Braves have, it is easy to watch from afar and say things like, "The team has quit," and "The manager has lost the clubhouse." It would have been much easier to make these arguments about last year's team, which was dead during the final couple of months.

You can be upset with Gonzalez about the way in which 2011 concluded or the way the 2014 team stumbled down the stretch. But given the lack of talent that exists in Atlanta's clubhouse down the stretch this season, it is unfair to evaluate his performance based on what the Braves have done since the All-Star break.

I don't know about you, but I think I'll go ahead and take the option of "being upset."

Swisher could come back for 2016

Meanwhile, one tiny bright spot during this disastrous stretch has been the fact that Nick Swisher has been downright decent since his joyous arrival in Atlanta. Now, he hasn't been tearing it up or anything like that, but it definitely seems like he's had a positive effect on the clubhouse since his arrival, and he hasn't been one of those guys who you could point at and say "Yeah, he's the reason why the Braves stink this year." As such, the team is reportedly open to bringing him back for next season, which was considered a long shot back when he came here.

He was completing a rehab assignment when traded and expectations were lower for Swisher than for Bourn. Some thought that Swisher might even be designated for assignment and dumped.

Those opinions began to change soon after the trade. Bourn has hit .181 (15-for-96) with a .263 OBP, .480 OPS and four stolen bases in 29 games. But he has played strong defense and manager Fredi Gonzalez notes how unlucky he’s been with line drives hit at defenders. For the season, Bourn has hit .231 with a career-worst .579 OPS and 17 steals.

Swisher has hit .235 with a solid .368 OBP and .756 OPS in 106 plate appearances for the Braves, with four doubles, three homers and 15 RBIs in 32 games.

Braves will continue to try new things with the lineup

Considering that the team is currently in a historically bad rut, this type of news shouldn't be a surprise. Again, this team is currently in a 3-24 stretch, so they may as well try to shake things up with the lineup as much as possible, right?

On Sunday they used Daniel Castro at second base in relief of season-long starter Jace Peterson and started Adonis Garcia in left field. Both moves paid off, as each player had three hits and the team produced seven runs.

#Peterson is batting only .200 in his last 33 games and has seen his batting average fall to .239. Castro has been a pleasant offensive surprise; he's hit .341 in his last nine starts (14-for-41) and is hitting .302 for the season.

"Castro does a terrific job," manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "He gives you some great at-bats."

Atlanta is continuing to have a decent amount of patience with Bethancourt

Despite the fact that rumors about the Braves signing Matt Wieters or Chris Ianetta are continuing to float around, there's still a bit of hope for Christian Bethancourt to potentially be the backstop of the future for the team. Despite the fact that he's clearly been struggling in his relatively short time as starting catcher for the Braves, he's still shown glimpses of his talent behind the plate. If those glimpses turn into permanent development, then maybe there's still plenty of hope for Bethancourt in Atlanta just yet.

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Phillies lose 8-7 to Nationals, but Papelbon blew the save for Washington

The Braves' closest rivals in the race for the #1 pick in next year's draft hellped their cause with a high-scoring defeat at the hands of the Washington Nationals. However, our friends over at The Good Phight clearly have their priorities in order. They don't care about the results (well, the draft positioning for them is nice), but they care about schadenfreude, and they got plenty of it when Jonathan Papelbon blew the save against the Phillies.



I didn't think there was a chance in hell that the Phillies would be able to hit Jonathan Papelbon. I was sure the game was over. I'VE NEVER BEEN SO HAPPY TO BE WRONG. On a 1-1 pitch, Freddy Galvis lined the baseball into the stands in right field, tying the game and giving Jonathan Papelbon his first blown save in exactly a year. That's right -- Jonathan Papelbon's last blown save came with the Phillies on September 14, 2014, ALSO KNOWN AS THE PAPELCROTCH GAME. ONE YEAR AGO TODAY PAPELBON BLEW A SAVE AND THEN "ADJUSTED" HIMSELF IN FRONT OF A CROWD OF BOOING FANS. THAT'S POETRY RIGHT THERE.

Rangers beat Astros 5-3 and are now only .5 games behind in the AL West

Full disclosure: I am 100% rooting for the Astros to win the AL West. I adopted them as my AL rooting interest when they made the jump over there, and so it's given me great pleasure to see them doing so well this season. With that being said, it's hurting me to the bone to see their lead in the division slowly dwindle, as the Texas Rangers are currently charging hard. The Rangers powered their way to victory thanks to a dinger in the eighth inning from Prince Fielder.

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