Well, this train has certainly gone off the rails now. Getting swept at home by the Yankees (who are currently in a postseason race) is one thing. Getting swept at home by the Marlins (who are currently in a draft pick race) is another. The Braves actually gained the lead in the early stages of the contest thanks to a 2-RBI single from Hector Olivera (which was his first Major League hit). However, the Marlins put up three runs in the fifth inning and never looked back afterwards. Watch out, Philly: The Braves are gunning for that number one draft pick!
Speaking of Olivera, it's no secret that the Braves have some pretty high hopes for the 30-year old Cuban, even if they're trying their best to taper those expectations at the present moment. No prospect is ever a sure thing, but the Braves front office has been enamored with Olivera since this past offseason, and they believe that they've got someone who could potentially be another big bat that the team has been craving.
The Braves envision Olivera as a .280 hitter who can bang 20-25 home runs for an organization that is focused on rebuilding through pitching. They were outbid for Olivera in the off-season by the free-spending Dodgers, who signed him for $62.5 million, including a $28 million signing bonus. The Dodgers needed another starter and relief pitching for a playoff run and dealt him while eating the signing bonus. The Braves owe Olivera $32.5 million for five years. If he hits as projected, Olivera will be a bargain and fill a huge need.
"I wouldn’t say we feel nervous," Coppolella said. "The player you see in 2015 may not be the player you see in 2016. There is a period of adjustment and acclimation for any Cuban player. We had a lot of our top scouts look at him. …we know he is going to be an impactful player for the Braves organization. This is about the future and adding an impactful player to a team that has struggled to find offense the last two years."
During dark days such as these, you can do one of two things: You can either look forward to the promise of future glory, or you can look back on glory that actually happened. That's what our friends over at ATL All Day have decided to do, as they've decided to rank the Braves' retired numbers. That seems like a pretty tough task, but it's always nice to take a trip down memory lane with the Braves.
The Los Angeles Dodgers took a big step towards taking the NL West title on Wednesday night after they completed a three-game sweep of their hated rivals, the San Francisco Giants. Clayton Kershaw was excellent as usual, but the Dodgers were able to win thanks to Chase Utley hitting his first homer as a Dodger. He picked a pretty good time to hit it, didn't he?
Hey look, the Texas Rangers are now only two games behind the Houston Astros for first place in the AL West. Please, raise your hand if you had those two teams fighting for a divisional title at this point in the season. The Rangers have been surging since the All-Star break, and now they're in a position where if this keeps up, they might be able to sneak into the Postseason.