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Bobby Cox tied the record for most all-time ejections on Sunday. He said it was embarrassing.

Chipper Jones and John Smoltz got into a public spat this weekend over whether or not Jones was nursing his wounds. The two veteran players said they were embarrassed their argument got played out in the media.

Today, Atlanta Journal-Constitution writer Jeff Schultz says the Braves should be embarrassed, but not over Cox’s record, or Jones’ and Smoltz’s fight:

Fact is, the Braves have several reasons to be embarrassed. But look on the field, look in the standings. This should be way down the list.

Schultz is referring to the fact that the Braves are 3-7 in their last ten games. They have lost five in a row and have scored one run in those five games. One. Stinking. Run.

Who could have predicted that the Braves’ offense would be this bad? Umpbump could have — and did. Harken back to January, when we said:

If the Braves are going to score any runs, they will need Edgar Renteria to once again defy father time, Chipper Jones to stay healthy, Andruw Jones to have a huge contract year and Jeff Francouer to finally become the all-star they believe he is.

Don’t hold your breath.

Remember, Umpbumper Nick was particularly critical of the Braves for trading 1B Adam LaRoche for Pirates reliever Mike Gonzalez:

For the life of me, I can’t figure out why the Braves made this LaRoache-Gonzalez trade. How can you trade a player who OPS’d over 1.000 for a relief pitcher? They must have really been fed up with his ADD or something. What a terrible trade.

In retrospect, of course, Nick looks like a genius. Mike Gonzalez is out for the season. And even if he were healthy,  he wouldn’t help solve the Braves’ offensive woes.

True, LaRoche has been a disappointment for Pittsburgh this year, but just about every player who leaves the Braves struggles the next season (see J.D. Drew, Kevin Millwood, Greg Maddux, etc.). He’ll bounce back.

Regardless of LaRoche’s 2007 struggles, you don’t trade a proven hitter for a relief pitcher. Ever. Especially when that reliever is pegged to be a set-up guy. Especially, when your team is short on sluggers. Any half-decent fantasy GM knows that.

So what was Scheurholz thinking?

Maybe Nick was right. Maybe, minus Leo Mazzone, the Braves just aren’t that good. Maybe Scheurholz really is “one of the least creative GMs in the game, and now that Leo is gone he is getting exposed for the fraud that he is.”

All I know is Bobby Cox is on the verge of retirement. Andruw Jones is hitting below the Mendoza line. Chipper and Smoltz are sniping at each other in the press. And everyday the Braves’ era of good feelings seems more and more like a distant memory.

2 Responses to “The good times are over in Atlanta.”

  1. Paul Moro says:

    Vengeance.

  2. From the brain of Danny Orrock, it’s time for another LaRoche Update:

    He’s hitting .211 with 8 HRs and 39 RBI. He has struck out 74 times. His OPS is .672, the lowest in his career. And he’s been stuck on 2 HBP for over a month.

    What about Mike Gonzalez, the guy Atlanta got for him? Yes, he’s on the DL, out for the year. But before going down, he pitched 17 innings while only giving up 3 runs. 2 for 2 in saves.

    The idea that Scheurholz made a bad deal is rooted solely in a half season of stellar hitting from a hard-headed first baseman. Now he’s a weak spot for the Pirates. Even though Gonzalez is on the DL, he’s not clogging up a spot in the lineup like LaRoche. I think it was a great trade for the Braves.

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