Following a 9-28 start, the Atlanta Braves have dismissed manager Fredi Gonzalez. The Braves were widely expected to finish in the cellar of the NL East and began the season with 9 consecutive losses and would sustain another 8 game losing streak last month.
Since May 1st, the Braves are 4-10 including an 8-5 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates in the Steel City. They have the worst record in MLB and are 13½ games back of the Washington Nationals in the NL East. To give you a sense of their offensive futility, the Braves have hit only 11 home runs this season and first baseman Freddie Freeman has six of them. Put another way, New York Mets slugger Yoenis Cespedes has hit 12 home runs all by himself.
Gonzalez had the unenviable task of succeeding Bobby Cox in 2011. Following a late season collapse that year, the Braves would reach the post-season in 2012 and 2013. However, the Braves gradually sold off their veteran players in part to finance a new ballpark they will move into next season. All things considered, it is remarkable as they only spent 20 years in Turner Field.
With this in mind, I’m not sure if the Braves’ fortunes will improve under Brian Snitker who has been named the team’s interim manager. Snitker will have familiarity with the Braves’ roster as he has been managing the team’s Triple AAA affiliate in Gwinett. Perhaps the Braves’ front office is thinking along the lines of the Philadelphia Phillies who well on pace to lose more than 100 games in 2015, fired Ryne Sandberg mid-season replacing him with baseball lifer Pete Mackanin. Not only did Mackanin keep the team from losing 100 games, but they are the biggest surprise in the NL tied for second place in the NL East with the reigning NL champion New York Mets only 1½ games back of the Nats. The Braves are hoping to be in 2017 what the Phillies are so far this season. The Braves do have a highly heralded minor league system of which Snitker was a part. But I suspect things will get worse before they get better for Braves fans.