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So, Atlanta’s one acquisition prior to the trade deadline was Tommy Milone from the Orioles. That’s it. And truth be told, that’s fine. It really is, there’s no sarcasm there.
BUT, in order for that to be fine, in my opinion, these things have to happen in order to meet or exceed Braves fans’ expectations coming into the season:
1. Fried needs to keep on rolling.
2. Ian Anderson needs to pitch at or near the level in which he pitched in his debut versus the Yankees, when he carried a no-hitter into the 6th.
3. Cole Hamels has to come back soon enough to build a rhythm & a 2020 starting routine prior to the playoffs. And build up to the effectiveness that’s required of a #3 in a NL Pennant contending team.
4. Tommy Milone needs to start showing why Alex Anthopoulos wanted him in Atlanta. I’m not going to judge him off his first start. Pitchers are creatures of habit, and his first start with the Braves came a day earlier than his scheduled start with the Orioles. He flew in hours before his start, so the battery had to learn on the fly and figure things out while simultaneously navigating through a talented Phillies lineup.
5. Tucker Davidson needs to be called up. The rotation is in shambles right now. If this season is as unconcerning as MLB GM’s are telling their fanbases, then there is ZERO EXCUSE to keep Davidson at the alternate site to face the same batters every day instead of big leaguers so he can develop, especially if Erlin doesn’t improve.
6. Cristian Pache’s #14 jersey needs to be patrolling Center Field for the Atlanta Braves. Ender isn’t producing, and hasn’t been since the beginning of the season. Ender’s defense has been his big “gotta keep him in” tool to this point in his Atlanta tenure; well, Pache’s defense is better. Ender’s bat is nonexistent, so any offense Pache provides is an improvement, with zero possibility of losing anything. The trade deadline has now passed, so the possibility of him being showcased for a trade is out the window. #FreePache
7. Keep Newcomb, Wright, & Folty in Gwinnett. This is in no way an attack on them as men, but they’ve had more chances to “right the ship” than any group of players I’ve ever seen, in any sport. Anderson figured it out, Fried figured it out relatively quickly. They should’ve by now, considering their “pedigree” & “prospect rankings”. Mediocrity on the mound shouldn’t be tolerated anymore in an organization that chose it’s players over bonafide all-stars & established front end of the rotation pitchers.
8. Please, for the love of God, stop putting Ozuna in the outfield. His bat is one of the most important sticks in our lineup. His defense is on the exact opposite end of the spectrum.
I still believe the Braves have what it takes to win this season’s World Series. But that rides on a multitude of things going our way, outlined above. Making a deal for Mike Clevinger or Lance Lynn would’ve just eliminated the need for so many things to go accordingly.