MLB Team Report - Atlanta Braves - INSIDE PITCH


ATLANTA -- Because they have four games against the Pittsburgh Pirates next week, the Braves are clinging to the faint hope that they might be able to grab the National League's final wild-card spot.

In reality, though, the season is already lost and there will be a price to pay for the Braves' befuddling performance.

Hitting coach Greg Walker can't possibly survive after the team's stunning offensive collapse. The casualties might run much deeper, though.

Despite receiving contract extensions after last season, general manager Frank Wren and manager Fredi Gonzalez are both on the hot seat after the Braves slipped from a team that won 96 games a year ago to one fighting to finish over .500.

CEO Terry McGuirk made it clear last month that everyone would be held accountable for whatever happened the rest of the year.

The Braves haven't won a playoff series in Wren's seven seasons since taking over from John Schuerholz and that likely won't change this year. The team will again be paying Dan Uggla not to play next season, and B.J. Upton has three more seasons on his ill-fated contract.

Gonzalez was handpicked as Bobby Cox's successor and has followed in that steady mold. The Braves, though, blew a playoff spot with a late collapse in 2011, lost the wild-card game at home in 2012 and couldn't get past the Los Angeles Dodgers in the division series a year ago.

The Braves were able to make for the loss off Kris Medlen and Brandon Beachy to elbow injuries during spring training by adding Ervin Santana and Aaron Harang to the rotation, but the offense has plummeted to one of the worst in the majors.

Gonzalez certainly isn't passing the buck for what has happened.

"That's an easy question," he said when asked how much responsibility he felt. "I'm the face of the team. I'm the face of the organization. I'm not on billboards or anything like that, but I'm the one on a microphone every single day answering the questions.

"So I take a lot of responsibility in that, whether it's fair or not fair. It's my team. It's my 25 guys. I take full responsibility. I don't think you can answer that question any other way. If any coach in any sport answers that in a different way, that's not the guy you want leading your team."

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MLB Team Report - Atlanta Braves - NOTES, QUOTES


RECORD: 76-76

STREAK: Won one

NEXT: Friday -- Mets (RHP Zach Wheeler, 10-10, 3.61 ERA) at Braves (RHP Julio Teheran, 13-12, 2.89 ERA)

PLAYER NOTES:

--C Evan Gattis, originally sidelined by a strep throat, also had a kidney stone and missed his ninth straight game on Wednesday. He could return as early as Friday, when the Braves open a weekend series against the New York Mets. "At this point, he is day-to-day," general manager Frank Wren said. Gattis hasn't played since Sept. 7 in Miami.