Okay, we can all agree that what we’re doing isn’t working.  Now, the offense has been pretty good, even during the losing streak — not great, but not that bad.  The real problem has been pitching and defense.  And I am more and more convinced that the biggest problem is defense, that the Braves have a staff full of ground ball pitchers who don’t get lots of strikeouts, and that the infield defense is so lousy that a lot of ground ball outs are turning into singles.  The only starting infielder whose range can even be described as “average” is Marcus, and he’s overaggressive and makes too many mental errors.  To me, the solution is obvious.

Your new starting shortstop: Tony Pena Jr.

It’s possible that the Braves have finally driven me insane, but it’s time to return to the team’s roots.  In 1991, the Braves gave 353 AB (a career high) to Rafael Belliard.  Belliard was awful offensively, but that team was still able to score runs; they needed a solid defensive glove at shortstop.  Pena isn’t a much better hitter than Belliard — it’s not clear, in fact, that he’s not worse — but he’s a first-class glove on a team that desperately needs one.
It’s time to return to the 1991 model.  Edgar Renteria, who currently has the same range as Jeff Blauser — and Blauser is 40 years old and managing in Mississippi — should move to left field.  The Braves should install Pena at shortstop.  If they’re down late, or if they have a fly ball or strikeout pitcher going, they can go with Betemit in his place.