1914 Braves Update: Boston Cracks the .500 Barrier (by AtlCrackers Fan)

Ed. note: this continues the chronicle of the 1914 season begun in this post and continued in this post.

At the end of the day on July 15, the Braves had completed a four-game series in St. Louis, coming away with two wins. While splitting a series normally provides a last-place team with a reason for celebration, the loss of the final two games had a dampening effect. The standings on the morning of July 16 showed the Braves at ten games under .500, still in last place, and 11 games behind the dominant New York Giants.

New York Giants44-310.5874-7
Chicago Cubs43-370.5383.54-5
St. Louis Cardinals42-390.51955-4
Cincinnati Reds39-400.49475-4
Philadelphia Phillies36-380.4867.56-4
Pittsburgh Pirates34-380.4728.53-4
Brooklyn Dodgers33-380.46592-5
Boston Braves33-430.434117-3

After allowing for a travel day on the 16th, the Braves resumed play in Cincinnati. The Braves would sweep the three-game series, with a 1-0 shutout by Bill James in game one providing a highlight.

They then traveled to Pittsburgh for five games in four days. The Braves went 4-1, the only loss coming in the second game of a double-header on the 22nd. Bill James would toss another 1-0 shutout in an 11-inning complete game.

Returning home, the Braves would take two of three from Chicago and sweep four from St. Louis. That was capped by another ten-inning complete game from Bill James, a 4-3 victory over St. Louis on August 1. Significantly, it brought the team’s record to .500 for the first time all season. The next two days, Lefty Tyler and Dick Rudolph would toss back-to-back 1-0 shutouts, one against St. Louis and the other against Pittsburgh. That was one century ago today, August 4th.

In all, since July 15, the Braves had gone 14-2. Since six of Boston’s victories came against the new bottom dwellers, Pittsburgh’s Pirates, you might think that the Braves had simply caught fire by beating bad teams. However, the other eight victories came against second-place Chicago, third-place St. Louis, and fourth-place Cincinnati, none of whom were duffers.

During this stretch, Lefty Tyler, Dick Rudolph and Bill James received credit for 13 of the victories. Amazingly, seven of the victories were shutouts — this was coming from a pitching staff that had recorded only one shutout before July 4, and its second of the year on July 6.

By the morning of Aug. 5, the National League Standings had changed dramatically.

New York Giants54-370.59310-6
Chicago Cubs52-440.5424.59-7
St. Louis Cardinals51-470.5206.59-8
Boston Braves47-450.5117.514-2
Cincinnati Reds46-500.47910.57-10
Philadelphia Phillies44-490.473118-11
Brooklyn Dodgers40-500.44413.57-12
Pittsburgh Pirates40-520.43514.56-14

47 thoughts on “1914 Braves Update: Boston Cracks the .500 Barrier (by AtlCrackers Fan)”

  1. From the last thread:

    “The picture isn’t quite complete without mentioning the baffling CJ extension.
    Even on here, the most enthusiasm people could muster was, “We don’t have anybody in our system, so might as well…”

    As much as the explosion of extensions for our young stars in waiting gave me hope for the future this spring, so did the extension of Chris Johnson sort of burst that bubble. It’s like they didn’t learn a damned thing with regard to the Uggla mess.

  2. Saw this in the ESPN chat today and thought Crasnick had to be mistaken but BJ Upton has batted 7th or 8th zero times this year. I am one of that last to criticize Fredi but that is horrendously bad managing.

  3. #7-hole hitters, 2014:

    La Stella-30

    #8-hole hitters, 2014:

    La Stella-3

    It’s not like there’s a lot of people on those lists just WORLDS better than BJ.

  4. I’m still holding on to a lot of optimism for Andreton’s offensive development. This year has been a massive setback, but of all the people on the team he’s the one that I’d expect to the most improvement from. He doesn’t have to be great…let’s just get to the ‘not sucking’ level.

    The hiring of Chipper Jones as hitting instructor can’t happen soon enough.

  5. Reposting my thoughts on the off-season from last thread, since someone asked, afterwards: “What can we do?”

    I don’t know what we can do, but what we should do is:

    1.) Try to move BJ Upton. Be aggressive. Be willing to eat half of the contract. If Vernon Wells got traded making $20 mil a year, someone will give something for an $8mil/year player who still has his legs.
    2.) Trade Craig Kimbrel for a high return. We want Craig Kimbrel, but he’s the least necessary expensive player on our roster. We either need to re-stock the farm or re-load the major league team, and Kimbrel is a moveable asset. Package him with BJ if we don’t want to eat all the BJ money. I’m already thinking Angels.
    3.) Listen on Chris Johnson. Really, really listen on offers. If someone wants to give us a really nice piece for him, bite on it.
    4.) Sign Jason Heyward to a long-term deal. He’s one of the best 10 players in baseball, and if we’re serious about staying competetive through 2018 or so, we need a stud. Heyward is the stud. Sign the stud. A core of Heyward, Freeman, Teheran, Simmons, and La Stella/Gattis’s arb years is exactly what we need moving forward.

    Then you put the pieces back together. We’ll need a center fielder. We’ll need one or two good starting pitchers that aren’t from our system. Eventually we’ll need a left fielder and some dudes that can play third. I’ll be optimistic and say one of the guys from our system will pan out at one of those positions at a solid major league level. We should have some cash to play around with to get it done.

    All of that should happen whether or not we make the playoffs. It should only happen if we’re committed to competing in ’16, ’17, and ’18. I think we should make that commitment.

  6. By the way, Alex, I love these Miracle Braves posts. Thanks for taking the time to write them.

  7. @8, sounds good except BJ can’t be moved. He’s Uggla but more expensive. We’re eating most all that salary unless we sweeten the deal with good prospects (do we have any?) or good major leaguers (which we don’t want to give up).

  8. @8 – Sound thinking, good plan, especially point 4) – that sounds like the core of a championship team. Signing Heyward long-term should be a priority.

  9. I think I’m almost just as thankful for an off day as the Braves players. It’s been an exhausting few weeks for a fan.

  10. So we pick up a half game. It’s like War Games… The only way to win is not to play.

  11. I’m really hoping that as these 1914 posts get more and more positive, we won’t be watching the Braves celebrate the centennial by going first to worst. That surely won’t happen, will it? Will it?

  12. @10 “…or good major leaguers…”

    See item #2. Anyway, it works out in my pipe dream.

  13. My strong advice is to pretend there is no game today. This particular game has as good odds as any of being the “rock bottom” game.

  14. In his latest piece, Bill Shanks essentially tells Braves fan to not watch tonight because one of the best lefties in the game, King Felix, will be pitching against them. How is this man that bad at his job?

    Edit: He’s now changed it because I let him know Felix is a RHP.

  15. He also calls King Felix a converted catcher. Ummm…? Never heard that and there’s no evidence going all the way back to the age of 17. I guess he could have caught in T-ball?

  16. Now he’s change that piece of misinformation to converted OF. It’ll be interesting to see how long that stays up. However, he talked about how much trouble the Braves have hitting pitchers that were converted from catchers. In the article, he changed catchers to OF and kept the rest of the info the same.

    How many people get misinfo from this dude on a regular basis?

  17. Great posts Alex. I’m sure glad nothing else significant happened in 1914-well, other than the Federal League starting.

  18. @9, thanks, but please direct your thanks toward AtlCrackers Fan, whom I should have credited in the title of the post before and have done so now. He’s written all these posts as well as This Week In Southern Baseball History.

  19. King Felix has given up 2 or fewer ER in 20 of his 23 starts & hasn’t given up more than 2 since mid-May, when he gave up 3. This guy’s good.

  20. J.R. Graham has apparently converted to full-time relief and was hitting 98 on the radar gun last night. Good for the future of the bullpen, but bad for the growth of his prospect status as a starting pitcher.

  21. @26

    On the plus side, we wouldn’t score more than three anyway, regardless of the pitcher, so clearly….I’m not really sure where I’m going with this.

  22. I will say that our best offensive performance of the last five games came against Clayton Kershaw, so I guess that’s something.

  23. 2 months ago Fredi would’ve run out the B-squad. That’s what he likes to do against premier aces. I don’t think that’s likely tonight. The pressure mounts with every 1-2-3 inning.

  24. How many strikeouts will BJ have – 3 or 4? That is the biggest question I have about tonight’s game. My vote is 4.

  25. He’ll only get 3 ABs in a perfect game. We’ll have to hope for a walk or an error or something to get BJ to 4 ABs. My vote is 2 Ks, one deep fly to CF, and one popup. The deep fly to CF will keep him in the leadoff spot for 2 more weeks.

    Over/under on Braves hits tonight? 5 feels like a good number.

  26. This is exactly the kind of opponent the Braves need right now. There’s nothing to lose. I would be more scared if they were playing against the mediocre soft tosser or unknown rookie.

  27. @35
    Perhaps. But I’ve already got the bill of my cap handy so I’m prepared when it comes time to tip it.

  28. Show us how to be, then, Sam! The voice of disappointment is only a golden octave below the voice of encouragement!

    Did Moses call his fellow downtrodden Jews nambypants? Did Gandhi chastise his civil disobeyers as weak-willed? Did Seattle Bill James kick dirt at his last-place teammates or did he hurl a string of gems?!

  29. Watch your language Sam. Actually, “weak willed nambypants” sounds like an extinct bird or something. (-;

  30. Jason Heyward has been our Seattle Bill James of late. Unfortunately, he doesn’t pitch. But he’s been doing his damnedest to drag these guys kicking-and-screaming to a win.

  31. Don’t give up. Did we give up when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor? (Wasn’t BJ Upton the commander at Pearl Harbor?)

  32. In a slightly less edited version of the Torah, Moses calls the Hebrews whinging and whining like you lot “fish food” just before the waters come back together. Suck it up, people! The word is short for “fanatic.” One does not allow mere statistical probability to intrude upon one’s fanaticism! We’re going to destroy that no-account punk. 12-2 or better.

    Also, in other news, the Indians just activated Nyjer Morgan from the 60 day DL and then released him. That bodes poorly for Nyjer Morgan’s continued career in baseball, after a pretty gnarly knee injury. But on the other hand, before injuring his knee in May, Nyjer Morgan was a LH batting CF/LF option who was hitting 341/429/439. Ima say there’s no good reason not to give him a call and kick the tires, aight?

  33. Alex,

    I think this game calls for a game thread and one Mr. Phillip David Charles Collins.

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