Mark Bradley

Mark Bradley is a sports columnist and blogger for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

The Braves had a pretty good week. They won twice

The Atlanta Braves went 2-4 in a week, and we thought, "Not too bad." They lost two series, and we thought, "Didn't get swept." They were two extra-inning losses from winning each series, and we thought, "They're improving."

When you're the worst team in baseball -- and the Braves still are, despite the best/worst efforts of the Twins -- and you started 0-9, you've driven expectations so low that anything short of losing every game by 10 runs constitutes a moral if not actual victory. At this late date, Fredi Gonzalez doesn't need a cue to break out the B-word, but he employed it after Sunday's loss in Kansas City. "We battled," he told reporters, as ever.

Then this: "It's just a shame you walk out of here feeling pretty darn good, but your record -- you lost two out of three."

Well, yes. There is that record. And it is terrible. The Braves remain on pace to lose 121 games, which would be a modern record. They're last in in the majors in scoring -- by 19 runs. Every other big-league team has hit more than three times as many homers. But here, if you really want a sign of improvement, it is:

The starting pitchers for the worst team in the majors have compiled the 15th-best ERA, which puts the Braves' rotation in the top half. Not one of the current five starters is older than 25.

Remember that part about rebuilding around young pitching? It's happening, folks. Now if they could just figure out a way to win a game 0-0.

Further glad tidings:

An exercise: Could the Braves trade for Mike Trout?

Who's going as bad as the Braves? Ex-Brave Justin Upton.

Here's why I'd rather be the Braves than the Hawks.

If the Braves are "battling," what would their record be if they quit?

The Cubs won seven games last week. The Braves have won seven this season.

One thing the Braves do well -- sell high.

Did the Braves sell high on Shelby Miller or what?

Credit the Braves for trying stuff. Lots of stuff, actually.

For the 4-17 Braves, there's really no choice but to fire Fredi G.

Braves at 4-16: We've see it before (though not lately)

The Braves just played a riveting game. Didn't win, but still ...

The Braves can't respond to losing by rushing their prospects.

10 not-so-fun facts about the not-so-hot Braves.

We ask again: What has happened to Julio Teheran?

A drop and a bullpen flop put a stop to the Braves' winning streak.

Progress! The Braves are giving us moments.

Fredi G. and the four-out save: It's getting weird, folks.

Fredi is managing as if he wants to be fired.

At 0-7, the Fredi Gonzalez Watch is officially on.

A word to Braves fans: Don't get discouraged.

These Braves weren't built to win. Good thing, seeing that they're 0-5.

Trust the process? The Braves absolutely do.

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About the Author

Mark Bradley is a sports columnist and blogger for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He has been with the AJC since 1984.