This is not the storybook ending to the Bobby Cox Era that the Atlanta Braves had envisioned.
In fact, it is a nightmarish beginning to the end of the illustrious Braves manager’s 29 year career.
Cox, in his 25th season with the Braves and in the final year of his brilliant managerial career, just watched his club endure an 0-7 road trip, their worst since 1949.
His team has lost nine straight games to drop them to an embarrassing 8-14 on the season.
To add injury to insult, Braves starter Jair Jurrjens and shortstop Yunel Escobar were hurt in Atlanta’s latest 10-4 loss at the hands of the St. Louis Cardinals yesterday.
Jurrjens exited after the first inning due to a strained left hamstring and Escobar departed in the seventh with what was described as a strained left abductor.
The Braves righty hopes to make his next start and Escobar is currently listed as day-to-day.
These latest blows to strike the Braves made Atlanta’s winless seven-game road stretch and nine-game losing streak even more intolerable and unbearable to watch.
While tempers are running high throughout the entire team, the person’s frustration who is at the most heightened state right now is Bobby Cox.
It has been 30 years since Cox has suffered a comparable losing streak.
In 1980, he was at the helm when the Braves went 0-6 to start the season. However, that team did not have the preseason expectations that this year’s club had.
The usual affable manager appears baffled by his team’s struggles and is desperately searching for the right lineup combinations or roster adjustments to spark his sputtering squad.
Cox and the Braves haven’t talked much about his swan song to this point. They were hoping to translate wins on the field—with the hope that success would instead speak volumes.
There is still five months of the season left which is enough time for the Braves to right this sinking ship and send Cox out on a winning note.
But, to this point, the Braves have let their skipper down.
For a man that ranks fourth on Baseball’s All-time Managerial Wins List and is a shoo-in future Hall of Famer, he deserved more in his final season.
Much, much more.
The listless, apathetic, uninspired play from his troops over the past nine games is shameful.
It is time for Chipper Jones and the veteran leaders of the Braves to grab hold of this despondent group and arrange for a players only team meeting to turn this season around.
A manager’s moves can ultimately only go so far, it is now up to the players to get out on the field and execute.
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