Well, after last night, the Rockies’ magic number is at 1 and anything short of a complete fold by Colorado and winning out by the Braves (which is entirely possible against the Nats) marks the end of the postseason run for 2009.
Last night’s loss hurts….a lot. Yes, being the doubter that I am at times, I had pretty much written off the game and the season heading into the 8th, down by 5. Two runs in the 8th and two runs in the ninth and I found myself in that hopeful spot that, by now, I should know better than to do with the Braves. Two outs, down by 1, bases loaded………I’m sure everyone knows the rest of the story by now. So I’m just not going to make myself angry with it again. I’ll leave it to braves.com to tell that story if you haven’t already heard it.
So let me just put this out there that, out of anyone on the team, I’m probably the most okay with the fact that this happened to MattyD. Diaz consistently goes out on the field and puts everything he has into the game. He never complains about playing in platoon situations; he just does his job and does it well. Yes, he made a mistake. He pretty much made the most decisively costly mistake at the most important time in the season, but, you know what, he has a lot more desire to win than most of the guys on the roster.
I’m not going to deny it. When the game ended last night, I launched into a profanity-laden tirade around my house (maybe it’s a good thing I didn’t make it out to the game for once) that I’m just waiting to hear from at least one of my neighbors today about how they don’t think they should have their children living in the same neighborhood as me. But it’s okay, Matty, I still appreciate your value to the team. Rue and I sat down and discussed this over lunch today. Had Kelly Johnson been the one ending our hopes for the playoffs last night, there’s a good chance that I would have made it to the stadium before he left for a little face-to-face discussion.
There’s still a slight chance, Braves fans, but either way, let’s try to enjoy our last series of the season. Get out to the Ted and cheer on the Braves and get ready for a season of sending Bobby Cox off in style next year. We’ll be here in the offseason helping recap the season and getting ready for 2010.
Tags: Can the Braves Make the Playoffs, Matt Diaz, playoffs, Postseason
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Last night’s games around the league provided a bit of a stumbling block for the Braves, who went into the night two games back in the NL Wild Card race. Tim Hudson just didn’t have his best stuff, giving up home runs to Uggla and Maybin and allowing 4 runs in 5 innings of work.
Down 4-1 in the 6th, the Braves’ chances were lifted with a 3-run Matt Diaz home run, but the high from this didn’t last long, as Kawakami allowed a run for the Marlins in the top of the 7th. This would go on to be the difference-maker as the Braves fell to the Marlins 5-4.
At that point, eyes turned to the scoreboard to watch the Rockies vs. Brewers game. There was a little hope when the Brewers scored 3 runs in the top of the 9th to tie the game at 5, but the Rockies ended the game on a 2-run Chris Iannetta pinch-hit home run in the bottom of the 11th.
So five games to go and the Braves are three games back in the Wild Card standings. We have one more against the Marlins and finish up the season with four against the Nationals at the Ted. There’s still a chance, we just need to put together some wins. What do you think? Is there still hope for the Braves this season?
Back in the day when the Braves were on national television every night, were owned by a flamboyant cable television tycoon, featured a bevy of superstar names, and won the division every single year… there was no shortage of national press aimed in the Braves’ direction. These days, however, the Braves tend to fly a bit under the radar. Maybe that’s why so few in national sports media seemed to have noticed…
The Braves are back.
Do you remember the days when the Braves threw top-of-rotation starters at opponents just about every single night? Those days are back. Remember the days when Atlanta combined timely hitting and superior defense with that pitching to down opponents with regularity? Those days are back.
The Atlanta Braves now hold the best record of any team in the National League since the all-star break (17-9). Since the break, the Braves are 3rd in the league in runs scored, 2nd in homeruns, and 4th in team batting average. Atlanta also leads in the league in “second half” team ERA (3.03).
In fact, Atlanta holds the best record of any team in the NL since June 28th (26-14). That’s a .650 win percentage. To put that in perspective, a .650 clip over a 162 games would translate to 105 wins. That’s how well the Braves have played over the last 40 games. And we’re not talking about an insignificant sample size. As a friend pointed out to me Tuesday night as we sat at “The Ted” and watched the Braves bang around the Nats… 40 games is a full quarter of a season.
Yet, as of August 13th, the ESPN Power Rankings say there are 13 MLB teams better than Atlanta. Really? I’ll take that bet.
The Braves have substantially upgraded fully HALF of their lineup, and baseball’s top prospect, Jason Heyward, might make his big league debut in September. Also, to what is already the league’s best pitching staff, the Braves will soon add Tim Hudson, who is slated to return from his “Tommy John” rehab later this month.
So while the Baseball Tonight folks yap endlessly about the Yankees, Red Sox, and Pedro’s return to the mound, the Braves will look to continue taking care of business. Though, another series win against the Phillies this weekend would certainly make the Braves harder to ignore. And I’m confident that another series win is the only thing on the minds of these resurgent Atlanta Braves.
Braves fans, are you excited yet?
Tags: 2009 Braves, Can the Braves Make the Playoffs, Postseason
Posted in General | 10 Comments »