In his latest “Fried Baseball” audio blog, Kent explains how the Braves could still edge the Phillies to win the NL East… and laments the frequent presence of Melky Cabrera in the Braves’ starting lineup. Throw in your two cents below!
Tags: Audio, Fried Baseball, Melky Cabrera, NL East Blogs, playoffs
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Dan Perry of FoxSports.com said today that he considers the Braves 3-1 favorites at this point to close the deal and win the NL East. I agree. 3-to-1 sounds about right to me.
Here’s why Atlanta has the edge…
First of all, obviously, they’re already in first place, three full games up on the Phillies, who just suffered a four-game sweep AT HOME at the hands of the Astros. But beyond the standings, Atlanta has the easier schedule from here on out.
The Braves, owners of baseball’s best home record (44-17), have 20 home games remaining, compared to the Phillies’ 16 games left at home. Also, Atlanta will play only 3 more games this season against a quality team, other than the Phillies. They’ll play a three-game set vs the Cardinals next month at Turner Field. The Braves will not see a single comfortably-above-.500 team on the road for the remainder of this season.
The Phillies, conversely, are about to fly west for 3-game sets in San Diego and Los Angeles. To make that road trip even trip even less pleasant… rather than enjoying a scheduled off-day that was to immediately follow this 6-game west coast trip, the Phillies will instead fly to Denver to make up a game that was rained out at Coors Field earlier this year.
Oh, and one more thing to consider regarding the schedule… If the division race isn’t decided by the end of September, the Bravos have the edge there as well. The Phillies and Braves will wrap up the season with a 3-game set AT TURNER FIELD, October 1-3. That is the regular season equivalent, for the Braves, to having games 6 & 7 of a seven-game series on your home field.
As for the makeup of these two division rivals, the Phillies have compiled and impressive “big-3” at the top of their rotation (Halladay/Hamels/Oswalt). However, that trio is no more dangerous or effective than Atlanta’s trio of Hudson, Jurrjens and Hanson. And when you compare the bottom of each rotation and the bullpens of these two teams, it’s apparent that the Braves still have the advantage in the pitching department. On the other hand, the Phillies have more offensive thunder, when firing on all cylinders.
At this point, I don’t believe either team is clearly or substantially better than the other. But because the Braves already hold a 3-game advantage and have the easier schedule from this point forward, Phillies fans have good reason to watch the Wild Card race more closely than the NL East standings.
Having said all of that, Philadelphia is only 3 games back with 30+ games remaining. The Phillies are still very much in this thing, and this race is far from over. Pennant fever is back in Atlanta! There are roughly 5 weeks of baseball left in this 2010 season, and they should be a helluva lot of fun!
Throw in your 2 cents below! Think the Braves will seal the deal?
PS… find me on Twitter, @FriedBasBallATL
Tags: playoffs, Will The Braves Make the Playoffs
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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?
So not to sound like a bad fan, but chances are, these are the last 11 games for the Braves in 2009. We’re 5 games back in the NL Wild Card and Colorado is playing some tough baseball. Believe me though, I’d love to be wrong on that statement, but I just don’t see it happening.
However, the second half of this season has been exceptional for the Braves. Since the All-Star break, the Braves have played .603 baseball (38-25); a good enough winning percentage to be leading any division in baseball right now, save the AL East. Unfortunately, the games before the break (in which the Braves compiled a 43-45 record) count as well. And while our current 81-70 record is nothing to be disappointed over, it’s just tough to once again miss the playoffs after playing such great baseball. Either way, the team we have seen in the second half of the season is getting closer to the playoff-bound Braves teams of the past.
Since the All-Star break, the team hasn’t really let up. I’ll even go as far back to the beginning of July:
So back to the beginning of July, the Braves are 45-30 and haven’t come close to having a losing month. Equate that out over an entire season and the Braves would win 97 or 98 games. The real question is however, can the Braves make that a reality in 2010? Some things will have to change. The bullpen will need to stop wasting leads. The offense will need to come to life when our pitchers need the run support……..and we can’t get swept by the Reds when fighting for a playoff spot. I think starting pitching is locked up decently for the first time in awhile however.
What else needs to change or stay the same for a playoff run in 2010? Let’s go out and enjoy these last 11 games of the season. Who knows, anything can happen. Just ask the Mets.
Tags: 2009, playoffs
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