Friday, August 28, 2009

Braves Still In The Hunt

Yes, I know. The last three days were a blow to fans. After taking two of three from the Marlins to go ahead of them in the standings, blowing the series to the Padres hurts our chances. (As Joe Simpson said tonight, "They're running out of games.") But it's not over yet. And with it being late August, that's still a good thing. The Braves are still in the playoff hunt for the first time since I arrived in town in 2006. I realize in 2007 that they acquired Mark Teixeira to hopefully make the playoffs, but injuries decimated that team and they fell into a losing streak. However, with injuries still hurting this year’s Braves (pretty much most of the season, including last weekend when three outfielders on the bench), this team still has a chance.

But is that true? My gut tells me that the division race is out of reach. As Skip Caray used to say, it’s not “Games Behind” that matters so much as differences in the loss column. At this writing, the Braves and Phillies have too many losses difference to make it up with less than 40 games to go. It would take a collapse of Met-like proportion by the Phillies for the Braves to overcome it. Even with six games remaining against the Phillies, a 5-1 record would only eliminate half of the deficit as of this writing.

However, the Wild Card is still definitely attainable, despite the performance of the last three days. The Braves trail the Rockies by 4.5 games (with only four in the loss column) and the Giants are also ahead of them. (The Braves and Marlins are tied. They have seven games left with each other and can ether fight it out or one team can just put the other away.) Between the Braves and the Rockies, the remaining schedule looks easiest for the Rockies. Both teams have a sizable number of home games left, but Coors Field is one of the biggest home-field advantages in baseball. However, the Rockies have three left against the Dodgers and seven against the Giants and none of those will be easy. Like the Braves, the Rockies also have three left against the Cardinals. The Giants also have numerous games with the Dodgers in addition to their match-ups with the Rockies, plus a big three game series in Philadelphia.

With all that in mind (and with the Braves starting a seven game road trip today with three against the Phillies and four against the Marlins), it still promises to be an exciting September. Click here to check out the Braves website and find good deals on upcoming games. Remaining home series are.

9/4 – 9/6 Cincinnati
9/15 -9/17 New York Mets
9/18 – 9/20 Philadelphia Phillies
9/28 – 9/30 Florida Marlins
10/1 – 10/4 Washington Nationals

Go Braves!

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