SAN FRANCISCO – When it’s late August and the Braves go directly from surging over a 40-game stretch to losing five out of six, well, their followers get anxious for obvious reasons.
Because as much as some of them have asked us since spring training to please stop mentioning the September collapse, until the Braves bury that meltdown of a year ago by finishing a season strong and going to the playoffs, it’s going to hang overhead like a cloud. And right now, that cloud is getting darker.
Let me be clear: No one I know is predicting anything similar to last year’s 10-20 finish, simply because this is a better, healthier team that those Braves were down the stretch.
The 2011 Braves turned to rookies and prospects to hold together an injury-riddled starting rotation during the critical stretch drive, and two of the Big Three relievers were running on fumes,