Braves fans, here’s the numbers (cover your eyes)

The Braves celebrated a win Thursday night. But they're going to need a few more.

The Braves celebrated a win Thursday. But they'll need quite a few more.

I know sometimes baseball fans get angry when us nattering nabobs of negativism (copyright: tax cheat and lousy official scorer Spiro Agnew) suggest that their team might be hopelessly out of the race.

So I won’t do that this morning. Yes, the Braves just lost two out of three games at home to the San Diego Padres, a last-place team, at a time when they really needed to sweep somebody at home, especially a last-place team. But keep hope alive, right? Uh, where was I?

So here goes.  You will get no negative verbiage from me. You get only numbers. I figure in this case, numbers tell the story.

First, here’s how it looks in the N.L. East:

Team              W     L     Pct.  GB

Philadelphia    73   52  .584  –

Atlanta            67   60  .528  7

Florida            67   60  .528  7

And here’s how it looks in the N.L. wild card picture

Team               W     L   Pct.  GB

Colorado         72    56  .563  –

San Francisco 69    59  .539  3

Atlanta            67    60   .528  4.5

Florida            67    60   .528  4.5

And here are all the bottom lines:

♦ EAST: If the Phillies continue to play at a .584 pace, they’ll go 22-15 in their last 37 games and finish 95-67. The Braves would have to go 28-7 (.800) just to tie.

♦ EAST: If the Phillies play at just above a .500 clip, 19-18, the rest of the way, they’ll finish 92-70. The Braves would have to go 25-10 (.714) to catch them.

(For the record, Philadelphia was 39-37 on July 2. It’s 34-15 since.  The Phillies have been playing at a .694 clip for nearly two months.)

♦ WILD CARD: If the Rockies continue to play at a .563 pace, they’ll go 19-15 in their final 34 games and finish 91-71. The Braves would have to go 24-11(.686) to tie them.

♦ WILD CARD: If the Rockies play at a .500 clip, 17-17, the rest of the way, they’ll finish 89-73. The Braves would have to go 22-13 (.629) to catch them.

(For the record, Colorado started the season 18-28 but is 54-28 since firing manager Clint Hurdle May 28 and replacing him with Jim Tracy. The Rockies have been playing at a .659 clip for three months.)

♦ BRAVES RECAP: They were 39-43 on July 6. They are 28-17 since. That’s a .622 clip, which is less than .800, .714, .686 or .629.

OK, I’m done. Hopefully I didn’t ruin your breakfast.

What do the numbers tell you?

168 comments Add your comment

"Chef" Tim Dix

August 28th, 2009
5:33 am

Got the mega ball numbers Jeff?

If so, please e-mail.

"Chef" Tim Dix

August 28th, 2009
5:52 am

I bought a quick pick for tuesdays drawing and I got 4, v, q, q, z, and mega ball bumber was the star symbol.

Charles Jackson

August 28th, 2009
5:55 am

Numbers don’t lie BUT hope springs eternal.

Knight Rider

August 28th, 2009
6:16 am

It is what it is…cant wait to see how hudson does on monday

brewdawg

August 28th, 2009
6:38 am

Jeff, your wild card numbers have one (slight) mistake. San Francisco is 69-59 and 3 games back. Have a good one.

Coach (2010 or Bust)

August 28th, 2009
6:45 am

I can’t handle common sense this early in the morning, I’m going back to sleep.

Nativebird

August 28th, 2009
6:59 am

…and when do pitchers and catchers report in 2010?

Bob Horner had a sweet compact swing

August 28th, 2009
7:01 am

Dang…talk about waking up and getting punched in the mouth…that’s not like you Jeff…

Felix the Cat

August 28th, 2009
7:11 am

FIRST…………………..errrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr Ninth……………………….

Tell It Like It Is

August 28th, 2009
7:15 am

Numbers do not lie. It IS what It IS.

Bama Aaron

August 28th, 2009
7:24 am

The numbers just say what we’ve known for at least a week or two. The Braves are playing moderately well now, but dug themselves too much of a hole early.

Maybe next season Wren & company will realize this when they’re putting together the opening day roster. And maybe Bobby will realize it when he’s giving some young player 2 months to hit their way out of a slump. Sometimes 1 or two games early can make a difference.

Willy

August 28th, 2009
7:27 am

That your a douche bag.

Willy

August 28th, 2009
7:27 am

Woops, that you’re still a douche bag…and I need Spellcheck.

Chris

August 28th, 2009
7:27 am

Football season kicks off soon!

Nite Owl

August 28th, 2009
7:28 am

I’ve been thinking 90 wins to have any shot, but April, May, and June put us too far back.

The Phillies and Rockies just got hot before we did. The scariest numbers were the pace the Rockies have been on. No reason to think they’ll cool off now.

That said, just one good week for us, one bad week for them…right?

NCBravesFan

August 28th, 2009
7:29 am

I have a funny feeling the Braves will play very well this weekend against the Phils.

Of course, it could just be gas.

bubba

August 28th, 2009
7:35 am

holy cow good news is I don’t have to get mad anymore when I can’t get peachtree tv on Dish
football rules anyway
don’t do this about the Falcons okay keep quite

Mitch C

August 28th, 2009
7:42 am

Jeff, the NL East isnt going to happen. While the wild card might be difficult, it’s still doable. I think the Braves can play 10 games over the rest of the season. While we still have this series with Philly left, and games with Florida, we also have a lot of games with bottom feeders Washington and New York.

I’m not saying we “will” get the wild card. I’m saying it’s doable. The two losses against the Padres hurt, a lot, but, there’s still a chance for the wild card.

Mitch

Phil

August 28th, 2009
7:46 am

The numbers tell us what we knew when the season started, that Cox is a Moron. He waited too late to make Diaz and Prado everyday players. Just think where the numbers would be if he made those changes early in the season. He had one of our best hitters in Diaz on the bench half the time. What an idiot. Wren, wake up man, you have to get rid of this clown.

greg

August 28th, 2009
7:47 am

braves need to sweep the phillies and then see what happens…not…they are toast

Dale

August 28th, 2009
7:49 am

It tells me the lack of hitting in the first half of the season has doomed the Braves. They need another bat for next year on one of the corner outfield positions.

It also means, who cares, FLORIDA STATE vs MIAMI on Labor Day is 10 days away! GO SEMINOLES!

JayRoot

August 28th, 2009
7:51 am

.

HEY SCHULTZIE!!!!

Don’t confuse me with the facts!

I have enough on my plate with this facist pig NOBama and his scam of a health care fix.

Just have faith baby. Things will work out … or not.

Now, let’s start talking ’bout all that butt the Yellow Jackets are gonna kick this year. Whadayasay?

.

Phil

August 28th, 2009
7:54 am

NCBravesFan,
I predcit the Braves will get swept by the Phillies. There is no sense of urgency, no playing with passion. Cox can no longer fire this team up. He’s done and if Wren can’t see this, then we’re in big trouble for the next several years.

Nativebird

August 28th, 2009
7:55 am

So who do you think will start at DE opposite of John Abraham? Do you think Ryan-to-Gonzalez has a chance to set Falcons TE records? How about that young defense, huh?

Joe

August 28th, 2009
8:01 am

it tells me that we still have a legitimate shot at the wild card. I too think 90 wins will put us in.

Hillbilly Deluxe

August 28th, 2009
8:03 am

Whoever it was that said “April is the cruelest month”, obviously never followed a sinking baseball team.

Rex D

August 28th, 2009
8:06 am

Good numbers . . . . Thanks . . . The key is that there are TWO scenarios, not one . . . The other thing Jeff is that it took a while, but our team now has a very solid rotation (perhaps even more with Hudson rejoining), solid batting line up, good defense, and good late bullpen . . . So if we are going to play our strongest stretch of baseball, it would not be all that surprising for it to occur in September.

Nite Owl

August 28th, 2009
8:09 am

@ Phil:

Let’s see—you call Bobby a moron, a clown, and an idiot, and you are predicting a Phillies sweep.

How’s that irritable bowl syndrome going, anyway? You make Andy Rooney sound like Mary Poppins.

The Braves have played out of their minds since the All-Star break. No passion? What have you been watching?

This team is headed in the right direction, and we’re set to be very good for years.

We’re finally playing meaningful games in September again.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go hold up the sky over Phil’s house.

NCBravesFan

August 28th, 2009
8:11 am

Any post that begins with “Cox is a moron” gets skipped by me. Chipper isn’t hitting … McLouth is hurt … others are banged up.

He’s by no means perfect, but I’m not sure what Bobby is supposed to do about those facts … and the fact that really, the Phillies are a better all around team than the Braves.

curtis jones

August 28th, 2009
8:12 am

As Phil posted at 7:46 am, the numbers tell the story of the season. The “idiot bloggers” pointed out for months that Cox pushed the wrong buttons repeatedly during the first 3-4 months of the season.

That 39-43 record could have easily been 49-33 with the great pitching the Braves were getting. Remember last year, everyone was saying, “Oh, if only we had starting pitching!” Well, Wren went out and got some. Quality starts almost every day. And still Cox underachieved.

If some enterprising sports writer wanted to establish some facts (hint, hint) he/she would look at the record of this team:

A) in games Francoeur started,
B) in games Kelly Johnson started
C) in games Casey Kotchman started;
as opposed to:

A) games since Francoeur left
B) games Matt Diaz started
C) games Martin Prado started

Cox played Frenchy while Diaz sat.
Cox played Kelly Johnson while Infante/Conrad were available
Cox played Kotchman while Prado sat.

Add to these mistakes the ridiculously long-running Jordan Schafer failure, his constant harrassment of RBI machine Escobar, his insistence on keeping a worn-out Chipper Jones in the 3-spot, his overwork of Brian McCann (who will be done by age 30 thanks to the HOF manager), his use of some relievers every day while others sit for two weeks at a time, his insistence on using the worst PH in the history of MLB, his insistence on using rally-starter Jeff Bennett to blow game after game (while Bennett had to remove himself from the team by punching a door!), and constant roster mis-management that allows a loafing Garret Anderson to stay in the field and on the basepaths in late inning situations.

The cherry on top, is of course the decision to keep Kelly Johnson/Greg Norton on the roster while Brooks Conrad and other actual hitters toil in Gwinnett. How many games have Norton and Johnson positively impacted? How many would games would have been positively impacted by Conrad and others? We’ll never know. But it might have been more than Zero!

Phil

August 28th, 2009
8:15 am

They really played with a lot of passion against San Diego didn’t they.

El Bravo

August 28th, 2009
8:23 am

The Braves, much like everyone else on this blog, will be watching the playoffs on the tube…

birddawgbill

August 28th, 2009
8:25 am

The Braves need to make up a game a week on Colorado, or at least get within a game or two going into the last series of the year. The Rockies play L.A.in L.A. And L.A. has won 12 out of 15 against them this year.

Nite Owl

August 28th, 2009
8:26 am

Yes Phil, two games should overshadow two months.

Seriously, Andy Rooney is not going to be around forever. Get your resume in to 60 Minutes now.

For what it’s worth, the Latos guy who pitched for San Diego the other night looks like a beast. Look forward to many years of him vs. Hanson.

MightyQuinn

August 28th, 2009
8:32 am

CAN they still win the wild card? Sure. Would I bet money on it? Oh hell no. Will I still watch and pull for them? Yep.

Jack G.

August 28th, 2009
8:32 am

How many games can you think of that Cox blew with bad management .
Games that we could now have in the win column and not the loss column?

Anybody got any numbers or specific games in mind??

Jack

August 28th, 2009
8:35 am

I stuck a fork in them when they lost that huge lead in philly in the 8th inning in the 3rd game. This team is boring and predictable. They will lose 2/3 in philly and still some will hang on hoping. Dump the braves and get ready for a real sport. Football is here!

Nite Owl

August 28th, 2009
8:36 am

Chauncey starts at DE, Gonzo smashes whatever TE records we have, and the young defense is going to fast, deep, hard-hitting, and way better than we thought.

ST

August 28th, 2009
8:37 am

Cox is senile and has no clue how to manage. Time for him to go. Bye bobby. you”re OLD. Leave.

Jeff Schultz

August 28th, 2009
8:38 am

Chef – I had my wife (who hates lottery by a MegaMillions ticket the other night. She went 0-for-6. Last time I entrust her with my investment package.

Brewdawg – I’ll fix that—thanks. (missed late update I guess)

Coach – A fine plan.

MitchC – Agreed. It’s “doable.” (See: lottery above.)

Jay –I am SO ready for college football to start.

Native – I think end situation is up in the air, pending this week. I think there’s a chance Anderson moves inside at left LT in passing situations. He can use his height, reach to knock down passes.

curtis jones

August 28th, 2009
8:38 am

Jeff..one line says it all. Braves were 39-43 at midseason. Remember last year? Everybody said, “Oh if the Braves only had starting pitching!” Well, Wren went out and got some. Quality starts almost every day. But the HOF manager blew it anyway. Cox has easily cost the team 10-20 wins. Top 10 reasons:

1. Playing Kelly Johnson while Infante/Conrad and others sat.
2. Playing Francoeur while Diaz sat.
3. Playing Kotchman while Prado sat.
4. Playing Jordan Schafer long after it was obvious he wasn’t ready.
5. Using Jeff Bennett until the idiot punched a door (thanks Jeff).
6. Keeping Norton and KJ on the team, demoting Conrad.
7. Using some relievers every day, while others sat for 2 weeks.
8. Keeping an ineffective, fading Chipper Jones in the 3-spot.
9. Mismanaging a roster, necessitating in having Garret Anderson in the field, and on the basepaths late in games.
10. Overwork of McCann, who will likely be worn out by age 30.

Most glaring mistake was the demotion of .344 hitter Conrad in favor of KJ, and Norton, whose batting average can only be read with a magnifying glass. How many games have been positively impacted by Norton or KJ? How many games WOULD have been positively impacted by Conrad? We’ll never know. But it could have been more than…Zero.

Chris

August 28th, 2009
8:39 am

Clever column, Jeff. Avoiding the poop throwers by appealing to their math skills and by not doing a times-definitely-call-for-it grumpy set of words.

Tami

August 28th, 2009
8:42 am

Thanks for the nauseating start to our already yucchy, rainy bleak Friday morning there, Jeff. So, it doesn’t look too optimistic for the homeboys…ok. And, things MIGHT not change with the other teams either. But, I’ve decided to focus on the possible next wave the Braves might catch a ride on and hope better things come of it. With Huddy coming back Monday, things COULD suddenly catch fire with the team, while the other teams COULD cool off….or not. I’m not ready to write the Braves off yet. Not until they’re mathematically eliminated.

matt r

August 28th, 2009
8:46 am

We are, at best, the 5th best team in a 16 team league. In baseball, that has you watching October on TV.

Tami

August 28th, 2009
8:47 am

P.S. Just read Curtis Jones’ comment @ 8:38….I absolutely agree with every single point you made. And, extending your comment: Why hasn’t Chipper been moved down in the batting order yet? Bobby never hesitates to move everyone else around when they’re slumping. I think it could help Chipper find his swing again, and take some of the heat off him. Who should bat in Chipper’s place right now — Diaz maybe?

oldmike

August 28th, 2009
8:51 am

Tell me Jeff, what are the REAL chances the Braves wake up next year and (sorta) push Cox into retirement? This team needs a fresh, youthful approach to the season, to each game and they are not going to get it froma 69 year manager – no matter what his resume says. I agree with Curtis J on the non moves that have cost us this season. Thanks.

Yehuda Hamer

August 28th, 2009
8:56 am

Our last seven of ten games are against the Nationals. It might come down to those games

SimpleDawg

August 28th, 2009
9:01 am

Dug too deep of hole early in the season…KJ & Frenchy killed us.

Prado on the bench….Killed us.

Having to play Diory Hernandez….killed us ( see KJ & Frenchy )

Chipper wearing down playing every day….is still killing us.

D-Low wearing down at the end of the season because he’s used up….killing us.

Prado’s headaches, just when we were beginning to soar….killed us.

Losing 2 out of 3 to the Monks….stuck the fork in us.

Thank God for Football ! Go Dawgs ! Go Falcons !

Mark

August 28th, 2009
9:09 am

It’s not that simple, If you ran those numbers the last two years at this time there was no way the Mets were not going to win the division or make the playoffs. Teams get hot and teams slump, anything is possible especially with so many head to head series coming up.

Doug

August 28th, 2009
9:18 am

Very unlikely that we will be playing in the post season, but this team is improved and we can hope that the improvement will continue with a few smart moves over the winter and help from the minors. Last year at this time we were bankrupt, but our foundation has improved.