Braves may get a helping hand to postseason — from Phillies

This was Roy Halladay throwing a five-hit shutout of the Braves back in April. (Curtis Compton/AJC)

This was Roy Halladay throwing a five-hit shutout of the Braves back in April. (Curtis Compton/AJC)

Did the Philadelphia Phillies just become the Braves’ best friend?

The expectation of the season-ending series against Philadelphia determining the National League East champion obviously didn’t happen. The Phillies don’t care that much about the weekend series at Turner Field, and manager Charlie Manuel is setting up his pitching rotation with the postseason in mind. That means instead of facing projected Cy Young winner Roy Halladay (21-10, 2.44) on Friday night, the Braves will go against Kyle Kendrick (10-10, 4.76).

There’s more: Roy Oswalt said he doesn’t expect to pitch this weekend and there’s a feeling in Philadelphia that if Cole Hamels starts, he will throw a limited number of pitches. This series may be playoff life-or-death for the Braves but it’s spring training for the Phillies. There also could be an obvious ripple effect thr0ugh the lineup, with the Philly resting starters or giving them only limited at-bats.

Of course, the Braves have absolutely no problem with the Phillies’ attitude toward these games. My guess is San Diego and San Francisco probably aren’t as thrilled.

For what it’s worth, the Braves have struggled against both Halladay and Kendrick this season. Halladay is 3-0 with a 1.44 ERA against them. Kendrick had no-decisions in two starts but allowed only one run in 15 innings (0.60) in two starts in April and June.

So there’s the backdrop for today’s 4:35 p.m. game against Florida. In case you missed it, here’s my column off of Tuesday’s 3-2 win over the Marlins, which expanded the Braves’ lead over San Diego in the wild card race to 1 1/2 games. The Braves won the same day they learned that Martin Prado was lost for the season with a torn oblique and a hip pointer.

It remains to be seen how the Braves would do if they make it to the postseason. But few figured they would even be in this position with all the issues they’ve had this season.

Earlier posts

Braves still upright despite losing Prado (and so many others)

Bust poll: Bobo (Georgia offense) vs. Groh (Tech defense)

LogoGrass_652173aSACK SCHULTZ: Making a little comeback. Went 12-3 last week. Note to all competitors: You’re going down. It’s not to late to lose to me! Click here for details and then here to enter.

Follow me on Twitter @JeffSchultzAJC and Facebook.com/JeffSchultzAJC

103 comments Add your comment

P c

September 29th, 2010
9:39 am

NoleRick

September 29th, 2010
9:44 am

lets just make the postseason, once there anything can happen

TommyJack

September 29th, 2010
9:50 am

Hurry to off-season. 2/3 of the outfield is pathetic, offensively. Melky, McClouth, Ankiel…a pitcher’s dream.

T-Bone

September 29th, 2010
9:54 am

The D-backs won it back in 03 (is that right?) with just two real starters. We’ve got Hudson, Hanson, & Lowe, and a pretty good bullpen. Formula for the post-season: Scrape together a couple of runs and hope for the best!

Schultz — Any word on who’ll the Braves bring up to take Conrad’s place on the bench?

Sam

September 29th, 2010
9:54 am

The Braves line-up scares no one. Why bother with the playoffs if you can’t even take a series and really have no chance? This isn’t hockey where talent is so even and upsets occur every Stanley Cup season.

Frankie Knuckles

September 29th, 2010
9:55 am

Get back on the football Jeff. This team, offensively, best team in the playoffs. Oh, gotta go; Brooklyn Decker’s bringing my Lambo back home. Shes such a tramp.

Wreckmaniac

September 29th, 2010
10:00 am

Jeff, you and Mark should stay right where you are. The Braves are the story. Not Tech and certainly not UGA. Falcons, maybe.
If the Braves can win today and win the first game against Phil, I think they have the mo to win the last two against the Phils if Halladay and Oswalt stay out. I think they can beat Hamels.

Mike

September 29th, 2010
10:00 am

Jeff, a win today, and I don’t think they will need too much help from the Phillies. I honestly believe a Braves win today will virtually lock them up a spot. They will officially clinch on Friday night. Not because the Phillies are playing “nice guy”, but because they have stepped up and gutted out 2 tough wins this week. Give the Braves credit instead of already saying they will get in because the Phillies “helped” them. Cmon.

Wreckmaniac

September 29th, 2010
10:03 am

Sam, Colorado’s lineup scares me a lot but they’re through. Its not about who’s scary . It about the winning % at the end of the season. We don’t chose playoff teams because of their scare factor.
The Yankees everyday 8 are scary but I don’t give them a dime’s chance against the Phils.

Megan

September 29th, 2010
10:03 am

What, are we just assuming that Philly is gonna hand us the series? Even if they are playing their “JV” squad, the braves are gonna have to win the games… from what I’ve seen this September, that is not a given!

C. Tampa Ironworse

September 29th, 2010
10:07 am

JS…I was thinking the same thing. Philly closing out the division turns the series this week into a “help the Braves”-a-thon. But I fear Bobby C’s re-discovered love of crappy outfielders will kill the Bravos in the end.

Wreckmaniac

September 29th, 2010
10:07 am

Just remember, relax at the plate, see the ball out of the pitcher’s hand, make him throw your pitch, just make contact etc, etc, etc

Robby

September 29th, 2010
10:12 am

Game isn’t tonight. It’s this afternoon. Doh

Jeff Schultz

September 29th, 2010
10:14 am

T-Bone — Not sure there’s really anybody to bring up at this point. Rosters already expanded as you know.

Jeff Schultz

September 29th, 2010
10:15 am

Sam — I don’t get that. So you’d rather a team not make the playoffs than make the playoffs and lose? That doesn’t make sense to me.

Jeff Schultz

September 29th, 2010
10:16 am

Wreckmaniac — Thanks, there will be Braves columns all week this week.

Jeff Schultz

September 29th, 2010
10:19 am

Mike — The Padres elimination number is 4. So for the Braves to clinch Friday, you’re counting on them winning tonight (down to 3) and San Diego losing the next 2 games to the Cubs (down to 1) going into Friday. Correct?

Short Bus Hero

September 29th, 2010
10:20 am

thanks charla

Jeff Schultz

September 29th, 2010
10:21 am

C Tampa Ironworse — Haha. The only problem with your “crappy outfielder” theory is it’s like he’s keeping any All-Stars on the bench. Have you seen this roster?

DHD

September 29th, 2010
10:22 am

I want the playoffs. Once you get there anything can happen. In fact, we are due to get hot.

Baba O'Riley

September 29th, 2010
10:23 am

What a beautiful display we’d have if Melky would attach ribbins to his glove and left wrist while playing the outfield.

Baba O'Riley

September 29th, 2010
10:24 am

ribbons, not “ribbins”. Ribbins are boxes you use to store ribs. They use them at McDonald’s til McRib season comes around.

ArkyTech

September 29th, 2010
10:24 am

The last team to back into the playoff won a World Series – with just 83 wins. So we just need to get there and see what happens.

Chris M

September 29th, 2010
10:24 am

It won’t matter if they make it or not. They will get swept as usual.
Those who say how you play in sept doesn’t matter in october are clueless. Philly won’t lose more than one game until they reach the WS. The braves aren’t winning a game with this offense unless they played the padres, which doesn’t look likely.

Ted

September 29th, 2010
10:25 am

Wrong dhd. we will continue with the sloppy defense and horrid hitting.

ArkyTech

September 29th, 2010
10:26 am

Chris M, you might like to know that none of the AL playoff teams have a winning record in their last 10 games. Will they all get swept, too?

[...] The Phillies could help the Braves land a spot in the playoffs, writes Jeff Schultz of the Atlanta-Journal Constitution. [...]

Dr. Warren

September 29th, 2010
10:29 am

Looks like the best thing the Braves will win if they make the playoffs will be Manager of the Year, and it will be well-deserved.

Chris M

September 29th, 2010
10:32 am

Minn and Texas clinched last week. They have are resting players.
Yanks and Rays have known they are in for 2 weeks. No team there is fighting to make the playoffs unlike the Braves and they have struggled big time. Your comment was stupid.

blazerdawg

September 29th, 2010
10:33 am

Facing Hudson or Hanson certainly would scare me if I were the Pads/Reds/Fills.

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joe

September 29th, 2010
10:37 am

Play Henske, Diaz and Conrad the rest of our games. Sit Cabrera, McClouth and Ankiel.

Tucker T

September 29th, 2010
10:38 am

Jeff,

Today’s game is a day game, 4:35.

Lew Burdette

September 29th, 2010
10:39 am

Wke me up when the post season play begins. The Braves will eother be there, or not.

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turtsnap

September 29th, 2010
10:41 am

Hey Jeff, is Matt Diaz hurt? Why hasn’t he been playing?

Jeff Schultz

September 29th, 2010
10:47 am

Tucker — how ’bout if I change it to twilight?

Matt

September 29th, 2010
10:48 am

I love all the people on here that say the Braves don’t have a chance even if we make the playoffs. We have a winning record this season against every potential playoff team except the Phillies (7-8). We played with the Phillies last week in all 3 games while sending out 2 minor leaguers and hanson against 3 of the best pitchers in baseball. This team has good pitching and clutch hitting. If we get in, we will be a force in the playoffs!

bushwacker

September 29th, 2010
10:53 am

THANK YOU ERIC HINSKE!!!

I all I ever wanted was for the guys who helped you get to 22 games over 500 and to first place to JUST GET A CHANCE TO HELP THE TEAM WIN!!!

Go ahead run on third, one out, all Ankiel needed to do pretty much was put the ball in play, HE CANNOT EVEN MAKE CONTACT!

Hinske with 2 outs, 2 srtikes BLASTS A HR TO SAVE BOBBY COX.

I wonder who will be in the line up today??

Arno

September 29th, 2010
11:02 am

The Phillies other pitchers won’t be scared of our lineup, either. Time to produce some RUNS.

keith

September 29th, 2010
11:08 am

Jeff,

Good story again.

Those people that say not to worry about getting in cause we will fall on our faces. Been trying to tell those posters (and Bradley who says he may write a blog about it…still hasn’t yet)…that poor September play translates to poor postseason play (or vice versa, that good Sept play results in great postseason). That is a baseball myth. Many, many examples of the 2006 St. Louis Cardinals falling apart and almost giving up a huge lead in the division and winning it all! :)

Just

get

in!! ;)

GO BRAVES!

PS – You can still enter “social” in the discount code on the Braves site and get terrace level tics for almost 50% off. See you at the Ted!

Ted M

September 29th, 2010
11:15 am

There are going to be a lot of flawed teams in the playoffs this year. Not just the Braves, they’ll shot if they make it in which is amazing with our defense. Melky looked like a tee ball player last night. Did you see Hudson’s reaction?

The Choperator

September 29th, 2010
11:22 am

Braves’ magic numbers:

Giants: 6
Padres:4

It’s nice to get the Rockies officially out of the mix. Three out of four wins guarantees us at least a one-game playoff (which we would host vs. either team). But you have to believe that three out of four gets it done with no need for playoff, considering how unlikely it is that the Padres finish 5-0. Lets go win it on our own and let the Giants and Padres fight for the west.

I have no conflict of emotions here, but it would be a shame to see the Padres miss out on the playoffs after the season they’ve had (and the struggles in recent years). Here’s to hoping we lock up the wild card and they sweep the Giants.

keith

September 29th, 2010
11:27 am

I love Bobby’s way to motivate players beyond their normal capabilites, but….I’d like to see

Hinske in the lineup. :)

GO BRAVES!

Tucker T

September 29th, 2010
11:30 am

Jeff, Twilight would technically be a 6:35 start but I will let you have this one. :)

Ted M

September 29th, 2010
11:37 am

Lowe’s is 8 and 3 in day games and there is going to be lots of shadows.

Jeff Schultz

September 29th, 2010
11:41 am

Turtsnap — I think Diaz is in the lineup today.

Ted M

September 29th, 2010
11:43 am

Diaz is 4 for 12 against Miller AND his average in day games is .354.

Jeff Schultz

September 29th, 2010
11:43 am

Bushwacker (and others): Today’s lineup is : Infante (4) Heyward, (9), Diaz (7), Lee (3), Gonzalez (6), Ross (2), Conrad (5), Cabrera (8), Lowe (1).

DawgNation

September 29th, 2010
11:43 am

I am with you Jeff on getting in. Who in the world after Chipper went down and the injury bug started to rear its ugly head would have given the Braves a chance in He!!, aka Philly, to make the playoffs. I am happy as I was in 91 for them to make the show again. Win or lose in the playoffs we all would be crying in our beer if they don’t make it there in the first place. Enjoy the extra baseball if we make it and let the playoffs work themselves out cause the teams that are not going will trade places in a heart beat.