LIVE BLOG: Here are the scenarios for Braves’ playoff hopes

Bobby Cox climbs the steps to the dugout for what he hopes isn't the last time. (Curtis Compton/AJC)

Bobby Cox climbs steps to the dugout for what he hopes isn't the last time. (Curtis Compton/AJC)

Hello. Wasn’t this supposed to be the just-sit-and-relax day?

Two days ago, the Braves arrived at the ballpark believing they had the National League wild card about wrapped up, and so did most of us. Their magic number to clinch was two. They had an upcoming series against Philadelphia, which already had the East Division wrapped up and had scratched two scheduled starters (Roy Halladay and Roy Oswalt).

The team chasing the Braves: San Diego, which was reeling and going to San Francisco for three games. This didn’t seem to be an issue.

But here we are. Two Braves losses (11-5 and 7-0) and two Padres wins later, the teams are tied and Turner Field is panic central. The Bobby Cox celebrations have been dwarfed. The Braves have the right guy on the mound today, Tim Hudson. He’ll be opposed by Cole Hamels, but for possibly only two innings. Oswalt also may pitch an inning or two.

Braves take batting practice before today's game -- and they can use it.

Braves take batting practice before today's game -- and they can use it.

The Braves game starts at 1:35 p.m. If they win, they’ll clinch at least a one-game playoff. If they lose, they have to hope the Padres also lose. In either case, they must wait for the end of the Padres-Giants game, which starts at 4:05 p.m. EDT.

OK, here are the four win-lose, Braves-Padres-Giants scenarios:

♦ Braves win; Padres lose:  Easy. Braves win the wild card and face the West champion Giants beginning Thursday.

♦ Braves win; Padres win: Mayhem. There is a three-way tie between all three teams and two — TWO — one-game playoffs for the first time in history. The Padres and Giants would play 0n Monday. The winner would be the division champion. The loser would come to Atlanta for a one-game playoff to determine the wild card Tuesday.

♦ Braves lose, Padres lose: Giants win the West and the Braves and Padres have a playoff Monday at Turner Field to determine the wild card.

♦ Braves lose, Padres win: Braves are out and the Padres are in as the wild card.

Here’s the optimist’s view: There’s only one out of four scenarios (Braves lose, Padres win) in which the Braves don’t play at least one more game after today.

Here’s the pessimist’s view: That’s the scenario we’ve witnessed the last two nights.

One more thing: Cox has made a significant lineup change, shifting Brooks Conrad from third base to second base and moving Omar Infante to third. Conrad’s two errors led to seven unearned runs in the first two games of this series.

That’s it for now. I’m heading down to the field for batting practice and I’ll be back up shortly. Chat with you soon.

♦♦♦

You may have missed . . .

Braves lose and stretch out the drama a little longer

Braves’ improbable road to playoffs almost complete

Weekend Predictions: Falcons, Jackets win (Dogs? Feh)

♦♦♦

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

396 comments Add your comment

acowa

October 3rd, 2010
11:11 am

The Dawgs are the only team playing worse than the braves right now.

Braves

October 3rd, 2010
11:12 am

Reid Adair

October 3rd, 2010
11:22 am

I have to go with Braves win today and Padres lose; I don’t like the options of a playoff game – especially since Tim Hudson wouldn’t be available.

You Ain't-Know Gaily Whacker

October 3rd, 2010
11:22 am

I quit caring about the Braves when the Marta rail line was not extended to the new Olympic Stadium.

5150 P.O.A.D

October 3rd, 2010
11:23 am

How can we watch the Falcons and the Braves. It will be a channel flipping day like yesterday with the Jackest and Dawgs.

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by AJC , Silver Fox and Atlanta News Feed, Jeff Schultz. Jeff Schultz said: Here are 4 #Braves scenarios: http://bit.ly/ab0UzI [...]

PHILinATL

October 3rd, 2010
11:26 am

The Braves played with no urgency yesterday, I was shocked they played like they have Monday Tee-times.

Russ, the Temporary Mascot

October 3rd, 2010
11:29 am

I have never been against a mascot as big as Ralphie. He was huge. It’s not fair to send a little dog that is temporary against a big buffalo like that. The Braves blew a 7.5 game lead earlier and now a 2 game lead with 3 to play. Maybe they are a lot like the Bulldogs and not really playoff material this year. Still, I like Bobby Cox because he likes little dogs like me.

Around The Horn

October 3rd, 2010
11:31 am

It would be nice to be right there with you during batting practice Jeff!

5150 P.O.A.D

October 3rd, 2010
11:38 am

Russ I think You got the JOB for the whole year. I don’t see UGA bringout the new Uga VIII this season. Russ keep up this the great commentary. You are the only Brightspot in the UGA season so far.

Moonlight Graham

October 3rd, 2010
11:38 am

Conrad at 2nd base, huh? Tell those fans behind the Braves dugout to look alive. Visions of Steve Sax and Chuck Knobloch syndrome.

Russ, the Temporary Mascot

October 3rd, 2010
11:38 am

Sure, I hear the rumors. I hear that I won’t be back next year. I hear that yesterday may have been my last game. I hear that Coach Bobo and I may go at the same time. We scored 27 yesterday and that should be enough. Of course, with Coach Grantham we needed 30 to win. Somebody tell me again what he is supposed to bring to this team besides coffee and doughnuts. Coach Richt looked really stressed out on the plane. I think some more of his hair fell out. I know this is a baseball blog and I am sorry I can’t get over yesterday’s loss and just talk baseball. I will say this about the Braves . . . moving the infielders around on the last day is probably not the answer. Batting McLouth and Ankiel back-to-back may have something more to do with the losing. Can’t win with 0 runs.

Intellibird

October 3rd, 2010
11:41 am

Bobby needs to light a fire under the team. Bench a couple of the non producers and insert some of the bench riders. Rearrange the batting order if necessary, its do or die time. Go Braves!

Russ, the Temporary Mascot

October 3rd, 2010
11:43 am

I worked with Coach Bobo last week and you can see the result . . . 27 points. If I had known Grantham a little better we’d have tried to score 30. Grantham just can’t hold a lead. He’s a little like somebody else who can’t be criticized right now but is about to tank worse than in any previous season. Let’s hope Hudson can pitch a shutout and hit a homerun. That may be our only chance.

5150 P.O.A.D

October 3rd, 2010
11:44 am

Bobby Gets PISSED that the Braves are playing hard enough and gets THROWN OUT OF THE GAME in the 3rd Inning and the Braves go on to Wil 6-4 today and the Padres lose.

Terry Funk

October 3rd, 2010
11:44 am

The Braves need to come out fighting….with anger…be me…not the Nature Boy…

last chance

October 3rd, 2010
11:47 am

JS
If Bobby goes by past exeprience Glaus should be in the line up against Hamels.

Do you think it will happen, are the lineups poasted yet?

Just between me and you, who would you rather see in the line up, Ankiel and McLouth or Diaz and Hinske?

Russ, the Temporary Mascot

October 3rd, 2010
11:48 am

Some people have asked me what a little dog would do different if he was the Braves manager. I’ve though about it and I noticed that when the Braves were at their best they had MadDog and/or CrimeDog. This is not a cat tea. Where did they go with Felix the kitten or with Gallaraga? This team needs a dog and needs him now. Today could be the last day. Sure, Chipper talks a little bit like a dog but he’s on the DL. Who will step up and take a bite out of the Phillies?

Around The Horn

October 3rd, 2010
11:48 am

Disappointed with the Braves posted lineup today!

I would have liked to have seen more offensive punch added and Gonzalez benched — with Infante at SS, Glaus at 3B, Conrad at 2B (which is occurring thankfully), and McClouth in CF (as he presently is hitting the ball better than Ankiel).

Today’s lineup:

Infante 3B, Heyward RF, Lee 1B, McCann C, Diaz LF, Gonzalez SS, Conrad 2B, Ankiel CF, Hudson P

5150 P.O.A.D

October 3rd, 2010
11:48 am

Win is the UGA replay? I still say the last fumble was that Flea Flicker Play because MURRY was standing there looking like he expected to get the ball back and throw it. I don’t care what the coaches say about the play now. It looked like the flea flicker.

Darryl Blackberry

October 3rd, 2010
11:48 am

At least Bobby’s trying to shake things up, putting Conrad at 2nd…though usually managers do that on the OFFENSIVE side of things. Yikes.

Hope most of this game (these games, correction) are aired on MLB today…

5150 P.O.A.D

October 3rd, 2010
11:49 am

ARE BRAVES in their SUNDAY RED? They have a winning record in the RED uniforms.

last chance

October 3rd, 2010
11:51 am

are you the same Terry Funk I saw playing a goon on an episode of the Monkees??

Any one else remember that?

Lilburn Dawg

October 3rd, 2010
11:52 am

Hey Russ, was Ralphie’s butt painted?? If not, see………that’s why we lost!!

last chance

October 3rd, 2010
11:55 am

around the horn,are you serious, ankiel is in the line up again, isn’t Hamels a lefty, what the hell is bobby thinking?????

Put Hudson in center and let Derek Lowe pitch, Lowe and Hudson are not only better pitchers than Ankiel they are better hitters as well.

I guess bobby’s playing a hunch that Ankiel has to stop striking out eventually, he will around 4 pm today, oh yea, that willl too late.

Good grief Charlie Brown.

Terry Funk

October 3rd, 2010
11:57 am

I wrestled against Tmmmy Rich, Abdullah the Butcher, and Ric Flair back in the 70’s…and yes I played a goon a Monkee’s epsode you have a good memory…

Russ, the Temporary Mascot

October 3rd, 2010
11:58 am

Well, maybe moving some folks around and going with yet another lineup will prove useful today. We shall see. I am just a little dog but it looks to me like getting some runs is going to be a lot more important today than anything else. I was also wondering what happens if Bobby needs the bullpen today? They look a little frazzled the way they’ve been used lately. Take a strength and make it a weakness? Never mind, I am just a little dog.

Tucker T

October 3rd, 2010
11:59 am

Jeff, what’s your feel for this? I think the Braves will win and the Giants will win also. Latos is going for the Padres and he has struggled most of the past month. Sanchez is going for the Giants and he has been very good in his last 6 starts. Hudson will man up for the Braves and get the job done.

Russ, the Temporary Mascot

October 3rd, 2010
12:03 pm

I don’t know whether to buy tickets . . . or not. What should I do, Jeff? Can you get me in as a reporter? Or maybe as a relative?

Russ, the Temporary Mascot

October 3rd, 2010
12:04 pm

I have to go outside now. It’s something little dogs have to do every now and then. Back later.

Tucker T

October 3rd, 2010
12:04 pm

I do think the Braves will close it out today but wouldn’t it be exciting as hell if the Padres and Giants had to play again tomorrow and then the loser play the Braves on Tuesday? It would blow the pitching rotations all to hades for all teams involved but it would be fun to watch.

Mike

October 3rd, 2010
12:05 pm

This is WRONG
♦ Braves lose, Padres win: Braves are out and the Padres are in as the wild card.

In this case, the Padres win the division, better head to head with the Giants.

Order Restored

October 3rd, 2010
12:06 pm

Isn’t it only fitting that the Braves snatch defeat from the jaws of victory once more? What better way for Bobby Cox to put his signature on a season and career. The total collapse of this season is a microcosm of the Braves under Cox – close but no cigar.

Steve

October 3rd, 2010
12:11 pm

PLEASE HELP! Is there a way to watch the game on my computer today besides MLB.com? I unfortunately have The Dish and the game won’t be on.

Around The Horn

October 3rd, 2010
12:13 pm

Over the last 10 games:

Hinske is hitting .500.

Ross is hitting .400.

Lee is hitting .313.

Diaz is hitting .269.

Conrad is hitting .238.

Melky is hitting .235.

McClouth is hitting .214.

Ankiel is hitting .208.

McCann is hitting .206.

Infante is hitting .171.

Heyward is hitting .132.

And GONZALEZ IS HITTING .059.

Is it any wonder why the Braves aren’t scoring many runs?

bobbycoxcountdown: 1

October 3rd, 2010
12:15 pm

Is it to little to late moving Conrad to 2B and Omar to 3B?
Unfortunately, Conrad’s poor defense might have cost the Braves an opportunity or two.

But the fact remains, we must hit the damn ball today or we will all be disappointed.

Russ, the Temporary Mascot

October 3rd, 2010
12:21 pm

Well, beat the drum and hold the phone – the sun came out today!
We’re born again, there’s new grass on the field.
A-roundin’ third, and headed for home, it’s a brown-spot handsome dog;
Anyone can understand the way I feel.

Oh, put me in, Coach – I’m ready to play today;
Put me in, Coach – I’m ready to play today;
Look at me, I can be Centerfield.

Yes, and centerfield is where you can use some help. I will meet you at the hydrant. Russ

Benson N Hedges

October 3rd, 2010
12:21 pm

Why wouldn’t the greatest manager we’ll ever know have made that move (Conrad to 2B & Infante to 3B) on Friday? Or, after Conrad’s flub Friday, made the move yesterday?

bobbycoxcountdown: 1

October 3rd, 2010
12:22 pm

Steve- in either yesterday’s blog or friday’s blog (sorry not more specific), someone posted a link to a web page that shows the mlb games. Maybe someone might give you a more specific post… but in the meantime, you can search those.
Good luck.

Braveheart

October 3rd, 2010
12:24 pm

Get some men on, get em over, get em in. It’s simple but beautiful. Watching the Braves go 1-2-3 quietly has been unwatchable. I fear that the pressure to win today will unman them.

Steve

October 3rd, 2010
12:27 pm

Jeff can you assist?

Around The Horn

October 3rd, 2010
12:28 pm

Steve,

If you scroll through yesterday’s blog (which is still posted as the current blog) from DOB, you’ll see some links posted for watching the game on your computer — if you have a PC that is. If you have a MAC, you’re out of luck.

Train Wreck Bystander

October 3rd, 2010
12:29 pm

Assuming things go well today for the Bravos…

Who gets to televise any tiebreaker games on Monday and/or Tuesday?

MWC

October 3rd, 2010
12:31 pm

Filthadelphia, Home of the bad (sore) winner.
Filthadelphia, living proof that there really are rednecks that live up north.
I must admit, great team, but no class fans.

Around The Horn

October 3rd, 2010
12:33 pm

The Phils certainly are going for the jugular with that lineup today aren’t they!

Jeff Schultz

October 3rd, 2010
12:33 pm

Last chance — Glaus is shot. He can’t play defense. That’s why he’s not in lineup. … And I’d rather see Diaz and Hinske from an offensive standpoint but neither plays center field and Lee is going to play first.

Jeff Schultz

October 3rd, 2010
12:34 pm

POAD — Yes, Braves in red today.

Jeff Schultz

October 3rd, 2010
12:35 pm

Tucker T — I’ve stopped guessing.

Marvin

October 3rd, 2010
12:36 pm

Dang Phillies ,,, playing their whole lineup in a meaningless game. I think old Manuel wants to take us out of this playoff thing. Good thing Hamels and Oswalt won’t go a lot of innings. Well, I did read they wouldn’t be playing guys like Howard and Utley for many innings, but they’ve been playing the entire last two games just about.

Just try your best Hudson. You know you’ll get no run support, but at least you can say you did your part to help the team get in the playoffs.

Jeff Schultz

October 3rd, 2010
12:37 pm

Steve — I think those are the only 2 options. Or go to a bar/restaurant with a TV. Or invite yourself over to a friend’s house. Or you can go to Best Buy and “shop” for a TV for 2 1/2 hours. (Just don’t bring a sandwich and make it obvious.)