Now that Braves are here, how far can they go?

Tim Hudson (lower left) and Brian McCann in the middle of a champagne spray in the clubhouse.

Tim Hudson (lower left) and Brian McCann in the middle of a champagne spray in the clubhouse.

The Braves just won 91 games and are in the postseason for the first time since 2005 despite using 109 different lineups, losing two No. 3 hitters (Chipper Jones, Martin Prado) and several others to injuries and exhausting the team’s supply of duct tape.

So now that they’re here, a question for you: Do they collapse in exhaustion or make something of this?

What will the Braves do in the postseason?

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Here’s my view: As we saw all too often during some of those years when the Braves were favorites, strange things happen in baseball postseasons. It’s not about being the best team over 162 games. It about being the best team over a five- or seven-game series.

The Braves are operating on fumes, particularly offensively. After hitting .279 in May and in the .260s in June, July and August, their team average in September was .244. They enter the postseason as the second-lowest scoring team among the eight teams still playing with 738 runs.

The only playoff team that scored fewer than the Braves’ 738 runs: Their divisional playoff opponent, San Francisco (697). The Giants, however, lead all playoff teams in staff ERA (3.36).

But there is something about a team that can manufacture ways to win games. The Braves have certainly done that this season, with 25 last at-bat victories. They are the underdogs and they should be the underdogs, but there’s nothing about the makeup of this team that suggests it will go quietly.

Anybody who watched Sunday’s 8-7 win over the Philadelphia Phillies or witnessed players carrying Bobby Cox on their shoulders and dousing him with bubbly knows how much this postseason berth means to them.

So do you think they win a round of playoffs? Can they go even further? Or will this be a quick exit. I have a poll up but let me see your thoughts on this team.

From Sunday:

Braves make it back to the postseason in typical dramatic style

Braves beat Phillies (and wait for Padres game to end)

LIVE BLOG: Braves’ four playoff scenarios

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

371 comments Add your comment

Tucker T

October 4th, 2010
9:37 am

Come on Braves!

October 4th, 2010
9:38 am

This team is scrappy and they do own the season series with the Giants and Reds. They sort of remind me of the 2003 Florida Marlins in that no one gave them a chance to do anything since they didn’t have the name recognition of the New York Yankees.

Silver Comet

October 4th, 2010
9:41 am

Get it, Braves. It’ll be hard, but we can make it.

Tucker T

October 4th, 2010
9:41 am

The Braves had a winning record against the Giants this year and they beat Lincecum. Like you said, anything can happen in the postseason. The defense worries me though. In a tight ballgame, the porous Braves defense could give the game away and break our hearts.

Wreckmaniac

October 4th, 2010
9:42 am

The Braves were in San Fran in August, I think, and won 2 of 3. Zito and Lincecum pitched. I think they will win it. Its just a matter of the draw. I don’t think they would beat either Cinn or Phil.

Lisa

October 4th, 2010
9:48 am

Those Yankees and Rays are tough to beat.

NCBravesFan

October 4th, 2010
9:48 am

Tucker T: I agree completely. Their pitching can manufacture ways to win games, but that defense can manufacture ways to lose them at the same time.

Doesn’t seem like a formula for hanging around very long — but I’ll follow them closely and cheer for them till the bitter end.

Bud

October 4th, 2010
9:48 am

I am so proud of this team!Bobby Cox should win manager of the year award in a landslide!Only two players in our last game of the year were on our opening day line-up,Heyward and McCain,think about that!!!

MIke S

October 4th, 2010
9:48 am

I think the Braves match up well with the Giants. Both teams have anemic offenses, and the braves may have a better bullpen. If it comes down to pitching, I think the Braves fare well in that scenario.

Now, the NLCS is a different story. I don’t see the Braves matching the Phillies in a 7 game series, but if by some miracle Cincy knocks off the Phils, the Braves have a shot against the Reds.

PMC

October 4th, 2010
9:51 am

There’s no real reason to believe looking at the roster that this team is going to score any runs at all in the postseason… but there is blind hope…. and why the heck not?

Raw Dog hit a grand slam to beat the Reds in the bottom of the 9th when the braves had done nothing all day.

This team had a 7 game lead at one point. There’s no good reason to believe for them to be where they are now… and yet here they are.

Why not the Braves? They’ve been beaten when they had the better team before. There’s no reason this team should win…but there’s no reason to believe they can’t win either. They’ve proven they can win.

Sonny Clusters

October 4th, 2010
9:54 am

All that celebrating bothers us a little. We was thinking the celebration should wait for when they win the pennant. What kind of sign do they put up for getting in as the wild card? Who paints those signs and how do they get put up on the stadium?

Growler

October 4th, 2010
9:54 am

Agree with comments above about the defense. Also, the 3 starters Bobby will use are going to have to give them innings to get to Wagner. Venters really looks spent. Moylan has been so-so the last few weeks. Saito is injured and seems done.
As for the bats, it was nice to see Derek Lee FINALLY get hot over the weekend, but this line-up just cannot consistently produce runs.
I think the Braves can steal a game but defense and pitching depth win it for the Giants in a low-scoring series, hope I’m wrong!

Darryl Blackberry

October 4th, 2010
9:55 am

Against SF? It’ll happen. NLDS champs. :-) Against Philly, however…well, glad you didn’t ask.

bvillebaron

October 4th, 2010
9:56 am

Logic would say they won’t go far, but you never know in a short series. As Bill Parcells says the goal is to “get in the tournament” and see what happens. Go Braves!

Joey

October 4th, 2010
9:58 am

They can’t win in SFO. They are jinxed in that park for some reason, and the Giants have 3 out of 5 games there. If it goes to five games, SFO wins.

Mitchell

October 4th, 2010
9:59 am

“Despite using 109 different line-ups.”

Mostly by choice. Okay, obviously there were injuiries but nobodoy forced Bobby to have to come up with 109 different line-ups.

If he had just stuck with one set line-up for more than like a day, maybe we would have seen some winning streaks longer than three games.

That nine gamer was a fluke by Braves standards. They win five in a row and it’s like, “Well, let’s let the other team have a game here.”

Bobby better stick with the line-up that won the wild card for him on the very last day of the season with their backs against the wall or he’s asking for trouble.

Winger

October 4th, 2010
10:00 am

If the Braves don’t win the World Series, Bobby Cox’s last game is guaranteed to be a loss.

worst to first

October 4th, 2010
10:01 am

162 games decides who goes to the post season and in what seeding but in the playoffs all bets are off and the braves can make a run just like may and June. We are not the best team by far but we don’t have to be we just have to be the best team on the field, its what is so great about baseball

don

October 4th, 2010
10:05 am

The Braves are the weakest team in the playoffs. Since they often entered the playoffs as the best team and lost, often quickly, it will be interesting to see how they do as the undisputed underdog.

Herschel Talker

October 4th, 2010
10:07 am

Schultzie:

If they can overcome Bobby’s stupidity, they may be able to beat the Giants. But they ain’t beating the Phillies.

HT

FIRE MARK RICHT

5150 P.O.A.D

October 4th, 2010
10:08 am

RedRum Braves RedRum the NL and make it to the Series.

Willy

October 4th, 2010
10:09 am

I hope Jeff AND Mark get to go to San Francisco.

Tucker T

October 4th, 2010
10:09 am

I wonder sometimes what people will do with their time after Bobby is gone. I suppose they will find something else to complain about.

Russ555

October 4th, 2010
10:09 am

How long will they last. Anywhere from three to twenty one games. Once the game startes, anything can happen.

Chanticleer

October 4th, 2010
10:12 am

Give me Lowe and Hanson in Games 1 & 2, hopefully the way they are pitching, they win one. Then you let Hudson go in game 3 at home, followed by JJ/Beachy/Minor.

NoleRick

October 4th, 2010
10:13 am

I dont expect them to win the WS. But lets try to knock off SF! But anything can happen, and it used to happen to us when we were favored. Now its our turn to do the upsetting!

Jeff Blauser

October 4th, 2010
10:14 am

Anyone know if Chip and Joe will be calling the games, or will we be stuck with two unbiased chodes on TBS?

Michael

October 4th, 2010
10:18 am

I think they can beat the Giants. They have absolutely no hope of beating the Phillies.

DCBrave33

October 4th, 2010
10:19 am

Speaking of the signage in left field, it will be interesting to see how they designate it next year. If you have looked at the signs, you’ll notice that for years they simply won the division, but didnt win the NL the sign is yellow with the year in black. For years they were NL Champions they are yellow with the year in red. For the World Series Championship it is a red sign with the year in blue. Therefore, I would guess that if they win the WS it will be like the “95 banner. If they manage to just make the WS it will be yellow with red, like the ‘91, ‘92, ‘96, and ‘99 banners. But if they lose out before that, it might be a different color scheme, or the same, but with a little WC to the right of the year. That is my guess.

SG10

October 4th, 2010
10:19 am

Defense, defense, defense….can the Braves play the defense which is a MUST for the playoffs? This will determine how far they go..it seems their failure to score runs affects their defense too since they try to do something special to stop other teams from scoring..

Eric

October 4th, 2010
10:20 am

This team is pathetic and one of the worst playoff teams ever. They will get swept and they will all go out losers
They won’t score more than 6 runs in all 3 games.

joe

October 4th, 2010
10:22 am

As much as I’d like to say the Braves will advance, I just don’t see it. Our hitting as it has been lately just won’t cut it, unless the somehow turn on the juice. I hope they can do it, but don’t have a good feeling about it.

gcs

October 4th, 2010
10:23 am

Just reaching the playoffs was an overachievement for this team. And congratulations to them.

I just hope they don’t get swept.

.

Russell

October 4th, 2010
10:24 am

Braves have an all star third base man setting on the bench for the past two month and it’s not chipper jones. It time for Troy Clause to take that position.

NW Falcon

October 4th, 2010
10:24 am

If Mark Lemke isn’t on the playoff roster, I think we’re in for a short ride. But at least we have a ticket.

collegeballfan

October 4th, 2010
10:25 am

Change of subject.

I said in April that if Heyward could approach Chipper Jones’ rookie season (1995) that he would be a keeper.

Here are the stats:

C.Jones – AB 524, R 87, H 139, HR 23, RBI 86, BB 73, OBP .353, AVG .265

Heyward – AB 520, R 83, H 144, HR 18, RBI 72, BB 91, OBP .393, AVG .277

Remarkable.

Looks like Heyward is a keeper.

Now if we can get Freeman to duplicate………

Brad from AL

October 4th, 2010
10:28 am

Does anyone know where you can buy a print of the painting they gave to Bobby Sat?

ExBraves Fan

October 4th, 2010
10:28 am

This team has about as much chance of beating the Giants and moving on too be smashed by the Phillies and even make the world series as hell freezing over this weekend. Enjoy the 5 minutes of fame. With the Giants pitching, and even the Phillies pitching, the Braves are what they are, losers. They are what they are. Simple as that. Bobby goes out a loser. Simple as that. Enjoy retire Bobby. Now the GM can release the 15 broken down players and sign 15 new less broken down, over the hill players for next year.

alex

October 4th, 2010
10:30 am

Remember those STL Cards that won it all!
They were big underdogs and won it all!
We have nothing to loose….goooo BRAVOS

ExBraves Fan

October 4th, 2010
10:31 am

Collegeballfan: Does that mean we have to listen and read all the “I hate Jason” mail that we read here regarding Jones? Remember for the past 10 years, 98% of the people here wanted Jones traded to KC for a Class A player too be named later. The hate for Jones here has been worse than any I have ever read. I guess this means that as soon as Jason messes up, this bunch will want him gone also.

Ted M

October 4th, 2010
10:32 am

Jeff,

Are the Braves going to be practicing their defense before this series or is it all rest time now?

JW

October 4th, 2010
10:35 am

Put Glaus in. If he gets hot, we go all the way.

Dr. Phil

October 4th, 2010
10:36 am

This team is short on talent, but they hang in there. They have a chance with SF and a slight chance if they meet the Reds. They have no chance with the Phillies. I saw them in Orlando and went to several games this season, including the disaster on Friday. They can be proud and so can Bobby. They are sending him out in style.

Sonny Clusters

October 4th, 2010
10:37 am

We was wondering about what they will do for Bobby now that he has more games? Not being sure what his last game is could cost the Braves a lot of money. They could just give him the same gift over and over like our Aunt Chesty Clusters used to do with us. At Bobby’s age he might not catch it. Speaking of who will play left field in the playoffs, has anyone thought about Chino? Can he be activated? Can he be jump started?

Dr. Phil ps

October 4th, 2010
10:38 am

There are a number of things I don’t like about Chipper Jones, but he is a great baseball player and will go into the HOF. I would like to see him come back and have a good year.

Ted M

October 4th, 2010
10:40 am

I am predicting that Derrek Lee gets hot and clutch.

Braves suck.

October 4th, 2010
10:40 am

I’ve hated the Braves, and always will. I’m sorry, but this team is the worst team on earth. All of them are a bunch of pathetic losers that need to do the world a favor and GET THE HELL OUT OF THE MLB! The only reason Heyward looks good right now is because he’s beside all these scumbags, and he’s one himself.

I’m sorry if I sound too harsh, but if you’re a Braves fan, you are a worthless excuse for a human being that is too stupid to understand what REAL baseball is. Get a life.

Ted M

October 4th, 2010
10:40 am

Jeff or anyone is the postseason roster set?

BBUA

October 4th, 2010
10:43 am

I predicted a 90 win season but would not make it to the playoffs, I’m glad I was wrong. Can the Braves beat the Giants and the Phillies? Possible but not probable, however even a blind squirell finds an acorn every now and then.

Here’s hoping they find a few acorns, go braves.

Arno

October 4th, 2010
10:43 am

Look at how defense determined the three series on the last road trip. Braves will have to be practically flawless to advance.