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?
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.