Giants are reminder of what could’ve been for Braves

The Giants celebrate after Aubrey Huff (left) scores on a sacrifice fly to give them a win over Philadelphia and move them to within one game of going to the World Series.

The Giants celebrate after Aubrey Huff (left) scores to clinch a win over Philadelphia and move them one victory from the World Series.

While television network executives search for the nearest window ledge at thoughts of a Texas-San Francisco World Series, it’s becoming more apparent than ever that the Braves just missed out on one of their greatest chances ever to win another World Series.

We know injuries crushed the roster. We also know that the Braves somehow made it to the postseason anyway and played four one-run games with the San Francisco Giants, losing the National League Divisional Series, 3-1. The general belief was that even if the Braves had beaten the Giants, they would’ve been stomped by Philadelphia.

Oops.

For those who’ve tuned out baseball’s postseason since the Braves exited, the Giants are one win away from eliminating the Phillies (leading the NLCS 3-1). Texas is close to closing out the New York Yankees (3-2 in the ALCS). The Phillies and Yankees are the last two World Series champions, and they were expected to meet for this year’s title.

If the Giants and Rangers are eliminating the Phillies and Yankees, what could that have meant for the Braves?

It’s worth restating: For as many great moments as the Braves gave fans this season, we’ll never know how good the 2010 team could have been. Season-ending injuries to Chipper Jones, Martin Prado, Billy Wagner, Kris Medlen and ultimately Jair Jurrjens was too much.

But even in the end, there wasn’t much separating the Braves from the Giants, who are now one win from the Series.

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

220 comments Add your comment

chip1960

October 21st, 2010
8:52 am

Waittilnextyear

October 21st, 2010
8:52 am

Waittilnextyear

October 21st, 2010
8:52 am

chip1960

October 21st, 2010
8:53 am

love seeing the pils imploding with that 140 mil payroll. What could we do with an extra 10-15 mil during the offseason?

Ted M

October 21st, 2010
8:55 am

Play GM Jeff…What would you do with the Braves outfield?

Angus

October 21st, 2010
8:57 am

Throw it, hit it, catch it, right?

The Braves could throw and hit with Giants, but paled in comparison at that catching part.

Of note, the team with the fewest errors won every game of the series.

darrell black

October 21st, 2010
9:02 am

For of all sad words of tongue or pen, the saddest are these…it might have been.

coach13

October 21st, 2010
9:05 am

Angus is right. To think that a ML team shot intself in the foot because they couldn’t make routine plays is really sad.

Could they have used some timely hitting? Sure. But this BRaves team proved that good pitching can’t win by itself. Sooner or later you have to hit. Fielding a ball would help.

blazerdawg

October 21st, 2010
9:06 am

Would love to see a Giants/Rangers WS, and would expect that TV ratings would be OK with SF, Dallas and Houston being large markets. Atl would probably view the series just as much as a NY/Phil series. Seeing Lincecum vs. Lee will be awesome. Braves seem sooo close now. Go Giants!

SadDawg

October 21st, 2010
9:08 am

I heard a talking head say on ESPN the other day, “I think America wants to see the Yankees and Phillies in the WS.”

I wanted to barf. I’m sure two big, stinking cities, their obnoxious fan bases, and a certain TV network want it. Everybody I know is over overjoyed at the thought of neither of those two, with their $400M (combined) payroll making it to the WS.

Go Giants and Rangers!

SadDawg

October 21st, 2010
9:10 am

Absolutely right, coach13. The Braves errors cost the Braves the division and the playoff run. The worst I’ve ever seen on a team that made the playoffs.

REAL Braves fan

October 21st, 2010
9:12 am

what SadDawg said…

STRETCH

October 21st, 2010
9:14 am

ERRORS and OFFENSE killed the Braves in the NLDS!!! Im still shaking my head at the last two games at Turner field. Both games they took the lead late and turned around and found a way to cough it up. Its been the story of the Braves every year since 91 save the 95 season.

Giants vs. Rangers!!!

October 21st, 2010
9:14 am

@ Sad Dawg. I totally agree with your post. I love it when tv personalities boast that they know what Americans want. The next words out of their mouths will usually be exactly the opposite of what most Americans want. That being said, I haven’t done a poll about that either, but this American Braves fan wants Giants vs. Rangers!!!

lns

October 21st, 2010
9:15 am

SadDawg…. You hit the nail on the head… 400m payroll… this world series is for the guys who don’t buy their world series rings…

Nativebird

October 21st, 2010
9:18 am

So we are STILL self-medicating ourselves with this foolish notion that our 2010 Braves team could have even made it to the World Series? You”re joking right? How many errors, how many displays of insufficient power or the numerous RLISP’s, or blown leads does it take to convince even the most blind and wishful thinking of Braves fans to get on board with LETTING GO of this underperforming Cox-era of “hope” and move on to a new dawn of actually building a professional baseball team that can win in September and October?

Cecil34

October 21st, 2010
9:18 am

I think it would be definately worth a laugh to think of the Yanks and Phils both missing the WS after being basically given a free pass by the media to get into it.

Wonder what that idiot Seelig thinks about that?

Shultzie, don’t fool yourself, the Braves were not as good as the Giants, period.

Why?

I think the Giants have proven they had the pitching and defense to get the job done – and what else? Timely hitting.

The Braves never could capture that lightning in the bottle – timely hitting.

Also, Hudson looked worn out by the end of it all, and they would have had to have him in the LCS and WS to have a chance. Hanson and Lowe I give you that they were up to the task.

But I think the Giants were in fact the better team and proved it.

To extrapolate from the Phillies crash and burn that the Braves could have effected it as well as the Giants is misguided.

There is a reason why the Braves are no longer playing. Your insinuation glosses over some hideous problems the Braves had.

idot

October 21st, 2010
9:21 am

ESPN wanted the Yank-Phils matchup, that is their targeted market. All they are, is cheerleaders for the Northeastern sports teams.

Larry

October 21st, 2010
9:22 am

No way the Braves would have beaten the hated Phillies. It’s similar to the Bulldogs choking against the Gators every year.

Jeff Schultz

October 21st, 2010
9:22 am

Waittilnextyear — Sorry, there are no ties or crying in blog commenting. You will get second and you will like it!

dap01

October 21st, 2010
9:22 am

Good article. I agree, the Braves were close but finally ran out of gas with all of the injuries. The point that needs to be noticed is the Braves were close because of the great pitching depth.

Turtsnap

October 21st, 2010
9:23 am

I know the networks aren’t….. but I for one, am enjoying the heck out of this postseason!!! Go Giants!! Go Rangers!!!

Jeff Schultz

October 21st, 2010
9:25 am

Ted M: Honestly haven’t gone thru names but I’d trade Jurrjens to get a TOP quality outfielder who can drive in runs. It’s absolutely mandatory. If you get one of those guys, you can get by with a platoon system in the other outfield spot (Diaz, Hinske, etc.).

Jeff Schultz

October 21st, 2010
9:27 am

SadDawg — I understand your nausea. I do think some people would be more likely to watch Phils-Yanks than any other pairing but obviously there’s just as many people who hate both teams and would love to see a team like the Giants or Rangers win it. And then there are most who just don’t care.

Jeff Schultz

October 21st, 2010
9:28 am

Cecil34 — Defense was the only difference between the teams (until Wagner got hurt), and many of those defensive problems were because of injuries (no Prado, no Chipper but had to start Brooks Conrad).

idot

October 21st, 2010
9:28 am

Fielding, and the need of some timely hitting, but some BAD strategic managing moves, also helped eliminate the Braves. Oh yeah, a bad pitch selection by an allstar catcher, when Kimbrel had the Giants down to their last strike, didn’t help further the cause, much either.

idot

October 21st, 2010
9:32 am

I don’t think that the Braves had to start Conrad, especially after all the errors that he had been making at the end of the regular season, and in the playoffs.

ITP Braves Fan

October 21st, 2010
9:32 am

With the roster that the Braves had entering the postseason, I think it’s safe to presume that the Braves were not going to beat the Phillies or Rangers if they had all of the breaks against the Giants. Too many injuries, and too many holes in the lineup/field.

With that said, if the Braves could have had a healthy Chipper, Prado, JJ and Wagner on the roster, I think they had a legitimate run in them for the championship. Unfortunately, that’s sports.

The future looks bright for this team, though.

Yes We McCann

October 21st, 2010
9:33 am

Ins and SadDawg,

Right there with ya…Go Giants and Rangers!

I love to see those high payroll teams go down!

(I’d only note that in 1995 it was our Atlanta Braves with the highest payroll in the MLB…so I might take it easy on the “buying” rings comment … just sayin )

idot

October 21st, 2010
9:33 am

Seems like Corey Hart might have been a big difference between the Braves and Giants, also.

SadDawg

October 21st, 2010
9:36 am

You’re right about “don’t care” portion. That usually includes me if the Braves aren’t in it.

The Texans and Giant have just made me a fan, I guess because ESPN had already annointed the Phillies and Yankees.

I can’t help myself. Excluding the teams from the state of Georgia, which I always pull for, I’m a sucker for the underdog.

Hankie Aron

October 21st, 2010
9:36 am

I want to believe you Schultz as if the Braves could have possibly beaten the Phillies had they gotten past the Giants. Problem is we have seen that movie time after time after time after time , and it always ends the same way with our hometown 9 coming up 1 run short and we are crying but optimistic about “next” year.

Hankie Aron

October 21st, 2010
9:37 am

i hate to sound so negative now but i do believe our club will contend next year

Tucker T

October 21st, 2010
9:38 am

The Braves team that lost to the Giants in the playoffs would not have been able to beat the Phils so I don’t have any regrets about that. A Braves team that had Chipper, Prado, JJ, Saito, Wagner, O’Flaherty, and Medlen? Now that’s a different story. But that’s baseball.

Kenneth Simpson

October 21st, 2010
9:38 am

Watching the Ex-Braves in the playoffs makes me hate the Tex trade even more. Andrus has been brilliant and Feliz has done it all year. These 2 good players along with 3 others were just given to Texas to rent Tex for one year and then the braves went and gave him away too. Also Frenchy was given away for nothing and he along with the rest of the former braves hopefully will play in thw world series while the braves sit at home. Stupid-Stupid Trades.

Hankie Aron

October 21st, 2010
9:38 am

I want to be positive!

SadDawg

October 21st, 2010
9:40 am

That’s true, McCann. I wish Ted Turner had decided to donate that $1Billion to the Braves, instead of the UN.

Jeez, of all places, the UN . . .

idot

October 21st, 2010
9:41 am

The Braves could have possibly beaten the Philles, but they probability was low, very low.

idot

October 21st, 2010
9:42 am

the probability

Braves2010

October 21st, 2010
9:42 am

Reading the Philly Inquirer and they seem disappointed they have to play a hungry, aggressive Giants team instead of the toothless (from injury Atlanta Braves).
Go Giants.

idot

October 21st, 2010
9:44 am

I think that Frenchy was more gotten rid of, than gave away.

Jeff Schultz

October 21st, 2010
9:44 am

Kenneth – I realize this could be headed for another referendum blog on the Tex trade — maybe in a few days — but I’ll restate what I’ve said before: I didn’t have a problem with the deal at the time because it was a deal for a perennial All-Star, a great player and it was a go-for-it move that potentially made the Braves a World Series team again. Obviously, it didn’t turn out that way.

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Brave New World

October 21st, 2010
9:46 am

Jeff: You are so right. The 2010 Braves team, even with devastating injuries, gave the soon-to-be NL Champ Giants a run for their money. This team had heart. The Phils have hype. When one compares the 2010 Braves to the Phils, it’s surprising how much closer things could have been. Halladay is the best pitcher in baseball, but Hudson was very good in 2010; the rest of the Braves’ starters, when healthy, are better than the Phils. Braves’ bull pen far better than Phils (if Lidge was a good closer, the Phils would not have panicked and used Oswalt last night). Howard has edge over Lee; a healthy Prado has egde over Utley; shortstop a toss up; a healthy Chipper has edge over Polanco. Jayson Heyward already is the equal of Werth, and Heyward will get MUCH better while Phils will be “Werthless” in 2011. Victorino wins CF by default; Diaz platoon and aging Ibanez is toss up in left. Catcher: No contest. 5-time all star McCann vs. Ruiz, who would be Ross’ back up on Braves.

Brian

October 21st, 2010
9:47 am

Jeff – you should add a poll to this blog: Who would you rather see in the World Series: 1. Giants & Rangers, 2. Phillies & Yankees, 3. Baseball is still on? I’m watching football.

idot

October 21st, 2010
9:48 am

Did the Braves go to the WS, with Texa-share-ya?

gooneygoogoo

October 21st, 2010
9:49 am

Wrong Braves lost end of story. Now stop talking baseball it’s a dying sport.

O'Brien

October 21st, 2010
9:53 am

Jeff,

Because JJ is coming off an injury, I dont think he could land us the top OFer that we are looking for.

If the Braves really want to get a guy like Kemp, for example, I think they will have to add another top prospect to JJ just to begin conversations.

Cecil34

October 21st, 2010
9:53 am

Liberty Media’s persistant payroll constraints could force the Braves into a perennially “marginally competitive” status in the division and league….Thus virtually guaranteeing that playoff runs come up short or terminate quickly.

This is no doubt the root of the Braves problems, and the first issue that should be discussed in any Braves column or blog – how to get around it and deal with it successfully.

Is that possible? Is Wren the man to do it?

I wonder….

siskel_god

October 21st, 2010
9:57 am

Jeff do you think it is at all possible that Jair Jurrjens would be enough to get a guy like Matt Kemp from the Dodgers? I know they just re-signed Lilly, but who couldn’t use a good, young, cheap arm? The consensus on most blogs is for Rasmus, but Kemp’s agent has hinted about getting out of L.A. and he was a top five MVP candidate year before last.