Can Braves catch Phillies in East? Schedule says yes

The streaking Dan Uggla (22-game hitting streak) and Braves can still catch the Phillies. (Hyosub Shun/AJC)

The streaking Dan Uggla and Braves can still catch the Phillies. (Hyosub Shun/AJC)

The Braves acquired Michael Bourn from Houston with the hope that they not only can make the playoffs but possibly compete for a World Series. Winning the National League East over Philadelphia would be a good start — and the chances of that happening are far from dead.

Going into tonight, the Braves (63-46) have played two more games than the Phillies (68-39) and trail them by six games. They are seven back in the loss column. Simple math: Even if Philadelphia goes only 30-25 the rest of the way, the Braves would need to go 35-18 (.660) just to tie them and force a one-game playoff.

Here's how Coolstandings.com has tracked Braves' postseason chances. The red line represents playoffs chances, the black wild card chances and the blue division chances.

Coolstandings.com on Braves' postseason chances: Red line represents playoffs, black wild card chances, blue division.

Coolstandings.com currently lists Philadelphia as having an 86.6 percent chance of winning the division, followed by the Braves at 13.0,  New York at 0.3, and Florida and Washington at less than 0.1 each.

The chart on the left illustrates things nicely, assuming it doesn’t give you a headache.

But there are some factors in the Braves’ favor the rest of the way.

♦ I looked at the National League standings and considered eight teams still in the postseason chase: Braves, Phillies, San Francisco, Milwaukee, Arizona, St. Louis, Pittsburgh and Cincinnati. The only stretch there might be the Reds. But while they’re out of the wild card race,  they’re only 6½ back in the Central and just swept the Giants. The Braves still have 16 games scheduled against the above teams: 6 vs. Philadelphia; 4 vs. San Francisco; 3 vs. Arizona; 3 vs. St. Louis). The Phillies have 25 games left against playoff contenders: 6 vs. Braves; 4 vs. San Francisco; 3 vs. Arizona; 4 vs. Milwaukee; 4 vs. St. Louis; 4 vs. Cincinnati.

♦ The Braves have 53 games remaining: 25 at home, 28 on the road. The Phillies have 55 games left: 24 at home, 31 on the road.

♦ The beat-who-they’re-supposed-to-beat thing hasn’t always panned out for the Braves. But they have 27 games left against the three East also-rans: Mets, Marlins and Nationals. The Phillies have 21 against them.

♦ Of the worst four teams in the N.L. (Los Angeles, San Diego, Chicago Houston), the Phillies play six games against the Astros and Dodgers, but the Braves play 10 against the Cubs and Dodgers.

Finally, remember that the regular season will end with Philadelphia coming to Turner Field for a weekend series Sept. 26-28.

All of this certainly paints a picture that the Braves can still make a run and win the division.

What do you think? Can they do it, or will it be back to the postseason as a wildcard?

By Jeff Schultz

Follow me on Twitter @JeffSchultzAJC; friend me at Facebook.com/JeffSchultzAJC

368 comments Add your comment

BRAVESFAN

August 2nd, 2011
9:59 pm

Yes, Lowe has got to go. He is the thing you put on the edge of the street but overnight no one takes it. When you get home from work even the garbage men didn’t even want to touch it. Your then left with something you have to look at everyday with disappointment or pay someone a lot of money to haul off. Glad we got prospects in case we need them, the time was yesterday so giddy up Wren!

Ben

August 2nd, 2011
10:05 pm

Open beat down tonight. Seems like the Nats have been the thorn in our side for 3 years now.

The wild card is anything but given right now. If we miss playoffs, this may be the most underachieving Braves team in over a decade.

Anthony

August 2nd, 2011
10:10 pm

so…the Philadelphia Eagles signed a few more studs today…

Pale Rider

August 2nd, 2011
10:16 pm

It’s fund to hear radio/TV broadcasters trying to find the positive this time of year (which they are paid to do)- about the stud minor leaguers, good trades, hitting streaks, solid pitching, etc…- it means they’re trying to sell you 2012 season tickets! Atlanta will never win until it REALLY wants a winner. And at least Skip Caray told it like it was!!

NL East

August 2nd, 2011
10:23 pm

I’m guessing the Phillies aren’t too scared about the schedule or the Braves. The only race for them is whether they can get to 110 wins…

menlobrave

August 2nd, 2011
10:46 pm

Silly article by a silly writer. Is it possible? Yep, 1 in a 100 chance. Is there any reasonable probability? No way. I have been a die-hard Braves fan for many years, but even I can see the talent difference between these teams. You’d think someone who actually gets paid to write about sports would know that, but it is the same newspaper that gave us Terrence Moore for 20 years.

Bill

August 3rd, 2011
3:37 am

Absolutely not. The Braves tonight got owned 9-3 by the Nats and just dropped a series to them. They lost 2 of 4 to the Pirates, meanwhile the Phillies swept them. Also lost 2 of 4 to the awful Rockies. It’s funny to see people using the “schedule” excuse as to why the Braves will win the division, when they can’t win a series against a team above .500. The last time they did that was in late May. What does that mean? Playing bad teams and yet, as of tonight, the Braves are 8.0 games out. Sorry folks, this one’s over, especially since they are lost another series to another bad team. What a joke.

Nick

August 3rd, 2011
7:54 am

Are you serious with this article? You call yourself a journalist? The Phillies are now 8 games up on the Braves. If anything the Phillies are actually surging and getting better while the Braves are sputtering and falling further and further in the rearview mirror. You need a reality check. The Phils are 5-0 since picking up Hunter Pence and are destroying everyone that steps up to challenge them. With Halladay, Lee, Hamels, and now a returning Oswalt, there’s no way that the Phils will incur any type of lengthy enough losing streak for the Braves to catch them. You guys will be lucky to make the wildcard with the way you’ve been playing. Wow, you’ve shown your homerism.

david

August 3rd, 2011
8:11 am

Now it’s a 5.6% chance of winning the east. thank you Nats. Go Phils!

Hedley Lamarr

August 3rd, 2011
9:17 am

Reality says, “NO”

convexhull

August 3rd, 2011
9:20 am

the heat in Atlanta must be warping your send of perception. There is 0 (ZERO) chance that that Braves will catch the Phillies. In fact, I think there’s a pretty good chance that the Braves won’t even make the playoffs. You fools for Braves fans think that they’ve earned a playoff spot in August. ha. The only October baseball you’ll see will be from the stands at Citizen’s Bank Park. Go Phillies.

bmoon

August 4th, 2011
9:48 am

Prediction:
Braves go undefeated the rest of the regular season; finish 4.5 games back.

WreckingBall

August 4th, 2011
3:15 pm

THE BRAVES CAN CERTAINLY CATCH THE PHILLIES. IT WOULD MEAN ABSOLUTELY NOTHING FOR THE BRAVES TO THE FIRST PLACE CLUB IN THEIR DIVISION. IT DOESNT MEAN SQUAT ONCE THE SEASON HAS ENDED. WHAT, IT WOULD MEAN THAT THE BRAVES WOULD HAVE THE BRAGGING RIGHT OF BEING MAYBE THE #1 SEED IN ALL OF BASEBALL WITH POSSIBLY BASEBALLS BEST RECORD. TRUST ME. IT MEANS NOTHING. ASK THE ATLANTA FALCONS. LAST SEASON THE FALCONS FINISHED WITH THE #1 SEED IN THE ENTIRE NFC CONFERENCE. IT MEANT SQUAT AND THE FALCONS GOT CLOBBERED BY THE EVENTUAL PACKERS IN THE PLAYOFFS. SO WHAT IF THE BRAVES FINISHED AHEAD OF THE PHILLIES. IF THE PHILLIES WIN THE WORLD TITLE, THAT WOULD MEAN MORE THAN FINISHING A WILD CARD TEAM. The Braves need to learn the lesson that the only reason why you have a season is to win a championship. Anything less than that is considered a WASTED SEASON. Until the Braves learn that lesson, they will continue to waste their team, failing to compete at critical moments in the season. IF YOURE ASKING ME IF THE BRAVES HAVE THE POTENTIAL TO WIN A WORLD TITLE THIS YEAR, THEN THE LOGICAL ANSWER IS YES. IN ORDER FOR THAT TO HAPPEN, THE BRAVES NEED TO GET FIVE GUYS SIZZLING HOT DURING THE PLAYOFFS PLUS THEIR STARTING PITCHING AND THEIR BULLPEN TO PULL THAT OFF. THE FIVE GUYS IN THE LINEUP THAT MUST GET HOT ARE:#1-MARTIN PRADO; #2-JAYSON HEYWORD; #3-DAN UGLY; #4-BRIAN MCCANN; AND LAST BUT NOT LEAST, #5:CHIPPER JONES. If these 5 guys get hot, then the Braves will score enough runs to beat anybody and bring home the world championship trophy. Thats the only ways its going to happen and chipper must find the fountain of youth, get hot and stay hot for the Braves to have any chance at all. stay tuned.

BobbyToland

August 4th, 2011
5:30 pm

In order for the Braves to HOPEFULLY catch the Phils, the Braves will have to win at a .900% clip over the next 30 games. Even then, with the Phillies playing 900% ball, the Braves probably won’t pick up any ground at all. Example. if the Braves were to win 27 out of the next 30 games, the phillies would probably go 27-3 which would cancel out the Braves torrid win streak and the Braves would STILL FIND THEMSELVES EIGHT GAMES OUT. In order for the Braves to catch the Phillies, RYAN HOWARD WILL HAVE TO GET HURT AND GO ON THE DISABLED LIST FOR THE NEXT 30 GAMES. Thats the only way I see the Braves catching them. If Howard goes on the DL and the Braves go 27-3, then the Phills will then go 16-14 and the Braves will take over the lead by 3 games. Otherwise its futile because the PHILLIES HARDLY NEVER LOSE.

Rmyklo

August 5th, 2011
8:34 am

This column was ridiculous when it was written … and just as ridiculous four days later. Schedule says yes? Players say no! Hunter Pence says no! Phillies are getting better … Braves are searching for life vests.

Phillies fan

August 7th, 2011
2:58 am

Yeah, clearly the writer doesn’t know the game or is a delusional homer.

Anthony

August 7th, 2011
8:39 am

This article gets funnier everyday.

BrutosJohnson

August 8th, 2011
12:58 pm

I think there is ONE scenario under which the Braves can catch the Phillies and overtake them into first place. The Brave MUST go undefeated the rest of the way and the Phillies will be caught! Its only simple math and that is the ONLY way that the Braves can overtake the Phillies. It really doesnt matter anyway because the Phillies will ultimately get eliminated in the playoffs and some unknown team like maybe the Angels or the Arizona Diamondbacks will win the world series. Baseball is boring and its hard to stay interested with the seasons being about 200 games long.