Braves: Playoff teams don’t lose series to Nats, Marlins, Mets

Original Caption:  	Atlanta BravesAn eighth-inning strikeout and bat-flip by the struggling Martin Prado sums up the Braves' problems over the past month. (AP photo)

This strikeout and bat-flip by the struggling Martin Prado sums up the Braves' struggles and mood over the past month.

On statistics-driven websites like CoolStandings.com, the Braves are still given a 65.7 percent chance of winning the National League wild card spot, almost twice the percentage of the St. Louis Cardinals (34.3).

But if this is about odds, what are we still doing here?

The Braves’ wild card lead is down to one game after a 3-0 loss to Washington and the Cardinals’ 3-2 win over the Chicago Cubs. So as the team no doubt dreaded (but probably wouldn’t admit), its playoff lifeline will come down to the season-ending, three-game series against Philadelphia, beginning Monday night at Turner Field.

Math is one thing. Reality is another. Consider the pitching match-ups for the Phillies’ series. In game one, the Braves will start a rookie, Randall Delgado, against Cliff Lee. In game two, it’s the struggling Derek Lowe against Roy Oswalt. In the series finale, it’s Tim Hudson against the Phils’ Cole Hamels. (Alas, a push.) This is what happens when two of the team’s top three starters (Jair Jurrjens, Tommy Hanson) are injured and starting pitching goes from a strength to a weakness.

UPDATE: Hamels apparently will not start Wednesday’s regular season finale for Philadelphia.  It will be either Kyle Kendrick or Joe Blanton, according to the Philadelphia Daily News.

Yes, the Braves may still hang on. But it doesn’t help that St. Louis closes out the regular season against the Houston Astros, who have the worst record in baseball.

The other major concern is how the Braves are finishing. It’s not just that they’re losing — they’re 10-17 since opening a 10½-game lead over the Cardinals on Aug. 25 — it’s who they’re losing to. They have lost three straight series to three sub-.500 teams: the New York Mets, Florida Marlins and Washington.

In the past month, they’re 10-11 against four non-playoff teams (Mets, Marlins, Nationals, Dodgers) and 0-6 against two good teams (Phillies, Cardinals).

That doesn’t sound like a team primed for the postseason.

Yes, the math still says the Braves are favored. But right now, it feels like they’ll be done in three games.

By Jeff Schultz

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

591 comments Add your comment

Jeremy

September 25th, 2011
6:20 pm

The Braves don’t deserve to make the playoffs. At least it will save us the embarrassment of getting swept once we get there.

davidsonrva

September 25th, 2011
6:20 pm

On the MASN broadcast today, FP said “which team looks playoff worthy now?”. Unfortunately I had to agree with him. This team is absolutely lost.

MitchC

September 25th, 2011
6:24 pm

Jeff, the Braves play is a disgrace. Teams with 10 1-2 game leads as late in the season as the Braves had one, dont blow it in this fashion.

After their long losing streak, I think the Phillies may turn it on to get ready for the post season.

I agree with you that the Braves will probably be going home after Wednesday. Injuries or not, this team should have found a way to close it out.

I will be very surprised if they make the playoffs.

Chi-Town

September 25th, 2011
6:26 pm

I said it earlier, and I’ll say it again – it’s the 69′ Cubs! I never thought that I’d have to live through something like that again…

jim

September 25th, 2011
6:28 pm

Wouldn’t one of the Braves touted young arms at Gwinnett be better than the done Lowe? Will the Phils play their bench and call-ups and let their division mates get in? The way the Cards have come on that might be the smart move for the Phils.

Jim from Roswell

September 25th, 2011
6:29 pm

I’d give the Cards about a 80% chance of overtaking the Braves. They are on a roll and their manager is head and shoulders above Fredi.

BravesAllTheWay

September 25th, 2011
6:30 pm

Ugh…and I was so excited to have my tickets for post season play…now I’m hoping I get my money back if they don’t make it…this has just been painful!

DaveW

September 25th, 2011
6:32 pm

Has any team in any sport underachieved as poorly as the Atlanta Braves over the course of the past two decades? One World Series title (in a strike shortened season) is all they have to show for 20 years of talented teams. It’s hard to give a damn anymore.

Tdavis

September 25th, 2011
6:32 pm

The braves play more like a team ready for the offseason to begin instead of a team focused on getting to the playoffs. The phillies will finiah them off. I had so much hope at the beginning of the season and once again im gonna be disappointed. Maybe we will finally stop being cheap and spend money for some big bats for that anemic offense

Art Vandelay

September 25th, 2011
6:33 pm

Even if they do make the playoffs…this inept offense isn’t going to do anything. Bases loaded nobody out, no runs…2nd and 3rd 1 out…no runs. Teams like that don’t win in the postseason.

Alex

September 25th, 2011
6:33 pm

Bases loaded, no outs, and we can’t get 1 RUN across!? Embarassing to say the least. No way the braves are going to win a playoff series swinging the bats like this. Forget the troubles with the starting rotation

Juddist

September 25th, 2011
6:34 pm

Gonzales is not a great coach. Parrish is a really terrible as a hitting coach. Terry Pendleton deserved to keep his job as hitting coach and he deserved to be interviewed as Head Coach. The Braves will never be winners with these two. It is not the pitching. It is the hitting. It is really terrible that the club went from one of the best hitting clubs last year to what they are this year.

Oski

September 25th, 2011
6:34 pm

Jeff, So do the Braves have to win all three games to go to the playoffs, or what is the number game of who need to win/lose for the Braves to go to the next round?

Trey

September 25th, 2011
6:36 pm

The Braves are playing like losers. They have no damn heart. Their manager is pathetic. They can’t hit, they can’t score, they can’t win lately. It’s sickening the way they are playing.

Losersville

September 25th, 2011
6:36 pm

Like most MLB teams, the Braves are just a sorry bunch of grossly overpaid millionaires. I can promise you that most of the Braves players look at the playoffs as an annoying nuisance that stands in the way of their going home and taking it easy for the next few months.

I haven’t wasted my money on these losers in decades.

Furman Bitcher

September 25th, 2011
6:36 pm

OSKI the Braves can lose all 3 and still make it.

Waffle House or Bust

September 25th, 2011
6:36 pm

Thanks for having the balls DOB does not have and pointing out what he sugarcoats. WE STINK!!

rayraysbraves

September 25th, 2011
6:37 pm

It has been the “playoffs” for the past several games.

I love the Braves – and I’m still staying with them until they are eliminated.

I know you have to agree that the Marlins and Nationals played some very good baseball in these last 2 series. You’ve got to give them credit. Those games were their playoffs and they made have played good enought to make it the Braves also.

Go Braves!

I will be very surprised if they make the playoffs.

Furman Bitcher

September 25th, 2011
6:37 pm

But the Cards would have to lose all 3 to avoid a playoff

Dubvee

September 25th, 2011
6:38 pm

It’s pretty sad the way it looks like this thing is winding up.

timbo2589

September 25th, 2011
6:38 pm

These “chumps” are chokes, the pressure is on them to keep this wildcard spot, and they are blowing it. I hate myself for being a, “braves fan”.

Jeff Schultz

September 25th, 2011
6:38 pm

Oski — Impossible to guess but logic says Braves need to win 2 of 3 vs. Phillies because there’s a decent chance Cardinals will sweep. That would lead to a 1-game playoff.

5150 UOAD

September 25th, 2011
6:38 pm

Braves & Falcons will let us down. I hope the NBA doesn’t play this year because it will save from the Embarrassment in BBall too.

BosnianBaller

September 25th, 2011
6:38 pm

Forget Hanson and JJ excuse.The hitting is garbage.Pitching has given them a chance.The offense is a joke

Alex

September 25th, 2011
6:39 pm

How about some emotion??? this team looks dead and i have no idea why. the braves must must must fire larry parrish this dude has made terry pendelton look like a guru.

Kyle

September 25th, 2011
6:40 pm

I think it’s time to look at a firesale, bring some young hungry talent in!

Jeff Schultz

September 25th, 2011
6:40 pm

Furman: “OSKI the Braves can lose all 3 and still make it.”

<<< Only if the Cardinals also get swept, or lose 2 of 3 to Astros (which would force a playoff).

LOB Braves

September 25th, 2011
6:40 pm

Waffle House or Bust. You are so right. That wimp DOB must have been told by the Braves brass to be kind about the sorry Braves

I Am a Complete Idiot

September 25th, 2011
6:40 pm

It is a slam dunk that the Braves will make the playoffs. Then they will go on to win the WS.

LOB Braves

September 25th, 2011
6:41 pm

When I think of all the time I wasted this year watching these losers play sorry ball I want to throw up.

DawgNole

September 25th, 2011
6:42 pm

There’s a reason they call this city the graveyard of pro sports, folks. I believe the term used is “Losersville”–and for good reason. Almost a half-century of pro sports competion involving 5 teams (baseball, basketball, football, and two hockey), and only one world championship (’95 Braves) to show for it. No other city can “boast” that level of failure. And by the way, at this writing, the obscenely overrated Falcons are in the process of continuing the Atlanta teams’ remarkable tradition of misery. Check out their dismal/embarassing performance against lower tier TB Bucs.

Fred Dawg

September 25th, 2011
6:42 pm

Man – a great season turned ugly the last month of play.

This team is sinking fast – still holding out some hope – but it really looks doubtful.

HEY – it’s football season!!!!

If I had my way – Regular season would be over by 9/25.
Baseball season – 7th game world series would be ober Oct 25.

Nomobama

September 25th, 2011
6:42 pm

Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor? No! It aint over til we say it is! Go Braves!

Alex

September 25th, 2011
6:43 pm

prado, bourn, heyward, uggla, gonzo are ALL having down years hitting and go to Parrish for help, while Mccann, Freeman, and chipper are having good years and go to their dads for hitting advice. Could this be a coincidence maybe but i seriously doubt it.

LOB Braves

September 25th, 2011
6:44 pm

Matt Ryan = Martin Prado, Brian McCann, Chipper, etc

JJ

September 25th, 2011
6:45 pm

The sky is falling. The sky is falling. AHHHHH!

gg

September 25th, 2011
6:47 pm

Braves collapse is more about anemic offense than injuries to starters…and overusing a brilliant bullpen.

Brett from Marietta

September 25th, 2011
6:47 pm

Jason Heyward was hitting .361 in the last 6 games and yet Gonzalez kept him out until the 7th, playing Diaz instead. You have Heyward and Constanza and yet Diaz plays. What on earth is Fredi Gonzalez thinking? And where was Brian McCann? This is essentially a playoff game and Fredi plays us like we’ve clinched the division.

NO MORE PARRISH

September 25th, 2011
6:48 pm

Posted this on O’Briens blog but he has to approve it first (which he won’t because he is afraid of the truth that he ask soft questions). Ha!

OBrien – You sir have to be the softest reporter at the AJC. I understand kissing up to Bobby because dude is a legend but fat Fredi? Really? You know this offense has sucked all season long so explain to Braves fans where these big hits were this season. Very few to list. The offense has been a joke to the point you asked Fredi if Parrish would be let go around all star break but now we magically had clutch hits this season? Fredi does not deserve the soft questions so be a real reporter and lay it on him thick. Fredi and Wren have no one to blame but the two of them for keeping Parrish around this long.

steve brown

September 25th, 2011
6:49 pm

Do the Braves own the media in this town. Story after story talking about which of our pitchers will be available for the playoffs (which we may not make after one of the great collapses in baseball history). Chipper Jones is just damn perfect (no one questions the timing of the scheduling of his son’s sinus surgery or the fact that if he had slid into first during today’s game on his third at bat he might have ignited a rally). Pathetic all the way around.

superiorblogman

September 25th, 2011
6:50 pm

Life is an interesting journey. This interesting journey is ending with the thing that was loved so much by the Braves front office and Freddie G blowing up in there faces. All year we heard about that stupid history crutch that Freddie G leaned too much on. He had no business here but was hired because a lazy front office did not want to do a thorough search but rather just hire someone that they were used to. Now we are history, you made your own history Freddie G, and it is one of a monumental meltdown. Now go F off somewhere else you ignorant MF’er.

Ridonkulous

September 25th, 2011
6:51 pm

Jeff … do not fall for the crutch that the season ended when Jurggens and Hanson went down. That will be the Schuerholtz-Wren line. The truth is that the fill ins all pitched well enough to win with any knind of offensive support. It was McCann’s flop (injured or otherwise), Heyward’s regression, Chipper’s aw-shucks I’m way too cool for this game attitude, Prado’s exposure as a utility man, and Fredi’s “You know what? I tip my hat” mindset that sent this team cratering.

Batterup

September 25th, 2011
6:53 pm

Only one who has an oxygen-deficient frontal lobe (or, better yet: no brains at all) believes that the Phillies – losers of 8 of 9 will let the Braves win one, let alone three. One sure bet: Derek Lowe is a definite loss and you can take that to the bank. The zombies (yes, that’s exactly what they looked like in the past week and a half) are just going through the motions hoping someone will come along and entomb them in their graves from which they cometh. Their play in the last two weeks is disgraceful.

oldmarriedwoman

September 25th, 2011
6:53 pm

Good luck on getting your money back for the postseason tickets you brought. I still cannot believe they keep advertising tickets for the NLDS, because we all know the Braves will not be playing after Wed. The Braves can all start their vacations after Wed. I have been a Braves fan since the early 80s and if the Braves lose the WC and Fredi is not fired, then I will become a Phillies fan. Co-worker son was drafted by the Phillies in this year’s draft.

Oh no!

September 25th, 2011
6:53 pm

I never thought I’d say this. But I hope some miracle doesn’t happen that would allow the Braves to make it to the playoffs. They would be eliminated in the first round easily! St. Louis is peaking and would better represent. I only wish I could turn my attention to the Falcons, but they are pathetic this year. Looks like a long off season. And…it’s hard to imagine the Braves front office will actually do anything to improve this team. They didn’t last year.

BOB

September 25th, 2011
6:54 pm

While everyone was busy watching the Sorry ass Braves lose. I was watching the Atlanta Dream Win by 20 pts in the Playoffs. Go Dream. Those ladies played there hearts out today. To bad the only good team is Atlanta is played by Women.

Jim from Roswell

September 25th, 2011
6:54 pm

If we start Derek Lowe again this season we are throwing in the towel. Then again I have no idea why he has started a game in the last 6 weeks. He has pitched poorly and contributed to the overuse of the bullpen by rarely making it past the 5th inning. That is if he wasn’t knocked out of the game by the 5th.

Ridonkulous

September 25th, 2011
6:54 pm

Excellent point, Steve. Chipper ran into that tag.

mark

September 25th, 2011
6:55 pm

have to start terahn in lowes spot,prado drying up now that hes roid free won;t weigh 155 next yr

BOB

September 25th, 2011
6:55 pm

I wish the AJC would do more coverage of them. Figures the Atlanta paper is so used to watching losing teams. The staff writers dont know how to react to a winning product.