Braves need at least 2 wins (and don’t expect Phillies to fold)

If the Braves don't want to turn this Phillies fan into a prophet, they'll have to show it on the field. (AP photo)

If the Braves don't want to turn this Phillies fan into a prophet, they'll have to show it on the field. (AP photo)

It would be beneficial for the Braves if the Philadelphia Phillies came to town with all of their starters wrapped in bubble wrap and treated the next three games as spring training. But don’t expect it.

Realistically, the fizzling Braves need to win at least two out of three against the Phillies — and maybe sweep – to advance to the postseason. St. Louis, which trails them in the wild card race by only one game, ends the season against the 104-loss Houston Astros.

The Phillies may have everything wrapped up, but they shouldn’t be lacking in motivation. They lost eight straight games until defeating the New York Mets on Sunday and they don’t want to head into the divisional playoffs on a downturn. Eliminating an East Division rival also could be motivating. So while Phillies manager Charlie Manuel isn’t going to do anything to endanger his team’s postseason success, he’s certainly not going to lay down.

Manuel pretty much reaffirmed this to the Philadelphia Daily News’ Paul Hagen when addressing the likelihood of starter Cole Hamels not pitching in Wednesday’s regular season finale (it would leave Hamels on short rest for game three of the playoffs).

“We do have to think about that, but that’s tough to handle,” Manuel said. “We’ve got to get ready for ourselves. We’ve got to make sure we’re ready. And we want to play better than we’ve been playing and we want to be ready going in. And we’re not going to be able to use Hamels in that game for quite a long ways because he’s going to pitch that third [NLDS] game for us.”

Don’t forget a year ago. When the Phillies closed last season at Turner Field, they had no clear motivation to win other than to spread misery in Atlanta. But they won the first two games anyway by lopsided scores of 11-5 and 7-0, before the Braves took the finale 8-7 to reach the postseason.

The Braves will have to earn their way into the playoffs the next three nights. In other words, they can’t look anything like the team that is coming off series losses to the Mets, Marlins and Nationals.

By Jeff Schultz

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

227 comments Add your comment

Ramblinwreck83

September 26th, 2011
12:12 pm

First! Their done!

Section 119

September 26th, 2011
12:13 pm

When does Thrashers season start? Oh wait … nevermind.

jack

September 26th, 2011
12:14 pm

The post season starts today for the Braves. Its do or die time.

dtanner

September 26th, 2011
12:18 pm

even if the braves do make it who cares,they will go out quickly in three games anyway

Jamaaliver

September 26th, 2011
12:20 pm

This has been a pretty miserable month for ATL sports. (GT and ATL Dream aside.)

Not sure which would be worse, having one of the all-time worst collapses in MLB history to miss the playoffs. Or making it and being swept in most dismaying, embarassing fashion.

Things look bleak. At least we didn’t pull an SF and trade away our future for a run at the post-season. So, indeed, there is always next year.

rich

September 26th, 2011
12:20 pm

2 out of 3 from the Phils???- not a chance

Jamaaliver

September 26th, 2011
12:21 pm

Never thought I’d say this, but TP needs to return as the hitting coach next season.

southerndawg

September 26th, 2011
12:21 pm

Great, we have the team with the best record and the cardinals have the team with the worst. Come on guys, you have to take care of your own business. You can’t expect help from the astros.

justin

September 26th, 2011
12:21 pm

they will be fine just need to calm down and play ball FREDI has to manage every game like it is the postseason. need to be smart if someone struggles early then those ohrer four starters BETTER BE READY!!!!

Mr. Phil

September 26th, 2011
12:22 pm

Why is this even a story. It is obvious the Braves are going to end the season by GETTING swept by Philly. they are not going to the playoffs, and frankly don’t deserve to. this season has been a waste of time start to ugly finish.

brian

September 26th, 2011
12:25 pm

Philly will fold not because they don’t care beating braves, but they care not facing St. Louis.

Monarch

September 26th, 2011
12:26 pm

need positive vibes – GO BRAVES – its a new day

TN Jeff

September 26th, 2011
12:26 pm

So is Chipper guaranteeing a series win? Love it when the team leader makes such promises and then whiffs with runners in scoring position time after time. No, this team is ready for hunting, fishing, and golfing. They don’t give a rip.

oh brother!

September 26th, 2011
12:28 pm

It’s ok.. Chipper said we will take the phillies in the playoffs. lol

Mick McMurtry

September 26th, 2011
12:29 pm

Talk about a game of inches — if Pujols’ hold-the-bat-out, down-the-line double against Kimbrel in Game 1 at St. Louis is a hair closer to Freeman, we’re up three games with three left.

To say nothing of the chopper to Chipper…

Coach (sic) Marcht Richt

September 26th, 2011
12:31 pm

No fight, no determination, no motivation…no WC. They’re done by Tuesday night.

Ted M

September 26th, 2011
12:32 pm

Wandy Rodriguez pitches great against the Cards.

Cards lose tonight.

jazzward10

September 26th, 2011
12:32 pm

Braves most definately will need to win 2 out of 3.Astros have a shot at winning 1 game cause they have Wandy Rodriguez pitching tonight and Brett Myers pitching Wednseday.Once you get to postseason,anything can happen.

meh

September 26th, 2011
12:34 pm

hey Schultz, don’t forget that the Phillies are coming off serires losses to the Mets and Nats

bravesfanforever

September 26th, 2011
12:35 pm

As much as I am a die hard braves fan this team doesn’t deserve to make the playoffs.Fredi g TP LP d lowe linebrink all need to go.We need a manager that will call the players out for there layed back approach.I actually think the team has turned GAY.We have got more hugs than runs in the past month.There is no telling what goes on in the locker room that we can’t see.Way to much talent on this team to be were we are.No leadership in mangement or veteran players and not much complaing coming out of the booth either.They are all a bunch wimps.Chipper said balls to the wall.That is hard to do when you don’t have any balls to begin with.

Ted M

September 26th, 2011
12:35 pm

I would like to see tonight lineup. That should be interesting.

LoweBlows

September 26th, 2011
12:36 pm

I thought we were a major league team. Then why should we look for other teams to lose, instead of us winning? The Braves have given up, as well as the fans.

Ted M

September 26th, 2011
12:37 pm

Sonny Clusters has had some hilarious posts about all hugging and fanny patting.

bravesworstever?

September 26th, 2011
12:38 pm

I love the quotes every day from the players and management talking about “We just need to go out and win some games.” There is ZERO detectable intensity on the part of this team, year in and year out. It’s why they’ll always be a disappointment.

Omnipotent One

September 26th, 2011
12:39 pm

I will be at Turner field tonight….Cliff Lee will be held to around 70 pitches or less….which equates to around 6 or 7 innings. Phillies would much rather see ATL in the playoffs than STL…..so, I’m guessing Phillies play below subpar this series. Braves get the sweep and the Wild Card….and it starts tonight. Go Braves!

Ted M

September 26th, 2011
12:39 pm

Chipper looks really old. His face seemed to go from looking 35 to 55 years old in one year.

Smoltzie

September 26th, 2011
12:40 pm

no COMMENT….See ya next year.

Mike

September 26th, 2011
12:41 pm

The lack of offense is finally killing this team. The pitching staff is banged up with an overworked bullpen, so they can’t bail out a team that has hit under .250 all season. There have just been too many close games this year. The offense has not given them leads which the starters can make last longer than 6 innings. The bullpen has constantly had to close 1-2 run ballgames.

it might be for the best if this team collapses. Maybe then, the ownership will realize they must spend money for a big bat. Fielder is on the market, and this Braves team could use him in the worst way. With Fielder sitting in the middle of this order, you have yourself a legit playoff/World Series team.

Roadsterron

September 26th, 2011
12:42 pm

As I said last week—-every starter should be benched. they have had their chance and have done nothing but CHOKE!!!! What a friggin joke these Braves are!!!

Orange Brave f/k/a Billy jacks BBQ & Shrimp

September 26th, 2011
12:42 pm

I eating sushi for lunch today with chopsticks as my fork is down at The Ted. We are done.

Monarch

September 26th, 2011
12:42 pm

We can beat Blanton for the sweep

Ted M

September 26th, 2011
12:42 pm

The lack of offense has been killing this team all year.

chopper71

September 26th, 2011
12:42 pm

I for one am tired of Fredi always saying the same ole positive stuff over and over. Fredi tell it like it is and call your veterans out. You have rookie pitchers doing a great job and veteran players not doing their share. Honestly you have a 3-0 count with the bases loaded and you fly out weakly. He just walked two batters in a row and your swinging 3 -0, at least take a pitch!

LoweBlows

September 26th, 2011
12:44 pm

Justin- FREDI has to manage every game like it is the postseason. Are you kidding me? The man does not have a clue. He is more lost than the players. He is the defination of spineless.

Roadsterron

September 26th, 2011
12:45 pm

Chopper71—man did you hit the nail on the ehad. The Braves are such undisciplined hitters—–or should I say NON-HITTERS!!!!! Bases loaded yesterdaywith nobody out—-I rest my case!!

Ted M

September 26th, 2011
12:45 pm

The Braves are gonna limp into the playoffs and likely get pounded by the Brewers.

But, hey, anything can happen once in. Maybe one of our Rooks throws a no hitter in the playoffs. Wouldn’t that be great.

Orange Brave f/k/a Billy jacks BBQ & Shrimp

September 26th, 2011
12:46 pm

Monarch, please re-read your comment. Don’t you mean we can beat Blanton to avoid the sweep?

Roadsterron

September 26th, 2011
12:46 pm

Ted M—–you live in a Fantasy World man—-this is the Chokin Braves we are talking about.

bulldogbubba

September 26th, 2011
12:49 pm

I believe Phillies have been waiting for this series.I say they embarass the Braves as a tune-up for the playoffs.I know everyone says they would rather it be us in the playoffs but wouldn’t they look better beating a hot team like the Cards are right now?I need to hear from my Hero Sunny Clusters!! Will there be any hugging when they make the last out or will Chipper be patting the backside of a deer this time next week? GO BRAVES!!!!!!!!!!

Phatty

September 26th, 2011
12:50 pm

The way the Braves are playing now, it doesn’t even matter if they scrape thru into the playoffs – they will be humiliated. Unless they can step it several notches, don’t bother qualifying…

mountain_jim

September 26th, 2011
12:51 pm

At least we have the Falcons and Hawks to follow once the Braves complete this collapse.

Oh wait… :(

Ted M

September 26th, 2011
12:51 pm

well ya but St Louis is gonna do some chokin too.

The Braves limp in.

Paul H

September 26th, 2011
12:53 pm

Haven’t shown a lot of reason that winning a series against the Phils can be done based on tanking it against bottom dwellers the last 3 weeks.

Mike

September 26th, 2011
12:54 pm

The Phillies might actually want the Braves in vs the Cards. The Cards took the season sereis on the Phillies, including a recent series a couple of weeks ago.

And again, where is the hitting? Pendleton got demoted because the team hit so poorly last year, and it has gotten no better. In comes a new hitting coach, and then Heyward and Gonzales completely disappear. Uggla took 3 months to decide to hit the ball. I think another hitting coach change is needed.

Ted M

September 26th, 2011
12:54 pm

I’ve got “issues” w/Fredi’s managing like everybody I suppose. But I would like to see how he manages in the playoffs. Cox sucked as post season manager I wanna see if Fredi is any better.

joe

September 26th, 2011
12:55 pm

Ask Freddy G if he plans to sit Lowe on Tuesday and start Medlin instead? Medlin looked great yesterday…Lowe is done.

Mick McMurtry

September 26th, 2011
12:55 pm

Prado, stop the soft-serve attempts to the opposite field everytime. See ball, hit ball.

Uggla, stop chatting with every opposing player you can during the game. Isn’t that what pre-game/BP is for?

Beachy, why do your 0-2 pitches find the meat part of the plate?

Do we reinsert Constanza and play every inning like its tied in the 8th?

Bama Mike

September 26th, 2011
12:56 pm

If Chipper is ever going to be known as a leader these next 3 games will define him. Cant excuse yourself everytime one of the kids needs a dental cleaning or your just not up to it. Earn something for a change.

Abnerish

September 26th, 2011
12:57 pm

They can’t keep hitting this poorly, can they? (Wait…don’t answer that one!)

It’s sad when they get the bases loaded and nobody out and your first thought as a fan is “how are they going to blow this?”. Their inability to get the runner in from 3rd with less than 2 outs has become the trademark of this team.

All that said, but all it takes is a win tonight by the Braves (as far-fetched as that seems right now) and a loss by the Cards and we’ve guaranteed a tie. Point is – the Braves still have the upper hand. At least for one more day…

NO MORE PARRISH

September 26th, 2011
12:57 pm

My gut tells me Parrish won’t be back in 2012. Hope they go out of the buddy system for his replacement. Cough Cough! Milt Thompson!