According to CoolStandings.com, the Braves have a 29.5 percent chance to overtake Washington and win the National League East, a 63.5 percent chance to win a wild card spot and a 93 percent chance to make the playoffs.
I would go into more detail, but we all learned last season what these percentages really mean: bupkis.
The Braves, who start the day four games behind Washington, close a homestand today against Los Angeles. Then they’re off for D.C. for a three-game series against the Nationals. Even with the Stephen Strasburg saga hanging in the air, it seems more likely than not that the Nats are not going to collapse, and that the Braves’ best chance to catch them will hinge on the six remaining games between the two teams (three this week, three more at Turner Field Sept. 14-15-16.
I predict nothing. It’s safer that way.
The most intriguing thing may be how the Braves’ starting rotation plays out. They’ll go from a six-man rotation back to five starters at the end of the month. Tommy Hanson is coming off a strong start. With Ben Sheets giving up four homers in Saturday’s 6-2 loss to the Dodgers and significantly tailing off of late — 3-0, 0.50 in his first three starts; 1-3, 4.85 in his next four — he suddenly may be the odd man out.
One more thing before we get to today’s game. Catcher Brian McCann had some strong comments in today’s blog by David O’Brien. He was frustrated about being sat for the second straight game because of shoulder issues and a slump. McCann revealed he has a cyst near a joint in the shoulder and a frayed labrum, which might require offseason surgery, and he seemed upset that manager Fredi Gonzalez told the media it was a shoulder subluxation. (Fact is, the labrum injury can be related to the subluxation.) McCann is determined to play through the pain.
“So I mean, yeah, I’ve got things going on in there,” McCann said. “But it’s something that I’m managing, I’m going to play through, and at the end of the year see what I’m going to do [to fix it, if necessary].”
McCann rarely vents publicly about anything. For those who don’t know him, it would be easy to take the comments the wrong way. In truth, this is a guy who’s just frustrated because he wants to play — and, suffice to say, he’s not accustomed to carrying .229 batting average (his career average coming into the season was .286).
As I wrote back in May, this also is an important season for McCann, who will be entering the final year of his contract next season (assuming the Braves pick up his $12 million club option).
McCann is back in the lineup today. Chipper Jones gets a day off.
Now, if you want to ready to chat about the game, or something else, I’m here.
By Jeff Schultz
Some recent typings (no charge)