Folks, the Braves could be finished by the Fourth of July. They’re 30-33, no longer even in third place in the NL East. Of their next 15 games, not one is scheduled against a team under .500.
There’s no reason to think they’ll make a big move in the standings this next fortnight. They haven’t since the season’s first week. There’s a basic reason for that: They’re just not very good.
The starting pitching is solid but not 1990s-era solid. The relievers are so-so. The offense is awful. They’ve already made one major trade, and they’re 4-7 since Nate McLouth arrived. There’s not much more they can do to better themselves except play better, and at this point it doesn’t appear they’re capable.
They’ve scored 37 runs in the 11 games since the McLouth acquisition, and even those numbers are misleading. Seven times in those 11 games they’ve scored three runs or fewer, and all seven times they’ve lost. Not to put too fine a point on it, but they just can’t hit. And I doubt they’ll ever hit much.
Twelve of the next 15 games are against the Red Sox, Yankees and Phillies. Those teams can hit. I wish I could say I’m optimistic, but I’d be lying. By the time the Peachtree Road Race gets here, the 2009 Braves could be done running.