If you want to call it the worst loss of the year, go right ahead. I won’t argue.
It was a classic Coors Field game, which is to say there was nothing classic about it. The Braves led by nine and lost by two. They used five pitchers, none of whom was Billy Wagner and one of whom was Kyle Farnsworth, and that’s never good. (I may have mentioned this, but the sight of Farnsworth has the same effect on me that a friend used to claim the appearance of Manny Acosta had on him.)
And I already know — from Twitter and Facebook — that some among you are saying, “This is the end. Playoff teams don’t lose this sort of game.” And that’s not entirely true. The Phillies lost a pretty horrible one last night to a bad opponent and took 16 innings to do it. And I’m pretty sure either the Braves or the Phillies is going to make the playoffs. Heck, I’m reasonably confident both will.
That’s correct. Even after the season’s worst loss, I still believe in these Braves. I still believe because it took them 127 tries to conjure up something this bad, and it happened in the place where the worst stuff tends to happen. I still believe because they’re coming home and they’re really good at home. I still believe because this is baseball, where momentum is tomorrow’s starting pitcher.
Back to the Phillies: Two weeks ago they scored four in the eighth and four in the ninth to upend the Dodgers — Jonathan Broxton had a hand in it — and some among you were saying (via Twitter and Facebook) that such a victory would propel the Phils straight to the top of the NL East. I remember writing (on Twitter) that baseball is a funny game and that a team that registers such a win could just as easily be shut out its next game.
The Phillies, on cue, lost 1-0 to the Mets.
The beauty of baseball is that it’s a long season. There’s almost always time to recover, provided you’re good enough. The Braves have spent nearly five months suggesting they’re good enough. What happened today makes for great blog fodder — we at AJC.com tip our figurative caps to the Braves and say, “Thanks, guys!” — but all the impassioned apocalyptic postings can be washed away with a three-game sweep of the Florida Fishies.
Don’t get me wrong. A team blows a nine-run lead and I’m as human as the next person. I say, “Gee, what a horrible loss.” And it was, beyond all doubt. But it was, I say again, one loss. And if it takes this epic waste to persuade Bobby Cox that perhaps Farnsy is best never deployed in a tie game — or any game, for that matter — maybe it was worth it.