They were 9 1/2 games back at the All-Star break in 1991, not even in second place. I know, it was a different time and a better Braves team, but still …
Can it happen? Sure it can.
The Braves are four games out of first place. They’re lucky to be that close, but sometimes you get lucky. They’ve played better these past six days, and there’s a chance they’ll play better in July than they did in June. Because they can pitch, and starting pitching has an aggregate effect. Good innings prop up a team, just as bad innings drag it down. Look what’s happening to the Phillies, who have almost no pitching.
Philadelphia is 27th among 30 big-league teams in ERA, and a team cannot win a division that way no matter how hard it hits. The Braves are sixth in ERA, which means they can. They’ll have to hit a little better and hope the Mets, who remain the most gifted team in the NL East, don’t get healthy. (Carlos Beltran just joined Jose Reyes and Carlos Delgado on the disabled list.) But