A year ago the Braves beat Brandon Webb on Memorial Day, and these fallible fingers went to work. “They’ll be in first place by the Fourth of July,” they typed, “and come Labor Day they’ll be pulling away.” In a career of Dewey-defeats-Truman moments, it was among the dewiest.
One year on, no rosy proclamation will be offered. The forecast of May 2008 was based on the Braves getting healthy. (They would, alas, get hurt at an even more alarming rate.) These Braves are getting healthy, too, but there’s difference. What we’ve seen is apt to be what we’re going to get: Good starting pitching, not much hitting, a slew of games that must be won 1-0 or 4-3, which, not coincidentally, were the scores the first two nights of the Toronto series.
At peak capacity, the Braves as constituted could win 88 games. They cannot win 95. At best, they seem a wild-card team – good, but not that good. A lot of things have to go right for them to win, and lately they have. But I