The most dangerous thing in the Braves clubhouse right now is not Brian McCann. It’s not Dan Uggla and it’s not Chipper Jones. The most dangerous thing in the Braves clubhouse is TIME.. Right now I almost feel as if I’m watching a very long version of an NBA game. One team is down only 10pts but there’s only 3 minutes left in the game. Pressure is mounting.
That’s the situation that the Braves have put the St. Louis Cardinals in. With only 13 games left on their schedule (12 remaining for Atlanta) the Cardinals are going to have to play near perfect baseball to make up the 4.5 game deficit. Now I’m not saying 4.5 games is an insurmountable deficit by any means but time is running out, it’s not the middle of July here.
The Cardinals take there hopes and dreams of making the playoffs on the road this weekend as they visit Philadelphia. One interesting thing to note; the Phillies have TBD for all 3 starters in this series. I wonder why that is? Are they planning on taking their foot off the gas just a little bit? Will they throw young guys to get them some late season experience since they are already a lock for the playoffs?
If this is the case then it would not be a good thing for Atlanta. I was hoping that Philadelphia wouldn’t ease up quite yet and that they would really take it to the Cardinals as if the series meant something at least. This may or may not be the case, if Philadelphia eases up then the Cardinals might have a chance to at least split the series. Not something the Braves wanted to here.
Atlanta of course will be going full strength as they inch closer to their magic number. They will throw Lowe, Hudson and Beachy at the Mets this weekend hoping for another 2/3 series victory.
The Braves don’t have to play perfectly down the stretch but they can’t falter to the point where they are getting swept in multiple series. They need to win baseball games and just cross days off the calender. I think the last series with Florida was a big one for this club. They saw 3 games get crossed off the schedule and although they didn’t gain any separation from the red birds, they also didn’t lose any ground and at this point in the season, it’s just as good.
The Braves control the shot clock right now. Just play smart down the stretch. Win at least half the games and they are a lock for the playoffs. Mets always play the Braves tough but I’m confident they can win 2/3 which will be more then enough.
With any luck the Braves will have gained at LEAST 1 full game in the N.L Wild Card Standings by Monday morning. Then we can reevaluate the situation from there.
Where are all those people who said the Braves would choke and miss the playoffs? Are they still around? Just curious.
Never panic too fast, that’s the lesson we can learn from this. The Braves won 2 big games against the Fish and are now sitting pretty in the N.L Wild Card.
By: Bob McVinua