With today’s 7-5 loss to the Mets the Braves now only have 9 games remaining in their season.
Today’s loss was very tough. Holding a 5-4 lead in the 8th inning we as Braves fans have become accustomed to Venters and Kimbrel making these scenarios automatic wins. To be honest we are quite spoiled in that respect. Not many other teams have a bullpen trio like ours and these types of things are bound to happen from time to time. When you have 3 guys at the back end of your bullpen who pitch as often as ours and they still all have era’s under 2.00, you really can’t complain.
Venters appeared to have some serious control issues today as the Mets didn’t even have to work that hard to push two runs across in that 8th inning. That of course was very frustrating but we have to look back and examine this game as a hole. There were several other issues that played into us losing this game.
It didn’t help that Beachy walked the pitcher with the bases loaded to force in a run. Which then of course set up Tejada’s 3 run double. Dillon Gee isn’t even a good hitting pitcher. They intentionally walked the 8th place hitter to get to the pitcher. There should have been no hesitation there when it came to throwing strikes. To be honest when Beachy threw a 2nd ball I was a little disappointed. There was no reason to go past a the first ball in my opinion. Just go right after him with the fastball, don’t even try to get cute. Even if he hits the ball, most likely it won’t be hit hard and your fielders can back you up.
Beachy has done a great job for us all year and I’m not in anyway trying to take anything away from the guy. However that was a critical mistake that you just don’t make. Those 4 runs were more then enough to make the difference in the game. If Gee strikes out there and Tejada never gets to bat, I find it hard to believe that we wouldn’t win that game.
Of course at this point in the season a Cardinals loss tonight would certainly make this loss a lot more bearable. Not that I wouldn’t have wanted to expand the Wild Card lead but at this point if we don’t give up any ground then it’s a very good thing. The Cardinals are back in Philly tonight and have the tough task of trying to beat a very good Phillies team. This of course only can work in our favor.
Now looking ahead to a few different scenarios. The worst possible one being that the Phillies win tonight and cut the lead to 3.5 games. Then they play on Thursday and were off, that’s the .5 game that has been throwing off the Wild Card standings thus far. Now if the Cardinals were to win that game as well, the lead would essentially be at 3.0 games with 9 to play for both teams.
Now I realize the Braves play 3 more games prior to the “catch up” game for the Cardinals but that would basically be the case. You can’t really argue with a 3 game lead with only 9 to play. We would just have to play solid baseball down the stretch. Nothing more and nothing less.
Now if the Cardinals were to loss tonight and loss that “catch up” game then we would essentially be 5 games ahead with only 9 to play. So there are a lot of scenarios to consider here as we head down the stretch.
The Marlins and Nationals usually give the Braves fits, especially on the road so we really need to step up to the plate and show that we want this thing. I’d prefer to TAKE the wild card away from the Cardinals then have them gift wrap it for us. I just think it would be nice to have some momentum going into the post season and not just stumble in.
So this week the Braves will need some help from the Mets and the Cubs. Hopefully they can play with some pride and give the Cardinals some tough games. The Mets clearly seem to still be into this season after getting ripped apart by their manager the other night. So I think they’ll come ready to play and we all know there is NO LOVE LOSS between the Cubs and Cardinals. I’d be anything that the Cubs would love nothing more then to help knock the Cardinals out of the playoff race.
Yes the Braves have the Phillies in the final series of the season, sounds familiar right? I believe that was the case last year when we were able to win on the last day of the season to clinch the Wild Card. The Phillies have already clinched the N.L East with PLENTY of time to spare. I think they’ll be in cruise control the rest of the way so I seriously doubt they will come into Atlanta the final 3 games and risk injury to their star players. That just wouldn’t be a smart move.
And if you’re feeling stressed about the Braves, just talk to a Boston fan. With their meltdown this weekend they are in an even tougher spot then us. That should make you feel better.
By: Bob McVinua