I’ve started this several times and want to get it in perspective. Reading Bob’s post this morning helped me do that. He asked if it was Panic Button Time. I agree with him that it’s not but for different reasons. So if you’ll take the role of Arthur Dent I’ll be Ford Prefect and explain.
Any button that needed pushing should have been pushed last spring when the roster was finalized and certainly no later than 40 games in. We are way past the point of making any changes that will bring us a different kind of team. Nor are we going to see any dynamic management style changes from Fredi Gonzalez, first of all this is his style like it or not and secondly such erratic behavior would likely hurt more than it will help.
The team will play the way it has played for 153 games this year. We will depend on our pitchers to take us deep into the game and hope that they keep the other team close enough that we can win with less than five runs in at least five remaining games. We’ve scored just over 1/3 of the time and won 88% of those so scoring five is a good target regardless of Sunday’s debacle.
The hitters will do what they’ve done all year, swing at too many pitches too early and in the wrong counts but we can hope for a home run because in the 51 games we haven’t hit home runs we only won 20 times. At least one home run is very good we’ve won 26 of those games and if we get two homers that number rises to 53.
There aren’t any miracle starting pitchers emerging but Mike Minor has gone six innings three times and seven innings once this year so perhaps he can do that tonight in our final ever (thank the gods) visit to Joe Robbie-Land Shark- Sun-Life stadium, pit or whatever they call it in future. We are 6-0 there this year.
Jonny Venters has been shaky lately to say the least but don’t expect the Skipper to use anyone else if we are ahead by a small margin in the 8th. It was of course an uncharacteristically bad outing from Venters but September wasn’t good for him last year either. Both Septembers and June this year have seen his fade. It seems he gets a bit tired pitching every day for two months. The numbers are fairly straight forward.
The Braves were 3-15 Sunday with RISP and left 15 men on base. They’ve been doing that all year so it is not or should not be a surprise. What we must hope for is that – just a few more times – we get two men on and a blast. We can also hope that Alex Gonzalez stays hot, Jason Heyward’s three hits last game were the start of a streak and Brian McCann is the McCann from before his oblique injury
So DON’T PANIC! It’s way too late for that and it does no good anyway. Just sit down, buckle up and get on board for the last lap of this season’s ride. Root for the Braves because they are YOUR Braves and don’t be surprised when they do things the way they’ve done all year. Like the Universe, the Braves will go on as before, we’re just along for the ride.