Aug 18, 2014; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Atlanta Braves catcher Evan Gattis (24) stretches before taking batting practice prior to playing the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The Playoff Picture... How the Braves are Looking

There are 35 games left in the season for the Atlanta Braves.  Currently they are sitting outside of the playoff picture.  This is our first look at the remaining schedule for all of the contending teams in the National League, and our estimates for how things are looking to overcome the current deficit.

 

The Chart (Wild Card race only)

RemainingSchedule

As usual, I made it a lot bigger than you see here – so if you’d like to print it out, feel free to click on the graphic and do so… it should fit (barely) onto a legal sheet of paper.

 

So… How Bad Does It Look?

Actually, it isn’t terrible at all… on paper.  You can easily argue that Atlanta has the easiest schedule coming down the stretch.
  • Cincinnati is reeling a bit:  they’ve lost 5 straight and 8 of 10.
  • Texas is now the worst team in baseball.
  • Lots of weaker divisional foes appear here… though some that may think they’re still in this race.
  • Another chance at Pittsburgh – this time at home – to hopefully bury them during the last week
  • We get 2 more shots at Washington… and somehow, the Braves have their number

 

What About the Other Contenders?

  • The Mets are barely on this chart at all.  However, they could think they’re still in it if they can beat Atlanta and Washington 4 times each.  They probably have the second easiest schedule.
  • San Diegono real shot as they have the Dodgers now, plus two more times, but they could help Atlanta since they face the Giants twice over the last week.
  • Cincinnativery tough schedule for them:  Cardinals twice, Brewers twice, and the Orioles.  Never mind also seeing the Braves.  They are toast.
  • Miami – Playing the Brewers and Angels doesn’t help their cause at all:  they will need to beat Atlanta and Washington (twice each) a lot to gain ground.  In their favor: Washington just may not care about winning by the time Miami sees them.
  • Pittsburgh – Just about as tough a road as Cincy:  Cardinals, Reds and Brewers twice each, plus the unpredictable Red Sox.
  • Giants – They finish up with the Cubs today – the suspended/protest game (in which they are behind) and a regular tilt.  They get Washinton, the Bewers, Detroit, and every divisional rival twice each.  Overall:  this is probably the third toughest schedule… I believe the Braves should be able to pass San Francisco and move into the Wild Card position.
  • St. Louis – Brewers and Pirates twice each, but they should be able to handle everybody else.  I can’t rule out the Cards winning the division since the Brewers end up playing virtually everybody on this chart.

 

What About the Division Leaders?

  • The Dodgers‘ lead is now three games – which should grow.
  • The Nationals have the second largest lead in baseball… and they will cruise to the finish.  Sorry, Braves’ fans, but we’ve let them get organized, healthy, and they are now on a roll.
  • Milwaukee, however, does not have a cakewalk at all.  As I suggest above, I think they are gonna be in a dogfight for the division since St. Louis has an easier schedule.  If I were to bet on it, I’d go with the Cardinals winning out and the Brewers hosting Atlanta in the Wild Card playoff.

 

Any Bad News Here?

Yes, there is, actually:  Atlanta hasn’t done very well against the teams that are in this hunt, and thus own few tie-breakers that might matter:

  • vs. CINCY – Braves are ahead here, 3-0 with four more games coming up this weekend.
  • vs. MILW – Actually ahead here:  winning 5 of 7.  But we have to catch Milwaukee in the standings for this to matter (currently 5 back).
  • vs. NYM – Currently ahead 7-6 with six games to go.
  • vs. PITT – Currently ahead 2-1 with four games to go.
  • vs. SDPadres – Lost 4 of seven.
  • vs. SFGiants – Lost 5 of six.
  • vs. Dodgers – Lost 6 of seven.
  • vs. STLouis – Lost 4 of six.

In a season-ending tie with San Francisco, the Braves lose out and go home, unless both are Wild Card Teams.  Ditto with St. Louis – or in any 3-way tie with both.

If there’s a three-way tie between the Giants, Brewers, and Braves, then we’ll have to see:  SFG plays MILW next weekend (Brewers up 2-1 so far).

 

Five and a half weeks to go!

 

 

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