The nasty part of August is now over… though given the way Cincinnati had been playing, one could easily argue that it was over before that series began (on Thursday). When we looked at it back at the end of July, there were 25 games coming up that were worrisome. I had hoped – somehow – for a 12-13 record.
That hope was pretty much dashed with an 0-8 start on that brutal West Coast swing.
So How Did it Go?
Ten wins and fifteen losses.
And the real disappointment is that it felt like they should have won 2-to-4 more:
- the loss to Pittsburgh after being up 2-0 late.
- The extra-inning loss to Washington (4-1).
- Failing to muster any significant offense against a ‘down’ Reds club after already having beaten them twice… only to let them up off the mat for two victories, the last of which could have been salvaged via a mere single from the last batter.
Winning clubs find a way to win these kinds of games. Losing clubs do not.
DiagnosisHonestly, I harp on the schedule so much because this is not a dominant team: the ease of schedule is exactly what matters here. A dominant team doesn’t care… those teams can beat anybody, any time, any where. But this club needs help where it can find it.
After the second Cincy game I had some renewed hope, for as I wrote then, it was “the kind of game that the Braves have been losing in recent months”. Then came Sunday, a game about which Jeff wrote this morning, “There the Braves go again, making a not-so-great pitcher look like an All-Star.” Actually, he was an All-Star, but that’s frankly just a technicality since Johnny Cueto couldn’t go.
This team is bi-polar. I thought they were merely ‘manic’, but I’m going with bi-polar. They cannot shake that incredible turn-on-a-dime, light-switch mentality with their offense.
As fans, that behavior it drives up nuts, too.
So Now What?
The Mets, Miami, Phillies, Miami again, Washington, Texas, Washington, Mets, Pirates, and Phillies.
31 games. 5 weeks.
I still believe the Braves can sneak into the playoffs. It’s not because of domination. It’s not because of them getting on a hot streak. It’s because of the schedule.
But the key will be the games against the Mets and the Marlins. 12 games. Thus far, the Braves are collectively 13-13 against them this year. We need 8 of these upcoming games: 2-1 for each of the 4 sets. Each game will be tougher than those just played against Cincinnati.
It won’t be a trivial task. Not even remotely. In fact, the Mets have Dillon Gee, Zack Wheeler, and Jon Niese lined up for us. The Braves will have to be on the upside of their bi-polar pendulum swing starting Tuesday evening.
But do that and the rest should take care of itself.
Happy 27th birthday, Justin Upton.