Well, that was embarrassing…The Braves rolled into the Philly coming off a sweep of the Mets and looking like they really meant business. Instead, the Braves looked like they didn’t belong on the field with the defending NL East champs. The Phils swept the Braves in the three game series and are now 6 games up in the division. Even worse, the Braves are now only ½ game up in the Wild Card race over the San Diego Padres; they really shot themselves in the foot. At least Red Man got his butt kicked too.
The Phillies came into this series, as Joe Simpson would say, “hotter than a dancing bobcat.” The truth is, the Braves were in every game of the series and probably should have won a couple—their pitching really kept them in it. Despite having rookies (one of whom made his MLB debut) start two of three games, the Braves staff was phenomenal. They kept the mighty Phils off the scoreboard for the most part, but a lack of any hitting and horrific defense eventually did them in.
I haven’t seen the Braves play that bad defensively in a single series in a long, long time. It was tough to watch at times, and Nate McClouth in LF? WOW! That was a disaster. I was watching this year’s Little League World Series and I kid you not, they had better arms than McLouth.
All in all, the Braves looked like a team playing tight and scared of the Phillies. Now, that’s just my opinion, I wasn’t in the dugout, I don’t know what was said or the mood in there. All I know is the Phillies are going to be one tough team to beat in October and if the Braves want to have a shot at them, or anybody for that matter in the playoffs, they need to turn it around—fast!
So, now what?
The Braves go to Washington D.C. where it seems as if they can never catch a break. Honestly, I think the Nationals put all their effort in to the 19 games vs. the Braves and just phone in the rest. I think Stan Kasten wants to stick it his former employer and is on vacation for the rest of the season. I just can’t explain it any other way. Of course, they will face Livan Hernandez on Sunday, who seems to own the Braves lately. In fact, he is so old; he could actually be their “daddy.”
After D.C, the Braves go home to Atlanta for 3-game series against the Marlins and the Phillies. With the Rockies, Giants and Padres battling for the NL West and a Wild Card Spot, the Braves have to kick it in to gear—bottom line. They played great this year, but if they can’t keep it up down the stretch, it’s going to end up like so many other years of Bobby Cox’ tenure—just short.
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