Braves Playoff Perceptions

How do the Braves view their chances to make the playoffs? Here are three views.

Rose-Colored Glasses

“This was a tough road trip,” Francoeur said. “You start to wonder, when you get stuck with three doubleheaders in a road trip, what fate turns out to be or what’s supposed to happen to your team.

Oh, it’s outside forces that are conspiring against the Braves.

“I can tell you personally my legs were wore out today in the second game. I think we’re all showing little signs of fatigue.” [Francoeur]

Yeah, before those double-headers the Braves were just awesome, a team everyone feared.

“We’ve got a 10-game homestand [beginning Friday]. Hopefully we can go 7-3, 8-2, and hopefully get that record up around .500.” [Francoeur]

I’m afraid those expectations are a bit low if the team wants to make the post-season. It’s September 7 and the lead is 7 games.

Realistically Optimistic

“We’re still not out of it,” McCann said. “We just have to do something we haven’t done this year — win 10, 12 ballgames in a row.”

Exactly, 7-3 isn’t going to cut it.

Brutally Honest

“We know [the Mets] are better [than the Braves],” Smoltz said, “but we’re not a below-.500 team. I hope there’s enough pride left in that clubhouse to at least try to find a way to get over .500. And if there isn’t, then I’ll be very disappointed.”


7 Responses “Braves Playoff Perceptions”

  1. Frank says:

    It’s over. Realistically, it’s probably been over since the June swoon, but optimists held out hope. Maybe there should be a contest about how many players on the roster as of Aug 31 will return next year.

  2. Ron24 says:

    Jeff’s comments don’t really sound optimistic to me.

  3. Marc says:

    I think the Braves had a very realistic chance at the wild card until they had that 1-5 homestand, given the quality of the other teams. But they just weren’t able to put together a real run. Even so, they have played at an 87 win pace since June–not great, but not the Cubs either. June killed them, but if they had had a closer sooner, they would probably be well over .500 and contending for the playoffs. I’m not saying they are a great team–obviously they aren’t and it’s a weak league–but the team isn’t bereft of talent. I would rather be the Braves than the Giants, whose starting lineup at times AVERAGES near 40. I would argue that the Braves this year aren’t that much different from the Braves of the last several years–only unluckier and unable to coax better performances from some pitchers (the Leo effect?) The point is, the Braves aren’t THAT bad a team, just not a dominant team that we grew used to.

  4. Charlie says:

    I agree with Mark! But, I also believe you have to take into account the off field woes as well. The Braves are still for sale if anyone remembers, and with no end in sight of when Liberty might close the deal this kind of morale could follow us for awhile. Also, no only did we lose Leo, but it seems that every pitcher that we have had in the rotation has been on the DL this season. I think it is the Mike Hampton curse or something.

  5. Mac says:

    The Braves are basically a .520-range team — judging from their Pythagorean record, from how they’ve played outside the June losing streak, from their problems in one-run games (which are basically random). .520 is good enough to make the postseason sometimes. But it’s not enough to make up a seven-game deficit on a basically .500 team, or a five-game deficit.

    I will eventually write a full postmortem, of course, but the Braves’ offense is good enough (despite Francoeur) that if they got average pitching/defense, or even somewhat below-average, they’d be around the wildcard lead. It’s not particularly hard to fix that if you’re willing to put some money into the roster fringe. I don’t know that they are.

    Hudson, quite frankly, is killing the team. It’s not that he’s a bad pitcher — he’s not good, but there are worse pitchers out there — but that he’s getting paid like a star, or will be, which will keep the Braves from filling in the rotation and bullpen with serviceable mediocrities. Which means four more years of Parontoid relief and Horacious starting.

    But gosh, they’re getting above-average offense from six positions and left field isn’t a total disaster… There are some pieces here.

  6. Marc says:

    I know it’s sabermetrically correct to say that one-run losses are random, but in the Braves case, it seems pretty clear that most of them weren’t–they were the result of a bad bullpen. Some of the games became one-run losses because the bullpen squandered multi-run leads. In other words, I don’t think a lot of those losses were just bad luck. It’s not unreasonable to assume that they would have won at least some portion of those games with a better bullpen.

  7. Mac says:

    Probably. I’d guess that the record in one-run games is half Reitsma & Co. and half bad luck.