Posted: 8:39 am Friday, August 15th, 2014
By Jeff Schultz
So is it over?
The Braves lost to the Los Angeles Dodgers 6-4 Thursday. If you missed the almost-too-perfect inglorious ending, here’s a free link to my column on the game.
In brief, Justin Upton had to leave the game with a strained hamstring. His lesser brother B.J., who had been benched from the starting lineup because he’s hitting .209, was sent in as a pinch runner. He stayed in the game, and, of course, wound up being the key at-bat in the ninth inning. With runners on second and third base, B.J., batting in Justin’s spot, struck out.
The strikeout numbers on The Lesser Upton are staggering: He now has 301 in less than two full seasons. With 150 strikeouts already this season, he’s on pace for 201, which would set a franchise record. The only happy guy would be Dan Uggla, who owns the current mark of 168.
The Braves have lost 12 of their last 15 and they’re a season-high six games behind first place Washington in the National League East. At 61-60 and with 41 games left, the Braves’ elimination number is 37.
|Washington||66||53||.555||-||34 – 24||32 – 29||28 – 21||14 – 16||16 – 7||6 – 4||W 3|
|Atlanta||61||60||.504||6||34 – 28||27 – 32||30 – 22||15 – 7||12 – 21||3 – 7||L 1|
|Miami||60||61||.496||7||34 – 29||26 – 32||23 – 27||12 – 16||14 – 14||6 – 4||W 1|
|NY Mets||57||65||.467||10.5||28 – 30||29 – 35||27 – 27||12 – 15||10 – 16||4 – 6||L 3|
|Philadelphia||53||68||.438||14||26 – 36||27 – 32||22 – 33||12 – 14||15 – 11||4 – 6||L 3|
Tim Williams, a talented cartoonist and passionate Atlanta sports fan, has weighed in with his thoughts on the Braves’ season in the above cartoon of a fat lady — wearing a Braves’ hat and holding a tomahawk — singing. For more of Tim’s work, you can go to TimWilliamsArt.net or follow him on Twitter @TimWilliamsArt.
This isn’t going out on a limb but I’d guess Tim’s right. The Braves are cooked in the East. Their best hope is to win one of the two National League wild card berths, and that’s not going to be easy. They’re three games out, trail three teams (St. Louis Pittsburgh, San Francisco) altogether and are playing the worst of the six teams realistically pursuing the two spots (Cardinals, Pirates, Giants, Braves, Cincinnati, Miami).
|NL Wild Card Standings|
|St. Louis||64||56||.533||+0.5||34-25||30-31||5-5||W 2|
|San Francisco||63||57||.525||0.5||30-31||33-26||4-6||W 1|
The schedule doesn’t get easier. The Braves open a weekend series tonight against the Oakland A’s, who at 73-48 have the best record in the majors (73-48).
The A’s’ run differential this season: plus-168.
The Braves’ run differential this season: minus-4.
Is that singing I hear?
•Some recent ramblings (free links)
– MyAJC: B.J. Upton, Braves continue their zombie walk – MyAJC: Cancer didn’t slow Michael Cooper – Blog: Braves’ attendance reflects lack of confidence – MyAJC: Falcons showing humility, lack of comfort — and that’s good – Blog: Braves being hurt by shortage of leaders – MyAJC: Can ‘Power 5′ conferences handle this power? – Blog: Who’s most to blame for Braves’ fall? (vote in poll) – Blog: Roddy White lost Twitter ‘bet’ and paid off in a big way – MyAJC: Paul George’s injury shows risk of NBA players in tournaments – MyAJC: Paul Johnson needs to impress his new boss at Georgia Tech – Blog: Dan Uggla rejects demotion and is out of a job again – MyAJC: Pruitt winning over Georgia in ways Grantham didn’t – MyAJC: We’ll find out how right or wrong Frank Wren is – Blog: It’s trade deadline day…and it’s quiet here – MyAJC: Braves hamstrung by finances at trade deadline – Blog: Urban Meyer gets it wrong on Tim Tebow – MyAJC: Braves’ best postseason hope is starting pitching – MyAJC: Steven Jackson: ‘I kind of believed my own hype’ – Blog: Poll: Falcons open camp, what’s your playoff pick? – MyAJC: Falcons open with more questions than buzz
About the Author
Sports blogger and columnist Jeff Schultz has been with the Atlanta-Journal-Constitution since 1989. He has been honored several times by the Associated Press Sports Editors (APSE), National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association (NSSA) and several other organizations.