Braves Just Don’t Have a Shot

ATLANTA— As we are now past the All-Star break and moving into what should be a very exciting second half, I am handicapping my Braves.  And the truth is, with their current team, they don’t have a shot.

The Phillies, despite a mid-June stumble that included a 3 game sweep at Atlanta, have now won 7 in a row and have taken a rather commanding 6 game lead in the National League East.  Despite a mediocre pitching rotation and a disappointing first half by Cole Hamels, that team has a ridiculous line-up, with four guys already over 20 homeruns for the season.  They are one of the few teams with an offense that can overcome bad pitching.  I just don’t see anyone in the East overtaking them.

On the contrary, the Braves are virtually all-pitching, no stick.  There is a good chance they will not have even one batter hit 20 homeruns or drive in 100 runs for the season.  They may not have a regular hit over .300.  This is particularly troubling given that they don’t have much speed or capacity to manufacture runs.

With the Phillies ahead of them in the East and with some strong Wild Card contenders elsewhere (particularly the San Francisco Giants), my guess is, we will be seeing the Braves bouncing around between second and fourth place much of the rest of the year with no real shot at the play-offs. 

Dissappointing, but not unexpected.

The major benefit for this year is that it will provide a low-key opportunity for Tommy Hanson to get some real-time, big league experience.  He has been phenomenal in his first few starts this year.  Between him and Jurjjens, I am excited for the first time in years about the future of our starting rotation.

I think we are in the process of slowly putting together a winning team.

Just not this year.

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5 thoughts on “Braves Just Don’t Have a Shot

  1. Nice to see you pop this one out after a loss to Johan Santana. Could have pushed a missive out just prior pointing out that the Braves had won 11 of the previous 16 games and appear capable of continuing on such a pace. Likewise it is improbable for the Phillies to continue on a 11-1 pace for the rest of the season no matter how good the offense is.

    The Braves “have a shot” at the post season whether it be strong or weak. Winning the post-season is a different story all together.

  2. Bogus reply, TP. Bogus.

    This Braves team is plagued with weak hitting. They’ve gone a good run of late, but without someone new or dynamic standing in, it’s very much like Bobby Cox said: this is the team we’ve got. The team is just mediocre, was what I took from that statement. We can’t manufacture runs and our “power” is coming from three very good hitters (Escobar, Jones, McCann), but three guys that will be doing extremely well in the second half to reach 20 homers and 100 RBI’s.

    We can pitch really well, but not that well. Our pitching is not really good enough to overcome the weaknesses on the hitting side in my few.

  3. In 1991 the Braves were 9.5 games out at the break with weak hitting and strong pitching.

    In 1995 the Braves had the single worst offense in the League and tied for worst in the majors. They did have strong pitching.

    This team is in second place, 6.5 back. They have removed the worst outfielders from their team. Addition by subtraction. Yunel Escobar is on pace for 95 RBIs. McLouth is on pace for 20 HR. Infante will be back in a few weeks which means Norton will be dropped eventually. The bench will be even deeper.

    I just don’t see where you are getting this “no shot” talk. They have a shot. Doesn’t mean they will make it, but they certainly have a shot.

    Now if the Phillies manage to pull off a trade for Roy Halladay…

  4. Good point TP. Baseball is a game where anything can happen. I think its safe to say the Nats wont win the division. We optimistic Braves fans still believe. Although, i think its more realistic to win the wild card. even if this team goes nowhere, you have to be somewhat happy that the future is looking good.

  5. Yeah – watching the team these last few nights maybe is changing my perception just a bit. With Yunel batting 5, Prado batting 2, and Diaz/Church rotating in and out regularly, this is a solid, if not overwhelming, offense. 1 through 8 suddently looks somewhat formidable- which is a far cry from where we were a month ago with Shafer, Francoeur, and Johnson.

    I’m not saying we have a shot now. But I think this line up looks better and is really starting to click. We’re killing the SF Giants, and they have the top starters ERA in baseball.

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