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Big road trip for Braves

Posted By John Morgo On Sep 5 2011 @ 8:47 pm In Atlanta Braves | 1 Comment

I hope you had a chance to listen to the podcast that Adrian Fedkiw (Phillies beat blogger) and I did a few days ago. http://www.prosportsblogging.com/2011/09/03/national-league-forum/ [1]

We talked about the pennant races, potential October matchups and who we thought would survive. We looked at the National League and came to the conclusion that if Arizona won the series with San Francisco, you can pretty much put a fork in the NL races this season. The D’Backs did, so insert eating utensil as needed.

The Phils will win the East, Milwaukee has the Central and Arizona has pretty much sewn up the West. The only remaining question is whether or not Arizona can make up the four games separating them from the Brewers. This would change the first round matchups.

The Phils would face the team with the worst record (right now, Arizona), while Atlanta would get the other (Milwaukee). I’m not going to rehash the conversation too much. Please visit it for a full details (http://www.prosportsblogging.com/2011/09/03/national-league-forum/ [1]). 

The Braves sit seven and a half behind Philadelphia in the East. If Atlanta has any hope of overtaking Philadelphia, then this three-game series starting tonight in Philly (currently 4-0 Phillies in the fifth) is vital. Atlanta has to sweep, or at least win two. Anything else will be the final nail in the coffin.

What makes this road trip even more important for Atlanta is that it is the start of an eight-game, seven day road trip. The Braves were supposed to have an off-day to go to St. Louis, but thanks to Hurricane Irene, they have to travel to New York that Thursday to play a twinbill with the Mets. After the Cards, the Braves wrap up their schedule exclusively against NL East opponents.

The Phils come into Atlanta to finish the regular season. Atlanta has a 29-23 record vs. NL East, which is surprising. Every time the Braves play teams from the East (Nats, Mets, Phils, Marlins), they seem to lose. They do beat up the Fish, but then again, who hasn’t?

Philadelphia has extended that lead. It’s now 7-0 in the sixth.

What Atlanta needs to focus on now is October. They have to avoid a long losing streak while achieving a level of consistency on offense and defense. Atlanta has the best bullpen of any of the four playoff participants. The hitting is coming in fits and starts. Jason Heyward might need to be platooned until he finds a reliable stroke. The big question is starting pitching. Jair Jurrjens was diagnosed with a knee bruise. They’re going to try a different brace to relieve pressure. It won’t be ready until the Braves reach St. Louis. Tommy Hanson is coming back from the disabled list slowly. He has another long toss session this morning and apparently didn’t have any problems. The main concern of Fredi Gonzalez has to be getting everybody back for October. Will it be enough to put Atlanta into the World Series?

My opinion is pretty clear. Just tune to the podcast to hear it.

http://www.prosportsblogging.com/2011/09/03/national-league-forum/ [1]

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