Braves Can Make Statement Against Nationals

Will Nationals Park give the Braves a wake-up call?

Will Nationals Park give the Braves a wake-up call?

The Atlanta Braves have the opportunity the next three days to make a statement against the Washington Nationals.  The Braves can clinch the National League East, by winning 2 of the next 3 games against the Nationals in Washington.  They can also derail Washington’s late bid to claim a wildcard spot.

Atlanta has coasted the past few weeks with their double-digit lead.  The Braves are 6-8 in September and just lost a home series against the lowly San Diego Padres.  Fredi Gonzalez has rested his regulars and there has been little sense of urgency.

The hot Dodgers have cooled off and not made a serious run, so the Braves have maintained their 2+ lead for the National League best record.  Although, it doesn’t really seem that attaining the National League’s best record has been serious motivation to the Braves.  They give it lip service, but it seems to be a distant second to the goal of resting players, and doing everything possible to justify B.J. Upton‘s $15 million salary, by continuing to play him when possible.

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With the chance to wrap up the division on Washington turf, and snuff the Nationals’ playoff hopes, there is a fair amount on the line in this series.  Can the Braves snap out of their malaise and flip on the switch back on against the hot Nationals?

The big concern I see is that a baseball season is more like a dump truck than a race car.  Teams have to keep their forward momentum going, ’cause it is very difficult to switch momentum on, once it has been turned off.  Be interesting to see if the Braves can get focused again with something on the line.

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Are you concerned that this big lead has lulled the Braves to sleep?

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dan harvey
dan harvey
Clinching too early seems to be a challenge in and of itself. I think being healthy is the most important factor even more than home field advantage. The Nats are on a mission right now. I think the Braves will have their hands full for the next few days. The Braves have 4 out of 5 of the infield positions that are practically as good as you could want. McCann, Freeman, Simmons, and Johnson are all awesome players. Need Heyward back out there anchoring the outfield. The Braves have not had much from the leadoff spot lately. Hopefully Heyward can… Read more »
BravesBeliever
BravesBeliever
Agree 100%, Dan. Excellent observations. My only point is that the problem is not the skill sets, for I have no doubt they are there and that they are there in abundance; however, my recent observations tell my admittedly untrained, amateur eye that It is not merely the skill sets at play here but, rather, the manner, if at all, that those skill sets are applied. My concern is that, in the great scheme of things, without a clear recognition of where a team is, where that team needs to be and, most importantly, a firm grasp of the need… Read more »
BravesBeliever
BravesBeliever
My answer is most definitely in the most assertive affirmative, Jim, and here is why: It is axiomatic that a major league baseball team should play to win every game like it is Game 7 of the World Series. And well they should; however, we all know that does not happen and is probably not even a realistic nor even a reasonable expectation. On the other hand, they should and, more realistically, there comes a point in time in every season, for every team who is in the heat of the battle chasing a pennant, a World Series berth and,… Read more »
Lee

Ditto BravesBeliever! What else can be said, other than any news on Heyward today?

Al

The only thing Uggli has going for him, is he hustles. The Uptons and Uggli have to go and Shafer is a back-up at best.

rogerheld
rogerheld
From what I can see, the “rest” has most affected the pitchers. Position players sit periodically anyway and don’t necessarily lose their groove. But pitchers need to keep pitching. The best ones get stronger and better and tend to dominate in August every year. The recent performances, especially, of Teheran, Medlen, and Wood seem to attest to this. If I were going to rest my pitchers, I would either skip a day (not skip a start) or pitch on schedule but have them have a short start. Why do they have to let Kameron Loe or Freddy Garcia start? Let… Read more »
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