Will the Braves Roll Over Starting Monday?

Posted by Pat Gallen, Fri, September 17, 2010 11:35 AM | Comments: 0
Analysis, News, Opinion, Posts

Or, will they give the Phillies a run for their money? It’s an honest question, really. The Atlanta Braves as recently as 10 days ago held sole possession of first place in the NL East and had been in that position the entire summer. Lately, it hasn’t been pretty.

Atlanta has lost seven of 11, tumbling from the top spot into second place. Even a playoff spot is no longer a definite at this point for a team that was once ahead of the Phillies by seven games in late-July. They’ve hit a rough patch at at time when the Phils have hit their stride. Think Bobby Cox is sweating it out in his final days as Braves manager? Breathing down their necks in the Wild Card standings are San Diego (0.5 games back) and Colorado (2.5 back).

There is still a weekend series standing between the Phillies/Braves set, but it’s never to early to look ahead (Charlie Manuel would probably ring my neck for looking this far ahead). However, it’s getting too exciting to not talk about it. Washington is in town to play spoiler and they haven’t exactly set the world on fire in Philadelphia lately. The Nats are just 6-18 at Citizens Bank Park over the past three seasons, so winning 2-out-of-3 here is basically a given. Yes, I know anything can happen, but I’m trying to look ahead here!

As for the Bravo’s, they’ve been bitten by the late season-pitching bug. Tim Hudson, a Cy Young contender all year, has flamed out in September, posting a 6.38 ERA in three starts. Jair Jurrjens has a 6.32 ERA over his last three. Rookie Mike Minor was brought up in early August, won three of his first four decisions, and has bombed since. Minor’s September has been the ugliest of the bunch. His ERA over 14 innings this month is a bloated 9.00. Their bullpen, besides thorn-in-the-side Billy Wagner, has been leakier than normal. The seams are falling apart.

Which Braves squad will we see on Monday? The one fighting for their playoff lives, eager to send Bobby Cox out with yet another pennant? Or the one we’ve come to find lately – uninspired and sloppy? Are they the overachieving team we saw for 3-4 months, or the underachieving squad that’s been around the last few weeks. For the sake of the Phillies chances, you’ll hope the former shows up.  For the sake of watching great baseball, I’d like to see Atlanta bring their best to make this race interesting.

But if they don’t, that’s fine, too.

Oh, and by the way, the Phillies play the Nationals tonight, incase you forgot!

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About Pat Gallen

Pat Gallen has written 1714 articles on Phillies Nation.

Pat is Editor-in-Chief of Phillies Nation. He also covers the Phils for 97.5 FM in Philly.

  • Posts: 0 Kate


    Is it 7:05 yet?


    In reality, the Nats are far too fond of making things interesting. I’m not seeing a series sweep, but we’ll get two out of three. And I think we’ll get at least two out of three from the Braves up here.

    It’ll sure be nice to see the Phillies playing in front of a crowd that has just a little investment. It was like a funeral home in Florida.

  • [...] Phillies Nation [...]

  • Posts: 0 Chuck

    It’s hard not looking to the future, but……ONE GAME AT A TIME!!,

    In reality, just keep winning every series….2 of 3…..and we’ll be just fine.

    I know some on here have been saying that Atlanta’s done….but I’m not ready to declare it over yet. Still two weeks to go and yes…”anything CAN happen”

  • Posts: 0 Scott in D.C.

    I take nothing for granted this season. Every time I’ve thought the Phils had it sewn up, the wheels fell off once more. Everything seems to be clicking right now, though.

  • Posts: 0 Bart Shart

    Bobby Cox will do everything in his power to motivate the Braves for the last two weeks of the season. He COULD be quite successful at doing so. The Braves have some outstanding young guns and some veterans who will not panic. They have a solid bullpen, they have starting pitching that shake the soreness and fatigue out of their arms to sting the Phils.

    My question is this: Will the Phils bats come alive? Will our starting pitching hold up? Will our bullpen continue to deliver in the clutch?

    The last two weeks could provide the excitement that Major League baseball wants and needs with nail-biter after nail-biter. Heros and fall guys. Personally, I hope it is not all that exciting and Phils beat the heck out of everyone from here on out. My heart cannot take it like it once could. Seriously, it all should be great fun.

  • Posts: 0 Lefty

    I don’t think the Braves will roll over at all. They will ultimately lose. But I don’t see anything coming easy to our beloved Phillies. The Braves are prideful, and playing for their manager’s last season, and will give us a run for our money.

    Our identity this year has been to scratch and claw, find unexpected heroes, and never give in despite the circumstances. We’ll have to put on the game faces and fight tooth and nail every game just like we have all year. But in the end, the division will be ours because the persistent determined character of this team is undeniable.

    We as fans may have to check our collective blood pressure now and then, this stuff ain’t for the faint of heart! Still, I’m confident victory will be ours.

    Chuck is right-one game at a time

    Kate-I like the saying you put on another thread
    “Don’t stop beliephing”! That should be our mantra from here on out. I’d love to hear it played and sung at CBP!

  • Posts: 0 Bob in Bucks

    You always trip when you look too far ahead. One game at a time. Nats are dangerous as Braves found out.

    No one is rolling over for anyone. Here’s hoping the Mets do well this weekend.

  • Posts: 0 Kate

    It’d be absolutely fantastic if the Phillies won out for the rest of the season — but it’s not going to happen. The Bobby Cox affect will take hold of the Braves and the Nats won’t simply lay down for us and the Mets only seem to enjoy laying down for the Braves. We’ll take the series from the Mets and the Nats, most likely, which leaves six games against the Braves.

    I heard someone at work saying, “Something’s going to happen before the end of the season. It can’t be this easy.”

    Can’t be this easy? Can’t be this easy, he says. Has he suddenly crawled out from under a rock? It can’t be that his OTP is the Sixers or the Flyers, because the summer has been hockey-free and basketball-free.

    Can’t be this easy? Can anyone name ONE aspect of this season that’s been EASY?

    Okay, perhaps it’s easy to forget that we were pretty hard up in the starting rotation for a small stretch when Kendrick was sent to the minors, then came back five minutes later after Jamie Moyer’s season-ending injury. He was our number three at the time. Maybe one can look back and shrug now that we’re on the other side of the Roy Oswalt trade, but at the time, the despair was rampant and hope was starting to fade.

    Even the Roy Oswalt trade wasn’t a cakewalk, but he overcame that first inauspicious start to become the latest in an ever-growing line of heroes forming in that dug-out.


    Maybe, just maybe, we’re finally INTO the easy part. *knock on wood*

  • Posts: 0 RichieAllen

    Watched the re-run of Hallidays no hitter last night and couldnt help but notice the difference in his command .Almost no pitches up in the zone at all.
    Just asking your opinion …Guys, do you think it would be beneficial to give him one turn off in the rotation?

  • Posts: 0 RichieAllen

    Sorry thats Halladay

  • Posts: 0 mtuske

    There is no such thing as the Bobby Cox effect. He is one of the most overrated managers of all time. 14 playoff appearance and one title. That’s pathetic. They had 3 Halladays (Glavine, Maddux and Smoltz) and his teams collapsed. Anyone of us could have managed those teams. The Braves may win but it will be inspite of not because of Bobby.


  • Posts: 0 Chuck

    I love it when people come on here and claim that they or their 5 year old kid could manage better than Bobby Cox or Joe Torre or whoever.

    Last I checked, the Braves are a major league baseball team with 25 guys….that’s 25 different personalities to deal with. And most of those personalities are centered around the fact they are overpaid athletes with big egos.

    I doubt any of us on this blog could manage a baseball team better than Bobby Cox.

  • Posts: 0 Ryan

    mtuske must be an umpire…..

  • Posts: 0 pheeling it

    Kate fantastic post, lets go OSWALT. I hope CBP is electric for this last homestand

  • Posts: 0 Kevin

    pheeling it -

    the last home stand at CBP this year will be during the WS.

  • Posts: 0 Ryan

    But anyway, I respect Phillyboy’s enthusiasm. People like him are the reason other teams loathe playing in Philly.

    And the Braves certainly will not crumble. Their lineup, on paper, is almost, if not just as good as ours, and their bullpen is better. Tim Hudson, Jair Jurrjens, and Derek Lowe have always been tough for the Phils to overcome. It’s going to be a tightly contested last couple of weeks.

    BTW….aren’t the Braves supposed to get Troy Glaus back? Or did I miss something?

  • Posts: 0 Kate

    Maybe someone else can confirm this, but I’m pretty sure the last time the Phillies played in CBP, they were in second place. Is that true?

    If so, the crowd is going to be absolutely NUTS welcoming back our first-place Phightin’ Phils.

  • Posts: 0 Chuck

    No, they were in first when they played the Marlins after Labor Day. But they will still get a crazy welcome back now that the lead is THREE GAMES.

  • Posts: 0 Kate

    Oh, that reminds me. I never asked anyone’s opinion of the lead-in for that first game after we took first place.

    THE FALL (April)

    THE RETURN (September)

    Even I had to burst out laughing at the heavy-handedness.

  • Posts: 0 bfo_33

    The Braves are playing the Mets this weekend – quit a month ago, while we have the pesky Nats. I’d wouldn’t be surprised if the Braves move up a game before Mon.

    The key will be Cole and the O on Monday. If we soundly beat them, I think it will suck the wind out of them, they’ll be pretty much done. If they win, or at least have a competitve game, it may give them enough adrenaline to keep it interesting another week.

    I disagree Ryan, their line-up is nowhere near ours (maybe in July, not now). The have a little bit better offensive catcher, a better ss (assuming Valdez or a Rusty/Gimpy Jimmy), a wash in right (although Heyward will be a stud in the future), and are considerably worse at every other position. Their starting pitching is banged up, and Wagner is the only real bright spot in the pen. On paper, it shouldn’t even be close, but it doesn’talways work out that way.



  • Posts: 0 PizzaBagel

    Bring on the Tomahawking southerners. They won’t be able to take the noise in the Bank and might have to resort to doing a Matt Garza (Stuffing their ears with cotton balls so the noise and energy doesn’t get to them). If anyone going to any of the games coming up is reading this, make as much noise as humanly possible. I don’t care if you go hoarse and can’t speak for the rest of the week. Scream so loud that the Bank shakes on its foundations.

  • Posts: 0 BravoMan

    I’ll admit now that I’m pretty worried about my Braves. Their starting pitching, aside from Hanson and Lowe, has been keeping all us fans on edge throwing things. The hitting…. well, lets just say it stinks for the most part lately, especially with RISP. And here are the Philllies doing what they’ve done for the last few years and that’s getting red hot when it matters most.

    Atlanta loses this series against the Mets, it’s probably over. Yes, I said it and I’ll be sure to come back on here afterwards if they do and say it again.

    The Braves have disappointed me and a ton of other Braves fans. Your Phillies seem to keep their fans happy for the most part.

  • Posts: 0 Bob in Bucks


    I love the Phils but sometimes you need to look at some facts and numbers before thumping your chest.

    Braves current second baseman – Infante – is batting .343. I think that is a lot better than Utley. I know it is shocking to say that but it is simply true. Now he does not have the power but .343 is nothing to sneeze at.

    Prado, now at 3B, is batting .313 which is higher than Polanco. In this case he has more power. Not sure about defense but at best this is a push with Polanco.

    I agree Phils win at 1B, CF and marginally in LF but with SS a push and catcher for the Braves I am not willing to say we have a better lineup. Sure if everyone was doing what we think they could it might be different but most of the Phillies are having down years.

    No question the Braves bullpen is far superior to the Phils. Not only do they have Wagner they have three other very solid relievers -
    Moylan(R) has an ERA of 3.2 so that is a wash with Madson, Saito (2.6 ERA) is even better than Madson and O’Flahery (a Lefty!!!) has an ERA of 2.38!

    Fortunately our starter are better but let’s not underrate a good team.

  • Posts: 0 BravoMan

    Jay, I’ll have to disagree with you some here. Not ALL those come from behind wins were based purely on luck, man. I’ve watched every inning, every pitch of a Braves game this year and believe me…. guys grinded out at bats, the pen kept things equal until a guy or two could squeeze a run late and Bobby Cox can also be attributed to keeping a team who, lets face it, have no business being in contention in September, loose and ready to battle.

    It seems to be running out of steem here, but nobody can convince me this teams success this year has been a ton of “luck”.

  • Posts: 0 Andrew from waldorf

    The Mets throw Niese tongiht and D i k e y sunday

    Has phillies nation come to the fact that the impending braves series isnt all that important? The braves will come into it at least 4 probably 5 behind the phillies. Meaning they would have to take 2 of 3 probably sweep the phillies. Good luck sweeping Doc Cole and Roy O.

    I know you guys have waited all year so have your fun with it. But worry more about the best record in the NL more than the Braves.
    The braves have a pedestrain roster that over achieved for a long time. But you didnt have to work for NASA to see this coming. I predicted the Pirates would beat them and they took 2 of 3. I predicted the last 2 games vs the Nats that they lost. The Braves will not make the playoffs. I understood this 2 months ago. Glad some others have caught up to me. Derek lee is thier big player add. Check his stats. Checkmate.

  • Posts: 0 BravoMan

    Bob, added to the pen right now is a 21 year old flame thrower named Craig Kimbrel. 98 mph gas and a nasty 88 mph slider. Mixes in a change to keep guys off balance. You also left off Venters and his 98 mph sinker and a 1.??? ERA. (too lazy to look it up, but it’s 1 something).

    Again, they can’t be utilized if our God D*** starters and offense keeps being shi***.

  • Posts: 0 Andrew from waldorf

    In 6 days the Braves will be at least 6 games probably 7 or 8 behind the Phillies and eliminated.
    But some people want to say thier line up is comparable
    I love it. Have fun worrying about the Braves.
    I am worrying about SF and Colorado who are actually playing well. And have good rosters.

  • Posts: 0 BravoMan

    Andrew, you might be right, but the arrogance you seem to have with your predictions make you look ignorant to me. Dude, it’s baseball. A very strange game and sh** happens all the time that nobody predicted. It’s foolish to act so cocky with baseball.

  • Posts: 0 pheeling it

    Im worrying about the Giants, I love our matchup against the Padres. I don’t know if the Pads can hold onto the West.

    Bravoman get ready for real baseball later this week. See what it’s like when people actually show up for games.

    Who pitches for you?

  • Posts: 0 Kate

    Oh, that reminds me. Is the Phillies organization doing anything to honor Bobby Cox during his last road stand at Citizens Bank Park? No matter how many WS he won, he led the Braves to about a million post-season runs.

    Is it 7:05 yet?

  • Posts: 0 BravoMan

    Andrew is actually Ms. Cleo with all her “guaranteed” psychic abilities.

    I think Andrew is a very suspersticious fan and thinks if he/she keeps saying what he/she wants to happen than it’ll come true.

  • Posts: 0 BravoMan

    pheeling, going against the Phillies will be Jurrjens, Minor, Hanson.

  • Posts: 0 pheeling it

    Tonight is Marquis vs. Oswalt. Should be a good one! No Nyjer Morgan either

  • Posts: 0 pheeling it

    Can’t complain, Hudson is the ace I’m happy we face Minor. I still don’t know too much about him but what happened to Vasquez! Is he even playing for the Yanks? I bet you miss him

  • Posts: 0 pheeling it

    Kate we will be Bobby Cox last game if the West keeps charging!

  • Posts: 0 Andrew from waldorf

    Its not hard to predict a team when you follow the sport. Look at the rosters and deal with reality. The mets were eliminated when being ahead of the Phillies at the all star break.
    I hope someone bet those last 2 home losses for the braveless to the Nats. Was too easy to predict. Like the entire collapse. and yes losing 9 of 14 in september is a collapse. To some poor teams by the way.

    SF is a real threat especially if Lincecum is on his A+ game. One of the biggest reasons is Pat Burrelll. They are tailored for thier park.

    The Rockies go out on the road now. the 2 losses to Sd hurt their chances but they still have a shot. Will be interesting to see how they do.

  • Posts: 0 Andrew from waldorf

    Morgan is serving his suspension vs the Phillies?
    Notice the Phils have caught all the breaks lately.

  • Posts: 0 BravoMan

    pheeling, Vazquez is in the Yankees pen. I think we all miss Kris Medlen in our rotation at this point more than Javy Vazquez. HUGE blow having that kid out for the next year and a half.

    Mike Minor is over his projected innings pitched and he’s worn down. That’s what he says anyways and he’s been getting lit up. Don’t know why Bobby Cox is pitching him in the series myself.

  • Posts: 0 Andrew from waldorf

    Joe Torre is retiring too.
    I guess the old man will be the oldest manager left.

  • Posts: 0 Brooks

    Nice post Kate – “Cant this be easy?” – early on it actually did look a little easy until mid-May at least. Bats were smokin’, I still recall that 12-2 pasting of the Brewers, Howard with 6 rbi, Werth with 4 – that being the high point also was the beginning of the summer long drought.

    The Braves are 6-9 this month, the key month – take away the split with the Cards and their 1-2 showing vs the Pirates and they are 3-5 vs the same clubs we’ll be facing, the Nats and the Muts. The Phils are 12-3. Only take the division games for the Phils and they are 8-2. This is where we need to be. We cleaned up with the Fish – taking 6 out of 7 from a team that normally gives us fits.

    I think everyone is on the same page here – if the Phils win all 3 series and come out of the homestand 6-3, that means for the Braves to stay even that means they would have to take at least 5 of 6 from the Muts and Nats on the road. So, going into the final 6 games the Phils would still be 3 ahead with 6 to play.

    I know this doesn’t mean much at this point of the season (given what we just did to the Fish) but;
    Braves vs Fish 8 wins 7 losses
    Braves vs Muts 8 wins 7 losses
    Braves vs Nats 7 wins 8 losses
    Braves vs Phils 7 wins 5 losses (this will definitely turn around)

    The Phils
    VS Nats 7 wins 5 losses
    VS Muts 8 wins 7 losses
    VS Braves 5 winss 7 losses

    Tight, very tight and the place will be rockin super!

  • Posts: 0 Andrew from waldorf

    If Phils can draw Cinn and SD in the playoffs would be nice

    Colorado and SF I dont like as much. The phillies should beat any of the 4 other teams still in contention though.

  • Posts: 0 BravoMan

    And I don’t believe Minor is all that good to begin with.

    Andrew, ok.

  • Posts: 0 Kate

    Nyjer Morgan is a disgrace. What a fool.

  • Posts: 0 Ryan

    Vasquez is actually a reliever for the yanks right now.

  • Posts: 0 Ryan

    beat me to it…

  • Posts: 0 Mark B

    “For the sake of watching great baseball, I’d like to see Atlanta bring their best to make this race interesting.”

    Pat, I hear what you’re saying, but at this point, I’d prefer to have as much rest as possible for our key performers, especially Halladay. If he could sit out one of his projected starts, because we’re far enough ahead of the Braves, I think that could be important heading into the playoffs.

  • Posts: 0 pheeling it

    We may have permanently retired Joe Torre? Nice, that ball STILL hasn’t landed

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