Braves Check: July 21, 2008

That kind of weekend will go a long way toward correcting your Pythagorean record.  Braves pitching allowed 29 runs in 3 games to a Nationals lineup that was missing its best hitter.  The Braves are still 6.5 games behind both the Phillies and Mets for first in the NL East, and 6 games behind Florida for third place.

Cool Standings gives them a 4.9% chance to win the division and a 1.7% chance to win the wild card, for a total playoff chance of 6.6% and exactly 15:1 odds, down from 12.6% (or 8:1) at the break.  Baseball Prospectus’ PECOTA-Adjusted playoff odds report gives the Braves a 2.6% chance at the division, a 1.0% chance at the WC, for a total of 3.6%.  Those odds would be roughly 28:1.

The team appeared to be leaning toward keeping Mark Teixeira as of the All-Star Break, but I hope Frank Wren will consider selling if they don’t make strides this week against two of the teams they’re chasing (the Marlins and Phillies).  There’s no point in trying to push for an unlikely comeback this year if a deal would increase the Braves’ chances of competing next year.

I won’t be posting weekly stats for this week, since it’s just three games worth of data, but you can see the season-to-date stats here.


  • I suppose there’s not much to add this week.  Mark Teixeira was a bright spot among the hitters over the weekend, but the pitching kept the hitting from having much impact.
  • Teixeira’s season slash line is now .278/.383/.506, and he has overtaken Brian McCann for second on the team in BaseRuns.  McCann has 54 fewer PAs, though, and this is more a commentary on just how good McCann is than how (relatively) bad Tex has been.
  • Jeff Francoeur was 2-for-10 with a walk and was hit by pitches twice.
  • Gregor Blanco was on base 6 times in 14 trips to the plate.  I think he could hit in a traditional leadoff role, but I’d rather have a regular who may eventually hit for some power.  There’s nothing like being able to knock runs in, even if they’re leftovers from the bottom of the batting order.
  • Everyone who pitched more than two innings gave up at least two runs, with Buddy Carlyle and Jo-Jo Reyes doing the most damage, each giving up 6 runs in 2 1/3 innings.
  • There were no quality starts, but Tim Hudson’s was the least terrible: 5 runs in 6 2/3 innings.

The Road Ahead

Jorge Campillo will be the two-start man for Atlanta this week, and he’ll face the Marlins’ fast-starting top prospect, Chris Volstad, tonight.  Charlie Morton will face a starter to be named tomorrow, and Tim Hudson will finish the Florida series on Wednesday against Ricky Nolasco.  The matchups could be worse, I guess.

The Phillies will throw out Kyle Kendrick to face Jurrjens on Friday, Cole Hamels agaisnt Reyes on Saturday, and new acquisition Joe Blanton against Campillo on Sunday.  Friday is a decent matchup, but the rest of the weekend will be an uphill battle.

The Braves trail both teams they play this week, when they travel to face both Florida and Philadelphia.  A series win is a must in each city, but the team should already be shopping Teixeira and Ohman in case this week knocks them completely out of the race.


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