Braves are not playing like a playoff team.
The Atlanta Braves completed their first losing series at home since April today as they were beaten 2 out of 3 games against the Washington Nationals. I’ll let you absorb those words. They lost 2 of 3 to the Nationals. They lost 2 of 4 to the struggling and floundering St. Louis Cardinals prior to losing to the Nationals. They lost 2 of 3 to the lowly Pittsburgh Pirates before losing to the Cardinals. For those who are counting at home, that is 4 out of 6 against two of the worst teams in the National League this season. They have a combined winning percentage of .379. They are a combined 56.5 games out of first place.
I have not blogged about playoff chances to this point. Websites such as coolstandings.com and espn.com give teams a percentage chance of making the playoffs based on their strength of schedule. The Braves’ playoff chances have plummeted from almost 95% to approximately 73% after today’s setback against the Nationals.
It is not hard to pick up on the fact that the Braves are struggling at the worst possible time right now. They have already lost first place in the NL East and if the Marlins do not help them tonight, they will be 3 games back. They are only ahead in the Wild Card by 1 game and if the Giants win tonight, that lead will be a half game.
The Braves seem to be depending upon other teams to get them into the playoffs right now rather than earning their way in themselves. If the Giants, Padres and Rockies didn’t have to beat each other up on the field over the last few weeks of the season, the Braves chance of making the playoffs would be much lower.
They are 6-8 with a 4.14 ERA in September. They are hitting .259 for the month of September. There are pieces of the team that is playing well. Jason Heyward, Billy Wagner, Derek Lowe are three examples. However there are many that are not and that spells trouble.
They control their own destiny. They play 6 games against the Phillies, but they may be in too big of a hole by the time those series come around. They play the Nationals, Mets and Marlins for 3 games each. They have been about a just better than .500 team against these teams this year. Time is running out for the Braves.