The high that the Atlanta Braves got on Friday night after they beat Stephen Strasburg and the St. Louis Cardinals lost to the Chicago Cubs to extend the wild card lead to 3 games was definitely short lived. The Braves put up stinkers in losing 4-1 to Chien-Ming Wang and 3-0 against Russ Detwiler and fall to a one game lead over the Cardinals. (The Cardinals were handed a win by Carlos Marmol and battled back to take game three as well).
All of the happenings this weekend confirms one thing for the Braves: the only team that can help them make the playoffs is themselves. They cannot hope that the Houston Astros are going to sweep the St. Louis Cardinals. If anything, they need to have the mindset that the Astros are going to be swept by the Cardinals. In many ways it is ironic that the Cardinals face the worst team in the MLB this year in the Astros, while the Braves finish with the best team in the MLB in the Philadelphia Phillies.
One thing is certain, the Braves will have to earn their way into the playoffs. They face Cliff Lee, Roy Oswalt and a combination of pitchers on Wednesday. They counter with Randall Delgado, Derek Lowe and Tim Hudson. Delgado is 21 years old, Lowe is pitching like he is 100 years old and Hudson is the Braves’ go-to man.
The time is now for the Braves. Can they rise to the occasion and handle their division rival? Will the Phillies squash all hopes of the Braves making the playoffs and send them home for a long, miserable winter?
If the Braves cannot score runs, then their fate is sealed. If they cannot get outs, then their fate is sealed.