There almost never seems to be a good time to get swept in a three game series but the Atlanta Braves managed to find a time where it at least meant nothing. They lost three games in a row to the Philadelphia Phillies and really it didn’t matter one bit. Their lead in the National League East is still ridiculous and they still have a couple of game lead on the Los Angeles Dodgers for the National League’s best record. That’s right overstressed Braves fans; your team lost four games in a row and is still only about two games behind the Boston Red Sox for the best record in all of Major League Baseball.
So, relax a little bit. There are a few things that need addressing after this series. First of all, the starting pitching was solid. Mike Minor simply got out-dueled by Cliff Lee, no shame there. Alex Wood looked much better on Saturday than in his last start, plus the Braves came back in the ninth inning to tie the game off of Jonathan Papelbon. If Fredi Gonzalez wasn’t saving the bullpen by bringing in Freddy Garcia, the Braves would have had a lot better chance to win.
Also he did the right thing by giving Evan Gattis a lot of playing time to get him going. Maybe you missed that 480 feet home run blast he touched off of the otherwise dominant Cole Hamels on Sunday; one of two he crushed off of Hamels. Dan Uggla and B.J. Upton need to get going so they are in the line-up just like Gattis was in there to get his bat going. Also, he isn’t going to use all of his best pitchers in a few close games when they all need rest before the postseason.
The bottom line is that while you might not like the current managing style of the Braves skipper, you should relax a little because he has simply already shifted into early clinch – save the boys and get everyone some rest – mode. I’m sure if they lost fifteen games in a row he would be in a much different managing style. Why don’t we watch that magic number, still the lowest one in the game by far by the way, dwindle down and see what happens when the postseason gets here. I would bet we will all be surprised and how ready they are. One last thing; whether you like them or not can we please stop blaming every single loss of the season on Upton and Uggla? Really, it is getting a little ridiculous at this point.