Before I talk about anything, I want you to know, I'm a Braves fan. I also want you to know, this is not an attempt to troll. And you may know I'm NOT a member of Talking Chop. And that this is an honest day's talk, with no dirty shots. Just some facts with a conclusion, with openness to discuss. If there are some comments that are cheap shots, I won't flag them. I won't reply to them. I'll ignore them.
What I wanted to talk about from a Braves' fan's point of view is some misconceptions about the division race right now, involving some common sense. I always believe common sense should be the foundation to everything you say, believe in, or in this case, type.
People lately have said that this division will be a steal for the Phillies. And, to let you know, I have no problem with that, or that the Braves will likely take the Wild Card. There is a good chance that those people are right. But what I don't like about those conclusions is that those conclusions were not derived before looking at what's ahead, as it pretains to Atlanta and Philadelphia.
What I mean is, people and baseball fans are asked, "Who's going to win the NL East?", they say "Philadelphia Phillies" at the first second and move on. They don't think about what could happen. They don't think about circumstances. To explain "circumstances", here it is: Atlanta is 6.5 games back of Philadelphia in the race. Atlanta and Philadelphia play each other 6 more times this year, including that the last 3 games of the season are the Phillies playing the Braves at Turner Field. Another thing is that we've not taken into consideration what could happen in between. And, to be honest, you may look at me scornfully and say "14-1. Doesn't look bright for your Braves." Before you say that, I want to say that each team has won 6 games against the other this season so far. Yes, it has been even between the two teams.
Now, I want to look at the pros for the Phillies. For the Braves to tie the Phillies, just to tie, Philadelphia would have to play .500 ball for the final 34 games of the season (17-17), and the Braves would have to win 22 out of the next 30 or so. Just to tie. Yes, a lot of things have to happen in order for the Braves to tie. And, there is in fact a good chance that the Phillies could beat the Braves, while there is also a chance the Braves could beat out the Phillies. But there is a chance that that could happen. The reasons that the Braves could tie or come close to the Phillies are as follows:
1. Age and work load could set in as a factor. The Phillie's veteran's play may diminish somewhat. I'm looking at Mr. Rollins and Mr. Howard. As for work load, the Braves bullpen could also collapse. Jonny Venters' and Craig Kimbrel's work load could put some fatigue on them. Then again, (to be honest), they're kids. Are they still energetic as they may once have been? That same thing applies to rookie Freddie Freeman.
2. Something unexpected could happen. The Phillies could sweep the Braves, the Braves could sweep the Phillies, the Phillies could lose 5 in a row and the Braves win 6 in a row.
3. It could come down to the last game(s) of the season. Remember, the Phillies play the Braves in Atlanta for the last 3 games of the season.
4. Play of other teams could change the complexion of this race. Arizona could go on a winning streak of about 7, and come into Philadelphia and sweep (or get swept). The Braves, who have played the best baseball they've played all season, could carry some momentum into Philadelphia.
5. Schedule could be a huge factor. The Braves play the Phillies in Philadelphia September 5-7, and the surrounding series could be big. From here on out, the Braves play @ Mets, vs. Nationals, vs. Dodgers, @ Phillies, @ Cardinals, vs. Marlins, vs. Mets, @ Marlins, @ Nationals, and finally vs. Phillies. All are 3-game series. The Phillies's schedule from here on out is vs. Marlins, @ Reds, @ Marlins, vs. Braves, @ Brewers, @ Astros, vs. Cardinals, vs. Nationals, @ Mets, and finally, @ Braves. It does look like the schedule is about even.
I'm open to discussion, and will take no cheap shots at anyone.