It is just like baseball to make one cheer before they cry...or cry before they cheer. It is just like baseball to bring a team from a 9 game losing streak to a 9 game winning streak, leading the National League East from Memorial Day to Labor Day, and finding their entire postseason prospects tied to the very last game of the season.
As I type this post, the Braves have not yet lost the game. But if they do, and it looks increasingly as though they might, they will be tied for the Wild Card and even if they win tomorrow, their fortune rests with the Padres ability to finish off the Giants in a sweep. Would that Barry Bonds have come out of retirement just once tonight to crash that very needed home run and win one damn game for the Giants. That's all that was needed.
Many can speak of the seeming Braves collapse but in truth, they are playing up to their ability. Especially given the many injuries that have yet again plagued the season. They lead for much of summer thanks to the Phillies NOT playing up to their level. This last month has disabused anyone of the thought that they had done anything else. Yet there is still a strong team here for the Braves. One that has been...dare I say it? Fine...resilient. Or something like it, at least. These Braves have suffered enumerable injuries, poor defense as a direct result, and a frightening loss of power. Some of that last point may be due to those same injuries, but the team as a whole seems lacking in the long ball. And have since day one. Heyward is a rookie, so I cannot blame him. McCann is a catcher and you'll take what you can get. Glaus' May got us into this position but we had to know that was over and above at the time. Prado, the team MVP, was never counted upon for that. It's the outfield, stupid.
I'm not yet ready to look at next year's team, but it is clear that we need to have patience at the plate tomorrow (something else lost in our trades, I am afraid), keep concentrated on defense and if possible, hit a HR or two. Maybe even a couple of doubles back to back. We did not get here by hitting home runs. We got here, frankly, by taking walks. Chipper cannot play right now. The rest of these guys need to be patient at the plate. Lee especially. He is the biggest reason we have struggled, and yet remains our greatest hope for the postseason. I firmly believe that. A little Glaus at 3rd base might not hurt either, Brooks Conrad "folk hero" or not.
But as I said...this is baseball. Just yesterday I was reading someone at ESPN lament the disappointment of a meaningless last 3 games of the season. Well...baseball, once again, took care of that and made it exciting. God I love this game. That is all.