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is-the-season-over | September | 2007 Articles

2007 Archives

Is the Season Over?

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The sweep by the hated division rival New York Mets brings up a serious question: Are the Braves’ chances at the playoffs over. With a chance to move up to within striking distance with the three-game set, Atlanta squandered away that opportunity by scoring a mere four runs over that span. Bobby Cox and his club were already feeling the pressure and knew that every time Smoltz or Hudson went to the mound, they had to win to make up this distance. Both went to the mound and the team came away with two losses. With six games left with the Phillies and three with the Mets, the possibility of a playoff spot is dependent on a miracle. Everything has to go right for the Braves, and New York and Philadelphia have to suffer monumental collapses. The Braves have just about flat-lined for the 2007 season. What went wrong this year? At the beginning of the season everything looked so promising. Mike Hampton was back to hold down a spot in the rotation, Reitsma and Horacio Ramirez were gone, and John Schuerholz had brought in Mike Gonzalez and Rafael Soriano to hold down the late innings along with 2006’s deadline savior, Bob Wickman. Hampton went down early again along with Gonzalez for season ending surgeries, Rafael Soriano imploded after a dominating start, Scott Thorman and Craig Wilson provided almost non-existent offense for half the year, and the offense even after the arrival of Mark Teixeira, struggled to find any sort of consistency. You can add that to a list of things that should have turned out better but didn’t. Through everything, I think the biggest hit came from Andruw Jones’ meager offense that spent most of the year hovering above and even dipping below the Mendoza Line. After two-straight 40+ home run seasons, Jones was primed for his contract year, even shedding quite a few pounds during the off-season. He is however doing well lately, which just means Scott Boras has even more to parlay into a mega-deal once the superstar center fielder inevitably leaves for free agency. It’s not all bad though. The prospect of next season looks bright (of course I said that last year at this time too). The bullpen talent the Braves have stockpiled in the minors is right at the edge, ready to burst over into the majors. Some of our younger players have seen their major-league breakthrough and both Brandon Jones and Brent Lillibridge seem to be champing at the bit with their play for Richmond. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.

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