What will this final week bring?

Usually when I answer the phone, I hear “what’s up” or “hey”.   This morning the common greeting has been, “so are they going to do it?”  

One witty friend said, “The Braves are trying to out-Rockie the Rockies.”  

Obviously he was referencing the 2007 season, when the Rockies won 13 of the final 14 regular season games and forced a one-game playoff with the Padres to determine who would serve as the National League’s Wild Card representative.  

Well if the Braves were to remain perfect throughout this final seven-game homestand, which begins tonight against the Marlins, they too will have won 13 of the final 14 games on their 162-game schedule.

Or to localize this achievement, they will have completed a 13-game winning streak that will trump the excitement of the identical one posted by Glenn Hubbard, Dale Murphy and their Braves teammates at the start of the 1982 season.   

Joe Torre skippered that bunch to that incredible start and 27 years later, as the Dodgers manager, he finds himself in a position where he could play a very influential role on where the Braves find themselves at the end of another 13-game winning streak.  

Nothing has changed on the Braves front.  They still must enter every remaining game with the do-or-die mindset that they’d feel if they were down one entering the ninth inning.   Even if they were to end the season in perfect fashion, the Rockies could win five of their final six against the Brewers and Dodgers and leave the city of Atlanta wondering “what might have been?”

Things would certainly look a lot better right now had Rockies second baseman Clint Barmes not ventured into shallow right field to make the tremendous catch that started the game-ending double play against the Cardinals yesterday.

As Barmes twisted, turned and tumbled to the ground while making the catch, I wondered if he had looked the same when he broke his collarbone while carrying that deer meat that Todd Helton had given him during the 2005 season.  

But more importantly, the immediate thought was how much different would things be if that ball had fallen and the Cardinals had held on to give the Braves a chance to come home facing just a 1 -game deficit in the Wild Card standings.

With a 2 1/2-game advantage, the Rockies will close their season with three-game sets against the Brewers and Dodgers.   

The Braves have an easier road with a three-game set against the Marlins, who have seen their postseason hopes erased, and a four-game set against the Nationals, who have compiled 103 losses and still not found one to be as embarrassing as the one their Washington D.C. football brothers experienced in Detroit yesterday.  

The Brewers have won 11 of their past 17 games, but were swept at home while dropping three straight one-run games to the Rockies in June.   The Dodgers have won 12 of 15 against the Rockies this year, but might not have anything to play for by the time they meet them again this weekend.  

Even if the Pirates were to hold onto this afternoon’s lead and end up taking three of four from the Dodgers, Torre’s bunch will still head to San Diego tomorrow owning at least a 1 -game advantage in the race to gain home field advantage throughout the postseason.   

Personally, I think it’s a stretch to think the Dodgers would be motivated this weekend by the opportunity to erase the Rockies and consequently ensure that they won’t have to open the postseason against the Phillies or Cardinals.  
I
n fact, there’s definite reason to believe that given the choice the Dodgers would much rather face either of those two division winners right now instead of the red-hot Braves, who are currently enjoying some of that mojo that helped the Rockies sweep through the Division Series and NL Championship Series in 2007.
 
Having won 15 of their past 18 games, the Braves have given us a chance to enjoy the tension that makes the regular season’s final week so special.
 
Now they just have to make sure the Marlins don’t suddenly gain that spoiler magic that has allowed them to erase the Mets from the postseason picture during the previous two seasons.  
If they pass the challenge the Marlins will present, the Braves can focus on completing their task against the Nationals, who have been present when the Phillies have celebrated the division titles that they’ve captured during final weekend of the past two seasons.

Whether the Nationals watch a team celebrate for a third consecutive season remains to be seen.  But it certainly wouldn’t bother me if I’m still answering the phone on Sunday morning and immediately hearing, “So are they going to do it?”

13 Comments

It’s an uphill climb for sure. The Rockies seem to find a way to win when they need to. It’s hard not to dwell on all of the under-achieving that went on earlier in the season. The Braves have shown fight, and with that pitching, there’s not a whole lot of teams who’d want us in the playoffs. Hopefully the Dodgers won’t lay an egg those final three games. I’m trying to not get too excited – but if we win 6 of 7 or even 5 of 7… then things will be very interesting.

Does anyone remember the 7 run lead the bullpen lost on game three of the season?? Every game is so important as we know now.
I am not sure what the baserunners were doing in the Rockies game yesterday. Yes, it was a great play, but Lugo sould have been tagging and Pulos should have been half way. Very frustrating to see such a good team playing such bad fundamental baseball.
Moving forward, I would like to see Church get some time in the OF instead of GA in the final week. He adds defense, speed and plate discipline. Plus, I think GA is very tired as he has played every day.
Everything is looking good, but the Marlins do scare me a bit. They have a great offense and seem to win a lot of tight games against the Braves. Remember a month ago when everyone on the blog was talking about next year and which starter to trade. Times have changed and whatever happens in the final week, it has been a great season.

The Marlins are going to send Josh Johnson to the mound on Tuesday night and Nolasco will still go on Wednesday. Johnson was scratched from Sunday’s start because of flu-like symptoms.

I think all the starts that Vazquez and Jurjjens started in which they gave up 2 runs or less and we lost leave a worse taste in my mouth than the Phillies game.

We’ll have the Marlins’ number this week. They’re reeling and we’re rolling over every mediocre team in baseball.

One witty friend said, “The Braves are trying to out-Rockie the Rockies.” Eh. Too easy.Viva, Lol, what do you mean you only understand half of what I’m saying?”

ha. jurjj your postings as of late seem more and more manic. i think it’s the end of the season jitters.

This game tonight in my opinion (and I know we all have it worked out different in our heads) this game tonight is a must win! it is the difference of between 2 games and 3 games.

Man Chipper just tagged one and Jurrjens got a 6 pitch inning. This is getting a little more than interesting(knocking on wood quickly). Even my sarcastic, pessimistic and sardonic *** is beginning to get excited. Even if we don’t quite make this it will be a bit rewarding to know we gave it a good shot. I think this season WAS rife with wasted opportunity though. Maybe we can sort out our outfield issues and get our bullpen some help in the offseason. We are really close to being a great team. I would love to send Bobby out in style with a couple of season wins and some playoff glory. This team is starting to remind me of 1991. I can remember hanging on every out in every game like it was just 5 minutes ago. I know you guys were all like 3 or 4 but it was amazing.

Vivabeta, I think I might die during the offseason! No more Braves baseball?!? ARGH!!

If you live in the Atlanta area and can make it to a game this week, please do. There were maybe 15,000 people at the game tonight but those 15,000 fans participated more than I’ve ever seen a group of Atlanta fans participate. Despite the sparse crowd, the place was electric. I know it’d help our Braves if they were playing in front of a packed house, so tell your friends to get to the game if they’re not preoccupied. I enjoyed this game more than the Tim Hudson 3-hit shutout I experienced last summer. GO BRAVES!

OMG!…Billreef was right… Only three hits… Incredible!

Great win! Has Jurjjens had a bad start all year?
PWJ – I would be at every game if I didn’t live 6 hours away! Pull them on for me!
I was kind of hoping to avoid Josh Johnson… Go Braves!

Funny you should mention that catch, Mark – check out this photo of the ball hitting the ground.

Hopefully it won’t make a difference – but if it does … wow.

http://blogs.denverpost.com/rockies/2009/09/28/barmes-amazing-catch-or-was-it/

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