Braves pacing toward franchise-best home record
While saying goodbye to Altanta-Fulton County Stadium in 1996, the Braves set a franchise record with 56 home victories. Before bidding adieu to Bobby Cox at the end of this year, they will could easily surpass this total.
With a Major League-best 48 home wins (four more than any other club) and 15 more games remaining at Turner Field, the Braves are certainly on pace to better the record 56 home wins that were posted by the 1996, ’98 and ’99 clubs.
Since losing their only home series of the year to the Phillies in April, the Braves have gone 43-14 at The Ted. They have batted .277, slugged .438 and posted a 3.01 ERA during this 57-game span that began with an April 30 win over the Astros.
During this same span, which accounts for everything that occurred after April’s nine-game losing streak, the Braves have gone 26-27 on the road. They have batted .256, recorded a .409 slugging percentage and posted a 3.80 ERA in these games.
So, is it good that the Braves will spend half of their remaining 30 games at home? Or bad that half of these games will be contested outside of Atlanta?
Heading into tonight’s game against the Mets, the Braves own a three-game lead in the National League East race and stand 4 ½ games in front of the Giants, who sit directly behind the front-running Phillies by a 1 ½ in the Wild Card standings.
With the remainder of this season essentially consisting of one more month, there’s still plenty of time for anything to happen. But as things currently stand, it appears the Reds, Padres, Phillies, Giants and Braves will serve as the primary contenders to fight for the makeup of the NL’s four playoff spots.
The slumping Cardinals sit four games back in the Wild Card standings (seven games behind the Braves) and the surging Rockies are 4 ½ games back in the battle to determine the NL’s last playoff entrant.
In other words, Braves fans should be every bit as interested in what the Giants do as they are in the Phillies results.
According to Baseball Prospectus, the Braves have an 85 percent chance to win their division and a 96 percent chance to gain a playoff spot.
NFL legend Al Davis coined the phrase “Just Win Baby.” As the Marlins have twice proven, the baseball world’s mantra can simply be “Just Get In Baby.”
Freeman’s arrival: With Freddie Freeman joining the Major League roster tonight, there is reason to wonder what kind of role the highly-regarded prospect will play over the course of the next couple of weeks. For now, we can only expect that he’ll come off the bench for some at-bats and maybe get a couple of starts at first base.
That first start will come tonight. Cox doesn’t mess around. When he wants to see a new player in the lineup, he throws him in there immediately and lets him show what he can do.
As Derrek Lee talked to us after his three-hit performance last night, you have to wonder if his ailing back will open the door for Troy Glaus and/or Freeman to make more than just a couple of starts at first base.
When asked about his back, Lee said “It feels alright” and gave every indication that he really wanted to say, “It hurts like hell.”
When Glaus returned to the clubhouse yesterday, he said he would be disappointed if he doesn’t get regular playing time over the course of the next few weeks. I can understand that every player in his position would share this feeling.
But I can’t understand where he thinks he’s going to get regular playing time. Martin Prado has proven to be steady at third base and there’s obviously no reason to take Omar Infante’s bat out of the lineup.
There may be some opportunities for Glaus to spell Lee at first base. But my gut feeling is that Cox would be tempted to provide Freeman those opportunities.
LaRoche’s humor: Check out Kelly Johnson’s reaction to the music that greeted him before a couple of plate appearances during last night’s win over the Padres. Adam LaRoche served as the mastermind for this prank.