Well, it appears I will not be able to post Cardsox* playoff prediction blog until tomorrow. He has not written it yet, due to some required summer reading, and I will not be home until 1 oclock in the morning. In the meantime, I would like to introduce you to our newest contributor, ssiscribe, who will be a Braves contributor. In his first blog, he details last nights game, and what a win tonight could do for the Braves playoff hopes.
ATLANTA -- The weather here today is hot, again. The Braves are hoping they can carry over the heat from last night's come-from-behind (twice) victory over the Giants.
What figured to be a cakewalk served as a good reminder of the words of the great philosopher Joaquin Andujar (the former Cardinals pitcher), who once said you can sum baseball up in one word:
"You never know."
And you don't know what's going to happen from day to day. Certainly, nobody expected Braves' ace John Smoltz to be trailing 3-0 after five innings to a Giants' team that used its bullpen for the entire nine innings Tuesday, after splitting a meaningless doubleheader Monday evening in Pittsburgh while the Braves rested at home.
But baseball is a fickle beast. The Braves eventually found themselves, but got a little help in stoking the fire. Chipper Jones was rung up on a questionable called third strike with runners on base to end the fifth inning. Bobby Cox proceeded to get ejected (and surpass John McGraw for the all-time ejection record; no video message from McGraw was available to play on the giant screen at Turner Field to mark the occasion), and the Braves roared to life with four runs in the bottom of the sixth, taking a 4-3 lead.
Then, after Bob Wickman allowed the tying run to score in the ninth, the Braves rallied yet again. Jones drove home Willie Harris with the game-winner for a 5-4 victory, a presumed easy victory that was anything but a walk in the park, and a much-needed victory as the Mets and Phillies also fashioned their own comeback victories.
The name of the game is to win, plain and simple. There is no column in the standings awarding bonus points for posting a quality start, or not leaving more than 10 runners on base, or not blowing saves. Wins and losses, plain and simple, is what decides who get to the playoffs.
Many denizens of Braves Nation today are gnashing their teeth over Wickman allowing the tying run to score in the ninth, in Smoltz's inability to shut down the Giants, in the Braves' inability to blow the game open early (they left 10 runners on in the first five innings). But the bottom line is the Braves won, plain and simple.
The goals are two-fold, folks. You win enough games to get to October, and then you try to win 11 games once you get there.
For a game that is so unpredictable, the mantra sounds so simple.
Off to Turner Field on this 100-degree day for the middle game of the Braves/Giants.