Brave idyllic road trip ends, now it’s getting real


Certainly, the blind draw of the calendar had taken the Braves to a block of games that had the mushy texture of a bunch of overripe bananas. Still, they had to show up. Didn’t Philadelphia, after all, just lose three to Arizona, the D’Backs a few percentage points behind Baltimore for the ugliest record?

“It’s really easy to find yourself in this kind of situation and get carried away before you know what happened,” said Braves manager Brian Snitker. “I thank our guys for the way they are staying the course and preparing and not taking anyone for granted and trying to win today’s game. It’s not easy to do. “

Those Orioles, bless their 18 losses in a row, Pea-picking hearts, turned out to be the toughest stretch of this road. They played hard and lost an average of just two points per game. Still, the Braves brought all the required superior firepower and lack of compassion to make Baltimore’s misery worse. I really have to admire this kind of cruelty.

Don’t dismiss what has happened so far this month just because the Braves have spent it playing the zombies of the apocalypse after the trading deadline. Regardless of the level of competition, their overall road winning streak (now at 13 games) deserves to be framed. It went beyond the work of a single season of the Boston Beaneaters of 1890 and the Milwaukee Braves of 1956. Proving both the courage of those 2021 Braves and jet travel.

Likewise, don’t assume that something is on the ice here with the Braves taking a high-speed elevator to the top of NL East. No head is crowned in August. But, okay, if you have to know, after the Braves won on Sunday their magic number was 34.

Thirty-eight matches remain, including 17 against opponents with record wins. The Braves’ next eight games are as tough as the last nine were blustery – against the Yankees, Giants and Dodgers. This is a significant increase in the weight class, against teams winning 62% of their matches.

With the same number of games to go, the Phillies will only play eight games against teams with record wins – including three at the end of September in Atlanta. These might still mean something, by the way.

The rest of August is filled with real challenges. Against players like the Yankees, Giants, and Dodgers, all of those Baltimore solo home runs suddenly sting a lot more against teams more likely to have someone else on base. All those free baserunners thanks to the generous number of marches granted by a shaky staff are no longer there. All of Will Smith’s ninth inning drama becomes much more real.

As soon as they take this healthy divisional lead, it can evaporate. The Braves know how fragile 5½ games can be with more than a month left. “We are living proof of the fragility of a lead. All it takes is a hot streak from someone. That’s why every game is so important now, ”said Snitker.

It’s been a great run down Creampuff Lane, but it’s time to get back to the hard work of winning a division, playing games that really let the Braves and their fans know where they are at.

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