Can we get the regular season over with? Yes, the Braves could still technically catch the Dodgers, Houston or the Yankees for home field advantage, but I’m reasonably sure none of those is going to happen. If Minnesota makes it to the World Series along with the Braves, home field advantage is currently up for grabs: 93 wins each, with the Braves holding the tiebreaker. (Oakland could possibly catch us as well, or even Tampa Bay at the outside.) It would be highly amusing to me if the Braves ended up losing home field advantage to the Twins when Chip was blathering on about how important it would be for the Twins to beat a rapidly fading Nationals team last week. It’s already amusing enough that the Braves-Minnesota site decision is in the hands of the Kansas City Royals. Nine of their ten remaining games are against the Twins (7) and the Braves (2). So, Chip: Braves fans are huge Royals fans for the rest of the season, except for a couple of days next week.
But I don’t really care much about home field advantage as longtime Braves Journal readers might remember (Ignore the first two posts… They are misfiled. And you have to read them in chronological order to make sense of them.) Baseball has the lowest home field advantage of any sport, and often what is thought of as a home field advantage is actually just the residue of better teams getting the home field. Nonetheless, though small, the home field advantage does exist so I wouldn’t want to squander it needlessly – particularly if we actually faced a 1991 rematch, one of the three World Series in which the home team won every game. Wouldn’t fairness dictate that we get the home field advantage in the rematch, records be damned?
Some might think I’m getting ahead of myself for a team that hasn’t won a playoff series since 2001. Screw that. But if we were to somehow lose to the Cardinals or whomever, at least no one will blame the home field disadvantage.
With that in mind, the recap will be mercifully brief. (Not merciful enough, I hear a few of you say.) Julio pitched pretty well, but Harper and Hernandez hit homers (for 3 runs) and a catcher’s interference eventually scored on a Jackson Grybo bases-loaded walk. Everyone else pitched well, including, for his second straight appearance, Kyle Wright. But that’s four runs.
On offense, the Braves scratched a run across in the 2nd on a McCann grounder that was hit too poorly to be a DP. McCann followed that up with two subsequent double plays and then struck out in the 9th. 4 at bats, 6 outs. Ouch. When you only get 27 outs, you can’t be responsible for 22 percent of them. Leave some for the rest of the guys. Right now McCann looks like the nostalgia pick so many of us feared. He can break out, of course, but if he can’t do so pretty quickly it’s not clear what he brings beyond “leadership.” And Tyler, I think, is worse. I don’t know if anyone has ever caught a game after making under 10 regular season starts for a team, but sentiment aside, if he’s ready, I’m on Cervelli.
Chip Watch: Cancelled this evening: I watched Boog, Sutcliffe and Special Guest Larry Wayne Jones, Jr. I’m not sure I could listen to Chipper more than once a month, but boy does he know a lot about hitting.
One more with the Phillies tomorrow as we are, to paraphrase William Butler Yeats, a rough beast that slouches towards the playoffs. But don’t worry. We’ll get there.