I had another commitment Thursday and didnâ€™t watch the Braves. Judging from the traffic on this site yesterday, you probably didnâ€™t see it either.
I assume yâ€™all can find summaries of the action (or lack thereof) elsewhere on the interwebs. From reading those summaries myself, it appears to have been a second consecutive game in which we need to tip our caps to the opponentâ€™s starting pitcher. Except that Jason Vargas is no Jacob DeGrom. The Degrominator is eminently cap-tip worthy; the guy last night dropped his season ERA to 5.77.
In one sense yesterdayâ€™s game was not important. At this point getting ready for the playoffs is all that matters. Itâ€™s good to get some guys rest and see what some guys on the playoff roster bubble can do. But how the Braves play in these last few games is not any kind of indicator of how they will play next week in the most important games in 5 years.
The one impact of winning or losing at this point is possible home field advantage in the first round of the playoffs. We know the Braves will play the West Division winner in the first round. That pennant race (the West, that is) is going down to the wire. Right now the Rockies have a one game lead on the Dodgers with 3 to play. Even more interesting, the loser of the race may not make the playoffs at all, with the Cardinals only one game behind the Dodgers for the second wild card.
The Braves are tied with the Rockies and one game up on the Dodgers. Because the Braves have losing records against both teams, they must finish with a better overall record against either to gain home field advantage. I know the Braves have been better on the road this year, but Iâ€™d still rather open and close a five game series at home.
This is my last regular season Thursday recap, but what a regular season it has been, starting with that Thursday opening night thriller in Philly. We donâ€™t know where they will be playing, but we know the first postseason game is next Thursdayâ€”so I feel a heightened sense of responsibility. I should spend the next week resting and focusing and getting ready.
Some folks will say the Braves have too many holes to go very far this October (especially if Dansbyâ€™s injury keeps him out). But the playoffs really are a crapshoot; what the hell, itâ€™s about time the Braves drew some luck in October. I predict they go all the way and beat the Red Sox in seven.