I usually am slightly cynical or very much a realist. I do not expect competence or excellence. Only when reasonable evidence begins to form do I do so. I HOPE (yeah, remember where Mac took us on that word) the teams I favor perform well. I HOPE they win big. But throughout my life, that hasn’t happened often. I am at core, an Enneagram Type 5. So realism is me, baby.

The cumulative run differential to date for the 2023 Atlanta Braves is plus 157. The next best teams are in the AL in the 140’s. Then, the Dodgers at plus 92. This team has established its baseline over the past 6 years as a credible playoff team. For the last 3 years, it has established itself as a credible threat to win it all. This year, it easily has its best chance to take it all since the late 90’s. Since Friday, this team has swept one middling contender and taken 2 of 3 from another middling contender. This team just got A. J. Minter back. Fried starts Friday night. Dylan Lee might be back in 2 weeks, and Kyle Wright quite probably soon after that. I have no guarantees, but this team, even after deadline pick ups, has the best shot. Everybody else is looking up.

How bad did the Angels look up? 3 to zero after 3 innings. then 9 to 1 after 4 innings. Those 9 runs all fell onto deadline acquisition Lucas Giolito. That isn’t looking good so far, is it? Then, after 5 innings of 1 run ball, Yonny Chirinos gave up 2 singles and got pulled in favor of Michael Tonkin a/k/a “the incident.” Well, his version of putting out the fire had those 2 come in and one of his own. But it was still 9 to 4. The low leverage unit (day shift?) of Pierce Johnson, Kirby Yates, and Collin McHugh each took an inning and only McHugh let one more come in. Meanwhile in 6 and 8 the Braves added 2 and 1, respectively. Ho and Hum.