After six months of mostly disappointing baseball, the Phillies’ season will come to a close this weekend. Much like the way they opened the season, they’ll be in Atlanta to face the Braves.
The opening game foreshadowed how the season would go for both teams. The Braves got off to an early lead and rolled to victory, while the Phillies were left feeling disappointed.
What’s the Deal with the Braves
They’ve clinched the National League East, but playoff seeding is still in question. I’m not sure how much the Braves care about that though. It wouldn’t shock me to see most of their regulars sit out at least one of the games.
Reason to Hate the Braves
We should be able to base our hatred simply on the fact that the Braves will be in the playoffs while the Phillies will be staying home. But if you needed more of a reason to dislike the Braves, you should just look at how bitchy they have become. They seem to take offense at just about everything other teams do.
First there was the tiff with Bryce Harper (OK, I’ll admit that I kind of enjoyed that one) and then they had issues with Jose Fernandez. And now, Brian McCann and the Braves took great offense at Carlos Gomez’s home run trot.
Perhaps the Braves players aren’t used to success and are having a tough time dealing with it. That isn’t a good sign for their chances in the playoffs when the pressure levels become even higher.
By the way, McCann is set to be a free agent in this offseason, and with Carlos Ruiz’s contract expiring, it seems possible that the Phillies could go after McCann. I would advise against it. The Phillies certainly don’t need another lefty hitter in their lineup, and I don’t think giving a long-term deal to a catcher in his 30’s is the right move to make.
I advocated buying low on Ruiz a few months ago. His late season resurgence means that they won’t be able to get him as cheaply as they possibly could have, but I still think that their best option is to re-sign him. A two-year deal with an option sounds about right.
Braves Player Who Deserves Ridicule
There has been much said and written (like this for example) about what a lousy season Braves outfielder B.J. Upton has had. But hey, why not take advantage of this one last opportunity to poke some fun at him? (I hope the Braves don’t get all upset about it. They seem to be a bit thin-skinned.)
The Phillies reportedly pursued Upton in the offseason, and while it’s reasonable to expect him to perform better in coming years, the Phillies have to feel like they dodged a bit of a bullet. The Braves thought they were getting a power-hitting star. Instead, they got just nine home runs from him, including only one in the second half.
For those of you who like the WAR statistic, Upton’s value for the season was -0.6. I guess $75 million doesn’t buy as much as it used to these days.
Tweet of Importance
no wonder all the braves fans were able to defend their team’s honor on the internet cuz they certainly weren’t at the game
— ⓣⓗⓔ ⓡⓘⓚⓔⓡ ⓛⓘⓚⓔⓡ (@andymoney69) September 26, 2013
You might think that the Braves success would have resulted in more fans in the seats. You’d be wrong.
Tweet of Importance II
This seems incredible: The Mets are tied with the Phillies for third place. http://t.co/JX0WZpnKXx
— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) September 23, 2013
Third place is still in play! Woo hoo!
Tweet of Importance III
The Brewers and Braves relationship is quickly becoming like the Vulcans and Romulans. A shared heritage (Milwaukee), but now enemies.
— John Stolnis (@FelskeFiles) September 26, 2013
This one should make all the nerds out there chuckle a bit.
I suppose we should try to ignore the team’s record and take advantage of this one last opportunity to watch the Phillies play some baseball. Go Phils!