Giving it one last try ……

Giving it one last try ……

By Tophatal

The divisional races in some cases are heating up , whereas in others, they are pretty much settled , as baseball enters final stretch of the regular season before it all culminates on the 3rd October . In what has been an eventful year that was filled with the usual plethora of drama , it should be noted that not much has changed in terms of the players’ continued fascination with the use of prohibitive substances (PED’s and anabolic steroids). The league hierarchy would have us believe that they have everything under control , but at the minor league level, the illicit use by the players is far more widespread than the league would care to acknowledge . In the past 18 months in the Minor Leagues , over seventy players have been caught , penalized with the mandatory suspensions , yet the feeling is that the concern amongst the fans is what actually happens at the MLB level , where many of the game’s high-priced stars exhibit their talents . This season we have had our answer with the summary mandatory suspensions of Melky Cabrera , a one-time leading candidate for the NL MVP , and also with the Oakland A’s pitcher Bartolo Colon . The latter, whose suspension may or may not have severely hampered the A’s hopes of making the postseason. As things now stand, it is looking like a four-horse race for the two AL wildcard berths.

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Slide show .

In what he says, will be his twentieth and final season in the Majors , the Atlanta Braves (90-65) utility player and outfielder, Chipper Jones will be looking to lead the team into the postseason for the first time since 2010, where they lost (3-1) in the NLDS to the San Francisco Giants . This season the Braves have been lucky enough to play themselves into contention for a postseason berth within the NL. As the leading contender for one of the two berths under the new playoff format instigated by Bud Selig , the ball-club seemingly has a comfortable 6 ½ game lead over their closest rivals the St Louis Cardinals , with the Los Angeles Dodgers and Milwaukee Brewers closely following in hot pursuit.

The Braves, now have 7 games remaining on their schedule , starting with the final game of a three-game series against the Miami Marlins. Fredi Gonzalez’s players, then close out the month of September with two games against the New York Mets , and with their final three games, in a series against the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Ballpark , in Pittsburgh , Pennsylvania .

The NL East division appears to be of reach , albeit , that were the Washington Nationals (94-61) to lose five of their seven remaining games , then just about anything would be possible . For the moment however, I am just happy to witness a season, where the Braves had more than their fair share of success ! ! GM Frank Wren and team President John Scheurholz have emphasized a commitment to success, which has been passed on by Gonzalez’s coaching staff to the players on the entire roster. And it has been that renewed commitment that has brought about the change in fortune for the team over the course of the season. Michael Bourn , Chipper Jones , Jayson Heyward , Freddie Freeman , Dan Uggla and Martin Prado , have all contributed greatly to the team’s efforts in 2012 , in providing the offensive productivity needed to be viewed as a contender within the NL. While the pitching at times, has been exacerbating and inconsistent , here too, players such as Tim Hudson, Mike Minor , Brandon Beachy , Tommy Hanson , Paul Malholm and Craig Kimbrel , have more than justified their worth to the team.

One of the more positive things to come out of the season for the Atlanta Braves , has been to see that renewed interest in the team by the fans. Far too fickle , at times it was somewhat depressing to see Fulton County Stadium (Turner Field) in Atlanta , Georgia , barely filled to capacity for the Braves’ home games . This season having drawn over 2,242,046 in —- attendance for their scheduled games at Fulton County Stadium , the franchise ranks eighth of the National League’s sixteen teams averaging 29,117 per home game. Team payroll asides, Chairman & CEO Terry McGuirk along with the managing partners who make up the ownership group of the organization , would have to be happy with the 2012 season. . The ball-club has been fiscally prudent with team salaries , which this season is pegged at $83,309,942 , a far cry from the almost $200,000,000 that the New York Yankees have budgeted for their roster.

The playoff picture is still somewhat muddied , as the vagaries that make up this point of the season will be filled anomalies .In 2011, who would have thought that both the Atlanta Braves and Boston Red Sox would have surrendered their wildcard berth leads to the St Louis Cardinals and Tampa Bay Rays , in what has been described as one of the best finishes to a season , in recent baseball history . As we all know, the Cardinals would go on to prevail in a thrilling triumph in the World Series over the Texas Rangers . The Atlanta Braves would like nothing more to be a participant in baseball’s showcase postseason event , but that would now all be predicated upon how the ensuing scenarios now in motion , would play out . There is no denying that the most significant moment in the Braves’ postseason history came in 1995 , when they prevailed in defeating the Cleveland Indians (4-2). Two other appearances in the “ Fall Classic” resulted in losses, in 1996 and 1999 , each time to the New York Yankees .

With the inauguration of a one game playoff format , the Braves would have to face the St Louis Cardinals for the privilege of appearing in the NLDS . In between 2008 and 2012 , the two teams have met thirty-three times , with the St Louis Cardinals holding a significant 19-14 lead. In 2012 , their meetings show a significant turnaround , with Atlanta having defeated the Cardinals five out of the six times ( 5-1) that they have met . It would be easy to surmise that this bodes well for the postseason, should such a scenario materialize! The last meeting between the two teams in 2012 , was a hard-fought competitive game , which resulted in a 10-7 victory for the NL East —- team. The advantage would appear to favor the Atlanta Braves , but in a one game playoff format , just about anything can happen .So we might as well let the chips fall where they may , in such an instance and just hope for the best .

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Picture gallery .

In light of the new playoff format for the postseason , which in all likelihood will be tinkered with by baseball’s hierarchy. Do you ultimately believe that this change will of benefit to the game? Or do you simply see it all as just another make-shift idea of Bud Selig to simply create the perception that everyone is in with a chance ? And of the NL teams that will be vying for the NL pennant as the NL’s representative in the World Series , which of the ball-clubs do you believe to be the best and will be triumphant ? By all means do leave a comment as you see fit .

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Picture and slide show details below.
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(1) In this photo taken Sept. 25, 2012, Atlanta Braves’ Chipper Jones , right, celebrates after the Braves beat the Miami Marlins 4-3 in a baseball game in Atlanta, to clinch a playoff spot. With one last trip to the postseason assured, Jones is relishing the final days of his last season. Jones, who will be honored by the Braves before Friday night’s game against the Mets, says he is savoring the final days of his last regular season as he and his teammates look forward to the playoffs. AP Photo/David Goldman …..

(2) In this photo taken Sept. 25, 2012, Atlanta Braves’ Chipper Jones , right, celebrates with teammate Freddie Freeman after the Braves beat the Miami Marlins 4-3 in a baseball game in Atlanta, to clinch a playoff spot . With one last trip to the postseason assured, Jones is relishing the final days of his last season. Jones, who will be honored by the Braves before Friday night’s game against the Mets, says he is savoring the final days of his last regular season as he and his teammates look forward to the playoffs. AP Photo/David Goldman ……

(3) Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Paul Maholm (17) works against the Miami Marlins in the first inning of a baseball game in Atlanta, Wednesday, Sept. 26, 2012. AP Photo/John Bazemore … (4) Atlanta Braves relief pitcher Craig Kimbrel (46) works in the ninth inning of a baseball game against the Miami Marlins in Atlanta, Wednesday, Sept. 26, 2012. Kimbrel earned the save as Atlanta won 3-0. AP Photo/John Bazemore …….

(5) ATLANTA, GA – SEPTEMBER 26: A young fan shows off a sign in support of Chipper Jones (10) of the Atlanta Braves against the Miami Marlins at Turner Field on September 26, 2012 in Atlanta, Georgia. Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images ….

(6) Fredi Gonzalez tries on his Braves jersey as the team’s new manager. At the Wednesday press conference announcement, Gonzalez is flanked by (from L-R) team president John Schuerholz, general manager Frank Wren, and former manager Bobby Cox . Photo-Edgar Treiguts ….

(7) (L-R) Atlanta Braves President John Schuerholz , Atlanta Braves Chairman Emeritus Bill Bartholomay , Atlanta Braves Chairman & CEO Terry McGuirk , and Major League Baseball Living Legend, Hammerin’ Hank Aaron . Philip Moss / Atlanta Journal Constitution ….

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If at all interested do participate in the above mentioned poll.

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MLB news & press releases

MLB transactions

MLB standings & wildcard standings

One year ago today : MLB standings (divisional) & wildcard ———- schedule for 27th September 2011 and the resulting scores

MLB results

MLB team injuries

MLB schedule

MLB probable pitchers

MLB important dates & MLB postseason schedule 2012

This week in baseball history & chronological dates of significance

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Atlanta Braves’ news

Atlanta Braves’ profile & depth chart

Atlanta Braves’ front office

Atlanta Braves’ active roster

Atlanta Braves’ coaching staff

Atlanta Braves’ team payroll

Atlanta Braves’ net worth

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Forbes.com MLB team values and earnings

Author: tophatal ...........

An avid sports' fans that's all !!!!!

14 thoughts on “Giving it one last try ……”

  1. The one pleasing thing about this one game playoff format is that for teams riding in on the crest of a wave playing with a great deal of zeal as the season comes to an end it gives them that impetus and added momentum . The Braves should be thankful that they literally have the upper hand over the Cardinals this season .

    The Rays literally have played themselves out of contention by being too inconsistent this September , where as in September 2011 , they were literally playing lights out baseball on their way to the AL wildcard berth and the postseason .

    The wildcard standings in the AL have become so murky that this picture might not clear up until the final day of the season .

    Rays’ head to head games this season against their AL East rivals .

    Tophatal ……….

    Like

    1. Chris Humpherys (SportsChump)

      Get out a slide rule and a mathematical calculator , as that is what it may well take to figure things out when it comes to calculating who will end up with the second of the two AL wildcard berths. The Rays may well be winning , as of late , as are the other contenders , but I believe it to be , all too little , too late , at the end of the day.

      For the Rays to take that berth , is not only in their own hands but also in the hands of the other teams and how they do from now until the end of the regular season on the 3rd October . It’ll be fun to watch how differing scenarios play out over the remaining time-frame.

      MLB standings & wildcard standings .

      Rays’ head to head games this season . Their 85-70 with seven games remaining on their schedule , so let’s see what they can do in those remaining games .

      Tophatal …………..

      Like

    2. Chris Humpherys

      And another win for the Rays tonight with their 10-4 triumph over the White Sox . However the A’s also won , as did the Orioles . So the wildcard standings pretty much haven’t really changed . The same way in terms of the divisional standings overall .

      Unless there’s an implosion by the A’s , O’s and Yankees , then there isn’t a hope in hell of the Rays winning out . Like I said this scenario isn’t September of last year when the Red Sox —- imploded .

      Tophatal …….

      Like

  2. My Phillies are dead but we may finish above 500. The fun race is for last AL Wild card race between the Rays and A’s and the Angels

    Like

  3. I’m glad to see Chipper and the Braves back in the hunt for October. A one game playoff is an iffy proposition at best, but I do hope the Braves advance to the best of seven series and eventually the pennant.
    As improbable as it might be the Rays must win their last two series matchups to have a chance at the one game wild card playoff. It seems rumors of their death have been greatly exaggerated.
    Happy weekend my friend and good luck to the Braves and Rays. Cheers!

    Like

    1. aero

      I love what both the Braves and Rays have been able to achieve this season !

      But what is troubling to me has been the inconsistency shown b y both teams to close out games that have been well within their grasp during the season .

      I want to see the Rays pull it off , but I think it is all too little , too late , as of now ! The remainder of their schedule looks favorable and their head to head series with the teams they will be facing , hopefully will see them through.

      This just in , Raymond James Stadium will not be full, but the Glazers will be bringing in displaced workers from within the city to fill those seats for the game —- against the Redskins . LOL,LOL,LOL !!!!

      Buccaneers head-to-head series against the Redskins . The Buccaneers lead the Redskins 10-9 in the series

      Have a great weekend and my regards to you and the immediate family !

      Tophatal ……

      Like

  4. Anyone betting on a collapse during the playoffs?? And what teams will ??

    “my” Pirates collapsed as if on cue….wonder why they get worse as the season wears on….tired out?? Pitching really went south

    Like

    1. al clements

      That’s what makes baseball’s postseason more thrilling than any other of the three major sports in terms of their respective postseason.

      I can’t understand how the Pirates’ season could have spun out of control to the point once again where they’ll finish with a sub 500 record for something like the eleventh consecutive season . I feel for the players on the team because the ball-club’s GM Neal Huntington and the owner , Robert Nutting are too damn cheap to spend money on real talent . I think that long-term Andrew McCutchen may well seek to move on elsewhere ! In all honesty do you truly believe that the Pittsburgh Pirates are ambitious enough to win the World Series ?

      The inconsistency of the Pirates over the course of the season has been so befuddling , that it’s hard to understand how they could have fallen out of contention the way that they have .

      “Don’t worry, I love guys with “big sticks” who play for the Pirates ” !

      Tophatal …….

      Like

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