Will anyone who wants to win the NL East please stand up? Anyone? Anyone? While the Braves have gone 0-8 on a (mostly) tough west coast trip, the Nationals haven’t exactly lit up the scoreboard against the dregs of the NL East. While they should have sealed up the division by this point, since the Braves have forgotten that the point of playing baseball is to try to win, the Nationals have gone 4-6 over their past ten games and are only 4 games up. Seriously, it’s as though the NL East title is poisonous and everyone is doing their best to try to stay well away from it.
The Braves finished up a winless eight-game road trip this afternoon (the only other Braves team to reach that level of futility was the 1949 Boston squad, so we got to witness history this week). Because the Nationals do not appear to be interested in the division title, the Braves will probably hang within striking distance for the rest of the season, winning just enough to fill us with false hope; however, I do not think any team can fully recover from an 0-8 road trip in August, unless they go into it with a double digit division lead. That trip hurt.
The offense managed to actually get three runs today, an anomaly for the past week. Freddie Freeman has been struggling mightily since the All-Star Game, but he went 3-for-4 today with two of the team’s three RBIs. The Braves actually took a 3-1 lead and with Julio Teheran on the mound it looked for one brief moment that the team might pull one game out on this trip. But Julio wasn’t very Julio-like today, and he gave the lead right back, ultimately giving up six runs over six innings. Very few offenses can overcome a performance like that from the starting pitcher, and for the Braves offense, with the way it has been operating, the task was impossible. A 7-3 final score brought this trip to a merciful end.
The Braves return home to lick their wounds and take on the Nationals this weekend. A sweep and we’re right back in it—did I mention how terrible this division is?—but then the Dodgers and A’s come to town, so it’s not exactly like this homestand offers much promise of relief. An off day on Thursday will feel very familiar, since it seems as though the Braves have taken the past nine days off, as well. I hope to be able to watch some real baseball again soon.