So is it over?
The Braves lost to the Los Angeles Dodgers 6-4 Thursday. If you missed the almost-too-perfect inglorious ending, here's a free link to my column on the game .
In brief, Justin Upton had to leave the game with a strained hamstring. His lesser brother B.J., who had been benched from the starting lineup because he's hitting .209, was sent in as a pinch runner. He stayed in the game, and, of course, wound up being the key at-bat in the ninth inning. With runners on second and third base, B.J., batting in Justin's spot, struck out.
The strikeout numbers on The Lesser Upton are staggering: He now has 301 in less than two full seasons. With 150 strikeouts already this season, he's on pace for 201, which would set a franchise record. The only happy guy would be Dan Uggla, who owns the current mark of 168.
The Braves have lost 12 of their last 15 and they're a season-high six games behind first place Washington in the National League East. At 61-60 and with 41 games left, the Braves' elimination number is 37.
Tim Williams, a talented cartoonist and passionate Atlanta sports fan, has weighed in with his thoughts on the Braves' season in the above cartoon of a fat lady -- wearing a Braves' hat and holding a tomahawk -- singing. For more of Tim's work, you can go to TimWilliamsArt.net or follow him on Twitter @TimWilliamsArt.
This isn't going out on a limb but I'd guess Tim's right. The Braves are cooked in the East. Their best hope is to win one of the two National League wild card berths, and that's not going to be easy. They're three games out , trail three teams (St. Louis Pittsburgh, San Francisco) altogether and are playing the worst of the six teams realistically pursuing the two spots (Cardinals, Pirates, Giants, Braves, Cincinnati, Miami).
The schedule doesn't get easier. The Braves open a weekend series tonight against the Oakland A's, who at 73-48 have the best record in the majors (73-48).
The A's' run differential this season: plus-168.
The Braves' run differential this season: minus-4.
Is that singing I hear?