September 19, 2002

This could be Atlanta's year.: ESPN's Tim Kurkjian says the Braves could win the World Series this year. (I say they're the Minnesota Vikings of baseball.)

posted by kirkaracha to baseball at 09:57 PM - 5 comments

OK, seriously, I think the Braves' pitching staff over their 12-year run is one of the best, if not the best, in the history of baseball, but Bobby Cox is a bad post-season manager. Kurkjian (no relation) points out their improved hitting and Smoltz' very successful move to closer as encouraging signs, but are they enough?

posted by kirkaracha at 09:59 PM on September 19, 2002

I think a better comparison is to the early '90s Buffalo Bills, a team that accomplished an unprecedented run of success (four straight Super Bowls) that will never be properly appreciated because they lost all four.

posted by rcade at 07:26 AM on September 20, 2002

I can easily say that this is the best bullpen Atlanta has had over their twelve year run. Cox's failings in past postseasons (or the main failing anyway) has been sticking with his starters a bit too long because the bullpen was always weak. That's not a problem this year, so I think their chance do improve based on that alone. John Smoltz has also become one of the best, if not the best, closer in the game this year. The addition of Gary Sheffield helps as well. I always liked Brian Jordan (and Fred McGriff and Andres Galarraga) but I wouldn't say he would inspire fear in a big post-season series if the game was on the line. Gary does--the Braves can attest to that from the 1997 NLCS. All that said, I'll still believe it when I see it. My 2002 World Series fantasy? John Smoltz strikes out Torii Hunter in the bottom of the ninth with a knuckleball.

posted by trox at 08:27 AM on September 20, 2002

I think that the Braves do have a real shot this year, and Trox, you made the best points for their chances. John Smoltz has given the Braves the closer they have wanted since beginning their run in 1991, and Gary Sheffield has inspired the Braves to better run production. However, I think that the Angels or the A's could be the ones hoisting the hardware in late October. The Yankees aren't as dominating as they have been, and they could go out in the divisional series. My pick: A's to beat the Braves in seven games. And this coming from a long-time Braves fan. While I have faith in Atlanta, I just do not see anyone beating either the A's or the Angels in the postseason. I give the A's the edge over the Angels in the ALCS, while the Braves will beat the Diamondbacks in the NLCS.

posted by jasonbondshow at 04:30 PM on September 21, 2002

ATL's problem this post season will be no different than in seasons past. Not enough offense. They have three good hitters. That's it. I think you can easily pitch around Sheffield & The Joneses and dare the Francos and Blancos and Castillas of the team to beat you. They won't. Braves lose again. And again scratch their heads as to why they lose games 3-2. 2-1. However, as a life-long Braves fan (well, since '80), I'd like to think the team will be remembered in a more favorable light than the Bills or the Vikings. After all, they did win _one_ Series. And their near dominance -- 11 years and going -- is almost 3 times as long as the Bills string of also-rans. That has to count for something, right?

posted by herc at 10:23 PM on September 22, 2002

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