The All Star Break look of the 2014 Braves held so much promise. The Braves had survived horrific injuries to the starting rotation in the Spring and still found themselves firmly in the NL playoff picture. Then a run of .333 ball leaves this team loking for answers.
The trade deadline brought no jolt to the foundation of the club. The question is did they think they were good enough without anything but a tweak? It may have been a major error. It may also have been a statement that they are building for 2015 and beyond.
The Braves collapse is far from a death sentence. It also has exposed this team for what it has become. The Braves offense can't create enough breathing room for young pitchers to thrive. The team seems lost for stretches at the plate and many are questioning the leadership void.
This is the most critical 8 game stretch of the Fredi Gonzalez adminstration. It is a week where the Braves can play themselves back in or out of the race for the playoffs. The challenge is steep and it is important to remember that expectations were high for this club.
I predicted 88 wins out of Spring Training. It still seems like a workable number. The difference is that 88 wins won't be good enough to punch a wild card ticket as I expected.
Go 5-3 for the rest of the homestand and the rac is on. If this team has a losing week, the 2014 season will be just a fight for survival.