Deja vu again for Atlanta Braves offense in clinching defeat


There are few things in baseball worse than watching your chief rival celebrate on your own field, but that is the feeling of despair that befit Atlanta Braves players and fans on Tuesday night at Turner Field. It certainly was not a surprise to see the Washington Nationals, who have been the far better team during the 2014 season, claiming the NL East title behind Tanner Roark and company, but once again, it was the offense that went utterly silent for Atlanta, and that certainly brought a feeling of deja vu.

The Braves managed just five hits (and no walks) against the trio of Roark, Tyler Clippard and Drew Storen, and frankly, there was little optimism for the offense throughout the night. In fact, there was a familiar refrain when Ian Desmond blasted a two-run home run off of Aaron Harang in the sixth inning.

Game over.

Obviously, a 2-run deficit is not the actual “end” of any baseball game, but with the way that the offense has performed, that is the sentiment expressed by any diehard fan at the sight of any deficit at this point. It was actually painful to watch Harang, who has exceeded any rational expectation and his $1 million salary to post a 3.68 ERA over more than 190 innings, and realize that he simply couldn’t be “perfect” enough to give this offense a chance.

It is fitting that Tuesday’s miserable defeat actually sends the team below the .500 mark of the season, and while there is still faint hope despite a 5.5-game deficit in the Wild Card standings thanks to a four-game set on the horizon against the Pittsburgh Pirates, no one wants to hold tight to the possibility of resurgence. Tuesday night’s offense deployed by Fredi Gonzalez saw four hitters with sub-.300 on-base percentages (in addition to Phil Gosselin being Phil Gosselin in the lead-off spot), and even on a night where the starting pitcher was very good, it didn’t matter.

These are your 2014 Atlanta Braves.