Atlanta Braves eliminated from playoff contention


It’s over.

The Atlanta Braves have been swooning for weeks, but on Sunday afternoon, the cruel reality manifested itself, as the team has been officially eliminated from playoff contention. The Pittsburgh Pirates upended in the Milwaukee Brewers earlier in the afternoon, and just minutes later, the Braves were beaten by the New York Mets, completing a disastrous sweep by a 10-2 margin.

On the field, it has become “business as usual” to see the Braves fall behind early, and Sunday afternoon was no different. Mets outfielder Matt den Dekker led off the game with a double against Ervin Santana, and he was quickly brought to the plate thanks to two “productive” outs by Wilmer Flores and Daniel Murphy. The second inning brought a similar result, as singles by Curtis Granderson and Anthony Recker set up an RBI sacrifice fly from Ruben Tejada, and what seemed like a blink of an eye, Atlanta was trailing by a 2-0 margin.

Sadly, that wasn’t nearly the end of the negative news, as the Mets busted things open in the top of the fourth against Santana. With one out, Granderson drew a walk, and Kirk Nieuwenhuis followed that with a double to left that placed runners on second and third. Then, Atlanta’s catcher, Christian Bethancourt, allowed the third run of the game on a passed ball, the aforementioned Anthony Recker brought the fourth run to the plate with a sac fly, and for good measure, Ruben Tejada blasted a solo home run to give New York a 5-run lead.

The white flag was flying at that stage, and offensively, Mets starting pitcher Jacob deGrom carried a no-hitter through four innings. Fortunately, Justin Upton broke that bid up with a single (that was lengthened to a “double” with the help of an error) to lead off the fifth, and after another single/error combination, Andrelton Simmons got Atlanta on the board with an RBI groundout. The Braves would tack on an additional run via a bases loaded walk issued by deGrom, but to be frank, it never seemed like Atlanta was really “in the game”.

In short, the offense was, once again, inept and Ervin Santana simply didn’t have his “A-game” on a day where he desperately needed it to keep up with deGrom and the Mets. The remainder of the season will be a simple case of “playing out the string”, and with the recent news that a front office shake-up could be imminent, it could be a period of tremendous overhaul.

Either way, meaningful baseball is no more with regard to the 2014 season. Goodnight, Atlanta.