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Friday, August 27, 2010

D.O.W.: The Braves' Rocky Mountain meltdown (and ultimate fate)

Cox wasnt ejected on Wednesday afternoon, but he probably wouldnt have minded it
  • Cox wasn't ejected on Wednesday afternoon, but he probably wouldn't have minded it

Braves broadcaster Joe Simpson summed up Wednesday afternoon's ballgame between Atlanta and the Colorado Rockies perfectly.

After the Braves jumped out to a 10-1 lead in the third inning, Colorado would go on to score 11 unanswered runs and ultimately win the game.

Referencing the squandered nine-run lead, Simpson stated:

"It was fun while it lasted."

Ironically enough, the same can now be said about the 2010 Atlanta Braves season as all of the things that had gone so well for this team over the past five months inexplicably went so terribly wrong in just three hours and 22 minutes.

The Braves hit early—notching 11 hits and scoring 10 runs in the game's first three innings, but couldn't late—going 3-for-21 over the final six innings.

Jair Jurrjens pitched like he had a 90-run lead—not nine.

Peter Moylan threw 12 pitches without recording an out—giving up a hit, a walk and a run.

The unhittable Jonny Venters was hittable.

And Kyle Farnsworth was, well, Kyle Farnsworth.

Atrocious pitching and insufficient hitting—both foreign occurrences for Atlanta in 2010 until Wednesday—led to one of the most deflating results in recent memory.

Wednesday's implosion was more than just a tie for the largest blown lead in the franchise's 129-year history. More than just an embarrassing end to a 2-4 road trip and a three-game sweep. More than just a missed opportunity to increase a dwindling division lead over the second-place Phillies.

It was the culmination of an entire season of exceeded expectations and improbable luck.

First-year starter Martin Prado, a 20-year-old kid and some guy named Omar Infante made the All-Star team.

The production—or lack thereof—from anyone manning first base for the Braves has been relatively inconsequential.

Tim Hudson's 35-year-old right arm has benefited from a 2-year-old elbow and all three are combining for Huddy's best season of his 12-year career.

Career journeyman Brooks Conrad has done his best Babe Ruth impression this season as the Braves have won a league-high 21 games in their final at-bat—which is basically another way of saying that Atlanta could theoretically have at least 10 more losses.

But despite all of that good fortune, the Braves still find themselves with a scant lead of just three games over the scuffling Phillies who were just swept at home by a Houston Astros team that is 11 games under .500—thus, adding to the Braves inconceivable fortuity.

Losing a game after leading by nine runs might be easy to mull over early in the season—similar to the Braves' nine-game losing streak back in April—but with September just a few days away, this is not the time to be showing your true colors.

Let's face it folks, the 2010 Atlanta Braves aren't as good as we want them to be—even though their record may suggest otherwise—and although it's been nice to fantasize about a return to mid-90s glory when Atlanta was the center of the baseball universe, it appears that the Braves' luck is running out.

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