In a perfect world I would have talked with Scott Coleman of Talking Chop about the dead heat between the Phillies and Braves. Sadly that’s not the case. But there is still plenty to discuss about the Braves. For instance, why does every Braves affiliated site have to perpetuate the politically incorrect usage of Native American imagery? The Tomahawk chop during games is bad enough, but where will the madness end?
In all seriousness i have very little issue with the Braves and their “affiliation” with Native Americans. After all, aren’t the Cleveland Indians the worst offenders? But I digress, the following is my Q & A with Tomahawk Chop writer Scott Coleman strictly about baseball, I promise.
1) The Braves are in the driver’s seat to make the playoffs. Does it really matter if they don’t catch the Nationals in the division?
I absolutely think catching the Nationals is important. With the one-game wildcard playoff now in effect, no team is going to want to face a one-game elimination setting after a brutal 162-game season. Since the Braves lack a typical ace atop their rotation, the last thing I want is nine innings separating the club from elimination before they even have a chance in the NLDS.
2) Speaking of the Nationals, does sitting Stephen Strasburg give the Braves enough of an edge to catch them?
Shutting down Strasburg would be beneficial to the Braves’ chances, but I think they can catch the Nats anyway. Aside from the fact that the only three games remaining between the two clubs will be played at Turner Field, Washington has a much harder schedule. They play seven against St. Louis, three against the Dodgers, six with the Phillies and the afore mentioned three in Atlanta.
On the other hand, the Braves have just one series against a team with a .500+ record: the Pirates. And that’s not until the final series of the year.
3) Its been a emotional ride for Chipper’s retirement tour all season long. Are there any year end tribute plans from the Braves at the end of the year? Maybe a hunting trip?
The Braves will have a ceremony for Chipper over the final weekend — the last Saturday home game, I believe — but not much more has been said besides that. I’m sure the club will do something, but they’ll probably keep it under wraps until later in September.
4) Former Phillie Michael Bourn has been one of the best leadoff hitters in the NL this year. WIll he be a former Brave starting next year?
Bourn has been one of the best players in the game this season based on WAR, and he’s about to become a very rich man. Unless he dumps Scott Boras and settles for a home town discount, Bourn won’t be in Atlanta next season. Given the annual $15M+ estimates I’ve seen, I’d think Philadelphia, San Francisco and D.C. are the most likely fits.
Or maybe the Dodgers.
5) Kris Medlen has been nearly un-hittable of late. Is he hear to stay or just a flash in the pan?
Medlen was really good in 2010 before needing Tommy John Surgery, so this recent surge wasn’t too unexpected. Is he the sub-one ERA guy he’s been since joining the rotation last month? Probably not. But he certainly has the stuff and command to be a solid No. 3 starter for a long time.
6) He’s still young, but can we call Craig Kimbrel’s season the best of any Braves closer?
I’d say so. John Smoltz’s 2003 season as the closer was pretty remarkable, as was Kimbrel’s rookie year in 2011, but he has somehow managed to only get better this season. His K/9 of 16.13 is the best in baseball, as is his FIP of 0.80. It’s to the point now where anything less than three strikeouts is considered a disappointment. The kid is just unreal on the mound.