For the first time since I’ve been old enough to form a sentence, verbally or otherwise, I am closing the book on an Atlanta Braves season on the first weekend of September.
The perennial contenders have collapsed to a level so low in 2015 that they’re not worth talking about. Or even acknowledging, unless you’re doing it to point out that they’re historically bad.
Entering Friday night, the Braves had a 1-16 record in their last 17 games. They’ve been outscored by 164 runs this season, which is the worst in Major League Baseball.
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But MLB.com writer Mark Bowman has an even more telling stat that shows how low the Braves have gone. Prior to the last 7 games, the Braves had only allowed 15 or more earned runs in 10 games dating back to 1991. A total of 3,948 games had been played in that span.
In the last 7 games, they’ve allowed 15 or more earned runs three times, 43 percent of the games in that span, compared to .25 percent of the nearly 4,000 games from 1991 through last week.
Indeed, an era has ended – an era where the Braves were competent. We’ve been promised a quick return to decent baseball when SunTrust Park opens in 2017. From my chair, however, it’s tough to imagine this franchise competing for division titles just 24 months from now.
So here we are. One month left in the regular season, and the Atlanta Braves, of all teams, are likely to finish the year with the worst record in baseball. At least there’s a plan for the future, even if it means the franchise’s first 100-loss season since 1988 has to happen first.
But if that plan goes awry and these prospects are a disappointment …
See you in 2016, fellow Braves fans. If nothing else, we’ll have a stadium to bid farewell.
Photo: AP/John Bazemore