At one point not so long ago, Braves fans were genuinely concerned that they’d watch the 2016 squad fall so flat on its collective face that they’d lose more games than any other team in Major League Baseball history.
Just a few months later, it appears that’s not going to happen. After a 5-5 road trip that concluded with a very lopsided loss to the Washington Nationals Sunday afternoon, the Braves have posted a 44-74 record for the first 118 games. On their current pace, the Braves would win 60 games and lose 102 times in 2016 – their worst season since 1988 and a tie with the 1906 Boston Beaneaters for seventh-most in franchise history.
Clearly, a 60-102 record would still be a huge failure of a season. But when you consider that this team, earlier in the season, was well on its way to topping(?) the 1962 New York Mets’ 40-120 record for the worst in MLB history, 60-102 doesn’t seem all that bad.
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At this point, it would take a colossal collapse in the final month and a half of the season to break the Mets’ 54-year-old record. If that Mets team played in the 2016 National League East, the Braves would be 13.5 games ahead of them; on Aug. 14, 1962, New York’s record was 30-87.
The Braves have started August with a 7-6 record, and if they can go .500 the rest of the month, it’ll be their first month with a winning record this season. They’ll soon get catcher Tyler Flowers and ace Julio Teheran back from the disabled list. And their addition of star outfielder Matt Kemp shows they’re hellbent on beginning that long, uphill climb from rock-bottom where the franchise resided for the first half of this season.
Again, this is still probably a 100-loss team. But Braves fans should breathe a sigh of relief in knowing that at their worst, at least this team will not become a worldwide punchline for decades. They’ll never be the ’62 Mets, and that’s a good thing.
Photo: AP/Alex BrandonFollow @Sean_Breslin