After Thursday’s loss to the Giants, the Braves are now 71-54 on the season. They’ve lost five out of their last six games. They are now 6.5 games back of the Nationals in the NL East and still lead the Wildcard, but now they are only 2.5 games up on the second team St. Louis. The Cardinals have a one game lead on Pittsburgh and 1.5 game advantage on the Dodgers. The Wildcard is a four-team race right now for two spots.
Atlanta is now 27-33 against teams with a winning record. They are 5-1 against St. Louis, but take them away and they’re 22-32 against the other winning teams. The Braves are 7-18 against National League division leaders. They’re 5-10 against Washington, 1-5 against Cincinnati and 1-3 against the Giants.
The Braves have 37 games left in the regular season. Nine of those games are against teams with a winning record. They’ve got three left with San Francisco this weekend, then three against the Nationals in Atlanta in mid-September, and then wrap up the regular season in early October against Pittsburgh. So there are 28 games left against teams with losing records, which should help matters since the Braves are 44-21 against teams with losing records.
If you’re getting frustrated by the Braves team this season, don’t worry. Change is on the way. Atlanta has at least $46.37 million coming off the books after this year. So the offseason will be full of activity. Here’s a list of the players whose contracts are up at the end of this season:
Chipper Jones - $14.0 million
Derek Lowe - $10.0
Michael Bourn - $6.845
Jair Jurrjens - $5.5 (will be non-tendered)
Matt Diaz - $2.0
Ben Sheets - $2.0
David Ross - $1.625
Eric Hinske - $1.5
Livan Hernandez - $1.0
Jack Wilson - $1.0
Chad Durbin - $0.9
The Braves could also not pick up the options for Tim Hudson (who makes $9 mil this season) and Brian McCann ($8.5). That would free up an additional $17.5 million. But that is unlikely on both players.
It will, however, still create tremendous flexibility this winter for the Braves to make improvements. That and the pitching depth that will allow for one or two starting pitchers to be made available will make it an interesting offseason.
The Braves promoted right-hander John Cornely to High-A Lynchburg on Thursday and he got into his first game for the Hillcats Thursday night against Winston-Salem. It was a pretty good debut, as he pitched two scoreless innings and struck out five.
Cornely has pitched in 40 games this season, the first 39 obviously in Low-A Rome. He’s got a 3.38 ERA and has allowed 46 hits in 53.1 innings. He’s got 36 walks and 86 strikeouts. That’s enough to get you on the radar as a prospect as a reliever.
The 23-year-old Cornely was Atlanta’s 15th round pick out of Wofford last year. He put up big strikeout numbers last year in Danville, fanning 50 in 33 innings. So he’s now got 136 strikeouts in 86.1 pro innings. We’ll see if the Braves push Cornely up to AA Mississippi to start the 2013 season.
Listen to “The Bill Shanks Show” from 3-6 p.m. weekdays on WPLA Fox Sports 1670 AM in Macon and online at www.foxsports1670.com. Follow Bill on twitter @BillShanks and email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.