After watching their team stumble to an historic collapse last year to miss out on the playoffs, Atlanta Braves fans most likely have been looking forward to the end of this season with dread.
Some of those fears are coming true right now as the Braves have lost five of their past six games. Atlanta has dropped 6.5 games behind the Washington Nationals in the NL East with that slide, and the team's focus is going to have to turn to the wild card pretty soon.
In the wild card race, the Braves will be battling St. Louis, Pittsburgh, the Los Angeles Dodgers and Arizona for one of those spots. Atlanta is in good position right now in that race, 2.5 games ahead of the Cardinals, 3.5 ahead of the Pirates, 4 ahead of the Dodgers and 7 ahead of the Diamondbacks.
Realistically, the Braves are about where they should be in the standings. Atlanta has been a good team; it has the fifth best record in baseball, after all.
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The Braves, however, have beaten up on some of the bad teams: 9-3 each against Philadelphia and Miami. And they have been good against the other teams in the wild card race: 5-1 against St. Louis, 5-2 against Arizona, 2-2 against Pittsburgh and 3-3 against Los Angeles.
But the Braves have been awful (7-18) against the NL division leaders: 5-10 against Washington, 1-5 against Cincinnati and 1-3 against San Francisco (entering Friday).
The good thing for the Braves is that after this weekend, they only have three more games against those teams in a series against Washington.
Other than that, Atlanta has a pretty favorable schedule the rest of the way: three against San Diego, six against Philadelphia, four against Colorado, three against Milwaukee, six against Miami, six against the New York Mets and three against Pittsburgh. Of those teams, only Pittsburgh is in the hunt to do anything the rest of the season.