As of Saturday morning, the Braves had lost four of five. Their lead in the National League was 2-1/2 games. As of Wednesday morning, their lead is 6-1/2. They’ve won four in a row and essentially put Philadelphia to bed.
Not that the Phillies haven’t had a hand in their demise. They’re 6-16 since Aug. 17. They’re now closer to third place – they’re 1-1/2 games ahead of Washington – and are no lock to finish above .500. (At 81-64, the Braves cannot finish below .500.) Philly has been outscored by 16 runs on the season. Its team batting average is .238, third-worst in a 15-team league.
The Phillies lost a doubleheader to Washington, which is playing out a frayed string, on Tuesday. The Braves won 4-1 in San Francisco for a second consecutive night. Sean Newcomb did the honors Monday; it was Mike Foltynewicz’s turn this time.
The past four days have settled a race that, to be honest, hadn’t seemed much of a race for a while. The Braves are simply better than Philadelphia. The numbers told us so, and now the standings do, too.
The Braves’ magic number is 12, down from 15 only 24 hours ago. They play again today in San Fran. The season’s final homestand begins Friday. It spans 10 games. The final four will come against the Phillies. There’s a real chance the Braves will be division champs by the time they leave SunTrust Park to finish the regular season. Things are moving at warp speed. This is really happening.