The Atlanta Braves were mathematically eliminated from postseason play after falling to the Mets, 10-2, Sunday, coupled with the Pirates defeating the Brewers. Only in a statistically oriented game like baseball does this have much significance because we all knew it was going to happen. We just weren’t sure when. So it happened on September 21.
The Braves entered that Sunday with a slim shot of rallying for a wild card berth but had been out of contention — both mathematically and otherwise — in the NL East for several weeks.
Their division hopes officially ended with the loss to the first-place Washington Nationals on Sept. 15.
Atlanta experienced a rapid drop-off that saw them go 17-28 between July 29 and Sept. 16. The team navigated through multiple injuries to its starting rotation and bullpen to post a 54-44 record through 96 games, good enough for a share of the division lead on July 20. Strong pitching was the main reason; the Braves’ 108 ERA+ ranked second behind only the Nationals 124 and the team benefited from the breakout campaigns of fellow 23-year-olds Julio Teheran and Alex Wood.
The Braves’ big problem was offense. Andrelton Simmons, Chris Johnson and B.J. Upton all received significant playing time despite posting on-base percentages under .300. That contributed to the team getting well-below-average production from its second basemen, shortstops, third basemen and center fielders.