Here are the top-5 things that must happen for the Braves to make the playoffs this year:
- Mark Teixeira must repeat the kind of performance he had in the second half last year (and the Braves, of course, must not trade him).
- Either Rafael Soriano, Tom Glavine, or -- heaven forbid -- Mike Hampton must return to our pitching staff and stay healthy and effective for the remainder of the season.
- Jeff Francoeur must hit with runners in scoring position (.198 BA w/RISP in the first half).
- The team must win twice as many one-run games as they lose in the second half; reversing the trend of losing more then three times as many one-run games as they won in the first half.
- Maturity and major league ability must come quickly to Charlie Morton, Jo-Jo Reyes, Brandon Jones and Brent Lillibridge. All three may be counted on to play important roles in the second half.
Oh, and one more thing... we need a lot of luck. The kind of luck and the kind of breaks we didn't get in the first half of the season. We currently have an 11.9% chance of making the playoffs, so if the Braves like being the underdog, they've certainly played themselves into that position.
And in case you were wondering, I actually wrote this piece yesterday afternoon before the AJC published their list of five.