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For the Braves to Make the Playoffs...

Here are the top-5 things that must happen for the Braves to make the playoffs this year:

  1. 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).
  2. 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.
  3. Jeff Francoeur must hit with runners in scoring position (.198 BA w/RISP in the first half).
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

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