With the series loss to Washington over the weekend the Braves record moves to six games under .500 and 6.5 games behind the Phillies and Mets for the division lead. While 6.5 games to make up in the standings with two months to play is not unthinkable or unheard of, the real question at this point is what will it take for the Braves to make up that ground and make the playoffs. To answer that question we have to take a realistic look at what the Braves need to do in their remaining 64 games.
One of the Braves core philosphies under Bobby Cox has been to focus on winning series, be they three-game series or four-game series. If the Braves can be perfect in that philosophy for the remainder of the year then our record at the end of the season would be 90-and-72 (that would mean we won every three game series 2-1 and every four game series 3-1). In two of the past three years, 89 and 90 wins have been good enough to win the NL East, so certainly in this scenario 90 wins may be good enough for the division crown.
If we split each of the four, four-game series we have left for the remainder of the year our record at the end of the season would be 86-and-76, which might be good enough for the division lead, especially as much as each team in the NL East plays each other during the rest of the season.
We also have a chance to do damage to the division leaders first hand as we play each team in front of us -- Floriday, New York, and Philladelphia -- nine times in the second half. We'll get to see immediately how this team will respond to this challenge -- and how this team responds to the challenges of playing on the road in the second half -- when we head down to Flordia and then up to Philladelphia for three games apiece over the next seven days.
Despite the "possibility" still being alive for the Braves to make the post-season, the reality that there really is no chance is becoming more apparent each game (and each loss to teams we should be beating). At the start of play in the second half, we had an 11.9% chance of making the post-seasons this year. After losing the series to the Washington Nationals over the weekend those chances have dwindled to 6.6%.
The odds are against us, and certainly luck has not been on our side. It seems that making the playoffs is a pretty far-fetched idea at this point; an idea which may have run its course. While the possibility still exists for the Braves to make a post-season appearance, the amount of things that have to go right are so numerous that the possibility of that happening is pretty rare. If we can win some series... but that's the big IF, and it certainly hasn't been happening with regularity.
Realistically, we won't win every series for the remainder of the year, so realistically, we don't really have a chance.