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The sweep of our hated rivals, the Phillies was as sweet a way to clinch the division as there is. Sweeping the Mets would also qualify. The fourth division title in as many years is now the longest active streak in Major League Baseball, after the San Francisco Giants ended the Dodgers National League West streak this past Sunday. Giving the Braves the longest active division title streak as well as the longest streak, period; with their 14 straight in 1990’s & 2000’s.
Eighteen division titles, between the two streaks. One World Series Championship. One. Seventeen postseason trips that ended in an eliminating loss.
As Braves fans, we very well may be spoiled. We own the two longest streaks, discussed above, as well as the most division titles in MLB history with twenty-one.
So why are Braves fans so hungry for more success? Look at the history, what could they possibly complain about? Are we spoiled?
The Braves 1995 World Series title was the only Championship the Braves have won in MLB’s modern-era with divisions. The other two titles were won in 1914 & 1957. No one reading this was alive to witness the first of the three, and only a handful of you were alive to see the second in 1957. The Braves own MLB’s largest postseason berths:Championship discrepancy. They’ve been to the postseason the most out of any team (division-era) and won the least amount of titles (one).
It’s almost worse that our team has been good enough to go to the postseason so many times. I’d gladly trade any number of those division titles for two to four World Series Championships in my lifetime. It’s almost cruel how closely I’ve followed the Braves my whole life, and how much love I have for them; how much the result of their game determines my mood until the next game. And I’ve never experienced a World Series Championship. I was three years old when they won their last title, before I was able to remember it.
All that to say: the Division Title is nice & worthy of celebration, but is no longer enough. It’s World Series or bust every season until World Series is the result.
Alex Anthopoulos signed Charlie Morton this offseason with the postseason in mind. Joc, Soler, & Duvall is a better outfield than Duvall, Pache & Markakis (excluding Acuña because he’s out with injury). The infield is made up of the same players, but performing at higher level than 2020. The bullpen is really the only downgrade from 2020. Most of last season’s arms are still here, just haven’t been as effective as the 2020 season.
All in all though, with how this team is playing right now I would give them the edge over the 2020 Braves; primarily because of offense. An offense that’s going to have to crack the Brew Crew code. Milwaukee will be the toughest pitching staff Atlanta faces, no matter how deep of a run they make.
One Brave to keep an eye on: Spencer Strider. If he’s on the postseason roster, look for him to make an impact on the mound. He’s done nothing short of dominate at every level of MiLB this season. The Clemson product already earned his first MLB win this weekend against the Mets, his first season in professional baseball.