Friday night['s] 6-0 victory against the Phillies at sold-out Veterans Stadium [was] the 100th of the season for the Braves and manager Bobby Cox.* Cox joined Joe McCarthy as the only managers in history with six 100-win seasons and tied Casey Stengel for ninth on the career list with 1,905 victories. McCarthy's came in the '30s and '40s with the Yankees.Indeed, given some questionable offseason moves--including the release of their best pitcher from last year, Kevin Millwood, as well as future Hall of Famer Tom Glavine, not to mention the season-ending injury to projected #2 starter Paul Byrd--and the slow start, I thought the Braves would be lucky to get a Wild Card berth. Their turnaround and offensive production were remarkable. All the more so given that they were a virtual lock for the playoffs six weeks ago and thus had little incentive to do much.
A paid crowd of 58,096 -- give or take several thousand no-shows -- witnessed the sort of milestones most of them probably didn't have in mind when they bought tickets months ago for the final series at soon-to-be-imploded Veterans Stadium.
Back then, the Phillies faithful thought this series could determine the NL East title.
Instead, their lads were eliminated from wild-card contention Thursday at Florida, and the Braves have been in control of the division since midsummer. The Braves have won at least 100 games in five of the past seven seasons, and in six of the past 10 completed seasons.
The Braves went 16-18 with a 4.20 ERA and scored fewer than five runs per game from Aug. 9 to Sept. 13, but are 8-3 with a 2.22 ERA and nearly 6 1/2 runs per game since.
*JJ note: Cox served a 2-game suspension this past week. I don't know if he gets official credit for those games and can't recall whether the Braves won them.