ATLANTA - A franchise known for its postseason flops switched to fast-forward this time. The Atlanta Braves went ahead and blew it before the playoffs.
Joining the Boston Red Sox in a pair of unprecedented September flops, the Braves spent Thursday cleaning out their lockers rather than packing for an NL division series that seemed all but certain just a few weeks ago.
Atlanta had a 10½-game lead on St. Louis in late August. The margin was still 8½ games the first week of September. But the pitching faded, and the offense that had been a problem all year was finally exposed.
No wonder reliever Jonny Venters says he didn't get much sleep after the dramatic final game, a 13-inning loss to Philadelphia that ended the season.