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Series Preview: Braves At Phillies

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This utterly disappointing season will finally reach its close this weekend in the city of broken dreams: Philadelphia. Will the Braves at least go out with some pride?

Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Now, I'm not going to sit here and say that I'm happy that baseball season is ending. I know for a fact that there's gonna come a time in around December or January where I'm either gonna be on youtube or mlb.com desperately searching for some classic baseball clips to get my fill in since I can't just flip on MLB.TV and watch some random live game. As much as I enjoy other sports, there's just something about baseball that magnetizes me to the game. I love big league baseball and I'm going to miss it terribly once the season is over.

With that being said, I could not be any happier to see this season end for the Braves. To say that this past month has been a disastrous one for the team would be an understatement. Going into this month, the team was right in the thick of it as far as the Wild Card race was concerned. Now we've come to the point where after last night's debacle, the Braves are now guaranteed to have a losing season. Considering the expectations coming into this season, there's no other way to say it: This season has been a total and comprehensive failure.

While the Braves' failure of a season came as a surprise, the Phillies are basically right where they should be: At the bottom of this division with a poorly constructed team. While Frank Wren received the ax earlier this week, Ruben Amaro is probably somewhere busy trying to convince Chase Utley and Jimmy Rollins to sign 3-year deals since they've still got plenty left in the tank. Now to be fair, Utley and Rollins (the latter of whom has been shut down for this final series with a hamstring issue) have actually had productive seasons this year (Utley's 4.1 fWAR and Rollins 3.6 fWAR are the top 2 numbers on the team. They're both 35 years old.), but you know he's probably going to have the same talk with Ryan Howard, who despite hitting 22 HRs this season (2nd only to Carlos Ruiz's 25 dingers) is still on track to have the worst full season of his career. There's still 2 years and $50M left on that contract! But, that's the state of the Phillies right now: Where the players who are nearing 40 years of age are leading the team while the youngsters are lollygagging about, and there's no feasible way for the Phillies to fix this. I'm well aware of the fact that I'm throwing stones out of a glass house right now, but those rocks are currently rifling a house made out of straw.

Speaking of things made with fragile resources, the Phillies rotation would also qualify as a straw house. You know things have gotten bad for you when Jerome Williams was brought into the fold as a starter. He'll be starting tonight's contest, while the Braves will send Ervin Santana to the mound. Poor Ervin Santana. The man was basically begging for the offense to do something last week. Now we have to see whether or not the bats will actually reward him with some run support on his final outing of the season. Then on Saturday, we'll have a real barnburner of a pitching duel on our hands: Aaron Harang vs. A.J. Burnett! Cancel all of your weekend plans right now because you certainly don't want to miss this one. The season finale will pit Alex Wood vs. Cole Hamels, which actually could be a really good pitching matchup, mainly because both teams may struggle to score 3 runs, combined.

Man, listen: It's hard to get excited about 3 completely meaningless games. The only silver-lining is that the next time the Braves begin a series, it'll be in 2015 when the games actually count and there's new optimism for a brand new season that has yet to be ruined or sullied in any form. But for now, there's 3 games left. If you choose to sit through them to the bitter end, then great. I'll enjoy the company. If not, then I totally understand, and let me be the first to wish you an awesome and wonderful weekend full of fantastic things that include avoiding the 2014 Braves at all costs.

PROBABLE STARTERS

Friday, September 26th at 7:05 PM EST

Ervin Santana (ATL): 14-10, 3.88 ERA, 3.42 FIP, 9.0% HR/FB%, 2.7 fWAR
Vs.
Jerome Williams (PHI): 6-7, 4.71 ERA, 4.12 FIP, 2.89 BB/9, 0.3 fWAR

Saturday, September 27th at 7:05 PM EST

Aaron Harang (ATL): 11-12, 3.60 ERA, 3.53 FIP, 0.64 HR/9, 2.5 fWAR
Vs.
A.J. Burnett (PHI): 8-17, 4.57 ERA, 4.07 FIP, 0.78 HR/9, 1.2 fWAR

Sunday, September 28th at 1:35 PM EST

Alex Wood (ATL): 11-11, 2.78 ERA, 3.25 FIP, 8.91 K/9, 2.5 fWAR
Vs.
Cole Hamels (PHI): 9-8, 2.47 ERA, 3.04 FIP, 8.74 K/9, 3.7 fWAR