The Braves at 20
The ’82 team won its first 13. This year’s version dropped its first four. After 20, the ’82 Braves had just two more wins than the current squad. In the ’82 team’s 20th game, Joe Cowley pitched 7 shutout innings to secure win No. 15, aided by homers from Murph and Horner. Biff Pocoroba slugged two doubles among his three hits en route to a 3-0 victory over Fergie Jenkins and the Cubs before 8,802 at Fulco.
The 2011 Bravos were 8-12. They lost Game 20 to the Dodgers when Fredi foolishly let C. Martinez pitch to Matt Kemp. Game over. Chipper led the local nine in hitting with a .275 BA; this year’s line-up boasts four starters with a higher average. Nate McLouth struck out three times and RF Matt “I never hit a ball out of the IF” Young finished 0-for-5. Linebrink gave up a run in 2/3 of an inning.
The ’95 Braves didn’t play their 20th game until May 16th, thanks to the strike. Chipper, the Crime Dog and Justice combined for 11 hits and 8 RBI en route to a 15-3 rout of the Rockies, improving the world champion-to-be’s record to 11-9. The late Mike Sharperson drove in 2 with a double and the late Jose Oliva hit his 4th homer for Bobby’s boys. Three future Braves — Walt Weiss, the Big Cat and Vinny Castilla — started for the Rockies.
Arguably the best Braves team of them all, the ’93 version, was also 11-9 after 20. Their 20th game was played prior to the Crime Dog trade, hence the loss to Omar Oliveras.
(Actually, the ’07 Braves were also 13-7, but they finished with only 84 wins. Ending with the ’99 Braves makes for a more optimistic narrative.)