Philadelphia at Atlanta

Braves-Phils postponed; consecutive titles streak officially over

CBS wire reports

ATLANTA -- There was little emotion from players or management Tuesday as the Atlanta Braves got ready for their streak of division titles to end.

"We've known about it for some time," third baseman Chipper Jones said.

Tuesday night's scheduled game between the Braves and Philadelphia Phillies was postponed due to rain, sparing the Braves the task of watching the Mets-Marlins scores posted on the scoreboard throughout the night.

New York's 6-4 win in a game delayed twice by rain eliminated the Braves from the NL East race, ending their string of 14 straight division championships.

The Braves and Phillies will make up the game as part of a doubleheader Wednesday, starting at 4:35 p.m. It will be the third doubleheader between the teams this season.

The Braves are five games under .500 and they began the day 19 games behind the first-place Mets, so the interest for Atlanta long ago shifted to the wild-card race.

The Braves' playoff hopes are slim. They are five games behind wild-card leader San Diego with 19 games left in the season.

"The margin for error is very small," Braves manager Bobby Cox said Tuesday. "The players know that, and they're going to keep giving it their best shot."

There were comments in both clubhouses that Atlanta's unprecedented run of division championships should be celebrated.

"I think people forget sometimes how hard it is to win," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. "I think when you look up there and see 14 flags, I would call that better than good. Great, maybe. Then I look over and say, 'If they don't make it, I don't feel sorry for them.'"

Braves general manager John Schuerholz said the end of the run of division titles, which began in 1991 and excludes the 1994 strike-shortened season, is not reason to dismantle the team.

"The spirit of the organization isn't broken, nor is the mechanism that has built this grand run over 15 years broken," Schuerholz said. "It just needs a tuneup."

Added Schuerholz: "There are a lot of mechanics."

Schuerholz said he believes some fans couldn't fully appreciate the streak while it continued.

"I think this streak will look more grand and will stand more strongly at its end than it was appreciated in the middle," he said.

"It was a sort of a sameness to many people. I think looking back it will shine more brightly. It will be more grand. It will stand more proudly in the eyes of the people who understand baseball."

Jones said more time may have to pass before the 14-year streak can be placed in perspective.

"It probably won't be properly recognized for 10 or 20 years from now, but we can't do anything about that," Jones said.

Meanwhile, Jones said credit this season goes to the Mets.

"They've played well," he said. "They've played better than us.

"When they go out and stick it to you, you just have to tip your cap to them."

Tuesday's postponement came after the Braves took three of four from the Chicago Cubs to open a 10-game homestand. After three games with the Phillies, the Braves host Florida in a weekend series. The Phillies and Marlins are ahead of Atlanta in the wild-card standings.

Second-year Braves outfielder Jeff Francoeur was giving no thought to the end of the streak as he focused on the team's wild-card hopes.

"We're going to play as hard as we can the next six games and see what happens," he said.

Even if the Braves don't make the playoffs, Manuel said they should not be overlooked in 2007.

"I think if they get eliminated, I bet they bounce back next year," he said.

Atlanta's Kyle Davies (2-5) and Philadelphia's Randy Wolf (3-0), who were set to pitch Tuesday night, are scheduled for Wednesday's first game. The Braves' Tim Hudson (12-10) and the Phillies' Jon Lieber (7-9) will pitch the second game.

There was only a light rain falling late Tuesday afternoon, but forecasters were predicting heavier rain through the night.


  • Phillies LHP Arthur Rhodes had an MRI on Monday that showed a small tear in the flexor tendon of his left elbow but no structural damage to the ligament.
  • Atlanta 1B Adam LaRoche, held out Monday due to a strained right hamstring, was not in Tuesday's lineup. Scott Thorman was listed as the starter. Before the postponement, LaRoche said he wanted to test the hamstring and possibly try to talk his way into the lineup.
  • Manuel planned to rest LF Pat Burrell on Tuesday and Wednesday. Burrell is 1-for-12 in three games on the road trip. "I think he's trying too hard. I think he's pressing," Manuel said. David Dellucci was in the lineup in left field, joined by CF Shane Victorino and RF Jeff Conine.
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