By Jeffery Armstrong
Tuesday night, the Atlanta Braves lost 2-0 to the Arizona Diamondbacks and lethal lefty pitcher Randy Johnson. Johnson, 40 years old, pitched a complete game at Turner Field n 27 Braves came up to bat and 27 Braves were sent down without a hit. It was a masterful pitching performance and one thing came to my mind after the game was over and Johnson's happy teammates mobbed him.
I might be wrong, but Atlanta may not only end up not winning the National League East but they might end up with a losing record. Could the Braves be headed back to the not-so-good ol' days before the worst-to-first magical summer of 1991? I think it might happen.
The Braves have injuries for sure which has taken the potency out of their lineup. And yes, they're not hitting the ball at this early part of the season. But they really don't look so good right now. Even Chipper Jones, who was 10-for-24 with several homers against "The Big Unit" (Johnson), looked pretty weak last night. And the other supposed big gun in the lineup, Andruw Jones, hasn't done too much at all the entire season, much less during Tuesday night's game. And chances are, Andruw won't do much during the rest of the year, except make diving catches on a few shallow fly balls. Woo-hoo! Ken Griffey, Jr. can still do that and he's been "injured man walking" for years.
Andruw Jones has the potential to be the next David Justice but he plays more like a Supreme Court Justice. Andruw's has-been play, a patchwork offensive lineup and the fact that the pitching staff can't seem to get wins are the reasons the Braves may head back to the days from 1985 to 1990, when they were probably the most terrible baseball team in the major leagues.
You Braves fans remember those teams, don't you? The ones with Pascual Perez, Claudell Washington, Bob Horner, Dale Murphy and others who couldn't buy wins to save their collective lives. I remember those teams. I remember getting upset because TBS would show those guys lose almost every Saturday at 6 p.m., limiting World Championship Wrestling to one hour instead of its usual two-hour format. Magnum T.A. would be on the cusp of defeating Ric Flair for the NWA heavyweight championship when the program had to break away to show Braves baseball. ("We'll see you next week, wrestling fans! It's time to switch to Braves baseball n America's Team!").
The years from 1985 to 1990 were arguably the worst periods in Braves history. Check these records out: 66-96 (1985), 72-89 (1986), 69-92 (1987), 54-106 (1988), 63-97 (1989), 65-97 (1990). Yuck. They were terrible and there were always thousands of people disguised as empty seats at old Atlanta Fulton County stadium.
With Tuesday's new low for the Braves, it looks like not-so-happy days are here again. I'm not a big Braves fan, but I would like to see them pull it together and not go through another 1985-90 stretch. Fans don't support the team now; imagine if they go through that mess again.
Jeffery Armstrong is a sports writer for the Daily and his column appears on Thursdays. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.