Why the Braves don't win more championships.

It's quite simple, really. It comes down to managerial skills. Bobby Cox, simply put, is an excellent regular season manager, but is a horrible postseason manager. Why? Let's examine...

The reason that the Atlanta Braves have been remarkably successful this past decade is due almost solely to pitching. Oh, they've had their hitters - 1999 MVP Chipper Jones, 1993 batting champ Terry Pendleton - but they've always had at least four great pitchers, whether it be Tom Glavine, John Smoltz, Greg Maddux, Kevin Milwood, Steve Avery, etc. When you have four great pitchers and a fifth serviceable one, you will win a majority of your games simply because most other teams only have one great pitcher, and your chances of facing him are slim. Even when you do face the best that opposition has to offer, you've got an 80% chance that one of your best is out there, too.

Because of this, you would expect that the Braves win a majority of their games by large margins. You would be incorrect in assuming this. Earl Weaver once said that pitching, defense, and three-run homers won baseball games. Cox seems to disagree with the third element.

Bobby Cox manages baseball in a way that some people call 'from station to station'. That is to say he micromanages - lots of bunts, sacrifice flies, hit and runs, etc. Now being in the National League requires you to do a number of these things more often than you normally would, simply because the pitcher bats in the NL, but Cox generally goes overboard, and as a result, the Braves have a ton of one run innings. And why not? You've got pitchers with sub-3 ERAs, so all you need is three or four runs a game and you're winning 100 games a year.

Fast forward to the playoffs. Now you're playing a condensed schedule, and you're only using three starters. Your advantage isn't as great. By the time you reach the World Series, you're facing a team with three great pitchers as well, and this one run shit isn't going to cut it. Add on to that the fact that you're facing some of the best hitters from the other league, and your pitchers are in trouble.

Now because their starting rotation is so great, the Braves of the past didn't care who was relieving (it's changed after recent post-season humiliation). They'd get comfortably ahead, and if Maddux and the gang ran out of gas, they'd throw in Joe Reliever, let him give up a run or two, and still win 3-2 or 4-2. No big deal. In the playoffs, Joe Reliever has to pitch more, because starters don't last as long, and Joe Reliever gets destroyed. Add to that the fact that the AL team has a DH who's had 500 at-bats waiting on the bench to pinch-hit for the pitcher, and Joe Reliever's in ever more trouble.

Yet Cox continues to manage the same way every year. And every year they get pistol-whipped. What is it, ten straight games they've lost to the Yankees? Maybe it's time to rethink that strategy...