There are some hopeful signs. Fifty-two of the Braves" losses in '88 were by one or two runs. Reliever Bruce Sutter is healthy again and should save a few of those games. And many of the young players improved during their baptism by fire last year. "I'm not sure I'd want my own sons to go through that," says Evans. "But they'll be better players for it."
Do the Braves have any chance to escape the cellar? They'll be better, and they may even nip at the Astros' heels, but not even the front office expects much improvement. The Braves won't even bother to send out an advance scout this year to study opponents. No advance scout, no advance.
[This article contains a table. Please see hardcopy of magazine or PDF.]