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Braves most masochistic good team ever?

The Braves are perhaps the most abused very good team in the history of the game.

Updated: September 12, 2003, 12:07 PM ET
By By Jim Baker | MLB Insider
As George Carlin used to say, "here are some scores:" 15-6, 14-4, 17-1, 18-5, 16-2, 12-5 and 20-1. Looks like somebody has been getting their butts whooped up on pretty regular-like doesn't it? Who might that be -- one of the poor unfortunates crawling along the bottom of baseball's tank, absorbing everybody else's abuse?

No, it's the front-running Atlanta Braves, perhaps the most abused very good team in the history of the game. That's a rather broad statement so let me define my terms and focus on the expansion era. The Braves lost to the Phillies 18-5 on Tuesday night, putting their winning percentage for the year at .628. That's a pretty good clip. Since 1961, only 26 teams have played that well, not including strike seasons. Of those 26, how many were knocked around in as many individual games like the Braves have been this year?

To qualify as getting "knocked around" in this regard, the opponent must get into double figures while the team in question must score fewer than 10 runs. For example, a 17-11 loss doesn't count. To qualify, a team must have absorbed at least five such beatings. A few are eliminated from contention immediately by dint of the fact that they didn't succumb to enough double-figure dosings. The '86 Mets allowed 10-plus runs only three times; ditto the '74 Dodgers and '77 Royals. The '98 Astros were so gutted only twice. Consider that this year's Braves have been beaten in this fashion no less than nine times and you realize what we're dealing with here. Here are their five worst beatings this year:

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