If the managerial style of Bobby Cox can be summed up in one pithy phrase, it is this: "win the series." He, and his teams, figure if you take 2 out of 3 more often than not, you're going to be in the running for the title at the end of it all. He is, of course, absolutely correct. I very rarely find issue to argue with Cox' managerial tendencies. Even the bullpen usage. But for the next three games, I will suggest that the "win the series" strategy is good, but not optimal.
After today's travel day, the Braves open the final series of the "first half" in New York. Three against the second place Mets and then the All-Star break to rest up and recuperate a bit. In the absolute worst of case, the Braves get swept in Citi and go into the break tied for first in the NL East. Lose 2 of 3 and they take a one game lead into the break. Win 2 of 3 and the lead is 4.
But if they sweep the Mets...
Six games up on the second place team, be it the Mets alone or the Mets and Phillies (if the Reds get swept by PHL) is a commanding lead to open the second half. Make it so.