For all of the attention being paid to the Boston Red Sox and their so called collapse, there’s a team in trouble in the National League that looked to be just as sure of a bet for the postseason.

By the time the St. Louis Cardinals and San Francisco Giants had fallen off the pace in their respective divsions, the Atlanta Braves were on cruise control and it seemed to be a given that once again, there would be two representatives of the National League East in the 2011 post season. 23 games later, a 9-14 record from the Braves has allowed the Cardinals and Giants within striking distance.

Things got even rougher on the Braves last night when rookie closer extraordinaire Craig Kimbrel was within a single strike of earning his 46th save of the season until former Braves middle infielder Omar Infante hit a two run home run for the Florida Marlins, giving them a walk off win in the ninth inning.

Meanwhile, in Philadelphia, the Cardinals withstood a ninth inning rally from the Phillies to beat the home team 4-3, and bring them within the 2.5 games of the Braves for the WIld Card. The Giants, who had Monday off, are now only 3.5 games back. However, Atlanta have eight games left to play while St. Louis and San Francisco both have nine games remaining.

Like the Red Sox, the Braves have had to deal with a rash of injuries occurring with their starting pitching. However, Tommy Hanson will start a rehab game on Friday, while the Braves won’t expect to see Jair Jurrjens unless the team advances into at least the second round of the playoffs.

And The Rest

Today in shocking and appalling: Vernon Wells will not opt out of his contract because he loves Los Angeles and he believes that maybe it’s just society that . . . well, I couldn’t even begin to tell you what he’s getting at with those comments. Aside: I remember in first year university that every argument included some mention of “society.”

Florida Marlins outfielder Mike Stanton’s 33rd home run of the season was as expected, terrifying.

Two Moneyball links. It drops Friday.

Questions, answers, thoughts and comments on comparing players across position.

Tom Tango looks at two important questions: 1) Is where you hit in the lineup conducive to a better performance; and 2) Is where you play conducive to a better batting performance?

I can’t take my eyes off the Sports Illustrated cover. FIP is just such a sexy stat.

Kerry Wood would rather retire than play in a uniform that isn’t the Chicago Cubs.

I’m pretty sure that the Arizona Diamondbacks just called up the best pitcher in their bullpen.

And the number one ranked pitcher in the world is . . .

Nope, not lame at all. Definitely not.