Atlanta Braves Clinch Postseason Berth on Walk-off Homer by Freddie Freeman

Ian Hanford@Ian_HanfordFeatured ColumnistSeptember 25, 2012

September 25, 2012; Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman (5) is dunked after hitting a two-run walk off home run in the ninth inning against the Miami Marlins at Turner Field. The Braves won 4-3 to clinch a playoff berth. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Shirey-US PRESSWIRE
Daniel Shirey-US PRESSWIRE

Atlanta Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman didn't just hit a two-run walk-off home run to beat the Miami Marlins 4-3 Tuesday night; he clinched a National League wild-card berth for his team.

Freeman's towering shot to dead-center field couldn't have been more fitting. Not only did it clear the wall, but it scored Chipper Jones from third base. Jones is in his final season with the team and making his final postseason run.

This latest outcome was just another domino in a torrid hot streak for Atlanta. They have won eight of their last 10 games, utilizing excellent pitching for the entire month of September. This isn't a team you want to play in October. They're no longer coached by the legendary Bobby Cox, but their winning ways have not subsided in the least.

The Braves don't boast one of the league's most prolific offenses. Instead, they rely on a stable of reliable arms. As a team, they're sixth in the majors in ERA (3.52). Opponents are hitting under .250 against Atlanta's arms and it doesn't even seem to matter much which pitcher they put on the mound.

Mike Minor, Tim Hudson and Tommy Hanson are all double-digit winners in the Braves starting rotation. Throw in nine-game winner Kris Medlen and you have yourself one of baseball's deepest staffs.

If those guys fail, Atlanta turns to Craig Kimbrel and Eric O'Flaherty. Both are among the best at what they do, with sub-2.00 ERAs out of the bullpen.

Freddie Freeman's 22nd home run on Tuesday night puts him at second on the team, trailing only Jason Heyward's 27. The Braves lineup doesn't pop balls over the fence frequently, but their offense is timely.

Atlanta will be a force in October and their season couldn't have found a more perfect ending. The Washington Nationals made their quest for a NL East crown extremely difficult, but that doesn't mean this team can't make a World Series run.

Freeman's two-run bomb was an epic clincher of a special season. Jones is heading for a fitting sendoff and the Braves won't go down easy.