Originally created 09/14/03

Sheffield says Braves have been too laid back



MIAMI -- Atlanta Braves slugger Gary Sheffield says the team should be more upset about its mediocre record the past five weeks.

The Braves have had a big lead in the NL East race for months, and they're on the verge of winning their 12th consecutive division title. But a loss Saturday at Florida left them 21-20 since Aug. 1. They were 71-37 before that.

"The laid-back attitude - I don't really like it," Sheffield said before the game. "These games count."

Atlanta blew a 3-0 lead Friday against the Marlins, a potential postseason opponent.

"These games you want to win," Sheffield said. "They set the tone that we're the better team."

With the division title virtually assured, the Braves' biggest motivation in recent weeks has been earning home-field advantage in the playoffs. They have a 1 1/2 -game edge over NL West leader San Francisco.

"We need to try to get home-field advantage," Sheffield said. "I know I don't want to go to San Francisco in the cold."

Following Saturday's 8-3 loss, manager Bobby Cox said he was satisfied with the Braves' effort.

"We can't play any harder," he said. "We've just been giving up some runs we shouldn't be giving up."



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