It has been almost a month since my last look-in on the Atlanta Braves, and since that April 24th loss to the Colorado Rockies the team has had its share of highlights as well as several games they would definitely like to forget. During this time the team has had twenty-two games and was able to post a respectable 10-12 record, leaving the team at 25-18 with a 2 game lead over the Nationals in the NL East.
I mentioned before this long strand of games that the team would be facing some of the most talented teams in Major League Baseball and would undoubtedly have several disheartening outings during this time, a statement that was proving immediately in the Braves’ three-game series against the defending AL Champion Detroit Tigers. The Tigers made quick work of Atlanta’s smash-mouth offense, outscoring the Braves 25-7 while recording 39 strikeouts against their counterparts who call Turner Field home, making it painfully obvious that good pitching is fully capable of beating good hitting.
While the Tigers series as well as the team’s three games against the World Series champion San Francisco Giants (outscored 26-10 with just one victory) were disheartening, the Braves were able to get the job done several times over the last seven series, winning or splitting four of the series. The most impressive series during this time by far was the last against the Los Angeles Dodgers, which saw Atlanta pull out two come-from-behind wins on their way to a sweep of a Dodgers team that now sits at eight games below .500. Although the rainy nights in Georgia over the past three days may have created a distraction and difficulties for the Braves for a good portion of the games, Justin Upton, Evan Gattis and Company were able to produce just enough thunder with their bats to help Atlanta piece together their first winning streak since May 9th.
The Braves must now prepare for another long streak of games without a day to sit back and catch their breaths, as the team will play every day until Thursday, June 13th, which will see Atlanta play twenty-three games against seven different opponents (Twins, Mets, Blue Jays, Nationals, Pirates, Dodgers, and Padres). Fortunately for Atlanta, five of these seven teams sit under .500 on the season; If that doesn’t have this Braves roster ready to roll, the fact that two of the seven teams are in the bottom ten teams in home runs allowed (Toronto ranks 2nd with 54 dingers allowed, San Diego ranks 9th with 50).
Stat of the Week: 11. The Braves have failed to score first in their last eleven outings, which could explain why the team has a 5-6 record over that period of time. If Atlanta wants to continue to hold onto their NL East lead, the offense must give their starting pitchers some support via early game runs.