Thursday, May 11, 2017

Atlanta Braves look to bounce back in three-game series against Marlins

The Atlanta Braves had a rough week this past week.

Since Monday of last week, they’ve won one game and have lost five, all in their new home stadium, SunTrust Park. They went 1-2 in a series against division rival New York Mets and were swept by the St. Louis Cardinals.

Against the Mets, they dropped the first game of the series, 7-5, but rebounded to win the next day, 9-7. New York won the third game of the series, 16-5. They were supposed to have played a fourth game against the Mets last Thursday, but that game was rained out, which is probably a good thing for the Braves, who looked like they needed a rest. As of Monday, a make-up date for that game had not been announced.

Usually a day off helps recharge a team, but it didn’t do much for the Braves. On Friday, the Cardinals beat them, 10-0, handing the Braves just their second shutout of the season. St. Louis won Saturday night, 5-3, in 14 innings and edged out the Braves, 4-3, on Sunday.

As hard as it is for a Braves fan to admit, the series against St. Louis was telling as was Atlanta’s April 18-20 series against the Washington Nationals. St. Louis and Washington both appear to be among the cream of the crop this year, and if you watched those games closely, it’s clear that Atlanta doesn’t have the pitching to hang with the best teams in the league.

Atlanta’s Julio Tehran is a good pitcher and is touted as Atlanta’s ace. However, he’s been getting tagged pretty hard this year, and the Cardinals had a field day against him on Saturday night. In fact, it was so bad that some are saying that Tehran may have some kind of “tell,” that is, he’s doing something that lets opposing hitters know what type of pitch he’s about to throw. Major League players are experts at picking up such tendencies, so it’s not out of the realm of possibility that he’s tipping off his pitches.

With that said, I try to keep things on the positive side, and while the Braves are still in last place in the National League East standings, they are not the worst team in the Big Leagues. As of Monday, the Braves were 11-18 overall, with a winning percentage of .379. Teams with lower winnings percentages included the San Diego Padres (.375), the Toronto Blue Jays (.355), the San Francisco Giants (.344) and the Kansas City Royals (.333).

Atlanta had the day off Monday, but were scheduled to travel to Houston to play the Astros on Tuesday and yesterday (Wednesday). They’ll have today (Thursday) off and will travel to Miami for a three-game series against the division rival Marlins tomorrow (Friday), Saturday and Sunday.
Earlier this season, on April 11-12, the Braves split a two-game series against the Marlins in Miami. Atlanta dropped the first game of that series, 8-4, but rebounded to win the second, 5-4.

In the end, if you’re a Braves fan, keep your chin up. They’ve still got over 100 games left on their schedule and there’s still about five months to go in the season. If the Braves can make a few adjustments and keep playing hard, they might be able to slip into the playoffs as a Wild Card.

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