The Atlanta Braves had another solid week this past week, winning three of seven games and posting their first shutout win of the season.
Atlanta began a four-game series against the Pittsburgh Pirates on Monday of last week in Atlanta. The Braves won the first two games in impressive fashion, but dropped the second two games of the series. Despite the two losses, Atlanta played well against the Pirates, especially when you take into account that Pittsburgh swept Atlanta in a three-game road series back in early April.
On Friday, Atlanta began a long road series with a three-game set against the San Francisco Giants. In the first game of the series, the Braves won, 2-0, posting their first shutout victory of the season. The Giants responded with a pair of wins on Saturday and Sunday.
Atlanta was scheduled to continue their long road trip earlier this week with a three-game series against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim before getting a much-needed day off today (Thursday). I don’t know how much of a day off it will be however as they’ll likely spend it traveling from California to Ohio, where they will begin a three-game series against the Reds in Cincinnati tomorrow (Friday).
Atlanta will return to the friendly confines of SunTrust Park on Monday with an important four-game series against National League East opponent, the Philadelphia Phillies. As of Monday morning, Atlanta was tied with the Mets for second place in the NL East standings. Four, solid wins against the Phillies this coming week will be a major shot in the arm for the Braves, especially if the division-leading Nationals lose a few.
For those of you keeping track at home, today (Thursday) will mark the first day off that Atlanta has had since May 11. Presuming that they played all three games against the Angels earlier this week, Atlanta will have played 20 days in a row prior to their day off today. Tomorrow will kick off 13 straight days off games that aren’t scheduled to end until Thurs., June 15.
Despite their lack of time off, Atlanta has played fairly well since May 11. Through Sunday, they’d won 10 of their games against seven losses with series victories over the Marlins, the Blue Jays and the Nationals. Don’t forget that they also spit their series against the Pirates, who have a pretty decent team.
The last game in the series against the Angels yesterday (Wednesday) marked the end of the May portion of Atlanta’s schedule, which means that the regular season is one-third of the way through. With that in mind, it’s a good time to note that the All-Star Break (July 10-13) is fast approaching, so now is a good time to cast your all-star ballot online.
To me, injured first baseman Freddie Freeman was a lock to make this year’s all-star team, but he likely won’t be able to play due to the effects of his broken left wrist. With him out of the picture, it’ll be interesting to see if any of the other Braves make the all-star cut. If I could pick only one, I’d cast my ballot for right fielder Nick Markakis.