It may be that this Atlanta Braves team is starting to develop some consistency in both hitting and pitching. Not a moment too soon.
If you think that the Atlanta Braves are about to parlay their weekend outburst of success into a string of consecutive wins to take over the NL East for good… then maybe a quick ice bucket of reality needs to be applied.
It could happen, sure: but a peek at the schedule for the next 15 days…. heck, expand that to 5 weeks, really… and you’d have to admit that the road ahead is going to be a bit treacherous.
Let’s mark it down — here’s what’s coming:
- RED SOX (2 games)
- METS (3 games)
- NATIONALS (4 games)
- DODGERS (3 games)
- PHILLIES (3 games)
That takes us through June 10. But wait… there’s more:
- MARLINS (never particularly easy – 3 games)
- RED SOX (2 more games)
- CARDINALS (4 games)
- METS (3 games)
- REDS (Finally — a slight breather? 4 games)
- METS (3 games)
That’s through July 1st. Afterward — depending on what you think about the Marlins — the Fish appear on the schedule twice more for 6 games before the All-Star break.
Atlanta Braves look-ahead
So let’s break this down a bit:
With Boston, the goal is simply to win once in each mini-series… don’t get swept. The Braves pummeled Boston last year, so perhaps that’s a good vibe to think about going in. Charlie Morton will start the 1st game in Boston, and it’s a place he’s definitely familiar with, so there’s good reason to hope for at least a split there.
The Mets are still banged up, and there’s a “TBD” listed for one of their pitching assignments. It would be nice to take a couple of games from them.
The Nationals… again: the goal is a split (2/2), but don’t let them take 3 games… and the schedule suggests that the Braves will face Ross, Strasburg, Corbin, and Lester… missing Max Scherzer.
The Dodger series will be a test, no doubt: as far as can be projected today, it looks like the opposing pitchers could be Urias, Kershaw, and Bauer. Fun times.
Right now, the Phillies are struggling: J.T. Realmuto is currently out and Bryce Harper is whiffing. But this matchup is another 2+ weeks away, so things could certainly change… though there is a sense of vulnerability here.
So in these next 15 games… how would you define “success”? A record of no worse than 7-8? 8-7 would put Atlanta at the .500 mark — finally — and could actually be enough to get them into first place.
The next 19 games after that are — on balance — looking a little easier, but still with trouble possible at every turn. 10-9 would be good; 11-8 or better would be excellent.
In all seriousness, the hope for this stretch into July is to “maintain” — maintain focus, maintain momentum, and maintain consistency.
It will be like playoff baseball for many of these contests, and the Braves will have to treat it that way: doing the fundamentals right, making the opponents earn their runs, and playing solid defense.
By and large, the hitters have been working pitchers better in recent days. That will need to continue. Likewise, our pitchers will just need to keep doing the successful things they’ve been doing over the past week+.
The schedule lightens up a bit in July and August before going nuts in September, so the days to make a move in the standings will have to wait until mid-Summer.
Until then… hold on and keep on. The road ahead is bumpy.