Admittedly, we were in a better mood about the Atlanta Braves on podcast recording day than we are now.
If nothing else, this weekend’s events should underscore with thick lines exactly what this Atlanta Braves team needs to do — immediately.
Three times in this weekend’s series, the Braves had the Rays — a club with the 4th-best record in the American League — against the ropes with leads handed off for the bullpen to protect.
On two occasions, they failed.
Those losses continue to pile up. Atlanta’s relief corps is now 11-22 on the year — the third most losses in baseball (only Arizona and Minnesota are tied or worse).
Is it overwork? Nope… before Sunday, they had 318 collective innings: the 10th fewest in baseball (and some of those teams have played fewer games).
Is it any one or two particular guys? No… 9 different relievers have losses on their records, though four of them (Will Smith, AJ Minter, Tyler Matzek, and Chris Martin) now have 3 or more apiece.
You might believe that the Braves should be just two games out of first place at this point. If you only consider the problems of this weekend, that’s true.
But let’s suppose that Atlanta’s bullpen had only the league average number of losses: 16. That would transform a 45-47 record into a 51-41 record… and easily have them in first place.
So yeah: that’s all we’re asking… an average performance in saving games. Nothing spectacular. Average is boring and a terrible thing to aspire to, but in this case it would be enough.
The opportunities have been there. But now we’re running out of days. Quickly.
About that Atlanta Braves podcast…
As noted, we were all a bit more upbeat on recording day. We felt better about the chances that Freddie Freeman might return next year and beyond. We kinda liked what happened in the draft.
We thought that the acquisition of Joc Pederson, while insufficient in-and-of itself, was a positive step and seemingly part of a plan to do more.
So we all agreed that the next most reasonable step to take was… to add better relievers.
I guess we were right.
The direct download link for listening to the entire upbeat session is here. The inline player is just below:
Your favorite podcast site already has this edition as well, if you’d prefer to check it out from there… heck, if you’ve subscribed then you already know this :).
Thanks for listening, and we hope that at some point — soon — this week that the Braves manage to figure out how to resolve this gaping wound… before it completely wrecks this season’s chances.