Atlanta Braves lineup divide hurts but they remain in the race

Kyle Muller of the Atlanta Braves pitches in the second inning against the New York Mets. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
Kyle Muller of the Atlanta Braves pitches in the second inning against the New York Mets. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images) /
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Atlanta Braves
Lots of highs and lows for this Atlanta Braves team. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports /

The Atlanta Braves split of Monday’s doubleheader, followed by a blowout win, is a microcosm of the team’s Jekyll and Hyde season.

The Atlanta Braves allowed one run in 14 innings Monday night and split a doubleheader with the Mets. It wasn’t pitching that let them down; Kyle Muller continues to look like a big part of the team’s future, and manager Brain Snitker got Bryse Wilson out of the game before he imploded.

Swanson’s defense saved the Braves in game one. The two double plays he pulled out of thin air kept the Mets off the board and secured the victory as the Braves got ten hits off Marcus Stroman, but game two proved just how ineffective, and inconsistent the lineup is this year.

Despite Luke Walker giving up a double that allowed a run to score, the bullpen did its job. If your lineup can’t beat another team’s bullpen — and the Mets bullpen is at best mediocre — your roster has a problem.

The Mets bullpen held the Braves lineup to four hits in game two, a Joc Pederson single, a pair of singles from Austin Riley, and a single from Dansby Swanson (all in the first 3-1/3 innings), was all the offense they could muster.

The game was over after the fly ball went over Guillermo Heredia’s head in center field because after a team gets past the top four batters, the lineup offers little threat after Swanson.

Your shortstop isn’t as bad as you may think.

Before you start screaming how awful Swanson is, take a deep breath. Since the calendar flipped to July, he’s batting .281/.333/.528/.861 with four homers and ten doubles.

On the season, Swanson’s 25 doubles lead NL shortstops and put him second among all shortstops in MLB. His 17 homers are seventh among MLB shortstops and fifth among NL shortstops (Eugenio shows up on the SS list. but played third base twice as often as SS).

Dansby should hit sixth or seventh in the lineup, not second. He’s done well hitting down in the lineup, but he faced an impossible task Monday night. Anything less than a home run in the seventh inning of game two meant the game was over; with Edwin Diaz throwing 100 mph fastballs, no one hitting behind had much of a chance.