The first week-plus of the regular season has been highly frustrating for the Atlanta Braves. A lot of that is due to a weird run of bad luck.
There are no excuses for walks, hit batters, and errors, which have led to some of the Atlanta Braves early-season struggles.
Those are aspects of the game they can control, and Atlanta hasn’t done a great job of that at times.
But one thing that can’t be denied, is the Braves have been extremely unlucky on balls in play, both at the plate and on the mound.
These tweets from Buster Onley heading into Saturday’s game tell the story:
Atlanta’s hitters are hitting the ball harder than anyone in baseball, while their pitchers are giving up the least amount of hard hits. You would think that means this team is hot and winning a lot of games, but that’s not the case.
Even though the Braves are first in all of baseball with a hard-hit% of 38.5, they’re just 16th in batting average at .234.
And while the pitching staff leads the league with a 24.5% hard-hit% against, they have the seventh-worst batting average against (BAA) in baseball at .249.
That’s not how it’s supposed to work.
Sure, this is baseball and things are going to happen like that occasionally. But over the span of nine games! And it’s happening on both sides — offense and pitching — at the same time!’
Compare that to last year when the Dodgers’ pitching staff led baseball with a 29.3% hard-hit against% and were first in BAA at .205.
The Dodgers also led baseball with a 35.4% hard-hit rate, and were 11th in batting average at .244 and seventh in slugging at .429.
Nothing is more indicative of the early-season run of bad luck than the fifth inning of Friday night’s game against the San Diego Padres.
In the top of the 5th, Guillermo Heredia, Orlando Arcia, and Dansby Swanson all hit the ball 94.6 MPH or harder. Arcia and and Heredia had an expected batting average of .420 or higher on their hard-hit balls.
All three went for outs.
Then in the bottom of the fifth, Ha-Seong Kim got a bloop single hit at 74.5 MPH to drive in a run, and then with two outs Manny Machado hit at ball at 74.2 MPH for a double that tied the game.
Those sequences have been happening far too often for the Braves in 2022 and it needs to stop.
Maybe they used all their luck in that World Series run, and if this is the punishment for that, then so be it.
All you can do as a Braves fan right now is hope that the team keeps hitting and pitching like they are and these numbers even out over 162 — as they usually do.