Atlanta Braves highs and lows on the way to 81 games

ATLANTA, GA - JULY 05: Ian Anderson #36 of the Atlanta Braves pitches against the St. Louis Cardinals in the first inning at Truist Park on July 5, 2022 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Brett Davis/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GA - JULY 05: Ian Anderson #36 of the Atlanta Braves pitches against the St. Louis Cardinals in the first inning at Truist Park on July 5, 2022 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Brett Davis/Getty Images) /
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Atlanta Braves relief pitcher Kenley Jansen says he’ll return from the IL as soon as he’s eligible. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports /

Despite their 21-6 record in June, everything the Atlanta Braves did wasn’t golden.

Bullpen roulette

The Braves started the season with a bullpen that looked like it could become the best in baseball. Games aren’t played on paper, and relief pitching is notoriously fragile.

The Atlanta Braves signed Kenley Jansen to lock down the ninth inning, but four teams picked that lock, and the three base runners he has inherited have all scored.

AJ Minter’s blown two of his four save opportunities and allowed five of his 12 inherited runners to score. Likewise, Will “two-pack” Smith blew three saves in eight chances and allowed five of his 12 inherited runners to score.

Collin McHugh had five meltdown innings and blew all four of his save opportunities, Tyler Matzek spent weeks on the IL with a dead arm, and Darren O’Day was used in too many leverage situations.

When you hear yourself saying, thank heavens for Jesse Chavez in the eighth inning, the bullpen has issues, no matter what their combined ERA says.

Bats you can’t depend on

The Atlanta Braves’ expensive DH Marcell Ozuna is batting .227/.280/.418/.698 with an 88 OPS+. His .303 wOBA, 90 wRC+, and –0.4 fWAR place him dead last among 30 qualified DHs and 151st of 155 qualified batters. He’s been better lately, but the Braves need him to hit like it’s 2020.

Adam Duvall is batting .205/.272/.376/.649 with a 76 OPS+. His .285 wOBA, 78 wRC+, and 0.4 fWAR tie him to 130th of 155 qualified batters.

Most surprisingly, Ozzie Albies was batting only .244/.289/.405/.694 with a 98 OPS+ with a .301 wOBA, 89 wRC+, and 1.1 fWAR buoyed by his defense. We had an injury update on Ozzie Tuesday night.