Braves depart for western road trip after impressive series against AL's top team

Atlanta heads out west after an impressive weekend of baseball against one of the AL's best.
Cleveland Guardians v Atlanta Braves
Cleveland Guardians v Atlanta Braves / Kevin D. Liles/Atlanta Braves/GettyImages

The Atlanta Braves just completed one of the toughest series they will play all season. I doubt everyone expected the Guardians to be on the opposing end of that statement. However, Cleveland has proven to be one of the American League's best teams early on in 2024.

They are similar to the Braves with deep pitching depth and an offense that refuses to go away quietly. The final two games took extra innings to decide as both teams received incredible performances from their pitching staffs.

Atlanta was one hit away from sweeping the series but they will happily take a series win over the team with the second-best record in baseball. If that series is a potential World Series matchup for the Braves, it would be entertaining and anxiety-inducing. That's everything you could ever want from playoff baseball.

The Braves homestand went very well as they were 7-2 after contests with the Rangers, Marlins, and Guardians. They will take this momentum as they head out West to face a talented Mariners team in Seattle before heading to the City of Angels to face the dreaded Dodgers.

Jarred Kelenic will see his first action in Seattle since being traded to Atlanta in the offseason. He will hope to show them what they are missing out on as he has been a nice surprise for the Braves so far.

Braves depart for western road trip after impressive series against AL's top team

Pitching has been extremely impressive for the Braves lately as every starter in the rotation pitched six or more innings in their last starts. Most notably Max Fried threw a "Maddux" against the Marlins and Chris Sale has completed seven innings in three consecutive starts.

They've also gotten impressive performances from Reynaldo Lopez and Charlie Morton. Bryce Elder is the latest addition to that and he's done exactly what the team has needed from their fifth starter.

Atlanta's starters have the 10th-best ERA in baseball with a 3.72 and they will contend with the Mariners who have the sixth-best with a 3.44 ERA from their starting pitchers. The Braves also boast one of the best relief ERAs in baseball with a 3.46 ERA through 88.1 innings which has them eighth-best.

The offense will need to get to Seattle's starters if they hope to win. Seattle touts the best reliever ERA at 2.47 through 87.1 innings covered. They have a very talented bunch in their pitching rotation but their offense is a bit lackluster so far.

Their team batting average sits at .219 with 29 home runs and 101 RBI through 28 games. Over their last 10 games, they are batting .229 with 14 homers and 40 RBI which shows they are starting to figure things out. Overall they've been a bit disappointing offensively but have players who can bust out in a heartbeat including Julio Rodriguez, Ty France, and Mitch Haniger to name a few.

On the flip side, Seattle has to deal with an incredibly relentless Braves offense that leads the league in team average (.277) and OPS (.801) and has 29 home runs and 143 RBI. What's scary about the Braves offense is they are doing all this despite having low performance from three of their top bats.

Ronald Acuña Jr., Austin Riley, and Matt Olson are all struggling to get things going. Once they get things figured out, there's no telling how good this offense will be. Seattle will try their best to not let it happen during this series.

Probable starters for Braves vs. Mariners

Game 1: Max Fried (2-0, 4.97 ERA) vs. Bryce Miller (3-2, 2.22 ERA), 9:40 p.m. EST

Game 2: Reynaldo López (2-0, 0.72 ERA) vs. Luis Castillo (2-4, 4.15 ERA), 9:40 p.m. EST

Game 3: Chris Sale (3-1, 3.69 ERA) vs. Emerson Hancock (3-2, 5.06 ERA), 3:40 p.m. EST

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