Braves' newest and arguably greatest nemesis revealed himself during sweep by Dodgers

The Braves got demolished over the weekend by the Dodgers and one man was behind a whole lot of the damage.

May 4, 2024; Los Angeles, California, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers designated hitter Shohei Ohtani (17)
May 4, 2024; Los Angeles, California, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers designated hitter Shohei Ohtani (17) / Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

There is a long and storied history of certain players seemingly having a life mission of destroying the Atlanta Braves. It seemed like Ryan Howard homered in every game he played against the Braves when he was with the Phillies. Mike Piazza was basically the only reason why the Mets were even a relevant consideration for Atlanta during his playing days. More recently, Trea Turner and Bryce Harper have given the Braves fits and even Lane Thomas has proven to be a tough guy for Atlanta to handle in key moments.

However, a new name has entered the fray in the wake of the Dodgers sweeping the Braves over the weekend. The good news is that is wasn't former Brave Freddie Freeman or the all-world Mookie Betts although both of those guys are still problematic. The bad news is that the guy that emerged as a true Braves killer was Shohei Ohtani who also happens to be probably the best hitter in baseball right now.

Shohei Ohtani's dominance of Braves could end up being a huge problem

During the Braves' three game road series against the Dodgers, Ohtani went 8-12 with three homers and six RBI. While there are a lot of reasons why that series went sideways for Atlanta and some of them were self-inflicted, Ohtani was the biggest threat by far. Given that Ohtani is under contract with the Dodgers for a long, long time, that presents a serious problem if they can't figure out how to contain him.

Up until recently, the Braves only had to face Ohtani a few times a year and there was little risk of encountering him in the playoffs as the Angels couldn't seem to do much right while he played for them. However, Ohtani is now on the Braves' biggest rival in the National League in LA and, most importantly, he looks unstoppable right now.

Containing Ohtani is obviously easier said than done. While Ohtani did lay waste to the Braves over the weekend, it isn't like he hasn't been a problem for every team that LA has faced this year. Amongst all qualified hitters in baseball in 2024, Ohtani ranks in the top 5 or better in fWAR (2.0), wRC+ (195), slugging (.633), and OPS (1.044). While ALL of his value right now comes from his bat since he doesn't play the field as a DH and can't pitch right now, he has still been a one-man wrecking crew this season.

One must be careful to not draw too many conclusions from a single series. The Braves have historically not played well on west coast road trips and a crummy three game series in May isn't a death sentence. However, Ohtani's performance against the Braves this weekend could be the beginning of him being yet another nemesis that the Braves have to deal with. Based on what that guy can do on a baseball field when he gets going, he could end up being the Braves' biggest one, too.

More Braves News from House That Hank Built