“You don’t really know your team completely until around the All-Star break.”
That’s what has been preached to Braves fans all season long. All season, fans have awaited for that big winning streak that would bring all things back to normal.
However, it still hasn’t happened.
While no one wants to make excuses, there are plenty of reason for the different issues that have plagued this team. A rare slow start for the defending NL MVP Freddie Freeman, inconsistent results from an injury-plagued rotation, lack of bullpen depth and execution and injuries to your starting catcher and off-the-field issues with your starting let fielder (both whom won NL Silver Slugger Awards in 2020)
Even with all of those issues, this team finds itself only 4 1/2 games out of first place in the NL East. The division-leading Mets have had ample chances to run away, but can’t find consistent offense to do so. The Phillies have seen large chunks of their entire roster land on the injured list. Washington has dealt with injuries and a weird year from young star Juan Soto. And then you have the Marlins who are still trying to find their way offensively, while a young pitching staff is taking their lumps.
That being said, the Braves still have a chance to win this thing. It will take a lot and some execution, but time is about to start running out for the Braves to put together a solid two-to-three week run. In order to be in the position to sit at the buyer’s table on July 31st, Atlanta will need to navigate successfully through the next two weeks of their schedule before the all-star break.
Heading into Tuesday’s matchup the Braves will host the division-leading Mets for three, before finishing the homestand with the visiting Marlins. Atlanta will then head to Pittsburgh to face the Pirates who hold the second-worst record in the National League, before closing out the first half with a three-game road trip in Miami.
Atlanta can head into the break a game or two above the .500 mark, by doing the following:
Taking two of three from the Mets
Taking two of three from the Marlins
Sweeping the Pirates on the road
Taking 2 of three from Miami on the road
That combination above would put Atlanta at 46-43 heading into the All-Star break. Obviously this is easier said than done, but with the starting rotation picking up some steam and Freddie Freeman busting out of his early-season slump Atlanta has the opportunity right in front of them.
The only question? Can the Braves execute in key situations more times than not to give themselves a chance to fight for a playoff spot.
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