The Atlanta Braves currently lead the NL East. They have one of the best records in the National League. Yet, they are struggling against teams with a losing record.
The Atlanta Braves are no stranger to surprises this season — whether that be catapulting themselves into contention a year earlier than expected; or losing to teams with a below .500 record.
The Braves have jumped to a healthy lead in the NL East over the Nationals and Phillies. Additionally, the Braves entered their last homestand with optimism. After all, they were set to play the Baltimore Orioles and the Cincinnati Reds – two of the worst teams based on record.
However, this optimism was short-lived. The Braves lost both series despite being heavy favorites. What’s more, is that this has been a common occurrence for the Braves this season.
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The Braves were swept by the San Francisco Giants, who were below .500 at the time; they lost a series to the Reds in Cincinnati earlier this season as well.
For all the Braves have done against the NL East’s impressive teams, they haven’t been quite as good against other teams they are supposed to beat. For instance, the San Diego Padres. So what can this be chalked up to?
If this last homestand has proved anything, it’s that the Braves must improve their bullpen. That is if they want to remain legitimate contenders.
The Braves blew several leads during this homestand due to their lack of firepower in the bullpen.
This disappointing homestand will be good for the Atlanta Braves in the long run. It shows precisely how they need to improve. But things are certainly looking up for the Braves; Ronald Acuna Jr. is set to return. And if Freddie Freeman can break out of his mini-slump, the Braves can build on their current division lead.