Skip to content

The Braves are regressing badly

May 4, 2013, 5:00 PM EDT

Washington Nationals v Atlanta Braves Getty Images

The Braves were 12-1 after their victory over the Royals on April 16. They had just rattled off ten consecutive wins, due to an incredibly potent offense and unhittable pitching. The Braves hit three or more home runs in three of their first five games with Justin Upton hitting one just about every night. In fact, of their 29 games on the season, they have hit multiple home runs in 11 of them. Word quickly spread that the Braves were the presumptive heir to the slow-starting Nationals’ throne atop the NL East.

Problem was, it was never going to last. Justin was never going to continue his 97-homer pace. Paul Maholm, with a career 4.23 ERA, wasn’t going to go the whole season without giving up a run as he did in his first 26 innings. They weren’t going to avoid injuries all year. The struggles of Dan Uggla, Andrelton Simmons, and B.J. Upton couldn’t continue to be swept under the rug.

Since April 17, the Braves are 5-11. They’re still in first place, but tenuously so as they nurse a 2.5-game lead over the second-place Nationals. They have averaged 3.25 runs per game, scoring three or fewer runs nine times in 16 games while striking out 156 times in 590 plate appearances (26%).

The Braves have had the second-fewest opportunities with runners in scoring position (236 PA) in the National League. In those scant opportunities, they are hitting .230. Despite the team’s prodigious power, their .316 on-base percentage is only two points better than the NL average. They steal bases both infrequently and with poor efficiency, making them baseball’s fifth-worst base-stealing team according to Baseball Prospectus.

This isn’t to say the Braves are a sham, but they will sure look like one every time they enter their bust cycle shortly after the boom. They can pitch with the best of them, but their homer-reliant offense will make their hurlers a nonfactor in every drought. The good news, though, is that they play in the same division as the Marlins, Mets, and Phillies, so they’ll have plenty of opportunities to pick up cheap wins as they keep the Nationals in their crosshairs.

Latest Posts
  1. Jenrry Mejia returns to the Mets after his 80-game suspension for PED use

    Jul 7, 2015, 6:55 PM EDT

    Jenrry Mejia Jenrry Mejia

    Jenrry Mejia is back with the Mets after missing 80 games due to a positive test for Stanozolol.

  2. Video: Paulo Orlando hits a walk-off grand slam to beat the Rays

    Jul 7, 2015, 6:05 PM EDT

    Alex Gordon, Paulo Orlando Alex Gordon, Paulo Orlando

    Paulo Orlando did what kids pretend to do in their backyards: he hit a walk-off grand slam.

  3. Yankees getting healthy: Jacoby Ellsbury and Andrew Miller due back Wednesday

    Jul 7, 2015, 4:10 PM EDT

    Andrew Miller Yankees Getty Images

    Two key players are ready to rejoin the Yankees after missing extended time with injuries.

  4. Kolten Wong leaves the Cardinals-Cubs game with a head contusion

    Jul 7, 2015, 3:57 PM EDT

    Screen Shot 2015-07-07 at 3.55.26 PM

    He’ll likely be evaluated for a concussion.

  5. Kevin Correia designated for assignment by the Phillies

    Jul 7, 2015, 2:25 PM EDT

    Kevin Correia AP

    He went 0-3 with a 6.56 ERA in five starts.

  6. Dave Stewart said Touki Toussaint doesn’t throw 96. That’s true! He throws 98.

    Jul 7, 2015, 12:30 PM EDT

    Dave Stewart Getty Images

    There are guys who check stuff these days, Dave. So better to be vague.

  7. Rays lose Steven Souza to finger injury, activate John Jaso from 60-day disabled list

    Jul 7, 2015, 11:44 AM EDT

    Orioles Rays Spring Baseball AP

    Jaso has been out since Opening Day with a bruised left wrist.

  8. Former scout sues Major League Baseball over minimum wage violations, collusion

    Jul 7, 2015, 11:20 AM EDT

    mlb logo large

    Many have sured Major League Baseball over such things in the past.

  9. Jonathan Papelbon makes it clear, again: He wants out of Philadelphia

    Jul 7, 2015, 10:47 AM EDT

    Jonathan Papelbon AP

    “I’ve always been straightforward that I want to go play for a contender and I’m not going to shy away from it.”

  10. A fan was hit in the face by a foul ball in the Braves-Brewers game last night

    Jul 7, 2015, 10:30 AM EDT

    Miller Park Getty Images

    And even Andrelton Simmons, the best defensive player in baseball, says he wouldn’t sit as close as that without protective netting.

  11. Jake Odorizzi is ready to rejoin the Rays’ rotation

    Jul 7, 2015, 10:15 AM EDT

    Jake Odorizzi AP

    Odorizzi threw 5.2 shutout innings on 73 pitches in a minor-league rehab start Monday.

  12. Looking at the All-Star team snubs and surprises

    Jul 7, 2015, 8:28 AM EDT

    Screen Shot 2015-07-07 at 8.10.14 AM Getty Images

    Short version: Ned Yost thinks this is an actual baseball game!

  13. And That Happened: Monday’s scores and highlights

    Jul 7, 2015, 6:55 AM EDT

    Brian Dozier Getty Images

    Not-an-All-Star Brian Dozier showed that, while his .500+ slugging percentage is apparently not worth a trip to Cincinnati, it’s worth something.

  14. Chris Sale throws a complete game, but his strikeout streak comes to an end

    Jul 6, 2015, 11:19 PM EDT

    Chicago White Sox starting pitcher Chris Sale (49) delivers to the Toronto Blue Jays during the first inning on Monday, July 6, 2015, at U.S. Cellular Field in Chicago. (Brian Cassella/Chicago Tribune/TNS via Getty Images) Getty Images

    White Sox ace Chris Sale entered tonight’s start against the Blue Jays with eight straight starts with 10 strikeouts or more, tying Pedro Martinez for the major league record. He fell a little bit short in his efforts of securing the record all for himself.

  15. Ricky Nolasco to undergo ankle surgery

    Jul 6, 2015, 10:26 PM EDT

    MINNEAPOLIS, MN - MAY 31: Ricky Nolasco #47 of the Minnesota Twins pitches against the Toronto Blue Jays during the first inning of the game on May 31, 2015 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) Getty Images

    Nolasco will have a bone fragment removed from his ankle.

  16. Video: Jon Lester collects first MLB hit after going 0-for-66 to begin career

    Jul 6, 2015, 9:32 PM EDT

    CHICAGO, IL - JULY 06: Jon Lester #34 of the Chicago Cubs is congratulated after his first career hit in the Major League against the St. Louis Cardinals during the second inning at Wrigley Field on July 6, 2015 in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by Jon Durr/Getty Images) Getty Images

    Lester was 0-for-66 (0-for-71 if you include the postseason) before collecting his first major league hit tonight.

Top 10 MLB Player Searches
  1. M. Sano (3494)
  2. J. Hamilton (3444)
  3. J. Ellsbury (3361)
  4. M. Cabrera (3012)
  5. C. Gomez (3009)
  1. B. Harper (2977)
  2. M. Banuelos (2947)
  3. P. Corbin (2878)
  4. G. Springer (2713)
  5. S. Gray (2707)