Skip to content

The Braves are regressing badly

May 4, 2013, 5:00 PM EST

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. Report: Padres acquire catcher Derek Norris from Athletics

    Dec 18, 2014, 9:30 PM EST

    Derek Norris Getty Getty Images

    The Padres continue to overhaul their lineup while the A’s continue to unload.

  2. The Matt Kemp trade is expected to go down as planned

    Dec 18, 2014, 8:52 PM EST

    matt kemp dodgers getty Getty Images

    The trade is about to be official, finally.

  3. Delmon Young would prefer to re-sign with the Orioles

    Dec 18, 2014, 8:46 PM EST

    Delmon Young AP

    Young, 29, batted .302 with seven home runs and .779 OPS (120 OPS+) over 255 plate appearances this past season.

  4. Mariners sign Mark Lowe

    Dec 18, 2014, 7:50 PM EST

    Mark Lowe AP AP

    Lowe began his career with Seattle and had his best season with the club in 2009.

  5. Report: Josh Johnson is “on the verge” of re-signing with the Padres

    Dec 18, 2014, 6:07 PM EST

    San Diego Padres Photo Day Getty Images

    Johnson missed the entire 2014 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery in late April.

  6. Ichiro is getting “some consideration” from the Orioles

    Dec 18, 2014, 6:00 PM EST

    Ichiro Suzuki Getty Images

    Does Ichiro really have one more year left in him?

  7. Royals designate Johnny Giavotella for assignment

    Dec 18, 2014, 5:17 PM EST

    Johnny Giavotella Getty Images

    Giavotella is a career .315 hitter with an .835 OPS and as many walks as strikeouts in nearly 2,000 plate appearances at Triple-A.

  8. The Walter White of the Biogenesis case pleads guilty

    Dec 18, 2014, 4:47 PM EST

    Screen Shot 2014-12-18 at 4.46.36 PM

    He’s probably not the one who knocks. Indeed, this crew seemed so amateurish he probably called first to make sure it was a good time for everyone.

  9. What Communists thought about baseball in 1934

    Dec 18, 2014, 3:34 PM EST

    Screen Shot 2014-12-18 at 3.21.56 PM

    Between Cuba and North Korea, it’s been a big couple of days for communism. Let’s see what communists thought about baseball once upon a time.

  10. Royals sign Kris Medlen for two years, with option for 2017

    Dec 18, 2014, 3:18 PM EST

    kris medlen getty Getty Images

    Medlen missed all of this year recovering from his second Tommy John elbow surgery.

  11. Must-Click Link: Tyler Kepner salutes Sy Berger and baseball cards of the 1980s

    Dec 18, 2014, 1:06 PM EST

    Screen Shot 2014-12-18 at 1.05.44 PM

    Baseball card collecting in the post-bicycle spokes, pre-crash world of the 1980s.

  12. Report: Matt Kemp has arthritis in both hips

    Dec 18, 2014, 12:17 PM EST

    Matt Kemp Getty Images

    And the Padres “continue to consult medical experts.”

  13. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves on the United States’ conquest of baseball in Cuba

    Dec 18, 2014, 11:39 AM EST

    Cake

    Let’s pump the brakes a bit on the imminent MLB takeover of Cuba.

Featured video

Cubs shore up rotation with Jon Lester
Top 10 MLB Player Searches
  1. M. Cabrera (4318)
  2. W. Myers (3569)
  3. M. Kemp (3481)
  4. M. Morse (2569)
  5. W. Miley (2511)
  1. C. Headley (2451)
  2. J. Lester (2428)
  3. M. Scherzer (2128)
  4. J. Kang (2082)
  5. J. Upton (2056)