The Atlanta Braves start a four game series against the Colorado Rockies tonight at Turner Field in Atlanta. This marks a shift in the Braves’ schedule. They will face the Rockies, Philadelphia Phillies, Washington Nationals (the Braves’ Achilles heel and no pushover), the Rockies, Cincinnati Reds, Pittsburgh Pirates and Florida Marlins to finish July.
Although the Phillies are the only team significantly over .500 in that schedule, anyone who thinks that the Reds and Rockies won’t be much better as the season goes along isn’t a serious follower of baseball. The Nationals and Pirates are much better teams than most people realize. Both are on their way up with a solid core of young prospects.
Needless to say, the Baltimore Orioles, San Diego Padres, Houston Astros and Seattle Mariners are gone from their schedule now. The Braves played these teams 16 out of the last 31 games.
The good news is that they are getting closer to having Martin Prado return. When he comes back, the Braves will have their opening day lineup in place for the first time since mid-May. They have a healthy rotation going now. This has helped give some key pieces in their bullpen a break.
Surprisingly, in spite of their offensive struggles, the Braves have kept pace with the Phillies and are only 4 games back. They also have the fourth best record in the MLB, behind the Phillies, Yankees and Red Sox.
One thing is certain, things aren’t going to get any easier.