Since starting the season with a major league-best 12-1 record, including a 10-game winning streak, the Atlanta Braves have gone 3-7 over their past 10 games, nine of them on the road.
After dropping the second game of a two-game home series with the Kansas City Royals, the Braves hit the road and proceeded to lose three of four to the Pittsburgh Pirates before winning two of three against the Colorado Rockies and then losing the first two games of this weekend’s three-game set with the Detroit Tigers.
So after the Braves team was as hot as could be to begin the month of April, how do you explain the cold spell that it has endured over the past week and a half?
Well, in case you haven’t already surmised it from my first few paragraphs, in my opinion, it could all be a result of having to play 15 of their first 23 games away from Turner Field — tomorrow night’s Tigers series finale will make it 16 of 24 on the road.
People don’t usually think about how hard it is for a professional sports team to travel all over the country, especially when it comes to a road trip like the Braves’, which saw them go from Hotlanta to the Iditarod-like conditions in Pittsburgh, Colorado and Detroit. It is quite obvious, however, that such situations have an effect, often an adverse one, on a squad.
Not only must you travel, but when you are forced to play in such frigid conditions — Game 1 of Tuesday’s doubleheader in Colorado marked the coldest game in Coors Field history — players can find themselves under the weather.
Let me be clear: I’m not trying to make excuses for the Braves. I’m just saying that it isn’t time to panic just yet. If Atlanta is still struggling like this at this time next month, then it may be time to start biting some fingernails.