After giving up the lead in the ninth inning last night, the Atlanta Braves find themselves looking at a potential series loss with the New York Mets. Simply put, they need to take care of business now, because the road is about to get tougher for the next few weeks.
I’m not exactly sure who annoyed the schedule makers, but they have not made it easy for Atlanta to start the year. The Braves have already played 16 road games; after the Mets series, they will leave Turner Field for 10 more. The quality of their opponents will make it even more difficult.
They open up with three games in Cincinnati. Although the Reds are not off to a good start, their offense hasn’t missed a beat. They have steamrolled opponents at their ballpark where they have a 12-4 record. Mike Minor and Julio Teheran will have to keep the ball in the yard or else it could be a long series for the Braves.
Next up is four games with the San Francisco Giants. The Braves split four games in San Francisco in 2012 and swept a set there in 2011, but the Giants’ pitching is always capable of getting hot. They have won four in a row and are trying to catch the Rockies in the NL West. Matt Cain will be looking to get back on track and Barry Zito has given the Braves fits.
The road trip ends with a three-game set in Arizona. Martin Prado will play his first games against the Braves since he was traded for Justin Upton. Prado has struggled to begin the year, but he would love nothing more than to get revenge on his former team. Hopefully Upton will have the same chip on his shoulder.
Atlanta will be lucky to win two of those three game sets. Even if they accomplish that, they come back home and play the Los Angeles Dodgers after. The schedule doesn’t do the Braves any favors until they play the Minnesota Twins at home and the Mets again in New York near the end of the month. Brian McCann‘s return can’t come soon enough. The Braves will need him to maintain their division lead during the upcoming road trip.