Previewing the Atlanta Braves Month of July
Splits: 13 home games, 13 road games.
The Atlanta Braves (48-34) finished the month of June with a 16-12 record to keep a 6.5 game lead over the Washington Nationals in the National League East. If the Braves are to have a winning month of July, they will have to first take care of business against the division. 13 of the 26 games in the month are against teams inside the division with 10 of those being on the road. Despite being 20-23 overall on the road this season, the Braves are 8-1 in road division games.
Obviously, the All Star break will offer most of the team some days off, but the Braves will endure long streaks coming in and out of the break. Beginning Tuesday, the Braves will play 13-straight games heading into the break and begin a stretch of 20-straight games coming out of the break, starting with the White Sox.
Series to Watch: Two of the best teams in the NL meet July 26-28 at Turner Field for what should be a fun series. It will mark the first time the Cardinals return to Atlanta since the one-game playoff and infamous infield fly rule. The teams feature contrasting offensive styles with the Cardinals being the best in baseball hitting with runners in scoring position and the Braves doing their damage with the long ball. However, they share common ground in finding success with two of the top pitching staffs in the National League. The pitching match-ups should be fantastic all three days, and will be a series to mark on the calendar.
Outlook: The Braves have had three winning months to begin the 2013 season, and the goal will be to continue that streak. Winning 14 or 15 games in July should be manageable if the Braves have a winning record in the division games, allowing for some wiggle room against the Reds, Cardinals and Rockies.