One thing that you can learn very easily by checking out any Atlanta Braves message board is that there are a lot of fans who can always find something wrong with the team. There was some buzz on one lately about Freddie Freeman not having a good year. Come on now people, everyone is entitled a slump now and then but the guy is one of the best all around first basemen in the majors and a two-time all-star. That is the way it goes however. In spite of the negative attitude of many of their so-called fans, the Braves already have the right mix to win their division.
If there is one team in the National League East that is easy picking for a win, it might be the Miami Marlins, although they play everyone pretty tough as well more times than not. Certainly the Philadelphia Phillies and New York Mets can beat any other team with ease, depending on who their starter is that day. That makes it a little tougher for the class of the division, the Braves and the Washington Nationals, to run off and have their little throw-down at the end of the season.
Expect this to lend itself to a tight race for most of the rest of the way. The Braves have a slightly easier schedule coming up right now which could mean they could stretch a tiny lead before they meet the Nats in August, but because of the competitive nature of the division that is not certain. All the same, the Braves do not need to change a bunch of stuff to win this division. No, they don’t even need to get rid of B.J. Upton to win. Upton plays a pretty consistent role right now so fans should be thankful.
Their defense is taking a step up lately which is really good to see. It is the nature of baseball fans this day in time to think of what the team can change via trades and that sort of thing but trades that have a real impact are not happening as much with the extra wildcard slot. In the ultra-competitive world that the Braves live in, they have the right mix of talented players in the right places to win. If those players don’t play well enough to win it all, at least the team knows they were good enough. Chances are, the Braves will at least make the postseason and anything can happen from there.