Most everyone can see the Atlanta Braves as one of the better teams in Major League Baseball. Actually the fans of the team are the ones most likely to point out the negative qualities in the talented club. They have good pitching, a mostly great bullpen and huge potential on offense. They have it all. If they didn’t they wouldn’t have played so well against the Washington Nationals in head to head meetings. There could be a problem developing however.
Recently the Braves split a four-game series with the Nationals. Just days before that split however, the Braves lost four in a row to the Philadelphia Phillies. No disrespect to the very tough Phillies team but that is a series the Braves cannot afford to get swept in. No one thought anymore about it, especially after they swept the Phillies in the series the two teams played just after the first four-gamer. However the recent series with the Miami Marlins might have highlighted a problem with the Braves chances to win the NL East.
To some degree I believe all teams play to the level of the competition. It is impossible not to prepare somewhat differently for a Clayton Kershaw matchup as compared to a rookie making his debut start. The Braves recently might be playing to the level of their competition to a dangerous level. They won one game in the Marlins series and it was against the pitcher on the fish that has given the Braves the most trouble; Nathan Eovaldi.
The Nationals are guilty of this as well or they would lead the division by five-plus games. For now the wound from the three to one series defeat against the Marlins is somewhat minimal. The Braves are only one and a half games out of first. Coming up they have another series against a team that they should beat; the San Diego Padres. If they have the same trouble not putting away this down and out team, they will find themselves in a very rough spot facing teams such as the Los Angeles Dodgers and Oakland Athletics in the coming weeks.