Every good team goes through bad stretches in the long and tiring MLB season. Those times are never fun, but even that does not rightfully describe what the Atlanta Braves are going through right now. After dealing with the tough San Diego Padres a week ago, the Braves went to start a tough road trip and the wheels have absolutely come off. They cannot win a game.
It seems that they find a new and innovative way to win each and every night during this six game losing streak, but it always centers around one key thing — they cannot score runs to save their lives. Manager Fredi Gonzalez was quoted on the team’s official site as saying they only needed one lousy run the other night. He is right, but getting one run has been like trying to spit onto a tiny target in a 100 mph wind.
At first it seemed that they might just be fatigued from losing three straight in a hard-fought series vs. the Los Angeles Dodgers. After all, who could expect them to do well against Clayton Kershaw and the Dodgers’ great pitching staff? The fact that their struggles continued after getting Jason Heyward back, facing the Padres and bringing on Emilio Bonifacio says a lot about their chances this season.
There is no time for the Braves to wonder what is going on. They have an off day on Monday and by the time they hit the field on Tuesday, they’ll be facing Felix Hernandez and the Seattle Mariners. There will be plenty of excuses to lose that game too, but the Braves cannot afford to lose it.
Even if they hold with the Washington Nationals from now until the teams meet at the end of the week, the Braves wouldn’t regain the lead in the East with a sweep. Oh, by the way, they will then play seven straight against the Dodgers and the Oakland Athletics.
The Braves will either begin to play their best baseball during this week, or they will be out of the NL East race by the end of the next week.