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Atlanta Braves news and links: An ugly start to a long season

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General consensus seemed to indicate that this was going to be a long season for the Braves, and Atlanta has gotten off to a start that may prove this opinion to be right.

MLB: St. Louis Cardinals at Atlanta Braves Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

BRAVES NEWS

Braves are off to worst start since 1988

For the fourth time in five games, the Braves had a lead in the seventh inning or later, and for the fourth time in five games, the Braves blew that lead and ended up losing the game. This time, Atlanta had a 7-6 lead in the eighth inning, but bad defense on the Braves' part ended up opening the door for the Cardinals to take the lead and eventually win the game. While this ugly start shouldn't deter the Braves from their long-term plans, it's still probably a sign that this is going to be a long, long season for Atlanta.

Winkler exits game with fractured elbow

After starting off the season with a couple of great relief appearances, Daniel Winkler was hoping to keep the good times going against the Cardinals on Sunday. Unfortunately, Winkler had to exit the game after crumpling to the ground in pain following a pitch. After the game, the Braves confirmed the worst about Winkler's injury -- it's a fractured elbow, and he'll probably be out for an extremely large chunk of this season. For what it's worth, Winkler is trying to stay positive about the situation, so there's that.

Inciarte goes to the DL; Mallex Smith will be called up

Winkler's injury on Sunday only exacerbated Atlanta's injury woes, as they already had to deal with Ender Inciarte having a hamstring injury. Inciarte tweaked his hamstring on Friday night, and was listed as day-to-day later that night. "Day-to-day" turned into an official placement on the 15-day DL on Sunday, so it'll be a while before we see Inciarte patrolling the outfield again. However, there is a bit of excitement surrounding Inciarte's replacement, as the Braves have decided that it's time to call up Mallex Smith to the major league team.

Braves already considering switch at shortstop

We all figured that the Braves' defense was going to be pretty bad this season, but through the first five games of the year, it's been pretty hard to watch. One of the hardest players to watch on defense has been Erick Aybar. Granted, he was never going to match Andrelton Simmons defensively, but the fact that the Braves are actually considering making a change at the position after only a few games is definitely a bit concerning. It's gonna be a long year, folks.

MLB NEWS

Trevor Story continues to have ridiculous start to the season as Rockies beat Padres

The story of the season so far (I'm sorry) has been Colorado Rockies rookie SS Trevor Story and his amazing start tot he season. He currently has a .598 wOBA and a 246 wRC+ -- which, amazing as that is, is still lower than Bryce Harper's numbers for those stats (.602 wOBA, 264 wRC+) -- and also has seven home runs, and he hit homer #7 on Sunday afternoon. The Rockies ended up beating the Padres 6-3, and you have to wonder when or if the Story train is going to stop rolling.

Orioles off to best start since 1970

On the opposite end of the spectrum of our beloved Atlanta Braves, the Baltimore Orioles have gotten off to a 5-0 start, which is their best start since 1970. That's a pretty special year for the O's, since that was the year the franchise won its second World Series title. It's still far too early to see if the Orioles are going to surprise everybody and add another Commissioner's Trophy to their cabinet, but it's still a nice start for Baltimore.