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Atlanta Braves news and links: Blair's debut is sign of good things to come

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The Braves may have lost Aaron Blair's debut, but the main story is that his promotion means that we're finally seeing a "light at the end of the tunnel" as far as the rebuild is concerned.

New York Mets v Atlanta Braves Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

BRAVES NEWS

Blair has good debut, but Braves lose fifth straight

Sunday afternoon marked the major league debut of one of the prospects that the Braves picked up in the Shelby Miller trade (more on Shelby later) -- Aaron Blair. His promotion to the bigs was a moment that Scott appropriately described as being the "light at the end of the tunnel" for the Braves rebuild. With that being said, Blair is still a debuting rookie (who had a positive start in this game), and the Braves are still currently a bad team, so they ended up taking their fifth consecutive loss and got swept by the Mets over the weekend.

Braves are in the midst of intense home run drought

On Opening Day, the Braves smacked two home runs against the Washington Nationals and looked like a normal, everyday Major League Baseball team in the process. Ever since that day, the Braves have hit a grand total of one single home run. As you can expect, the Braves' power numbers are currently in the tank (.050 ISO, .289 SLG, .267 wOBA, 60 wRC+). The drought is real, folks.

On the general subject of Braves lousiness in the current season, there's this: The Braves have three home runs. Three. Three home runs in 18 games. Three, people. They have not homered since April 10, when Drew Stubbs went deep off Adam Wainwright. That means they've gone, as a team, 517 at-bats without hitting a home run.

The Braves are, as you would expect, last in the majors in home runs. In 29th place are the Marlins. They have three times as many home runs as the Braves do. At this writing, 45 individual players have more home runs than the Braves do, and 78 individual players have as many or more home runs than the Braves do.

Bullpen is beginning to stabilize

In positive news, the bullpen isn't bad at all! Well, outside of Eric O'Flaherty -- who has been struggling mightily in his return to Atlanta -- the Braves seem to be pleased with the recent efforts they've gotten from their bullpen as of late, with Hunter Cervenka and Alexi Ogando receiving praise, namely.

Cervenka pitched 1 1/3 scoreless innings against the Mets on Sunday and hasn’t allowed a run in seven appearances. His seven scoreless innings to begin his big-league career are the most for a Braves pitcher since Shae Simmons did the same in 2014.

Ogando allowed no runs and struck out three against the Mets and has a 2.38 ERA with nine strikeouts over 11 1/3 innings. He’s allowed a total of one earned run in his past four appearances (four innings).

Episode 11 of Talking Chop Podcast is included in our podcast roundup

In case you may have missed it over the weekend, the eleventh episode of the ever-so-prestigious Talking Chop podcast was released, and Grant McAuley was the special guest this week. You can listen to it below, but if you want to check out all of the other cool and informative Braves podcasts that have been put onto the internet this week, then it's worth visiting the link above.

MLB NEWS

Shelby Miller forced to play left field in Diamondbacks/Pirates marathon

On Sunday afternoon, the Arizona Diamondbacks and Pittsburgh Pirates ended up playing 13 innings of baseball, and towards the end of the game, the Diamondbacks were running extremely short on players. As a result, Shelby Miller was called upon for pinch-running duties, but he couldn't stop there -- he had to go out and play left field as well!

We know that Miller is struggling in Arizona as a pitcher right now, but switching him to the outfield is a bit of a rash decision. In all seriousness, though, it's always cool to see wacky stuff like this happen in baseball every now and then.