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Braves’ upcoming stretch before All Star Game will be vital to club’s chances in NL East

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Pittsburgh Pirates v Atlanta Braves Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

The Braves are playing their best baseball of the season having won seven in a row, a 10-2 mark in the month of June and an impressive 22-9 record since May 10th. They are the second team in the National League to hit 40 wins. Since the opening sweep in Philadelphia (the one in which Bryse Wilson and Kyle Wright both started games) they are 40-26.

The lineup is deep with eight solid-to-elite hitters. The bench is performing well when called upon. The starting rotation has been shaky at times, although the forthcoming addition of Dallas Keuchel should help stabilize things. The bullpen, while far from dominant, has improved since a disastrous April and is generally the easiest area to address before the trade deadline.

It’s a good thing the Braves are hitting their stride, because the next four weeks will be incredibly important if they want to repeat as kings of the NL East.

As a whole, Atlanta is 10-8 against divisional foes. That’s pretty good. Take away the eight wins against the Marlins, though, and you can see an area for concern. Granted it’s a small sample size – teams will play roughly 72 times against divisional foes and 18 games is smidgen of that – but it does mean there are plenty of opportunities remaining.

As fate would have it, all but four of the Braves’ remaining games prior to the All Star Break on July 8th-11th are against Eastern foes.

That treacherous stretch begins tonight with three games against the Phillies. Then comes three home games against the Mets. A day off will allow the club to charge its batteries, but then a brutal 10-road-games-in-10-days stretch against the Nationals (3), Cubs (4) and Mets (3) awaits as we reach July.

There is an off-day on July 1, but then comes another three-game tilt with the Phillies at SunTrust followed by three with Miami to close out the first half. That’s 22 games in 24 games, nearly all of which coming against teams actively trying to make the playoffs.

It should be a fun and challening ride. Strap in.