It seems though the calendar turned from May to June, the Braves fortunes remained the same.
Despite a successful start and injury concerns with Stephen Strasburg, the Braves once again could not hold onto a big lead and unfortunately ended up experiencing rather disappointing loss. This has been the unfortunate theme for many games for Braves this season, and basically, for the season as a whole.
The Braves did end May with a 13-12 record, and that was with the offense being a bit worse in May than it was in April. A big key for the Braves is having Ronald Acuna Jr. and Freddie Freeman get in a groove at the same time. Acuna Jr. had an amazing April, while Freeman had his best week of the season in mid May. Without other key pieces of the lineup going forward, it comes down to Acuna Jr. and Freeman being the best duo of hitters in the National League for the Braves to make this a successful season.
On the mound for the Braves and Nationals will be two veteran left-handers in Drew Smyly and Jon Lester. Smyly has obviously been a disappointment for the Braves, However, back on May 6th, his best start of the year occurred against the Nationals. Unfortunately, he is also coming off his worst start of the year when he allowed seven runs against the Red Sox. The Braves simply need Smyly to not implode, and really could use a quality start or at least 5+ innings of work. He has provided the latter in four straight starts, but questions could begin to emerge about his spot in the rotation with another bad start.
In Lester, the Nationals have not had the results they hoped would come from him this season. Washington is 2-4 in Lester’s starts, and he has completed six innings only once. Over his last two outings, he has allowed six runs over four innings and one run over four innings. With Acuna Jr. and Austin Riley having success against left-handers so far this year, an early big hit or two would be great to support Smyly.
The next two games against the Nationals really are needed wins. With the rest of June being filled with series against the Dodgers and Cardinals and the rest of the NL East, this easily could be the month that the decides the fate of the Braves season. Getting as many expected wins as possible is essential to get this season somewhat back on track.
Game Date/Time: Tuesday, June 2, 7:20 p.m. ET
Location: Truist Park, Atlanta, Georgia
TV: Bally Sports Southeast
Radio: 680 AM / 93. 7 FM The Fan, WNNX 100.5, Braves Radio Network