Bad luck has certainly played a part in the Atlanta Braves struggles in 2021. When it comes to injuries, batted balls, bad calls, and other unexpected and unfortunate occurrences, not much outside of the team’s control has worked in their favor. However, as of late, the Braves offense also has certainly not made the most of what it can control:
#Braves have hit .191 while totaling 25 runs in their past 11 games.— David O'Brien (@DOBrienATL) June 30, 2021
Somehow, the Braves are 5-6 over those 11 games due to good pitching from the starting rotation. In fact, they have five shutouts over their past 13 games. The issue is that if the Braves are regularly scoring three or less runs, bad luck will obviously have a bigger impact. A bad call on what looked like a strike three last night led to a bad pitch from Charlie Morton that ended with a four run inning for the Mets and a costly lost for the Braves.
The issue is that the Braves chances to turn their season around are starting to dwindle. Atlanta has two more games against New York, but Jacob deGrom awaits tomorrow. Series against the Marlins and the Pirates then the Marlins again finish up the first half of the season, allowing the Braves to have a stretch of the schedule where they can make up some ground. After the All-Star Break, the schedule gets much tougher. If the Braves do night win tonight, there is a very real chance they will begin the month of July once again 7 1⁄2 games behind the Mets in the NL East.
On a positive note, Max Fried returns to the mound after dealing with a blister injury. Fortunately, it was not a long-term issue, and the Braves certainly are happy to have him back. Hopefully, Fried can continue the stretch of strong starts the Braves starters have provided over the past few weeks. On the season, Fried is 4-4 over 57 2⁄3 innings with a 4.21 ERA and 55 strikeouts. A big key for Fried is getting through the first inning without issue. Nine of the 29 runs allowed by Fried this season over 11 starts have occurred in the opening frame.
For the Mets, David Peterson will take the mound for his 15th start of the season. Peterson is 2-5 with a 4.95 ERA and 67 strikeouts over 63 2⁄3 innings. Though he has not exactly been effective, he simply has been healthy for a Mets team that has experienced its fair share of injuries as well. The Braves did beat the Mets on May 19th when Peterson was on the mound. In support of Fried’s struggles early in games, a big development for Atlanta would be to score a few early runs. They not only could could help the offense get out of its rut, but also support any rust Fried may work through.
The Braves best talents are starting to be a bit more consistent in terms of playing at their talent levels. Ronald Acuna Jr., Freddie Freeman, and Ozzie Albies are turning into one of the best top of the lineup trios in baseball. Drew Smyly, Charlie Morton, and Ian Anderson have recently done their jobs in giving the Braves a chance to win nearly every night. Others, such as Guillermo Heredia, have filled in nicely in expanded roles. The Braves need a stretch now where the entire team is locked in and successful. That starts tonight in a game where earning the victory is highly important.
Date/Time: Wednesday, June 30th, 7:20 p.m. ET
Location: Truist Park, Atlanta, Georgi
TV: Bally Sports Southeast, MLB.tv
Radio: 680 AM/93.7 FM The Fan, WNNX 100.5, Braves Radio Network
XM Radio: Online / Ch. 183