There are many individual games this season that could be ideal microcosms of the Atlanta Braves season as a whole. However, after Sunday’s 2-1 loss to the Phillies despite a second straight amazing performance from Touki Toussaint, the Braves need to look no further than their experiences at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia.
For the third time this season, a young Braves starter was sensational against the Phillies on the road. Tucker Davidson did it on June 9th, Ian Anderson did the same on June 10th, and Toussaint obviously shined yesterday. However, in each of those games, the Braves lost by one run. With a mixture of bullpen blunders and silent bats, the Braves just simply could not find a way to win. Without a doubt, the Phillies defense was very good yesterday. However, its still frustrating to consistently see multiple aspects of the Braves roster fail while another does so well.
This is especially true after the Braves scored 7 runs on Thursday and 15 on Saturday. The Jeykll and Hyde aspect of the offense continues to baffle at times but overall is not hard to explain. With the talent the Braves are working with in the outfield and behind the plate, it comes down to Freddie Freeman carrying the offense with the hope that another bat or two steps up each game.
The Braves season is now on the line. This is not meant to be dramatic, just the direct truth. With a doubleheader today against the Mets, the Braves will be three, five, or seven games behind New York with three more games awaiting this week. Anything less than a series win should provide Atlanta with a very good idea of where the focus for the rest of 2021 should go.
If you are fan of exciting baseball, you are in for a treat. However, Atlanta must significantly improve its consistency in order for it to make the most of the opportunity ahead.
- Five games in four days awaits the Braves in New York, as Kris Willis details the pitching matchups of the series. The Braves seem to have a good idea of who will take the mound each time out on their end, while the Mets still have some specifics to work out. One positive is that the Braves will avoid Jacob deGrom.
- On Saturday, Drew Smyly left his start after only four innings of work due to knee discomfort. As Gabe Burns explains at the AJC, no structural damage was found. Smyly is considered day-to-day, and though nothing is official, is scheduled to start Thursday’s finale against the Mets as of now.
- Braves minor leaguer Jesse Franklin regained some of the success he had a few weeks ago with two home runs for the Rome Braves on Sunday, a performance that was featured in an MLB.com prospect round up. Atlanta has to be excited with what they have seen from Franklin at the plate as of late, especially in terms of power.
- Talking Chop’s Brad Rowland and Scott Coleman have plenty to discuss in this week’s edition of the Talking Chop Podcast. The weekend that was, the week that awaits, injury updates, and a special Trade Deadline Preview are all discussed.
- Sunday got a bit exciting as a few of the bigger names on the trade market either found new homes or may be close to changing zip codes. Former Pirate and All-Star starting second baseman Adam Frazier was acquired by the San Diego Padres. Frazier had been linked to the Padres as a potential trade target for weeks, and the move was finally made on Sunday.
- The Royals could finally be serious about trading Whit Merrfield, and the Seattle Mariners are highly interested. The Mariners have been playing some of the best baseball in the majors, and it appears they are ready to make a run for the postseason by improving their offense. Like Frazier for the Padres, Merrfield can be controlled beyond this season.
- The Minnesota Twins could be an active team at the deadline, as they already traded slugger Nelson Cruz to the Rays. On Sunday, Byron Buxton rejected an extension offer from the Twins. This seems similar to how talks were tabled between Starling Marte and the Marlins earlier this month. However, a fractured hand that has sidelined Buxton may make it hard for the Twins to potentially trade him.
- Mark Feinsand looks at some other rumors that could be some of the bigger storylines of the week ahead. The Washington Nationals, and especially ace Max Scherzer, could be quite popular in the coming days. In general, it will be interesting to see how results over the next few days could alter plans for a few teams, including the Braves.