The Braves have overcome many challenges this season, most notably injuries. They lead the NL East with a 34-22 record, six and a half games ahead of the slumping Washington Nationals.
So everything is great down on Capitol Avenue, right?
Well, not exactly. When you break down the Braves 34-22 record, they are 27-9 against teams with a losing record and only 7-13 against teams with a winning record.
The Braves have played 16 games in a row against teams with a losing record.
As the schedule toughens, that does not bode well for regular season aspirations, not to mention the playoffs.
The schedule has benefited Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez, who has been able to put slumping players on the field for two reasons: 1. there is no other team in the division that has played well all season and challenged the Braves (no NL East rival currently has a record above .500). 2. The Braves have only played 20 of 56 games against teams with a winning record.
The Braves open a three game series Monday night at home against the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Pirates are 35-22 on the season, and took three out of four from the Braves in April. Manager Clint Hurdle has had the Bucs playing solid baseball all season, with their stellar starting pitching leading the way.
The Braves are a healthy team now and they need to start beating good teams. Despite leading the NL East and having a good, 34-22 record, they still have a lot to prove.
I’ll be watching this three game series against a very good Pittsburgh team as a barometer to see just exactly how good the Braves are at this stage of the season. Time to step up and win a series against a good baseball team.