We’re seeing some lousy baseball from the Atlanta Braves right now

Before we really start delving into what’s happened with the Atlanta Braves recently, it’s important to keep some sort of context here. In the National League right now, there are only four (4) teams over .500 and the Braves are one of them. I’d say it’s very unlikely the Braves will join every other team in the sub-.500 club and assuming they right the ship at some point, they should remain one of the best teams in the National League this season in the future. . They may have an extremely tall task ahead of them when it comes to catching the Phillies and winning the division again, but this is a team that should still be a factor in October once the smoke clears dissipated this season.

That being said, damn it! It looks so much like me ugly baseball we’re seeing from the Braves right now. There’s really no sugarcoating it – they’ve had considerable struggles and struggles in recent weeks. They played 16 games against the Pirates, Nationals, A’s, Red Sox and Nationals and went 6-10 during that stretch, including 2-6 against Washington. Frame! This is the kind of streak that really negates any debate about the Phillies and the strength of their schedule, as Philadelphia was going through teams of this caliber like a hot knife through butter. Instead, the Braves have been fighting for their lives during this time and it has been really, really frustrating to watch.

I’m not going to beat around the bush about the main problem here: it’s offense. Plain and simple, the programming didn’t do the job at all. It would be one thing if there was just a slight decline from what they did last season – a “slight decline” would still put them among the best offenses in baseball. Instead, what’s happening has been a precipitous decline and we’re now at the point where it’s a little concerning, even though there’s still plenty of baseball left to be played this season.

We’ll use May 1 as the dividing line here and since that date, the Braves have hit .224/.287/.373 as a team, with a collective wOBA of .291, an isolated power number of . 149 and a team wRC+ of 87. Eighty-seven! For This band! That wRC+ figure is the third-worst in the National League since May 1 and is just five points ahead of the White Sox (who had a franchise-worst 14-game losing streak during that span) and the Rockies (which are the Rocky Mountains). These are two teams you never really want to be compared to these days and over the past month or so, the Atlanta Braves have only hit slightly better than these two teams. It’s really bad!

Only four qualified Braves hitters have had a wRC+ above 100 since May 1: Marcell Ozuna taking the team to 164, Matt Olson starting to wake up at 123, Jarred Kelenic plugging in at 103 and Ronald Acuña Jr. sitting on a wRC+ of 115 since May 1 before suffering his season-ending injury. So essentially, only 13 of Atlanta’s roster has been somewhat reliable since the aforementioned date. Everyone has been to fight mightily since then. The struggles of Ozzie Albies and Michael Harris II have been particularly difficult as they are the two at the top of the lineup since Acuña’s injury. A .276 wOBA and a 76 wRC+ since May 1 certainly won’t do the job for Albies and a .234 wOBA and a 47 wRC+ during that span absolutely won’t do the job either.

Michael Harris II’s numbers are actually the worst since the start of the fifth month of the calendar, which is not ideal if he wants to become consistent at the plate early in games. That being said, it’s difficult to find a viable candidate to replace him since the only guys who have hit don’t exactly fit the profile of a leadoff hitter and the ones who could fit into that role are also in the middle of a colossal struggle at the plate. Usually you kind of expect one or two guys to go cold while the rest of the lineup works at their usual rate of production – that’s not the case for the Braves at the moment.

It’s not even like the Braves had guys floating in the mid-to-high 90s wRC+ range during that time either. Among guys who are under 100 wRC+ since May 1, Austin Riley leads with 80 wRC+. They’re not even close to hitting the league average of 100, they’re far adrift. Again, 23 of the lineup has not only been underperforming as of late, but they have been downright ice cold at the plate. It’s definitely a bit of a shock since this is essentially the same lineup that spent most of 2023 being scary for opposing pitchers from first place through nine holes.

This decline since May 1 is also starting to be reflected in Atlanta’s season numbers thus far. They’ve slipped to 13th overall in baseball in team wRC+ (101), meaning they’re currently hitting at an intermediate rate for the season. Their team’s slash line for the year is now .244/.310/.401 with .157 in isolated power and .313 in wOBA. Those are numbers the Braves would kill for in the aforementioned period since May 1, but they’re also well below the standards this team has set over the past few seasons at the plate.

With the roster currently lost at sea, the pitching staff has been forced to carry most of the weight and we can thank them for keeping the Braves afloat during these trying times. As a unit since May 1, Atlanta’s pitching staff has a collective ERA of 90 and a FIP of 93. Those numbers are good enough to put them firmly in the top 10 since May 1 and that is consistent with what they did. all season. While Atlanta’s pitching staff has been very solid this season, they haven’t been perfect and with the way this offense has (or hasn’t) hit lately, they must have been close to perfection to have a chance. to win. They’ve also sort of fallen into this frustrating position where it feels like when the offense finally has a good day at the plate, that’s when the pitchers will finally have a day where they foul serious errors.

If it feels like opposing teams up by three or more points feel like 30, that’s because the Braves have essentially reacted to these modest deficits as if they were down themselves. of 30.

So what is the solution here? Luckily, it’s still early enough in the season that we can’t just write them off as completely doomed. Even though the majority of this roster is struggling, we have all seen what they are collectively capable of. I’m not going to get into any pessimism suggesting that guys like Ozzie Albies, Austin Riley, Michael Harris II, Sean Murphy, Travis d’Arnaud and even Adam Duvall are going to stay This cold all season. Again, we’ve seen what they can do when they’re firing on all cylinders and it wouldn’t be at all shocking to see a turnaround happen quite naturally as long as they continue to push and do things the right way. good manner.

It appears they are still on track when it comes to batted ball data. They are a top five team in barrels per plate appearance at 6.3 percent, they are second in all of baseball in hard hit percentage (43.8 percent) and they are tied with the Orioles for highest average exit velocity (90.3 miles per hour). hour) in baseball right now. They still hit the ball hard like they usually do – it’s just that a lot of those hard-hit balls find gloves instead of finding grass. If they continue to hit the ball as hard as they have, then the batted ball luck should reverse and maybe we’ll see this offense start to hit consistently like we’re all used to in this group.

Failing that, we’ll likely see Alex Anthopoulos see action if we get to July and closer to the deadline and a lot of these guys are still fighting. If that’s the case, then I imagine they’ll likely look for help in the outfield, as it will then become apparent that Adam Duvall and Jarred Kelenic may not be the best fit for an everyday outfield . They might try to improve in other areas as well, but I don’t envision them selling either, because as long as they can stay afloat, they will be firmly in the playoff conversation and there is no will have no good reason to consider selling when We’ve already learned over the last two seasons that just making the playoffs gives you as good a chance as any team at winning it all.

There really is no other easy way for the Braves to get out of this current situation other than to just keep pushing. The pitching has been reliable this season and all they need is the bats to meet them where they are at. Once that happens, this team should be able to get back on track. The Braves have been late to the winning table several times during this streak of divisional dominance they’ve enjoyed since 2018. Even though it already appears like their division title streak is in jeopardy, they still have eyes riveted on the playoffs. But the bats definitely need to wake up – and hopefully soon too.