NOTE: This post was actually written last Friday, June 1, but due to schedule conflicts I have been unable to post until now. In that time, the Braves have beaten Gio Gonzalez and Anibal Sanchez.
A lot of Braves fans were cautiously optimistic following the successful month of April. However, there was room for concern. While the Braves were scoring runs, the pitching was not as strong as it was last season. Jurrjens and Mike Minor have been very disappointing, and Tommy Hanson has been erratic all season. Plus, Eric O’Flaherty and Jonny Venters have not been very sharp.
Most Braves fans, including yours truly, said the month of May would prove much more difficult and we would be able to better gauge where the Braves were following May.
Well, May’s calendar has come and gone and the 31 days of May were not kind to the Bravos. The Braves lost a series to the Cubs and were swept by the Nationals and Reds in back to back series. The Braves had an inexplicable 8 game losing streak at the end of the month and the Braves limped to the end of May with 14-15 record.
What was so alarming during the losing streak was the amount of runs scored. In 5 of the 8 games, the Braves gave up 6 or more runs. In 6 of those games, the Braves scored fewer than 3 runs.
The Braves finished May with a nice series win against the Cardinals.
The difficult schedule that the Braves had in May does not ease up any in June. The Braves have to play at the Nationals, at the Marlins, then host Toronto, New York and Baltimore in interleague play. That is not good. Then, to make matters worse, the Braves have to then travel to Boston and New York for some more games against the mammoth AL East. After a reprieve against the Diamondbacks, the Nationals come back to town to close out the month.
Wow, that is going to be tough! The Braves did what was necessary in April, and while they barely did hold their head above water in May, June is going to be tough. While the Braves were struggling in May, the Marlins, Nationals and Mets were all doing well. The Braves are by no means out of the Division race, but the NL East is certainly the most competitive division in the National League and second only the AL East in all of baseball (and we pull the AL East in interleague play).
Pitching has struggled, Freeman has been blinded, Chipper has been out (again), and Heyward continues to not know how to hit a baseball. All that said, and the Braves are still doing OK.
Atlanta has to get out of their funk, though, because as daunting as the May schedule was, June doesn’t get any better.
Hopefully, when I do another summary in July, there will be better news to report. But if the Braves finish June with a sub .500 record, with the way the rest of the Division is playing, it will be a 60 some odd days until football season starts.