Though it appeared the Braves were going to sweep the Marlins Sunday afternoon, a Tyler Moore revenge bomb put the Fish up 3-1 after a terrific outing from R.A. Dickey. This has just been the way things have gone for the team lately.
The Braves now hold the worst record in baseball. Which is inexcusable, because there is absolutely no way they are the worst team on paper in the big leagues.
The Braves really opened their wallet to acquire veteran arms this offseason, but this plan has backfired. Jaime Garcia and R.A. Dickey have not been bad, but they have not set the world on fire either. The real concern stems from Bartolo Colon, who goes into his Monday start against Toronto with the worst ERA in baseball. Colon has been pitching longer than anyone in the big leagues, but has gotten lit up regularly. Could Bartolo be done? With the way Lucas Sims has pitched in AAA, Bartolo only has so much time to turn it around. Julio Teheran and Mike Foltynewicz both has terrific outings this week, which is an encouraging sign.
The good news is it is early in the season. The rotation needs work, but the bullpen has been much improved over the past eight or so games. This unit needs work, but guys like Jose Ramirez and Sam Freeman have stepped up despite the inconsistency from their teammates. However, it may be in the team’s best interest to dip into their farm to try and bring in another effective lefty. Unfortunately, Eric O’ Flaherty and Ian Krol have been liabilities in 2017.
It is also worth noting that the Braves made a trade this week, bringing in Danny Santana. This helps the team, as they have despicable bench pieces. Emilio Bonifacio lea ds the National League in pinch hit at bats, which really makes you wonder Brian Snitker’s decision making. Santana has been far from effective in recent years, but was a dark horse rookie of the year candidate back in 2014. The Braves will hope a change of scenery does him good, but they do not have much to lose, as the team only parted with Kevin Chapman to make it happen.
2-3 is not a horrible week, but the Braves must start winning now and dig themselves out of this hole. They need to start having winning weeks now, and four games this week against a struggling Toronto team could be the time to get things started.
The Braves are not as terrible as they have played. But poor team chemistry and the lack of implementation of small ball has killed them. SportsTalkATL advocated retaining Brian Snitker, but his personnel decisions have been questionable, including giving rest days to Brandon Phillips and Tyler Flowers Sunday afternoon. The Braves are in no such position to do such a thing. The Braves should be an average team, and it is time for them to start playing like one. Last season showed that two halves of a season can be two completely different stories, but just like last year, it could be too little, too late. As of now, this team is far from maximizing their potential.