The Braves are not as bad as they have played in the season’s first month. However, the past week they have played horrible baseball.
The Braves established themselves as an offensive team in last season’s second half, and it has translated over to 2017 as well. Despite Dansby Swanson’s struggles, the offensive has been extremely productive, as the rest of the bunch have been picking up the slack. Freddie Freeman has the third highest OPS in all of the major leagues, and the supporting cast is all doing their part. At least, on offense that is.
The pitching, however, has been horrific.
It all started with Julio Teheran, who after putting together a hot start to the season, had two poor outings against the Mets and the Cardinals. It’s too early to be concerned, but keep an eye on Julio and hope he bounces back in his next start. If the Braves want to compete this year, it is essential that he anchors the rotation. The same goes for Mike Foltynewicz, who appeared to be en route to having a breakout year. This is still a possibility, but his inconsistency from years past flashed when he gave up seven earned runs in a start against St. Louis this week.
The real concern, however, has been stemmed from Bartolo Colon, who is supposed to be the second best starter on the team. After a rough spring training, hitters’ luck against Colon has translated over into the regular season and he had yet another bad outing this week. Colon is a vet who has changed his game through the years to extend his career, and will most likely turn things around. But when you take into account Big Sexy’s age, it could be worrisome.
The way Lucas Sims and Sean Newcomb have performed early in the season make it likely inevitable that the two will get a chance to crack the rotation due to struggles or injury. However, Sims got off to a hot start last season before faltering, and Newcomb has had recurring control issues. The organization will likely want to see them perform over a longer span of time, so everyone’s job is safe for now. Nevertheless, these guys are knocking on the doors of the majors, and are two of the highest touted arms the organization has to offer.
The bullpen may just need more time to settle in, and the Braves have young talent coming up through the pipeline. But they still have not been good. Getting Mauricio Cabrera back in the coming days could give the team a great late inning boost, however.
Overall, the two units have combined to give the Braves the worst ERA in baseball, at 4.91. The good news, however, is there is absolutely no chance that the Braves have the worst pitching staff in baseball. But they need to start performing now, or the Braves will dig themselves in too deep of a hole to recover in the 2017 campaign.