It took the Braves until July to lose four in a row. They have now done it three times since, including their current four-game losing streak that could extend to five today against the St. Louis Cardinals. It has been far from pretty too, as Atlanta has lost all four games by a minimum of two runs and an average margin of five runs. Obviously, this has resulted in panic from a fan base that has not seen the playoffs in five years, but with a 5.5 game lead and only 11 games left on the schedule, there is no reason to worry.
Not only are the Braves a virtual lock to win the NL East (FiveThirtyEight still has Atlanta as a 97% favorite to take home the division crown), but this is what they have been doing the entire second half of the season.
Consider this: The Braves have 26 losses in second half. Eighteen of those losses have been a part of a losing streak of three games or more.
What should put your mind at ease is the fact that every time they hit one of these rough patches they bounce back with some spectacular play.
Let’s take you back to July 29th against the Dodgers. The Braves send Sean Newcomb to the mound in hopes of preventing a four-game sweep and their fifth loss in a row. All Newcomb did was come one out shy of a no-hitter. An outing that not only sparked the Braves to a win, but a five-game win streak.
A few weeks later, the Braves come off a disappointing four-game sweep at the hands of the Rockies before seven-game road trip. There were no hung heads on the flight to Pittsburgh, as they would sweep the Pirates in the midst four straight wins.
Our most recent example, you might ask. Atlanta blows a brutal six run lead while trying to avoid a sweep against the Red Sox. Once again, this takes place right before a long road trip. This time the Braves headed west and won six of seven versus the Diamondbacks and Giants.
Simply said, the proof is in the pudding. Inconsistency in baseball is normally not the path toward success, but it has worked for the Braves so far this second half. If you are a betting man, go ahead and take the Braves tonight and for the foreseeable future. This is what they do and I do not expect them to struggle down the stretch.