The Braves have had about the oddest start ever to start the second half of their season. They have not won or lost consecutive games since before the All-Star break, which is now the longest stretch of mediocrity in MLB history.
#Braves are 8-9 since the break, and have neither won nor lost consecutive games in that span, a new MLB record for such absurdities. (Their streak officially started with win in Game 2 after break, since they lost last game before break and first game after break.)
— David O'Brien (@DOBrienATL) August 1, 2021
That’s not great; however, when you consider their opponents over that stretch — Rays, Padres, Phillies, Mets, and Brewers — they’ve actually played some pretty good ball, which is why they remain within arm’s length of first place in the NL East. Still, .500 baseball the rest of the way isn’t going to get them in the playoffs, and they are about to embark on a golden opportunity to make some ground on the Mets.
Beginning tonight, the Braves play the Cardinals, followed by sets with the Nationals, Reds, Nationals again, Marlins, and Orioles. Of those teams, only the Cardinals and Reds are above .500, and they are both barely over .500. The Nationals, Orioles, and Marlins are three of the worst teams in baseball, especially after the trade deadline. If there were ever a point in the season where the Braves were finally going to eclipse the .500 threshold, which they haven’t done all season, this would be it.
Meanwhile, the Mets schedule really begins to heat up around the same time. Beginning on August 13th, they play 13 straight games against the Dodgers and Giants, the two teams with the best records in the National League. Of course, nothing should ever be assumed, especially in baseball, but it’s easy to imagine the Mets going 5-9, or possibly even worse over that stretch. It’s a perfect opportunity for the Braves to make up some ground in the division before the final month of the season. If they can’t do it then, it may be time to accept the fact that it just isn’t Atlanta’s year.
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