After the first month of the season, the Braves sit at 12-15 and are six games back of the first-place New York Mets, who many projected would dethrone Atlanta this season. It’s not the start anyone wanted or predicted, especially with such a manageable schedule in April; however, it’s not like the Braves haven’t been in this situation before and come away as world champions. So, on a scale from 1-10, what is the panic meter at as we shift our focus to the second month of the season?
Chase’s Panic Meter: 1.5
According to my infallible panic meter, I think Braves fans should feel no different than they did to begin the year. This is still an ultra-talented team that I believe is far and away the best in the division, and their most recent series against the Mets made me feel a lot better about what’s to come in the future.
Sure, the Braves only split the series in New York, but the real story is in the details. Coming into the series, the Mets were one of the hottest teams in baseball, while the Braves hadn’t come anywhere close to hitting their stride. Then, when taking a look at how the series played out itself, you realize the Braves could have easily come away with a sweep. The Mets dinked and dunked their way to two wins in their doubleheader. If the luck had gone Atlanta’s way on Tuesday, we’d be talking about the Braves being two games back in the division with five months of baseball left to play.
And when you take a deeper look into the Mets, it all begins to make sense. Their lineup is mediocre, at best. Outside of Pete Alonso, there’s really not a single player that strikes fear into an opposing pitcher. So far this season, they are 30th in hard-hit %, yet are 1st in BABIP, which is basically another way of saying they are the luckiest offense in baseball. That won’t last over the entire season; eventually, severe regression is in line.
Meanwhile, the Braves’ offense is on the opposite end of the spectrum. They are one of the hardest-hitting teams in baseball yet have consistently had nothing to show for it. That will change, this offense will get rolling, and the wins will pile up in bunches.
The only reason I gave the Braves a 1.5 instead of a 1 is because I do believe there needs to be a sense of urgency going into May. While I don’t think the Mets’ roster is as good as Atlanta’s, New York does have some fantastic pitching, and spotting them any more than six games is playing a dangerous game. It’s imperative that the Braves work on cutting that lead down before entering the summer months if they want to come away with a fifth consecutive NL East title.
Photo: Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire
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