The Braves have a grueling schedule ahead of them. After a doubleheader on Sunday, Atlanta has another doubleheader with the division-leading New York Mets Monday. The Braves will play the Mets seven times from now until July 1st, and as they sit in fourth place and five games back, they have a golden opportunity to gain some ground on New York. As guys like Ozzie Albies and Freddie Freeman finally find their groove in the middle of the order, a couple of guys need to have two productive series if the Braves want to try to hawk down the division leader.
RHP Shane Greene
Shane Greene has only pitched three innings since being re-signed by the Braves, but they haven’t been particularly good. In his first outing against the Phillies, Greene blew a save and gave up two earned runs on three hits, only making it 1/3 of an inning. After two scoreless innings, Greene’s last outing against the Red Sox was another disaster. He surrendered two walks, a hit, and three earned runs in an 8-10 loss. The Braves need Greene to be a lockdown relief pitcher if they are going to climb back into this division race.
C William Contreras
It’s hard to knock William Contreras; he was forced into action this year, and for the most part, he has responded. For a guy who had never played an inning above AA before the nine at-bats in the majors, he is holding his own. However, Contreras is only hitting .136 over his last seven games with a .481 OPS. Contreras did go 2-for-3 with a solo home run against the Cardinals on Friday, so hopefully, he finds a rhythm because the Braves need some more offensive production from the catcher spot.
SS Dansby Swanson
Dansby had a clutch home run the other night against the Red Sox in a loss, and it was nice to see him get a bit of momentum going. Dansby has been a pretty big disappointment in 2021, but Braves fans know he is a guy who can turn it on and get on a hot streak at any time. With a .721 OPS in 2021, now would be a great time.
3B Austin Riley
I don’t think anybody expected Austin Riley to keep up his meteoric month of May, but he has gone a bit cold since bashing his way to an OPS north of 1.000. Over his last 15 games, Riley’s OPS sits at .643, which is a far cry from what he was doing last month. Even if he lands somewhere in the middle against the Mets, the Braves need him to step up and provide some power to the lineup.