Braves worst fears realized with Ronald Acuña’s torn ACL

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Before this weekend, an optimistic Braves fan could have easily convinced himself the Braves still had a great chance to win the NL East, even after a pretty abysmal first half of the season. They only sat 4.5 games back of the Mets with three months of baseball left to play, several key pieces are expected to return from the Injured List in August, and the trade deadline is just around the corner. That optimism went down the drain Saturday afternoon.

As we all know by now, 23-year-old superstar Ronald Acuña — one of the favorites to take home the NL MVP award this year and perhaps the most exciting player in baseball — went down with a gruesome injury Saturday. It looked like he landed awkwardly in real-time, and the situation only worsened when he attempted to walk off the field only to take a seat again halfway between the right field fence and the dugout to wait for a cart to carry him the rest of the way. It was a sickening moment for Braves fans, and later, everybody’s worst fears were realized when it was confirmed he did tear his ACL. The injury will keep him out for the rest of the season and could even cost him the early portion of next season as well.

There’s no question about it; this is the worst nightmare scenario for the Braves. Injuries have killed this team all season, but you always felt like they had a chance as long as the core trio of Ronald Acuña, Ozzie Albies, and Freddie Freeman were on the field. Now, one-third of that group and perhaps the most important piece to the team is unavailable. You never like to admit a season is over with three months left, especially when you had such high expectations coming in, but this sure feels like the straw that broke the camel’s back. It’s going to take a miracle and then some to overcome Acuña’s injury, and frankly, I don’t know how the Braves can view themselves as anything other than sellers as the trade deadline approaches.

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