It has not been a good month for the Braves. Once one of the hottest teams in baseball, they’ve lost 13 of their last 23, and it feels like they may have just hit rock bottom, losing back-to-back games to the A’s to start their week. Oakland came into their series with Atlanta having lost 11 straight games. They’d won just 10 games all season compared to 45 losses, and they had only won one series. Two days later, the A’s have doubled their total number of series wins.
Yesterday quite literally may have been the ugliest Braves game I have watched in quite some time. The offense was brutal, scoring just one run against a pitching staff that was averaging over seven runs allowed coming into the season. The Braves have now tallied just three runs against the A’s over 18 innings. It’s been a team-wide slump, but the one bright spot was Bryce Elder, who continues to shove every time he toes the rubber.
Elder–who leads Major League Baseball in ERA–didn’t find much trouble against Oakland’s lineup over 7.1 innings. He did allow five hits, but three of them came in a row, which led to the A’s only run against him. Still, he exited the game with it tied and a runner on first, handing the ball to A.J. Minter.
Minter hasn’t been his typical self all season, but he was able to pitch around the baserunner thanks to a pickoff play and a strikeout. The straw that broke the camel’s back was Raisel Iglesias‘ three walks in the ninth. Oakland was able to walk the game off without even recording a hit in the inning, as the game ended on an Austin Riley error.
It was a picture-perfect ending for a game that was absolutely miserable to watch. The Braves are playing abysmal baseball right now, and while there’s no reason to press the panic button in May, they are going to find themselves in a very tight division race soon if they don’t bust out of this funk. Hopefully, that begins today against the same A’s team because there are not a lot of good things to say about the Braves right now, other than that Bryce Elder should no longer be doubted by anyone.
We are now two months into the season, and the former Texas Longhorn is boasting a 1.92 ERA. That’s no small sample size. And going even further, Elder owns a 2.48 ERA for his career over 21 appearances (20 starts). The young man has proven to be elite and gives the Braves rotation a lot of optimism moving forward once they start getting healthy.
Photo: John Adams/Icon Sportswire