Can Braves get right against the Orioles?

MLB: APR 23 Marlins at Braves

Part of what makes the Braves recent struggles even more frustrating is the opponents they’ve faced. The Nationals (twice), Athletics, and Pirates didn’t exactly throw a bunch of aces at the Braves, but it didn’t matter who was on the mound. The Atlanta lineup looked like they all belonged in Gwinnett.

This is not a good baseball team right now, and expecting this offense to flip a switch all of a sudden after being one of the worst lineups in baseball for six-plus weeks feels like wishful thinking. Sure, improvement is likely, but only because being any worse is nearly impossible.

Unfortunately, the Braves wasted some opportunities to gain some ground on the Philadelphia Phillies, who now sit a full nine games up in the NL East. Now, Atlanta will have to do it the hard way, beginning on the road in Baltimore, who feature arguably the best offense in baseball. The Orioles lead all teams in homers with 104 and are third in team OPS, behind only the Yankees and Dodgers.

Scoring a couple of runs in each game isn’t going to be enough to keep this series competitive. The good news for the Braves is they have Max Fried and Reynaldo Lopez going in two of the three games, who have been nothing short of sensational this season. Spencer Schwellenbach will pitch the other, who looks to put together his first quality start in the majors since being called up a couple of weeks ago.

For the Orioles, they’ll send Albert Suárez to the mound against Max Fried. The righty Suárez has been fantastic for the O’s this season, whether it be as a starter or a reliever, boasting a 1.83 ERA over 39.1 innings. Cade Povich will match up with Spencer Schwellenbach in a battle of rookie pitchers. Povich, who is making just his second career start, surrendered six earned runs over 5.1 innings in his MLB debut. The series final will pit Reynaldo Lopez versus Cole Irvin in what has the opportunity to unexpectedly be the pitching matchup of the series, with both guys having career years through the first two-plus months.

Going by the trends, the Braves should have very little chance of winning this series. Baltimore is coming off a four-game sweep of the Rays and has won nine of their last twelve. However, as they say, that’s why they play the games. Baseball is a fickle sport, and teams can turn things around at the most unexpected of times.

Photo: Jeff Robinson/Icon Sportswire

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