The Braves absolutely wasted an opportunity to get within striking distance of the Mets this weekend, even with a good effort from the offense and starting pitching. As some of our followers pointed out, fans know exactly where to point the finger.
We scored 20 runs in this series and our starters went 18.2 IP giving up 6 ER and lost the series lmao
— Jared (@redpwood23) July 18, 2021
However, there were some encouraging signs for the Braves this weekend. As I mentioned, the starting staff was fantastic, and the Braves got some excellent baseball out of Joc Pederson. Pederson has gone 4-10 with a double, home run, and four runs batted in over his first two games (and a pinch hit appearance). He may not keep that up for the rest of the season, but it’s clear that he can serve as a catalyst in this lineup. It hurts to lose Ronald Acuña Jr for the season; there is no replacing him. However, if the Braves make some good moves at the trade deadline and win a tight division, Pederson is a man no pitcher wants to face in “Joctober.” Pederson is a man possessed when the calendar turns, and he has gotten plenty of cuts with a Dodgers team that is a playoff regular.
Joc Pederson Career (Playoffs): .272/.349/.503/.852, 8 2B, 9 HR, 20 RBI, 18 BB (64 Games)
This is a big reason why I wanted to sign Pederson this offseason. If you remember correctly, he absolutely tortured the Braves (and the rest of the league) in the 2020 Postseason:
Joc Pederson 2020 (Playoffs): .382/.432/.559/.991, 2 HR, 8 RBI, 4 BB (16 Games)
Pederson’s hot start with the Braves came against the Rays, a team he gave nightmares in the 2020 World Series:
— Andersen Pickard (@AndersenPickard) October 26, 2020
— Jack (@MidWestLAFan) October 25, 2020
Joc finished that World Series with a .400/.500/.700/1.200 slash line over 12 plate appearances. Pederson is a guy you want at the dish in a big spot. That’s incredibly valuable for a Braves team missing so many key players, but it’s up to the organization to add enough to the squad to get them to the stage where their most recent acquisition can shine and hopefully get the Braves one of the most improbable championships in sports history.