Yesterday, the Braves’ offense erupted in a 14-3 win to avoid a sweep at the hands of the Pirates, which was much-needed and somewhat predictable. Atlanta has been a hot and cold mess all season. They go on three game-winning streaks followed by four straight losses, and their offense erupts one game before slumping for a week. It’s a never-ending circle that’s been predictable for the entirety of 2021 up to this point, which is why I was able to forecast the future before yesterday’s game.
No doubt. We will score 27 runs today and then won’t score for the next week, like clockwork
— SportsTalkATL Chase (@IrleChase) July 7, 2021
This also brought me back to another point I made before yesterday’s game. Just how bad is this Braves offense if you take out the few explosions that come once in a blue moon? So, I did a little bit of digging, and the answer wasn’t very encouraging.
For this exercise, I took out three games — 20 runs on May 21st versus the Pirates, 20 runs on June 30th versus the Mets, and yesterday’s 14 runs against the Pirates again. Surprisingly, those are the only three times the Braves have scored more than ten runs in 86 games this season. Comparatively, they scored more than ten runs seven times last year over the 60-game season.
On the surface, the Braves offense doesn’t look too bad on paper in the run production department. They’ve crossed the plate 406 times — good for the 11th most runs in the MLB and 5th most in the National League. But if you take out those three outliers from the Braves offense, they only have 352 runs in 83 games — an average of 4.24 runs per game, which would put them in the bottom half of the MLB, a far cry from how they produced offensively a year ago.
However, the difference has been much more noticeable of late. Since June 20th, the Braves have scored three runs or less in 14 of 19 games. They’ve scored 76 runs over that stretch — an average of 3.96 runs per game. That’s pretty miserable, but it’s even more disturbing when you consider 34 of those runs came from just two games. So, let’s again take out the Braves 20 run performance against the Mets and 14 runs against the Pirates. Over those 17 games, the Braves have 42 runs — an average of 2.41 runs per game, a rate that would easily make them the worst offense in baseball.
Obviously, it’s not fair to make concrete conclusions off such a small sample size, and you can’t just completely disregard the offenses three best performances. However, as this season has waned, the Braves offense has regressed into a below-average group, which shouldn’t be completely mind-boggling given everything that’s happened since Opening Day. Unfortunately, they haven’t given us any reason to believe it is going to change either. Unless the Braves start getting unexpected help from the bottom part of their lineup, they’ll need their pitching to be perfect to pile up wins. The trade deadline can’t get here fast enough.
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