Time to panic? Braves slide continues against Nats

MLB: MAY 30 Nationals at Braves

Following a weekend in which three more key figures hit the IL, including the reining NL MVP Ronald Acuña Jr. who will miss the rest of the season with a torn ACL, the Braves looked to take advantage of an opportunity against the Nationals. A team Atlanta has owned in recent years.

Unfortunately, the same problems persisted. When Chris Sale, Max Fried, or Reynaldo Lopez is not on the mound, it doesn’t seem like the Braves have much of a chance, and that’s not to say we saw porous pitching from the guys who did toe the rubber against the Nats.

Charlie Morton was roughed up for one of the few times on Monday. But Spencer Schwellenbach turned in a fairly impressive MLB debut, allowing just three runs over five innings. The Braves could just only muster two themselves. Ray Kerr and the Atlanta bullpen also held the Nationals to three runs last night, but it still wasn’t enough to get back in the win column.

In total, the Braves scored seven runs over their four-game set against Washington, with their only win coming thanks to eight innings of shutout ball from Max Fried. A game that was scoreless going into the seventh inning.

Over the last month-plus, the Braves have been damn near the worst offense in all of baseball. Something that’s almost unfathomable considering all of the records this team set a year ago. But what’s perhaps even more discouraging is there are no signs of the bats turning it around, and things just got infinitely more difficult with Ronald Acuña Jr. going down for the season.

Without Marcell Ozuna performing like one of the best offensive players in baseball, the Braves might not even be a .500 baseball club right now. And without Chris Sale, Max Fried, and Reynaldo Lopez pitching like Cy Young candidates, it would be even worse.

There is cause for concern for the baseball team in Atlanta for the first time in what feels like years. The Braves sit 6.5 games back of the Philadelphia Phillies following back-to-back series losses to the lowly Pirates and Nationals. It could get worse before it gets better, and by that time, the hole may be too big to dig out of in the NL East.

Photo: Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire

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