The Atlanta Braves (29-19) dropped game three in a pivotal NL East divisional series Wednesday night to the Philadelphia Phillies (28-19). Despite dropping two of three in Philly, the Braves maintain a half-game (½) lead over their division rivals and hold the best record in the National League.
Atlanta Braves Week in Review
Over the previous seven days, the Braves have posted a 4-3 record, including a miraculous comeback versus the Miami Marlins on Sunday. The Braves’ offense has been stellar through 48 games this season, which has contributed to their terrific, but unexpected start. Brian Snitker’s squad ranks in the top five in all major batting categories for the National League, including leading the league in hits, average, total bases, and runs.
However, after only being shut out once during the first 41 games, the Braves’ offense has stalled the past week, allowing opponents to shut them out three times. This includes two of three games in Philadelphia.
This week’s Braves player of the week is Dansby Swanson. Swanson, whose season has been limited due to injuries, made his return to the lineup against Miami. On Sunday, Braves nation witnessed the toughness and grit from their shortstop. After registering the first out in the 9th inning trailing by six runs, Swanson had an opportunity to redeem himself. With the bases loaded and 2 outs, fighting a 2-2 count, Swanson battled pitch after pitch, until Tayron Guerrero made a mistake. Guerrero hummed a fastball right over the inside part of the plate and Swanson belted the pitch into left field, sending the final two runners across the plate.
What’s ahead for the Atlanta Braves?
Following their game three loss to the Phillies, Atlanta will have the day off Thursday before facing the best team in the American League, the Boston Red Sox (34-15) this weekend. Power versus power will be displayed in Fenway Park, as both teams rely on the long ball to tally runs.
Mookie Betts and J.D. Martinez have powered the Sox to atop of the AL East, and MLB, standings. Betts leads the AL in home runs (16) and batting average (.364), while Martinez is second in bombs (15) and third, respectively, in batting average (.335). Their impressive numbers behind the plate create nightmares for opposing pitchers. Any potential success for Atlanta will strictly depend on the limitations their staff places on these two All-Stars.
The Braves have three hitters (Nick Markakis, Ozzie Albies, and Freddie Freeman) listed inside the top five hit leaders in the National League. Atlanta’s offense will need to find its groove again in order to take down the league’s best organization. Despite his limited stature (5-foot-9, 164-pounds), the Braves second basemen Albies is second in the National League with 14 home runs. He’ll have the opportunity to go toe-to-toe with some of the league’s best power hitters.
Favoring the Braves this weekend will be the Saturday and Sunday matchup’s being played during the day. Atlanta has a 13-3 record this year during the day, clobbering 32 home runs in those 16 games. Atlanta is also seeking to improve their National League-best 18-10 record away from home.
Following their series in Boston, the Braves will head back home and face a four-game series (doubleheader on Monday) against the New York Mets. These next seven days will ultimately tell the baseball world how good this young Braves team is.