OK, you already know I am a homer when it comes to my pro sports teams. I wanted to give my raw, unedited thoughts on the state of the Atlanta Braves in the second half of the season.
This Braves team is ahead of schedule, currently only a half a game back in the NL East. If anyone would have asked me where the Braves would be at this time of year, I most likely would have said 2nd to Last Place. I did not expect this team to be in the playoff hunt this season. I am very happy and would love for the Braves to make a run for a title. But is that realistic this season? Probably not. I have watched this team when they have had to play the top notch teams in the NL and AL and they have struggled. The Dodgers are still the NL team to beat in my opinion and the Braves have not done much against them so far. I think a lot of this has to do with relief pitching. You should hear me groan when Peter Moylan or Sam Freeman come into the game. That is usually a guaranteed run scoring inning for the competition. As for the other players, all of them go through slumps throughout the season but I feel pretty good about most of the offense. All good hitting teams will be stymied by good pitchers and the Braves are no exception.
Right before the trade deadline, we did get a few players. The Braves received OF Adam Duvall from Cincinnati for RHPs Lucas Sims and Matt Wisler and OF Preston Tucker. I hated to see Tucker go but he was mainly a bench guy for us anyway. Getting Duvall may mean that Inciarte or Markakis time as a Brave may be coming to an end when the season is over. That is just speculation of course. I hope we keep Markakis as he has been stellar this season. On the final day of the trade deadline, the Braves got RHP Kevin Gausman and RHP Darren O’Day from the Baltimore Orioles for minor leaguers RHP Evan Phillips, INF Jean Carlos Encarnación, C Brett Cumberland, LHP Bruce Zimmerman and international signing slots. We needed some pitching help so I am hopeful this works out. O’Day is out for the season but he should be a big help next season.
I totally agree with the post by Alan Carpenter at tomahawktake.com in that the Braves did pretty good with these trades. (https://tomahawktake.com/2018/08/01/atlanta-braves-did-well-for-themselves-at-the-trade-deadline/)
My homer self would love to say that the Braves will win it all! But I am a realist and I dont think this is the year. I believe the Braves will make the post season but I don’t think they will make it even to the NL Championship Series. This team is poised for a good run starting next season in my opinion. I will continue to watch and enjoy the rest of this surprise season.