1. The Braves have struggled to gain traction this season. They have not won any of their five series to this point. They are certain of something, though: They cannot panic.
They know that won’t do them any good.
“We got 145 games left,” first baseman Matt Olson said. “Sometimes it’s easy to lose sight of that early on, but we just got to put our heads down, put in our work, and look up at the end and we’ll be where we’re at.”
They understand they must remain even-keeled.
“You have to,” manager Brian Snitker said. “If you don’t, you’ll drive yourself crazy. It’s a six-month grind here and you have to take each day as a separate entity, and if you get caught up in that whole thing, you’ll drive yourself nuts.”
2. These Braves are 7-10 through 17 games. Last year’s Braves had the same record.
“It seems eerily the same, in a lot of respects,” Snitker said. “I hate to say last year, but there’s a lot of similarities. I think it’s just part of a good team trying to find itself.”
This isn’t the same team and it’s not the same season, but perhaps last year’s experience can help the current club. These guys overcame a lot of adversity last year, which you would think would serve them well in this situation.
That’s why they aren’t panicking.
3. Right now, the bottom of the Braves’ lineup is, for the most part, hurting the club.
Olson, Austin Riley, Ozzie Albies and Marcell Ozuna – who make up the top of the order – have hit, hit and hit some more. They are hitting for power and driving in runs.
Dansby Swanson (batting .172) and Eddie Rosario (.068) are two starters who haven’t yet found a rhythm. The Braves need them, too.
4. Something that could help this team: Ronald Acuña’s return.
The Braves struggled with men in scoring position. They left 11 on base in their most recent loss.
In the ninth, though, Riley homered after Olson scorched a sacrifice fly. Ozuna doubled to represent the tying run.
This loss, and others, have perhaps made you wonder what this club would look like with Acuña. We should find out soon.
His rehab assignment appears to be going well. The Braves are loosely targeting May 6 for his return.
5. Bryce Elder has walked 11 batters over his last two starts. He allowed only two runs Sunday – wouldn’t have surrendered any had Orlando Arcia squeezed the ball in his glove on the warning track in left field in the fifth inning.
This start looked like Elder’s last one, which came in San Diego.
“I thought I made some good pitches when I needed to, but at the end of the day, same conversation as we had last week: When you walk that many people, you can’t expect to have that much success,” he said.
Stat to know
1: The Braves went 1-for-14 with runners in scoring position in the loss, which loomed large considering they lost the game by only a run.
“You can always pull some really good things out of a game. It’s just a matter of getting our traction and getting on a roll and getting things happening because everything is kind of a grind right now, as it is during the course of the year a lot – more than just this stretch. We’ll go through this on and off all year. It’s tough.” – Snitker on the loss
The Braves and Cubs on Tuesday begin a three-game series. Atlanta lefty Max Fried is scheduled to face Chicago righty Marcus Stroman.