If you are what your record says you are, the Braves are the best team in the National League.
Monday’s 6-5 win at the Cubs put the Braves 10 games over .500. Their 25-15 record is the best in the senior circuit, either a half or full game better than the Diamondbacks, who face the Brewers Monday night.
Here’s what to know about MLB’s potential surprise team of 2018:
1. The Braves took care of business against inferior opponents, and it resulted in a 6-1 road trip. They swept the Rays and took three of four at the Marlins. The win in Chicago was a cherry on top, and despite the near month gap between games, ensured the Braves another series win over the Cubs.
2. Their road success didn’t just come recently. They’re 17-8 away from SunTrust Park, the best mark in the NL and tied with the Red Sox for the best in the majors. They’re 6-1-1 in road series, counting Monday as a series victory.
They’ve won 11 of their last 12 road contests, outscoring opponents 73-27 over that span.
3. For a team that wasn’t expected to be a power threat, they can slug the ball. The Braves have homered in seven straight games. Little second baseman Ozzie Albies hit his 13th home run on Monday, tying him with Bryce Harper for the MLB lead.
Nick Markakis has seven home runs, and he’s had 10 multi-hit games in 13 opportunities in May. Tyler Flowers hit his first homer, and Jose Bautista has pushed one out of the park in two of his last three games.
4. The Braves are pounding lefties. Entering Monday, they had a .815 OPS against southpaws, second-best in majors, before tagging Jose Quintana for six runs in 4-2/3 innings. They’ve 8-3 against lefties on the year, and 6-2 in their last eight against them.
5. It’s been a while since the Braves were 10 games over .500: July 28, 2014. They have 10 series wins on the season, with six coming away from home. They’ve won 11 of 13 day games, hitting 25 home runs. That’s opposed to 27 long balls in 27 night games.
When the Braves homer, they’re 22-6. They’re 12-2 when homering more than once. And they’re protecting late leads, earning a 22-0 mark when leading after eight innings (note that excludes the blown 10-2 lead in Chicago on April 14, because that meltdown ensued in the eighth inning).
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