There’s a saying on Wall Street: Trees don’t grow to the sky. In March 2020, the month the world shut down, a share of Tesla cost $28.50. Twenty months later, the same share cost $407.36. At Monday’s open, TSLA was priced at $167.98.
Had you bought TSLA in March 2020, you’d have been happy. Had you bought it in November 2022, you’d be less happy. It still manufactures the same product. It has the same owner, though he’s known today as the owner of Twitter. As times change, so do perceptions. And here I move from auditioning for CNBC and ask …
How ‘bout those Braves?
They’re 25-15. They’re 15-6 in road games. They’re on pace to win 101 games, same as last season. They hold the widest lead among the six division leaders. They lead the National League in ERA and OPS. They awoke Monday having played 24.7 percent of the regular season, not an insignificant sample size.
Had Brian Snitker and Alex Anthopoulos been asked at noon on March 30, “Forty games from now, would you take 25-15?”, they’d have said yes. You’d have said the same.
Thing is, the same Braves were 25-11 as of midnight May 9. They’ve lost four in a row. It’s their second such skid of the season. The 2022 Braves didn’t lose more than three straight. Of greater concern – though not yet great concern, we stress – is that both four-game reversals came against opponents capable of standing in against the Braves, which not all opponents are.
The first four losses came against San Diego and Houston. The second came against Boston and Toronto. All but the Padres are plus-.500, and the Padres should be. The Braves won’t see the Reds and Royals in October. They could see the Astros or the Blue Jays.
Over their first four-game reversal, the Braves were outscored 18-9. They held leads in three games. They were shut out in the fourth. A.J. Minter was involved in two of the losses.
Over the second four-spot, the Braves were outscored 19-9. They held leads in two games. They were shut out in one. Minter was involved in two of the losses.
We shouldn’t make too much of eight games. That said, I’ve lived here long enough to know how Braves fans think, and I know one or two of you are asking, “Should we be worried about their record in games against good opposition?”
Worried? No. Concerned? Not yet.
The Braves are 3-8 against teams above .500 as of Monday morning, which makes them 22-7 against lesser lights. They didn’t draw up the schedule. It’s not their fault they haven’t seen the Brewers or Dodgers. (It is their fault Miami’s not a winning team; the 20-21 Marlins are their usual 1-6 versus the Braves.)
The Braves just completed three series against the American League East, which has as many plus-.500 teams (five) as the entire National League. Tonight they’ll face the Rangers in Arlington. Like the Braves, Texas is 25-15. Charlie Morton and Spencer Strider are scheduled to start Games 1 and 3. Max Fried and Kyle Wright won’t be starting any games for a while.
It was no coincidence that the Braves went 1-4 in their first week since Fried and Wright were diagnosed with their latest ailments. There’s a reason big-time starters are big-time. If both miss at least two months, the Braves’ record will suffer – maybe not a lot, but surely a bit. As deep and gifted as this roster is, there’s only one Max Fried on it.
The rest of May won’t be easy. The Dodgers come to town next week. June should be less rigorous. Opponents include the Nationals, Rockies, Tigers and Reds.
Starting 25-11 bought the Braves time and space. They hold a five-game lead over second-place Philadelphia, which not long ago was fourth-place Philly. The injured regulars – Orlando Arcia, Michael Harris, Travis d’Arnaud – have returned. This team can hold it together until it sees what’s up with Fried/Wright.
The baseball season last six months. That’s 26 weeks. The idea is to have more good weeks than bad. I wouldn’t sell my Braves stock just yet.
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