They’re no longer in first place. They’re not even alone in second. After Tuesday night’s loss, the Atlanta Braves are 36-34, having gone 19-27 since April 27. With the series to just-out-of-last-place Philadelphia already lost, the Braves have won one of their past eight series. (Counting the two-game home-and-home sets with Boston as separate entities.)
This is not — long story short — going well. After scoring 17 runs in three games against a good band of Angels, the Braves have managed three in 22 innings against the Phillies. One of those runs came on a clean single. Another was on a bloop that dropped. The third was on a double-play grounder.
Those totals again: The Braves are 28th in baseball in runs, 26th in on-base percentage and 23rd in batting average. Their starting pitching, which has propped them up for more than 100 games, isn’t quite what it was, and the hitting is what it is. (Or, more accurately, what it isn’t.)
This being baseball, matters can change overnight. But right now, about the only thing the Braves have going for them is that they’re headed for D.C. for four games after today’s tilt with Philadelphia. And the thing they do best — or at least have done best — is beat the Nationals. If they ever stop doing that, they’re up Ye Olde Creek.
Update: Could this be Ye Olde Paddle? The Braves’ lineup for today’s game has Tommy La Stella batting leadoff and Jason Heyward hitting fifth. Justin Upton gets the day off. Ryan Doumit starts in left and will hit seventh. B.J. Upton isn’t playing, either; Jordan Schafer starts in center and bats eighth. Ramiro Pena starts at shortstop and bats second, though I know not why.