NEW YORK – Nothing is lost. Nothing won. Now the Braves will spend the next five months trying to overcome the six-game deficit in the division they faced after ending a four-game streak with a 9-2 victory over the Mets on Wednesday afternoon at Citi Field.
While it was nice to see these two teams face each other for the first time this season, the Eastern National League will not be decided in May. But with wins around the ugly double header on Tuesday, he at least prevented the Braves from falling too far in the rankings. A six-game division deficit equals that which the world champions faced against the Mets on July 28 last year.
But rather than counting on another increase late in the season, the Braves are hoping to find success much sooner than they did last year. They showed some signs of inflection during a streak that included its share of ups and downs.
“Our team chemistry is really high and we’re all having fun,” said Braves Catcher player Travis D’Arnaud. “Good things happen on the baseball field and we communicate really well. So yeah, good things are coming.”
The Braves have only won one series this year and opened this wild ride with a two-of-three loss to last-place Rangers. But while they may not have found their step yet, there are three encouraging things seen throughout the series:
Beating at the right time
Well, there weren’t many hits in time. In fact, there was none during Tuesday’s double match. But Darno contributed a powerful blow in the sixth game of Monday’s victory and pulled his first walk of the season to seal the first half of the seven-game six that decided Wednesday’s match.
The Braves entered sixth on Wednesday after going 3 for 20 with the runners in the scoring position during the series. But Ozzy Albis, Adam Duvall, Dansby Swanson and Ronald Acuña Jr. She scored four hits with RISP in the big run. Darno interrupted that stretch by drawing a rule-bound gait, the only free pass he’s earned in 73 games on the board this year.
Atlanta entered on Wednesday scoring .159 (22 for 138) with the runners in the scoring position over the past 20 games.
“It was good to keep the streak moving a little bit with the big half,” Braves coach Brian Snicker said. “I don’t know if we did that this year. It was good to see. It shows that we can.”
bottom of the ranking
What made the Sixth Uprising even more encouraging was the fact that it featured Duvall’s two-stroke duo and Swanson’s single. The Braves need this duo to be productive to make the lineup lighter and help create more chances for Acuña Jr.
Swanson started slow, but has done a team best .341 with .954 OPS over the past 13 games dating back to April 22nd. A .537 OPS and one home run only.
However, Duval’s average exit velocity and damage rate is higher than when he hit 38 homes last year.
“Traditionally, I’ve started out slower,” Duval said. “I just need to clean up a few things and we’ll be where we want to be.”
Acuña has only gone 5 for 25 with 1 extra base hit since being activated from the hit list. But while playing in three of the four games against the Mets, he showed no signs of being sidelined from the tattered AFC Champions League for just 10 months.
The active player created some excitement during the sixth inning on Wednesday when he got into a rickety run and ended up running past Francisco Lindor to successfully reach second base. After slipping and flicking himself, the 24-year-old star looked toward his bunker and ran into place.
“I’m sure all the doctors were. [gasping] When they saw him running like that, Snicker said. “But it only shows you how healthy he is.”
Acuña set the Braves’ fastest home debut (30.5 ft/sec) during Monday’s series opening and on Tuesday smoked 116.6 mph, which is the fourth most powerful ball he’s ever hit. He hasn’t been allowed to play every day yet, but it will be tough to keep him out of the squad as his body and knee show the ability to handle the daily pressure.
“Prone to fits of apathy. Introvert. Award-winning internet evangelist. Extreme beer expert.”