Looking back on the Atlanta Braves schedule, the Braves have certainly had a rough 2015. They find themselves in unfamiliar territory at the trade deadline, as sellers instead of buyers. That’s all right Braves fans. It happens to everybody sooner or later. Just look at the Boston Red Sox and Detroit Tigers if you doubt it.
The Braves spent the entire 1990s and a good chunk of the early 2000s in contention. At one point they ran off 14 straight National League East division titles. They made the postseason every year (except for 1994 of course) from 1991 through 2005. It’s hard to believe that they’ve only been back twice since then. That was in 2012 when they lost to the Cardinals in the National League Wild Card playoff, and in 2010 when they were beaten by the San Francisco Giants in four games in the NLDS.
So the once proud Atlanta Braves have had one postseason win in the last 10 years. They will not be adding another one this season either. Right now, they look like they will be doing well to finish at .500. They are currently in third place in the National League East with a 46-54 record. With 62 games to play the Braves would need to go 44-18 to get to 90 wins. That will not happen.
The Braves have no offense. Their leading hitter is Nick Markakis with a .290 average and their leading home run hitter is Freddie Freeman with only 13. You can’t win games if you can’t score runs.
Graphic via atlallday
So who do the Braves have that a contender might want? Cameron Maybin could attract somebody. He has 47 RBIs and plays a good centerfield. A.J. Pierzynski could be another guy a contender may want if they need a backup catcher. He has a ton of playoff experience. They already sent Juan Uribe and Kelly Johnson to the New York Mets for two young pitchers in John Grant and Robert Whalen. Those two are minor leaguers so Braves fans might not see them this season.
So the Braves will have the role of spoiler for the last two months of the season. This is not what they are used to. Let’s look at the remaining Atlanta Braves schedule for 2015 to see what series we won’t want to miss.
In August they have the defending World Champion San Francisco Giants in for three games on the 3rd through the 5th. They also have two games at the Tampa Bay Rays August 11-12, four at the Chicago Cubs the 20th through the 23rd, and they host the Yankees the 28th through the 30th.
The September Atlanta Braves schedule has a road series at the Washington Nationals the 3rd through the 6tth and at home September 29th through October 1st, four with the Mets at home September 10-13 and in New York the 21st through the 23rd.
The Braves finish up with a three game series against the St. Louis Cardinals, which may be a big series if the Pittsburgh Pirates can stay with them that long.
So when can Atlanta fans expect to see the Braves back in the postseason? To be honest, it does not look all that promising. The Nationals should be tough for a while with Bryce Harper, Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg to build around. The Marlins have Giancarlo Stanton, Dee Gordon and Jose Fernandez, three very good young players and the Mets have so much good young pitching with Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom, Zack Wheeler, Steven Matz and Noah Syndergaard they look like a contender for a while.
The Braves are going to have a lot of competition in the N. L. East for the next decade. What they need to do is take their lumps for a few seasons and rebuild through the draft. For years that seemed like a foreign concept in baseball, but teams like the Rays, the Kansas City Royals, the Pirates and the Nats have shown that it not only can be done, but it is the best way to go.
The Braves need to get back to the formula they had success with in the 1990s. Build with a good starting rotation first. Of course, finding three Hall of Famers for your five man rotation might be asking a lot.
Graphic via tomahawktake