Jun 22, 2014; Washington, DC, USA; Atlanta Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez holds back Atlanta Braves left fielder Justin Upton (8) after being ejected against the Washington Nationals during the ninth inning at Nationals Park. The Nationals won 4-1. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Atlanta Braves: What have we learned? June edition

Sometimes in a week of baseball, there is a whole lot to either A.) talk about or B.) learn about your favorite team. The past three weeks, while yes, there have been good and bad for the Atlanta Braves, it has been fairly consistent not only in and of itself, but something that has previously been talked about.

Believe it or not, the Braves are in a good place. Yes, they are only a game over .500. However, Atlanta is playing inconsistent ball (which they did most of last year past April as well), and still, the Braves are only a game and a half out of first place. Thank you, NL East, for being a very poor division thus far.

Fredi Gonzalez has started some severe lineup tinkering. This may not be a bad thing (except, of course, B.J. Upton hitting in the two-hole). Moving down from the leadoff spot is Jason Heyward and up to the lead-off spot is Tommy La Stella. Heyward to the lead-off spot was a nice change of pace, but something I think everyone knew wasn’t going to last. The outline for a great lineup is there, but it hasn’t been figured out yet.

It’s a marathon, not a sprint. This is something that you often hear in the beginning of the season (and something I cautioned in our first couple of these WHWL features), but it’s incredibly applicable here. While, no, the Braves aren’t where they were nearing the All Star break last year, as mentioned above, they’re still in a good place, and there is plenty of time to turn things around and take a steady and dominating lead over the division.

However, while it’ll be frustrating and nerve wracking and all that jazz, a finish like we saw in 2011 (which was for the Wild Card instead of the division), would be insane. TLS has been a great addition to the line up, and it’s been less than a month. Shae Simmons is up and Jordan Walden is back, which hopefully will put an end to this abysmal bullpen we’ve seen of late.

Again, as said above, the lineup tinkering is having moments, and it’s just a matter of time before everything clicks.

As odd as it sounds, one team I don’t want to be playing coming off two straight losses are the Houston Astros, who currently are the hottest team in baseball and have a better record than those putrid Red Sox. And we all remember what happened over Memorial Day week. Still, the Braves have a big series coming up, and it begins on Tuesday night, so stay tuned.

Tags: Atlanta Braves

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