Everything was trending upwards after the Braves swept the Marlins. The mood has changed since being swept by the Los Angeles Dodgers in a convincing fashion. The Braves are starting to see the sizable gap there is between the best teams in baseball and themselves. That doesn’t mean the gap can’t be closed, but it’s clear that the Braves can’t stand pat with the roster as is today.
The last two series, Miami and Los Angeles, have been very indicative of the Braves performance this season: up and down. The Braves have not been able to find any consistency this season, and the series in Los Angeles further proved that point. The Braves were on a high after coming off a sweep of Miami with good performances from Mike Soroka, the bullpen, and the offense. Against the Dodgers, there weren’t many bright spots, if any, for the Braves.
The Braves had played good baseball coming into the Dodgers series. In a three-game sweep, the Braves outscored the Marlins 16-5. The run differential was turned upside down against the Dodgers, however, getting outscored 23-7 in a three-game series. The difference between opponents can’t be understated. The Dodgers are coming off a World Series appearance and another likely berth this season, while the Marlins are one of the worst teams in all of baseball. Even with the substantial contrast of quality in the last two opponents, the Braves have learned a lot about themselves in this last week.
The Braves starting pitching was the Achilles heel against the Dodgers. In all three games of the series, the Braves were in a three-run or more hole before the 3rd inning. In two of the games, the Braves never came close to coming back. In the third, and last game, the Braves fought back to get the score within a run but were betrayed by pitching in the next inning in both cases. The bullpen has been getting a lot of the negative attention early in the season, but as of now, the starters, namely Julio Teheran, Mike Foltynewicz, and Kevin Gausman, have all been falling short of expectations this season. Injuries to start the year can be the excuse for Gausman and Foltynewicz, but it’s still not going to help the Braves win games. The Braves need to start making changes, whether that is trades or promotions before they find themselves too far behind the playoff race.
It’s still May, so all this panic and worry can all be for naught if the Braves can catch fire. But to say the Dodgers series was disheartening would be a huge understatement. The Dodgers are one of the best teams in baseball, maybe the best. If the Braves have any hopes of postseason success, the run will go through Los Angeles. A three-game series in May is not a barometer of what will happen in October, but this Dodgers team is the same team that knocked out the Braves out of the playoffs last season. Watching this series didn’t make any Braves fan think that result would be different if these two teams were to meet in the playoffs this October. Luckily, the Braves won’t have much time to dwell on the sweep. The Braves will be in Arizona looking to avenge a sweep the Diamondbacks delivered in Atlanta three weeks ago.