Monday used to be the only day that gave the Atlanta Braves fits.
But lately, Sundays haven’t been a walk in the park. We all know about the Braves’ misfortunes on Mondays — their 0-10 record on the first day of the week is one of the weirdest statistical anomalies this season — but now, it’s also those pesky Sunday afternoon games. The Braves can’t seem to win either, and that’s bad news for a team that’s already a step behind the division-leading Washington Nationals.
In their last six Sunday games, the Braves are 1-5. Not quite 0-10, I know, but it means they’re starting most weeks on a two-game losing streak. In those five Sunday losses, the Braves have only scored a total of 14 runs — less than three runs per game.
And four of those losses have come at home.
Even if you want to look at the Braves’ last two Sunday wins (June 3 vs. Washington and May 20 at Tampa Bay), you’ll notice that the Braves only scored a total of five runs in those two games. So while we lament over the performance of our hometown team on Mondays, something seems to be wrong with them on Sundays as well.
It wasn’t always bad: before this losing stretch began, the Braves won four Sunday games in a row, and three of those came away from Turner Field.
A couple of factors could be contributing to this anomaly. First — and if this is true, it’s not an anomaly at all — is that this roster may just be a creature of habit. Most Sunday games occur during the daytime hours, when most other games during the week are played at night. If the team can’t get into their routine like they do for night games, it might explain why they look so frustratingly off when they take the field on Sundays. One thing is for sure: their .241 batting average in day games is noticeably lower than their .267 clip at night.
That doesn’t explain their Monday struggles, though.
Another factor could be the Braves’ success on the road this season, which has kept them alive despite being mediocre at home. Since I mentioned their Sunday successes came largely on the road and Sunday failures came largely at home, now would be a good time to note the Braves’ overall records: 23-17 on the road, and 18-20 at home.
In the National League East, only the dead-last Phillies have a worse home record, while only the first-place Nationals have a better record on the road. If the Braves want to make a run at winning the division, it would behoove them to start holding serve at Turner Field. If they could start winning a few Sunday games every now and then, it would be a lot easier to make that goal a reality.
The last time the Braves swept a series was June 5-7 at Miami. It’s been even longer since the Braves swept a series that ended on a Sunday (May 11-13, at St. Louis). If the Braves are going to make a move in the NL East, Sundays can’t be a liability.