It’s the day after a weekend where we saw the bad side of the Atlanta Braves for the first time this season.
After losing three out of four games against the Pittsburgh Pirates, the Braves roll into Denver for the next series of their near-month-long road trip that will last nearly the rest of the month. At 13-5, the Braves still hold the lead in the NL East, but for the first time in 2013, they looked beatable for more than just a few innings.
In Pittsburgh, they looked really shabby.
During the Braves’ current three-game losing streak, they’ve scored a total of three runs. For the season, Jason Heyward is batting .121 — barely better than pitcher Paul Maholm. Dan Uggla is batting .161. BJ Upton is batting .167. With that much money hitting below the Mendoza Line, there’s a real worry that the lineup is more like what we’ve seen the last three games, especially if hitters like Evan Gattis and Chris Johnson start to lose their edge.
We all knew the Braves’ lack of leadership wouldn’t be a problem as long as they were winning, but when the team goes into a swoon as they may be doing right now, they’ll need someone to step up and show the way. They used to have Chipper Jones or John Smoltz in the clubhouse, but both of those guys are gone. Who will step up and dog-cuss teammates when the losses start to mount? Will it be Heyward? Tim Hudson? Brian McCann?
Or will it be nobody?
The 12-1 start was grand, but reasonable fans knew their excitement needed to be guarded. The Braves were not going to win 12 games in every 13-game stretch during the season, but as long as there aren’t any 1-12 stretches on the slate, things will be OK.
All in all, the Braves are still 7-3 on the road to start what has been a murderous schedule that isn’t doing the team any favors. They still have three games each in Colorado and Detroit before they finally return home for four huge games against the Washington Nationals. It won’t be getting easier any time soon, but the Braves have to find a way to stop the losing streak before it gets too ugly.
It would be a shame to see the fantastic 12-1 start go to waste.