3 wins, 1 turnaround

AP Photo/John Bazemore
AP Photo/John Bazemore

Jason Heyward had to be tired of resting and waiting to heal from an emergency appendectomy administered in the middle of a road trip back on April 22.

“I’m happy to be playing the game I love again with the group of teammates I love and ready to have some fun,” he told Carroll Rogers from AJC.com on Friday.

Over the weekend, the Braves definitely had fun.

Returning home bruised, beaten and exhausted from a stretch that saw the Braves play 26 of their last 35 games on the road, the team just needed a crowd to cheer for them, not against them. They needed to sleep in their own beds, I was convinced, and they’d start playing solid baseball again.

After a 12-1 start, the Braves came home with a 22-18 record, in danger of slipping behind the Washington Nationals in the NL East standings. They needed a commanding series against the last-place Los Angeles Dodgers, and they got exactly what they needed.

Heyward returned, the team had fun, and the Braves swept the Dodgers right out of Atlanta.

(More: Why Martin Prado is still an Atlanta favorite, even in Arizona)

There are still some concerns with this club. It took three come-from-behind victories to win three games, and the Braves have developed this uncanny ability to put their starting pitcher in the hole every night. In each of the last 11 games, the opponent has scored first, which is a bad way to fly when your offense is built to be aggressive and score boatloads of runs.

The bullpen continues to get thinner with the news of Eric O’Flaherty likely needing Tommy John surgery to repair a bad elbow. He’ll be getting a second opinion from Dr. James Andrews, but let’s be honest — has Dr. Andrews ever told any athlete they can skip the surgery? Last I checked, he stands to gain a lot of money by performing these surgeries. I’m not into conspiracy theories, but I’m pretty sure the Braves’ quality set-up man will be going under the knife soon.

Additionally, B.J. Upton still refuses to hit the broad side of a barn, or anything resembling a baseball.

But what’s important is that the Braves are back in the win column and added a little bit of distance between themselves and the Nationals in the standings. With another cellar-dweller, the Minnesota Twins, coming to town next, the Braves have another chance to pick up two or three wins. Finally getting a few series at home feels good, and it feels familiar, which is just what the Braves needed.

At 12-5, the Braves own the best home record in the National League. Turner Field is their happy place; that’s good news, because they’ll be seeing a lot of it the rest of the way.

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