The Braves early season is the perfect case for not paying too close of attention to the standings in MLB until the Memorial Day holiday. A third of the season is a pretty good measuring stick for what a team is and is not. Even our own Leo Mazzone got sucked in to the early season euphoria and started talking about wire to wire champions and "locking things up" in May. This Braves team? They don't seem to have that type of DNA.
Braves started the season (12-1) and foks were planning parade routes. They are (10-15) since. Don't ask me where they are in the standings because I do not care yet. If you are a standings watcher I would figure that it has to concern you that the Braves had what will probably be their best 13 games stretch already and the Nationals have struggled. You probably would like to have seen the Phillies buried by now too.
I think there are some telling things about the early season. The Braves lineup feasts on bad pitching. They have the ability to dominate with the long ball against sub-par competition. That is a great thing for stocking up the wins and climbing in the standings. Facing the better teams has been a diferent story.
The defending NL and AL Champions are (6-1) against Atlanta and have dominated them. They outscored the Braves 48-11 in the six losses. That is important because teams like these will be there in October. You don't get to beat up on the bad starters of the also ran clubs.
The strikeouts are problematic but hardly reason for alarm yet. They can make adjustments and improve on that. I also think they have played a poorly balanced schedule and will enjoy some home cooking in the warmer weather to get on a roll again.
B.J. Upton? I will start worrying about him in July if he has not come around and IF the Braves start falling behind in the division. Until then it is not a huge issue. Uggla needs to start coming around, but we have been saying that for the last three seasons. He always has a hot streak in him and can carry a club for a few weeks.
I thought that the Braves were a 93 win club. Nothing I have seen so far is changing that perception.