Sometimes when a team is scuffling a little bit the fan base needs some reason for optimism. Now of course players are supposed to focus on the game and opponent at hand and not look too far away. However I’m not a player so it’s perfectly fine for me to look ahead at the Braves schedule and what I see is nothing but smooth sailing ahead for Captain Fredi Gonzalez.
Now no game on a schedule can be counted as a win and on any given day anyone can beat anyone in Major League Baseball. I know the arguments against my point but I’d still much prefer to play a soft stretch in my schedule while I’m struggling a little bit then a difficult one.
The Braves have 26 games left before the All Star break once the San Francisco series concludes which is the unofficial half way point to the season. You always want to go into the break with some momentum if possible and I think the Braves are in a perfect position to do so.
vs Mets ( 5 games)
@ Brewers ( 3 games)
@ Royals ( 2 games)
vs D-Backs ( 3 games)
vs Marlins ( 3 games)
@ Phillies ( 3 games)
@ Marlins ( 3 games)
vs Reds ( 4 games)
19 of these 26 games will be played against teams with below .500 records or roughly .500 records assuming the possibility that the Royals are flirting with the .500 mark as we speak.
And 11 of these games will be played against the Mets and Marlins who are two of the National Leagues worst teams. And in fact the Brewers aren’t that much better and Ryan Braun will be side lined for the next 2 weeks which will be a crippling blow to an already struggling Milwaukee ball club.
The 4 difficult games against the Reds will be played at Turner Field after the Braves almost swept the talented Cincinnati club on the road earlier in the year.
If there was ever an opportunity for the Braves to take advantage of their schedule this is it. This is the type of stretch where they could easily go 16-10 and possibly even 18-8 which would put them in a really strong position as we reach the mid summer classic.
Despite the Braves struggles as of late this schedule that waits for us gives me a lot of reason for optimism. These are not guaranteed wins and I realize the Braves will have to play well enough to beat these clubs but like I said I like my chances against struggling teams better then the stronger ones any day of the week.
To win your division you need to beat the bad teams on your schedule and take full advantage of these opportunities in your schedule. The next few weeks will tell us a lot about this Atlanta Braves team. For better or worse I think we will have a very clear vision of wher this team stands at the end of these 26 games.
By: Bob McVinua