How Braves went from 0-9 to MLB’s longest current win streak (4)

The Braves have gone from an 0-9 start, which had them within one loss of tying the franchise record for season-opening futility, to entering Wednesday with the longest winning streak in the majors.

Yes, it’s only a modest four-game streak, but during that winning stretch the Braves have scored six or more runs in every game, after scoring more than four runs just once in their first nine games.

Catcher Tyler Flowers went 4-for-4 with three RBIs Tuesday against the Dodgers in the Braves' fourth consecutive win. (Curtis Compton/AJC file photo)

Catcher Tyler Flowers went 4-for-4 with three RBIs Tuesday against the Dodgers in the Braves’ fourth consecutive win. (Curtis Compton/AJC file photo)

Perhaps most importantly, their bullpen has trimmed about 2 ½ runs off a bloated ERA in just a four-game span, reducing it from over 7.00 to 4.67 – not good, but better than five NL teams including the Pirates (4.71).

I say most importantly because the Braves, more than ever, need their bullpen to be solid this season, what with so many starters going only 4-6 innings and with potentially two or three starting prospects waiting in the wings and likely to make their major league debuts this season, perhaps sooner than later.

The Braves also have scored more runs (50) than the Brewers (49) and Phillies (37), only three fewer than the Mets, and more runs than six American League teams. Yes, six AL teams have scored fewer.

Finally, Atlanta’s team ERA (5.01) is lower than the Brewers and Rockies and just above Houston’s 4.98.

Not that any of these numbers is overly important after less than one-tenth of the season has been played. I provide these small-sample size statistics only to make a point that, by any standard measure – including record; the Twins are 4-10 — the Braves aren’t the worst team in baseball or in the National League.

Did I mention the Braves are 4-5 in games when the opposing starter wasn’t former Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer or Stephen Strasburg (3-0, 1.25 ERA this season)? Well, they are.

But the matchups don’t get any easier, because beginning Thursday the Braves are scheduled to face a four-day pitching gauntlet of Clayton Kershaw, Matt Harvey, Steven Matz and Jacob deGrom.

Keep in mind, it’s a rebuilding year, whether they call it that or not.

And the Braves have a puny 25-man roster payroll of $63 million, more than only the Marlins, Rays and Brewers, which is lower than any of us had anticipated the payroll would be in the year before the Braves move into their new ballpark.

So, there’s all that.

Bottom line: Have you watched the Braves in the past four games? They’ve played good baseball. They even played good baseball, for the most part, during the majority of games in the nine-game skid to start the season. It’s just that they made a huge mistake or two in each of those games that cost them dearly.

They haven’t made such mistakes during the winning streak, and they’ve gotten the key hits they weren’t getting before that from anyone except Nick Markakis. Now they’ve got several other guys chipping in big hits or big games, and Markakis keeps doing his thing, batting .327 with a majors-leading nine doubles, 12 RBIs and a .421 OBP and .510 slugging percentage in 13 games.

See ya at the ‘yard. Plenty of good seats available.

• Here’s one from John Murry off his great 2013 album The Graceless Age. 

“SOUTHERN SKY” by John Murry

John Murry

John Murry

I was asleep
I woke up to the sound of it
Sashaying down the hall
Remnants of secrets
Our precious lives
And I’m terrified of it all

I’ve got no past
There is no future
This sickness follows me around
I’ve got no time
The hour’s nearing
And I’m gonna burn this old house down

She knows my face
My broken body
And I still see it in her eyes
That crucifix
That bound our bodies
Underneath the southern sky
Trapped in the crowd
Cheated by misfortune
I pray his light will be her guide
Into my arms
These crooked arms
Underneath theSsouthern sky

The devil’s paintbrush
Holds just one color
It pushes out your form
As you laughed and tell me
Playing with matches
Will only keep me warm

The stars were falling
All around us
In this filthy little town
And while I slept there
You screamed into your pillow
And I’m so sorry but I never heard a sound

She knows my face
My broken body
And I still see it in her eyes
That crucifix
That bound our bodies
Underneath the Southern sky
Trapped in the crowd
Cheated by misfortune
I pray his light will be her guide
Into my arms
These crooked arms
Underneath the Southern sky

She knows my face
My broken body
And I still see it in her eyes
That crucifix
That bound our bodies
Underneath the Southern sky
Trapped in the crowd
We were cheated by misfortune
I pray his light will be her guide
Into my arms
Into these broken twisted arms
Underneath the Southern skies

 

 

 


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