For a team that’s leading the National League East by a wide margin, and appears almost a sure bet to win the division title, some degree of concern is starting to build over the Atlanta Braves postseason chances.
That’s likely because the Braves missed a chance to dominate a fledgling team, settling for a split with the Pittsburg Pirates, who rank fourth in the NL Central and have a .452 winning percentage.
On Friday, the Pirates won the last of the four-game series, 5-7. As with some of the last few games, the Braves were buoyed by consistent hitting by Matt Olson and Ronald Acuna Jr. But the runs the Braves plated aren’t enough to overcome less than stellar pitching that has been giving up runs and leading to losses like Friday afternoon’s.
Bryce Elder (3.61 ERA) ran into trouble in the sixth inning of that game, as the Pirates tied the Braves in that inning, then scored two extra runs off of Braves pitching. Atlanta currently has the second-worst starting pitching at 6.15 ERA since the All-Star Break, with 31 earned runs in 25 1/3 innings over six games.
Meanwhile, the bats remain hot. Acuna has hit 30 homers this season, and Olson has 40 homers and 100 RBIs to his credit this season.
The Braves will be hoping for balanced successes between hitting and pitching as they head the conclusion of a long road trip that takes them to NYC to face a four-game series with the Mets (.456) before going home to Truist Park to play the Yankees (.513).