An overview of the Braves’ situation after 81 games

On June 1, the Braves were 10½ games behind.

Instead of panicking – it was only June, after all – they kept their cool.

“I don’t think we ever worried too much about it,” Wright said. “Obviously every time you see you’re 10 games behind, it’s like, Oh. But at the same time, we feel like we knew we weren’t playing baseball very well, so it felt like every time we could flip the switch, we were going to be more and more in contention . I don’t think we ever really panicked. I just kind of cleaned up some things, kind of knocked off some rust, and just started playing baseball a little better.

And the second half will be fun. The Braves and Mets play each other 15 more times, starting with next week’s series at Truist Park. The Braves play 12 more games against the Phillies, 13 against the Nationals and 10 against the Marlins.

Through 81 games, the Braves led MLB in OPS. They placed second for circuits and fifth for races. They had the second most strikes in the sport, but they punished the ball enough to make up for that.

Entering Tuesday, their bullpen boasted the fifth-best ERA among the majors at 3.28. Since May 30, when Spencer Strider made his first start as the fifth starter, the rotation ranks eighth with a 3.57 ERA.

Of course, the winning streak was impressive. But the Braves appear to be a durable machine. They don’t just seem to be on the lucky side of random events.

“For any winning streak, you’re doing something really good — especially to win 14,” Wright said. “I think if you’re stringing together five wins in a row, you’re probably doing something really good. But for us, we were doing everything very well this sequence. We’ve calmed down a bit, but I still think we’re playing really good baseball.

“I feel like we’ve hit a good number of homers again, but I still feel more like it’s the right time. I feel like when we need a hit sure, we get the two hits and all that. I feel like the tee shot has always been great, we’re going deep into the ball games.

The club could also improve. Eddie Rosario and Tyler Matzek returned on Monday. Mike Soroka and Kirby Yates are expected to join this club in the second half, and Ozzie Albies is also expected to return at some point.

The timing could also be positive: the Braves finished their season streak with the Dodgers, Padres and Brewers, who are three potential NL contenders.

The Braves warming up earlier this season might ease the pressure a bit, Wright said, but manager Brian Snitker doesn’t see it that way.

“I don’t know if this thing is ever easy mentally or easier mentally,” he said. “It’s a grind until we’re done, until the last out is made from the last game. There is no letting go, there is no relaxation. This is what we do. I don’t know if it ever gets any easier.

Still, the Braves didn’t wait until August to warm up and have a run. This time they arrived much earlier. In the first half of their program, they look like the talented, powerful and deep club we expected them to have when they opened spring training.

“We have very high expectations for ourselves,” Wright said. “Every time we take the field I feel like we expect to win. Obviously that won’t happen because there are a lot of other good teams in this league as well. But we believe that every time we play – no matter who we’re up against – we believe we have a chance to win, and I feel like you have to have that mentality to win at this level.

Jansen launches again

Kenley Jansen won the mound at Truist Park on Tuesday against an unswinging spare hitter. Jansen threw pitches from the mound.

Think of it as a bullpen session, but off the stadium mound. Snitker said Jansen did that on Monday too.

It looks like Jansen is progressing well. The Braves think it will be a short stint on the injured list after reporting an irregular heartbeat.

“As soon as he’s cleared and ready to go,” Snitker said, “he should be ready to go.”

Albies does what he can

Albies hasn’t been cleared to do anything baseball-related, but he’s getting treatment and doing exercises that don’t require him to put weight on his injured foot.

There were no complications, Snitker said. The surgical incision is healing well.

Presentation Updates

Soroka and Yates hold live batting practice sessions in Florida.

Snitker said he recently watched one of Soroka’s live BP sessions. He said the right-hander’s speed was good and all the signs were positive.

Yates is feeling good, Snitker said.

“It’s also very encouraging to think that down the road we could bring him back to that bullpen as well at some point,” Snitker said of Yates.

Soroka and Yates will keep throwing and accelerating until they can check out of rehab.

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